MOUNT SINAI, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A school district on Long Island is flush with cash, but the state is not impressed.
As WCBS 880 Long Island Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs reported, the Mount Sinai School District for the fifth year in a row has inflated budgets and overestimated spending.
An audit by the New York State Comptroller’s office determined as a result, the district has a budget surplus that exceeds the state mandated 4 percent cap. The comptroller’s office has ordered the school district to stop overestimating its budget.
Some local taxpayers said they agree with the comptroller’s office.
“I work in a library and we have to be very specific with our funding for each year and we have to break it down and no, we don’t run that way,” said a taxpayer.
“They have a hoarding mentality. That doesn’t work because taxpayers are stressed enough,” a woman told Xirinachs. “I think it’s irresponsible and I think it’s a lot for them to ask of their taxpayers.”
WEB EXTRA: Read The Audit (pdf)
“You have a rainy day fund, I have a rainy day fund. Should the schools have a rainy day fund? Maybe,” another taxpayer said.
The audit found actual expenditures were $3.4 million less than budgeted amounts in 2007-08; $4.8 million less in 2008-09; $5 million less in 2009-10; $6.2 million less in 2010-11 and $4.1 million less in 2011-12. The surpluses ranged from 6 to 14 percent above actual expenditures, the audit found.
School officials called the state cap too thin and said the extra money helps them to deal with emergencies.
New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli is giving the district 90 days to submit a list of ways it will comply with a list of its recommendations.
DiNapoli also told the district a corrective action plan must be in place by the end of the next fiscal year.
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