Cohoes City School District – Budgeting (2016M-111)

Issued Date
July 29, 2016

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to examine the District’s budgeting practices to determine if District officials properly managed fund balance and reserves for the period July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2015.


The Cohoes City School District is located in the City of Cohoes in Albany County. The District, which operates five schools with approximately 1,900 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $40.3 million.

Key Findings

  • The District did not have a formal plan for funding reserves, determining how much should be accumulated and how and when the funds will be used.
  • As of June 30, 2015, the District’s unrestricted fund balance exceeded the statutory limit by approximately $1.5 million.
  • The Board overestimated appropriations in the adopted budgets for the 2012-13 through 2014-15 fiscal years by a total of approximately $7.2 million.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop a plan that details funding levels and planned uses of reserve funds.
  • Use surplus funds to fund one-time expenditures, fund needed reserves or reduce property taxes.
  • Adopt realistic budgeted appropriations to ensure that the tax levy is not higher than required.