Hancock Central School District - Non-Resident Student Tuition (2021M-208)

Issued Date
April 01, 2022

[read complete report - pdf]

Audit Objective

Determine whether Hancock Central School District (District) officials established non-resident tuition (NRT) rates in the best interest of District taxpayers.

Key Findings

Officials did not establish NRT rates in the best interest of District taxpayers. We found:

  • While the Board can contract for a lesser amount than SED’s calculated NRT rate, it approved NRT contracts between the District and Wayne Highlands School District (Wayne Highlands) without performing a cost-benefit analysis.
  • Over the past three school years, the Board approved Wayne Highlands NRT rates that were less than the New York State Education Department (SED)’s maximum allowable NRT rates and actual Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) costs by a total of $1.29 million, or an average of $430,000 each school year.
  • While officials informed District taxpayers about contract renewals, tuition rates and total expected revenue, officials did not inform taxpayers whether the costs to educate non-resident students are recovered by the revenue generated from the tuition charged.

Key Recommendations

  • Perform a cost-benefit analysis and determine if the benefits of educating Wayne Highlands students outweigh the costs of educating those students.

Except as specified in Appendix A, District officials generally agreed with our recommendations. Appendix B includes our comment on an issue raised in the District’s response.