New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today announced the following school district audits have been issued.
The district accumulated unrestricted fund balance of more than $2.7 million as of June 30, 2018 (29 percent of 2018-19 appropriations) and exceeded the statutory limit by almost 25 percentage points. While district officials appropriated fund balance annually, none of the appropriated fund balance was actually used to finance operations from 2015-16 through 2017-18.
Although the district has experienced operating surpluses totaling more than $1 million over the last three fiscal years, expenditure increases are outpacing revenue increases. The increases in expenditures were driven by personnel costs and BOCES services. District officials have hired a special education teacher which has allowed them to offer an additional class in-house. Officials calculated potential savings of over $150,000 per year by taking this action. Furthermore, officials negotiated a change in the employee contracts to reduce the district’s share of health insurance costs for new employees and retirees as of July 2018.
The district consistently realized average annual operating surpluses of $1.2 million because certain appropriations were overestimated. The district’s unrestricted fund balance exceeded the amount permitted to be retained at the end of the 2015-16 through 2017-18 fiscal years. While revenue estimates were reasonable, appropriations exceeded expenditures by an average of $2.1 million annually (a cumulative total of more than $6.3 million). If the district had budgeted more realistically and not unnecessarily appropriated fund balance, unrestricted fund balance would have exceeded the statutory limit by $1.1 million, or 5.1 percentage points, as of June 30, 2018.
Generally, tested employees’ salaries were accurately paid. However, time sheets were not always approved. In addition, overtime was not consistently tracked or properly approved, resulting in possible over or underpayments. Auditors also found that seven employees were paid incorrectly for credit hours earned.
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