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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

West Valley Central School District – Financial Management (2013M-178)


Released: December 6, 2013 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s financial operations including the use of unexpended surplus funds and reserve funds for the period July 1, 2009, through June 4, 2013.

Background

The West Valley Central School District is located in Cattaraugus County. The District is governed by the Board of Education which comprises seven elected members. The District’s expenditures for the 2012-13 fiscal year were approximately $7.6 million.

Key Findings

  • District officials consistently over-estimated expenditures over the past four years by more than $3.8 million, which resulted in operating surpluses totaling $1.3 million. Therefore, the majority of the $2.4 million in Board-appropriated unexpended surplus funds was not needed to fund District operations.
  • Because the amount of unexpended surplus funds that can be legally retained is limited, each year since 2009 District officials transferred money in excess of this limit to various District reserve funds. As a result, reserves totaled more than $2.1 million at June 30, 2013. District officials could not demonstrate a planned need for more than $1.7 million of the reserves.
  • Officials did not appropriately use the debt reserve fund, which had a balance of more than $380,000 as of June 30, 2013. Instead, District officials levied real property taxes and paid debt service with general fund appropriations.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop realistic estimates for expenditures and unexpended surplus funds when preparing the annual budget.
  • Include the planned funding and use of all reserves in the annually adopted budget plan to provide increased transparency for the District’s voters.
  • Develop and implement a plan for using the reserve fund surplus balances identified in this report in a manner that benefits District taxpayers.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

Phone: (518) 474-4037; Email: localgov@osc.state.ny.us
Address: Office of the State Comptroller, Division of Local Government and School Accountability
110 State Street, 12th Floor; Albany, NY 12236