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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Falconer Central School District – Financial Management (2016M-146)


Released: July 15, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s financial condition for the period July 1, 2012 through February 11, 2016.

Background

The Falconer Central School District is located in the Towns of Carroll, Ellicott, Ellington, Gerry and Poland in Chautauqua County. The District, which operates three schools with approximately 1,100 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled $21.3 million.

Key Findings

  • For the past three fiscal years, the District overestimated appropriations by an average of $2.5 million each year and appropriated fund balance to help finance operations that generally was not used.
  • Unrestricted fund balance exceeded the legal limit annually.
  • The District retained $5.7 million in a debt reserve and overfunded the employee benefit accrued liability reserve by $220,000 (20 percent).

Key Recommendations

  • Develop realistic estimates of appropriations and the use of fund balance in the annual budget.
  • Ensure that the amount of unrestricted fund balance is in compliance with the statutory limit and develop a plan to use excess fund balance in a manner that benefits residents.
  • Transfer money residing in the debt reserve to unrestricted fund balance and review all reserves at least annually to determine if the amounts reserved are necessary and reasonable. Any excess funds should be transferred to unrestricted fund balance (where allowed by law) or to other reserves established and maintained in compliance with statutory directives.

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