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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Cortland Enlarged City School District - Budget Review (B4-15-12)

Released: April 15, 2015 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Budget Review

The purpose of our budget review was to provide an independent evaluation of the District’s proposed budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year.


The Cortland Enlarged City School District, located in Cortland County, has a tentative budget for fiscal year 2015-16 of approximately $49.6 million.

Key Findings

  • The District’s has overestimated appropriations for payroll, health insurance, retirement, debt and utilities by $3.2 million.
  • The District’s budget includes the use of $2 million from the retirement contribution reserve fund; however, estimated retirement costs are approximately $760,000. Using the remaining $1.2 million to fund other District expenditures is not an appropriate use of the reserve.
  • After the District’s planned use of $500,000 in fund balance, the remaining unassigned fund balance is only $200,000 or 0.4 percent of the ensuing year’s appropriations.
  • The District’s preliminary budget complies with the tax levy limit.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop appropriation budgets that are reasonable and based on prior years’ actual amounts with appropriate increases.
  • Restrict the use reserve funds to legally appropriate financing sources.
  • Examine the use of fund balance and reserve funds as recurring financing sources and consider reduction in appropriations or increasing other sources of revenue.

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