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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Highland Central School District – Financial Condition (2013M-358)

Released: March 7, 2014 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District’s financial condition for the period of July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2013.


The Highland Central School District is located in the Towns of Esopus, Lloyd, Marlborough, New Paltz and Plattekill in Ulster County. The District is governed by the Board of Education which is responsible for managing District operations. The District’s budgeted appropriations for the 2013-14 fiscal year were approximately $38.5 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board overestimated revenues in the budget starting in fiscal year 2010-11, resulting in a deficit fund balance in the school lunch fund and a decline in the general fund balance. District relied on its general fund to subsidize operations of the school lunch fund.
  • The Board has not adopted a formal budget process. Business Administrators employed by the District during our audit period were permitted to use their own methods when developing the budget.
  • The District has not yet developed a multiyear financial plan.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a realistic plan to accumulate fund balance, within the legal limit, so that the District is prepared for unexpected expenses or revenue shortfalls. Work to reduce the deficit in the school lunch fund. Adopt structurally balanced budgets that are based on reasonable revenue and expenditure estimates.
  • Adopt a formal budget process detailing how District officials should prepare the budget and monitor the process to ensure it is followed.
  • Develop and implement a multiyear financial plan to provide a framework for future budgets and facilitate management of the District’s financial operations. Update the plan annually.

Local Government and School Accountability Contact Information:

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