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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Horseheads Central School District – Financial Condition (2016M-138)


Released: August 19, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The objective of our audit was to examine the District’s financial condition for the period July 1, 2012 through March 10, 2016.

Background

The Horseheads Central School District is located in the Towns of Baldwin, Big Flats, Catlin, Erin, Horseheads and Veteran in Chemung County and the Town of Cayuta in Schuyler County. The District, which operates seven schools with approximately 4,000 students, is governed by an elected nine-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled $73.6 million.

Key Findings

  • Because District officials significantly overestimated appropriations, it appeared that the District needed to both increase its tax levy and use fund balance to close projected budget gaps.
  • By not using the appropriated fund balance from the prior year, the District’s unrestricted fund balance significantly exceeded the statutory limit for the last three completed fiscal years.
  • District officials did not use any of the available money in the debt service fund to reduce debt service expenditures of approximately $2.5 million per year.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that represent the District’s actual needs and discontinue the practice of adopting general fund budgets that result in the appropriation of fund balance and reserve funds that will not be used.
  • Reduce the amount of unrestricted fund balance and use the excess funds in a manner that benefits District residents.
  • Use money in the debt service fund to make debt payments as appropriate.

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