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NEWS from the Office of the New York State Comptroller
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DiNapoli: 33 School Districts Reported in Fiscal Stress

Number of School Districts Increased from Previous Year
January 23, 2020

Statewide, there were 33 school districts designated in fiscal stress under New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System for the school year ending in 2019, up from 26 reported in both 2018 and 2017.

“Some of New York’s school districts are in fiscal trouble. While there are a number of factors causing their fiscal stress, each district should address these problems today,” said DiNapoli. “My Fiscal Stress Monitoring System flags issues early so communities can correct them. My office will continue to provide financial planning tools, guidance and training to help schools in stress.”

DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) analyzes a set of six financial indicators to create an overall stress score. The fiscal stress score determines if a district is in “significant fiscal stress,” “moderate stress,” “susceptible to stress” or has not been designated in one of the levels of fiscal stress. In addition, the system has environmental indicators that assess other factors, such as poverty rates and tax base, which are largely outside of the control of school officials, but may affect revenues or drive costs.

This is DiNapoli’s seventh annual release of fiscal stress scores for school districts. The FSMS scores and report released today summarizing common trends among school districts are for the 2018-19 school fiscal year. The FSMS covers 674 school districts in 57 counties, but excludes New York City schools and the “Big Four” City School Districts of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers.

This year, four districts are categorized as being in significant fiscal stress: Fort Edward Union Free School District (Washington County), Northern Adirondack Central School District (Clinton County), Norwich City School District (Chenango County) and Wyandanch Union Free School District (Suffolk County). All but Northern Adirondack were in fiscal stress last year as well.

Fifteen of the school districts that were in fiscal stress this year were also in stress in the 2017-18 school year and eight of those school districts were in stress for all three years. Norwich (Chenango County) and Wyandanch (Suffolk County) have remained in significant fiscal stress for the last two years.

Table of school district's fiscal stress level

The report also noted that the Southern Tier was the only region with a decrease from the previous school fiscal year in the number of districts in fiscal stress. Central New York and the North Country regions had the largest percentages of districts in a fiscal stress category.

View schools districts in stress:
https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/schools/pdf/2019/stress-list.pdf

View full list of school district stress scores:
https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/schools/pdf/2019/summary-list.pdf

Read the report:
Fiscal Stress in School Districts: Common Themes for School Year 2018-19

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