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NYS Comptroller


Audits of Local Governments and School Districts

Tonawanda City School District – Financial Management (2016M-370)

Released: February 3, 2017 -- [read complete report - pdf]

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to evaluate the District’s financial management practices for the period July 1, 2012 through July 22, 2016.


The Tonawanda City School District is located in Erie County. The District, which operates five schools with approximately 1,720 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year total approximately $32 million.

Key Findings

  • The District appropriated fund balance to help finance operations, but it was not needed because the District’s budgeting practices produced operating surpluses.
  • The District’s 2015-16 year-end unrestricted fund balance was 9.1 percent of 2016-17 budgeted appropriations, which exceeded the statutory limit by 5 percentage points.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that realistically reflect the District’s operating needs and use surplus funds as a financing source for funding one-time expenditures, funding needed reserves or reducing District property taxes.
  • Ensure that unrestricted fund balance at fiscal year-end does not exceed the statutory limit.

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