Gouverneur Central School District – Financial Management (2016M-351)

Issued Date
November 18, 2016

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the District’s financial condition for the period July 1, 2014 through May 31, 2016.


The Gouverneur Central School District is located in the Town of Antwerp in Jefferson County and the Towns of DeKalb, Edwards, Fowler, Gouverneur, Hermon, Macomb, Pitcarin and Rossie in St. Lawrence County. The District, which operates three schools with approximately 1,600 students, is governed by an elected nine-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $34.3 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board consistently overestimated general fund appropriations by an annual average of $3.2 million, or 10.8 percent, from fiscal years 2012-13 through 2014-15, which resulted in most of the fund balance appropriated in the general fund not being used to finance operations.
  • The District’s reported unrestricted fund balance has exceeded the 4 percent statutory limit in two out of the last three fiscal years.
  • Fund balances in the school lunch fund exceeded the maximum amount allowed by federal regulations by an average of 43 percent in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
  • The Board did not develop a formal multiyear financial or capital plan to help identify developing revenue and expenditure trends and set long-term priorities and goals.

Key Recommendations

  • Develop realistic estimates of appropriations and the use of fund balance in the annual budget.
  • Ensure that the amount of the District’s unrestricted fund balance is in compliance with statutory limits.
  • Consider requesting State Education Department approval to allocate indirect costs to the school lunch fund to reduce the excess fund balance and adhere to federal regulations.
  • Develop a comprehensive multiyear financial plan to establish long-term objectives for funding long-term needs, provide a framework for future budgets and guide the District’s management of financial condition. This plan should be periodically reviewed and updated as appropriate.