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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Clarence Central School District – Financial Condition (2016M-128)


Released: July 8, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s management of financial activities for the period July 1, 2012 through February 18, 2016.

Background

The Clarence Central School District is located in the Towns of Amherst, Clarence, Lancaster and Newstead in Erie County. The District, which operates six schools with approximately 4,500 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $75 million.

Key Findings

  • Despite its budgetary surpluses and excess fund balance, the District continued to increase the tax levy by approximately 3 percent each year.
  • The District’s practice of annually appropriating fund balance that is not needed to finance operations is, in effect, a reservation of fund balance that is not provided for by statute and a circumvention of the statutory limit imposed on the level of unrestricted fund balance.

Key Recommendations

  • Ensure budgets include realistic appropriations based on actual needs to avoid levying taxes at a level greater than needed.
  • Ensure that estimates in the annual budget for the planned use of fund balance are accurate and reasonable.

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