State audit: Brockport school district accumulated $30M surplus in unused state funds

Audit: Brockport schools accumulated $30 surplus in unused state funds

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. — A state Comptroller’s audit reveals the Brockport Central School District hid money from the state.

From 2017 to 2022, the district accumulated a surplus of more than $30 million in unused state funds. The Comptroller’s Office found the district appropriated significantly more money than it was using — overestimating its budgets while underestimating how much revenue it was making by more than $8 million.

The Comptroller’s Office recommends the district come up with financial plans and adopt more reasonable budgets in the future.

Brockport District Superintendent provided the following comment Thursday:

“As acknowledged in our audit response letter, our District adopts a conservative budgeting approach to ensure the utmost fiscal responsibility towards our taxpayers. Over the past 17 budget years, there has been an average levy increase of 1.97%, with two years (2010-11 and 2016-17) experiencing no tax levy increase.

“It is important to note that the audit did not acknowledge the financial challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the 2020-2021 school year, New York State school districts were required to strategically plan for an anticipated 20% reduction of state aid. This coupled with unexpected, significant one-time federal funding received during the pandemic was a crucial factor that influenced our financial landscape. Similar to numerous other school districts, the budgetary complexities arising from unfilled staff positions, encompassing both teaching and non-teaching roles due to this unique event, were and continue to be challenging.

“Our District recognizes the audit as an opportunity to reassess current budgeting practices, reserve funds, and funding levels. In light of emerging requirements such as transitioning to electric buses and the substantial rise in construction costs, our District is actively evaluating long-term projects where the fund balance and reserves are useful in offsetting costs to our local taxpayers.”