New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced his office completed audits of the Schenectady City School District, Sidney Central School District, Tupper Lake Central School District and the Walton Central School District.
“In an era of limited resources and increased accountability, it’s critical that schools make every dollar count,” DiNapoli said. “By auditing school district and charter school finances and operations, my office continues to provide taxpayers the assurance that their money is being spent appropriately and effectively.”
The board routinely relied on significant amounts of appropriated fund balance to finance operations. As a result, for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years, the general fund incurred operating deficits totaling more than $5.6 million and unrestricted fund balance declined by about 73 percent. In addition, the general fund’s cash level was deficient, resulting in district officials not having sufficient cash to pay district bills and other obligations when due.
District officials have taken steps to increase educational productivity and reduce the costs associated with instructional materials and program delivery. For example, district officials decreased special education costs by using aid to finance additional teaching and learning technology, while at the same time reducing the district’s real property tax levy.
The board routinely relied on significant amounts of appropriated fund balance to finance operations. The board did not adopt a policy establishing the level of unassigned fund balance that should be maintained to prepare for any unanticipated expenditures and/or revenue shortfalls. As a result, for the 2011-12 through 2012-13 fiscal years, the general fund incurred operating deficits totaling more than $934,000, unassigned fund balance declined by 98 percent and cash balances declined by 47 percent.
After incurring several years of operational surpluses, the board adopted budgets that included plans to use nearly $2.5 million of fund balance to finance operations during the 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13 fiscal years. As a result, the district’s unassigned fund balance declined by nearly 94 percent.
For access to state and local government spending and more than 50,000 state contracts, visit http://www.openbooknewyork.com/. The easy-to-use website was created by Comptroller DiNapoli to promote openness in government and provide taxpayers with better access to the financial workings of government.