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State Audit Finds Ithaca School District Relying Heavy on Fund Balance

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The New York State Comptroller has released an audit of the Ithaca City School District. The review finds the district has relied heavily on reserves to fund operations over the past few years.

Prior to 2011, the Ithaca School District built up a $7.3 million fund balance by adopting conservative budgets. The fund balance was in excess of the state statutory limit. Starting in 2011, the district began experience operating deficits and began to rely on the balance to fund operations and close deficits

The report says the district officials recognized their use of fund balance as a financing source could not continue. Leaders were able to achieve some cost savings which removed some expenses from the budget. From 2013 through 2015. The district saved $3 million by reducing staff through attrition and consolidation. The district also moved information technology services to BOCES.

Last year, the school board also adopted a budget that increased taxes above the property tax cap to help stabilize finances. The Comptroller says the current year’s budget finds revenue and expenses are more in line.

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