Comptroller notes flaws in CV-S financial planning

DiNapoli

A state audit of the Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School District found that district officials “effectively managed most aspects” of its financial condition, but have not utilized multiyear financial plans to help make financial decisions or adopted fund balance and reserve policies.

While district officials created financial plans outlined five-year projections of revenues, expenditures and fund balances, the plans were not regularly reviewed or utilized for making financial decisions, according to a March 26 report by the Office of New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

The report also found that the district operated without written policies for managing fund balances and reserves.

An analysis of the district’s five-year financial trends found that adopted budgets were “consistently reasonable,” according to the report.

Balances for the district’s five reserves — unemployment insurance, retirement contributions, capital, employee benefits and repair — were found to be “either reasonably funded or the balances were immaterial.”

The district was found to be within its 4% limit in unrestricted fund balances from 2017 to 2019, but slightly exceeded the cap with 6.7% of its budgeted appropriations in unrestricted fund balances for the 2019-2020 school year, according to the report.

“Officials stated that due to uncertainties in revenue sources caused by the pandemic, such as State aid, they felt it was prudent to retain a slightly higher level of fund balance to meet possible budget shortfalls,” the report read.

In a Jan. 28 response letter, district Superintendent TheriJo Climenhaga wrote that the district agreed with the audit findings and said a comprehensive multiyear plan will be maintained “to establish projections for revenues, expenditures and reserve and fund balances” and will be shared annually with the board of education.

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