Audit: Elmont school district's reserves were above legal limit – New York News

A state audit of the Elmont school district found that the system overestimated expenditures by $19 million over a three-year period and exceeded the legal limit for its unrestricted fund balance, or rainy day fund.

“The board and district officials did not ensure that budget estimates and fund balance were reasonable,” auditors in state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office wrote in a report released Tuesday. “Unrealistic budget estimates can mislead district residents and can have a significant impact on the district’s year-end surplus fund balance and financial condition.”

The audit reviewed district budgets from July 1, 2013, through Dec. 31, 2016.

Under state law, districts cannot amass an unrestricted fund balance that exceeds 4 percent of the next school year’s operating budget. The comptroller’s office has consistently criticized districts that have exceeded that statutory limit, with Elmont becoming the 25th school system on Long Island since 2014 to be criticized for maintaining excessive reserve funds.

District officials said most of the overestimated spending was for the special education program, including teachers’ salaries. Their written response, which was included in the audit report, also took issue with the auditors’…

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