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NYS Comptroller

THOMAS P. DiNAPOLI

Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Watertown City School District – Financial Condition (2016M-85)


Released: June 10, 2016 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the District’s financial condition for the period July 1, 2014 through October 31, 2015.

Background

The Watertown City School District is located in the City of Watertown and the Towns of Le Ray, Pamelia, Rutland and Watertown in Jefferson County. The District, which operates eight schools with approximately 4,000 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year total approximately $68.4 million.

Key Findings

  • The District overestimated appropriations in the adopted budgets by about 14 percent annually over the past three years.
  • Unassigned fund balance has exceeded the 4 percent legal limit during the same period.
  • The Board has not developed a written policy that states the optimal funding level for reserves and the conditions under which reserves will be used.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop realistic estimates of appropriations and the use of fund balance in the annual budget.
  • Ensure that the District’s unassigned fund balance is in compliance with statutory limits and reduce the amount of fund balance in a manner than benefits District residents.
  • Develop a formal reserve fund policy that outlines targeted funding levels and indicates when reserve balances will be used to finance related costs.

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