Press-Republican

Local News

September 13, 2013

State wants Ticonderoga Central to plan ahead

TICONDEROGA — State auditors say Ticonderoga Central School District needs a multi-year financial plan to avoid future budget shortfalls.

The district already has a long-range fiscal plan, and they’re following it, Superintendent John McDonald Jr. said in response.

That protocol was developed following the auditor’s visit but before the release of the audit report.

“What we did is we developed a three-year scenario based on very conservative revenue and very conservative spending,” the superintendent told the Press-Republican. 

“We went high on expenses and low on revenue, and it looks like we’ll be in very good shape going forward.”

DECREASED ENROLLMENT

The audit report just released by the State Comptroller’s Office acknowledged Ticonderoga has had severe financial problems in recent years.

“The district has struggled with fiscal challenges due to a deteriorating financial condition,” the audit report said.

“We found that the (school) board adopted budgets that limited costs and tax increases by reducing administrative and instructional positions in response to the district’s decreasing enrollment, negotiating salary freezes with faculty and support staff and adopting a different medical insurance plan that reduced rate increases.”

Ticonderoga School District went from 953 students in 2008-09 to 875 for 2012-13. Teaching staff was reduced from 91 to 77.

The district had a $17.8 million budget for 2012-13, with a $10.3 million tax levy.

“The adopted 2012-13 budget was about $1.1 million less than the adopted budget for 2011-12,” the audit said. 

“It also included a tax levy that was more than $400,000 under the district’s property tax (state) cap limit. The district cannot reasonably continue to develop balanced budgets in this manner without a multi-year financial plan.”

TWEAKING

Besides the recommendation for the financial plan, the audit made two other recommendations: that the School Board ensure that future budgets are structurally balanced and that it closely monitor financial operations to establish and maintain financial stability.

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