Dunkirk City School District – Financial Management (2017M-122)

Issued Date
October 13, 2017

Purpose of Audit

The purpose of our audit was to review the District’s financial management practices for the period July 1, 2013 through May 25, 2017.


The Dunkirk City School District is located in the City of Dunkirk and the Towns of Dunkirk and Sheridan in Chautauqua County. The District, which operates six schools with approximately 2,000 students, is governed by a seven-member Board of Education. General fund budgeted appropriations for the 2016-17 fiscal year totaled more than $40 million.

Key Findings

  • The Board and District officials consistently overestimated appropriations by an average of $3.7 million.
  • Three of the District’s reserves, totaling $14.8 million, appear to be overfunded.
  • From 2013-14 through 2015-16, the District realized operating surpluses and did not need to use any appropriated fund balance to finance operations.

Key Recommendations

  • Adopt budgets that realistically reflect the District’s operating needs based on historical trends or other identified analyses.
  • Review all reserves to determine if the amounts reserved are necessary and reasonable.
  • Use surplus funds as a financing source for funding one-time expenditures, reducing District property taxes or funding needed reserves.