"created an early warning system for communities and school districts with fiscal problems. Alerting everyone to potential problems gives local officials and taxpayers the opportunity to be more proactive."
I like to view his report each year to see where local municipalities stand regarding these benchmarks.
The system, which is currently using 2015 data, has two components; Financial and Environmental.
According to the 2015 date, New Hartford is at 0% for Environmental which takes into account Change in Property Value; Change in Enrollment; Trend in First Budget Vote Being Defeated; Change in Approval Percentage for the First Budget Vote; Graduation Rate Percentage; and Free or Reduced Priced Lunch Percentage.
However, the Financial component is based on Unassigned Fund Balance; Total Fund Balance; Operating Deficits; Cash Ratio; Cash as a Percentage of Monthly Expenditures; Short-Term Debt Issuance; Short-Term Debt Issuance Trend.
I was surprised to learn that for 2015 New Hartford Central School is extremely close to being considered "Susceptible to Fiscal Stress".
New Hartford's 2015 stress score (figured by reports sent to the State Comptroller's office) is 23.3%...the benchmark for being considered susceptible is a score of 25% or more.
The report also shows that in 2014, their stress score was 0% and 6.7% in 2013. What happened in 2015 for such a drastic change?
Looking at the Excel spreadsheet for New Hartford, it would appear that their problems are primarily use of fund balance and budget deficits.
As a taxpayer, my questions would be...
- is the school board aware of the Comptroller's report
- has the school implemented a plan to address its financial situation?
You can view the reports and read documentation on how the reports are created by visiting the NYS Comptroller's Office Fiscal Stress Monitoring System.