The Greenport School District has overestimated expenditures by about $3.3 million over the last three fiscal years, according to the findings of a state audit.
On Tuesday, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office released an audit of the district’s finances between July 1, 2012 and March 31, 2014. The report indicates the district needs to improve its oversight of the budget process.
“Had district officials used more realistic budget estimates, they could have avoided the accumulation of excess fund balance,” the report states. “The district’s practice of consistently appropriating fund balance that was not needed to finance operations, in effect, circumvented the statutory limitation of unexpended surplus fund balance to no more than 4 percent of the ensuing year’s appropriations.”
In 2010-11, the district had a 1 percent unexpended surplus fund balance totaling $149,450, the report states. In 2012-13, that figure totaled $869,361, or about 5.6 percent.
In a letter responding to the report, Superintendent David Gamberg said the district requested an extension of the audit’s scope to 2008-09 in order to “present a clearer picture of the district’s depletion of reserves and fund balance to historically low levels in times of economic downtown, and the subsequently successful, multi-year plan of the district.”
Mr. Gamberg added the district is in the process of developing a corrective plan based on the state’s findings.
“We agree with the recommendation that the district should develop and adopt budgets that include realistic estimates,” Mr. Gamberg said. “In fact, [we] feel that has been the practice of the board in the past and will continue to be in the future.”
Scroll down to view the complete report.