Brentwood Union Free School District – Fund Balance and Hiring Practices (2016M-251)

Issued Date
November 22, 2016

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to assess the District’s fund balance and examine the procedures for hiring administrators for the period July 1, 2014 through October 31, 2015.


The Brentwood Union Free School District is located in the Town of Islip, Suffolk County. The District, which operates 17 schools with approximately 19,300 students, is governed by an elected seven-member Board of Education. Budgeted appropriations for the 2015-16 fiscal year totaled approximately $368 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board adopted budgets for fiscal years 2012-13 through 2014-15 that appropriated a total of $60.8 million in fund balance to finance operations but used only $5.6 million of the appropriated fund balance.
  • District officials could not provide Board resolutions establishing five reserve funds totaling $36 million, could not provide a clear purpose or intent regarding the future purpose of $4.2 million restricted in the insurance reserve and overfunded the retirement contribution reserve by $4.3 million.
  • The Board did not hire the most qualified available candidate for the Superintendent position as required by its own policy.

Key Recommendations

  • Discontinue the practice of adopting budgets that result in the appropriation of fund balance not needed to fund District operations.
  • Ensure that all reserve funds are properly established by resolution, which should include the rationale, objective and funding level for each reserve.
  • Adhere to District policy when hiring a Superintendent by choosing the most qualified candidate.