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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Gowanda Central School District – Financial Management (2016M-368)

Released: January 13, 2017 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District's financial management practices for the period July 1, 2013 through September 1, 2016.


The Gowanda Central School District is located in Cattaraugus, Chautauqua and Erie Counties. The District, which operates three schools with approximately 1,175 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year total approximately $29.9 million.

Key Findings

  • For the 2013-14 through 2015-16 fiscal years, the Board and District officials overestimated expenditures by a total of $6.2 million.
  • The District did not use any appropriated fund balance to finance operations, resulting in unrestricted fund balance in excess of the statutory limit.
  • The Board did not adopt a written reserve policy and three reserves appear to be overfunded.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that reflect the District's actual needs based on historical trends or other identified analysis.
  • Develop a plan to reduce the amount of unrestricted fund balance and use excess funds to benefit residents.
  • Review all reserves to determine if the amounts reserved are necessary and reasonable and adopt a written reserve fund policy.

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