PLATTSBURGH — With a fiscal score of 26.7, AuSable Valley Central School District was deemed "susceptible to fiscal stress" for the 2018-2019 school year, according to a recent State Comptroller's report.
The comptroller's Fiscal Stress Monitoring System takes into account several factors, including operating deficits and fund balance levels.
AVCS Superintendent of Schools Paul Savage II said the "susceptible" designation was not a surprise and "is nothing more than an indication that we have limited resources and funding."
"That is why we advocate for appropriate and much-needed state aid for high-need rural schools like AVCS and why things must change in state funding in order to be able to appropriately support programs and services for all children," he said.
Cash on hand and fund balance were the two major factors that contributed to the district's fiscal stress rating, Savage continued.
"The district’s cash on hand was low due to an unusual amount of money still owed to us from the state that we did not receive until December," he explained, clarifying that state aid owed to the district for the 2018-2019 school year was not received until the 2019-2020 school year.
Additionally, the district had to use a portion of its undesignated fund balance in order to balance the 2019-2020 budget.
"Due to a combination of low state aid increases and the tax cap, the district had no choice but to use fund balance to maintain the current program levels and stay under the cap," Savage said.
The district will continue being as financially efficient as it can, given the tax cap and limited state aid, Savage said.
"It is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain educational programs with limited state aid and tax revenues and the ever-increasing costs associated with education.
We aren’t alone in this classification process and more schools will likely be identified in the near future if school funding isn’t improved."
In his Fiscal Year 2021 Executive Budget, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed an $826 million increase in school aid, bringing the total to $28.5 billion, and a new school aid funding formula "to properly distribute funds and build up underserved school districts," according to a press release.
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