Recently, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released his findings on his audit that was performed on the Mineola Union Free School District between July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2020. The reason for the audit was to determine whether or not the district’s board of education and district officials effectively managed the district’s financial condition.
“The board and district officials did not effectively manage the district’s financial condition,” DiNapoli’s report stated. “As a result, more taxes were levied than were needed to fund operations. A pattern of over budgeting developed because the board did not adjust ensuing years’ budgets based on prior years’ actual results. Therefore, general fund appropriations were consistently overestimated from 2016-17 through 2019-20 by a total of $20.7 million. Over the four-year audit period, the board consistently appropriated fund balance totaling $12.9 million that was not needed. When unused appropriated fund balance is added back, at June 30, 2020, unassigned fund balance increased to approximately 13 percent or about nine percentage points above the 4 percent legal limit.”
Going forward, DiNapoli’s office recommended that the board develop budgets that include reasonable appropriation estimates, and only appropriate fund balance when needed. It was also recommended that the board comply with the statutory fund balance limit. District officials agreed with the comptroller’s recommendations and indicated they’re taking corrective action.
“Last year the district had a zero levy,” Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael P. Nagler said in a statement. “For the past 12 years, the district averaged a 1.2 percent levy. Simultaneously, the district transferred money from the fund balance into the budget to achieve capital upgrades. Our community is informed of how the district spends the surplus and has supported our budgets every year with over 70 percent approval.”