School Finance
January 27, 2020

Fact Sheet 20-2: Comptroller Designates Four School Districts in Significant Fiscal Stress

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
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(Updates 19-4)

According to New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s latest Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) report, there are just four school districts (Fort Edward, Northern Adirondack, Norwich and Wyandanch) in the state that were identified as being in “Significant Fiscal Stress.”  This is the second consecutive year that both Norwich and Wyandanch were identified as being in “Significant Fiscal Stress.”

There were also five school districts (Cortland, Eldred, Hempstead, New Suffolk, and Wantagh) in the state that were identified as being in “Moderate Stress”  and Twenty-four identified as being “Susceptible to Fiscal Stress” (Albany, Ausable Valley, Canton, Cheektowaga, Clymer, Cohoes, Copiague, Deer Park, Dolgeville, East Ramapo, Fishers Island, Frewsburg, Harrisville, Hudson Falls, Marathon, Marcellus, Mount Vernon, Oxford Academy, Pavilion, Rensselaer, Roosevelt, Sauquoit Valley, Schenevus, and Weedsport).

Based on their fiscal score, school districts are assigned into one of four categories:

  1. No Designation. 637 school districts were given this rating indicating that their fiscal score doesn’t meet the threshold for stress.

  2. Susceptible to Fiscal Stress. 24 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are exhibiting some signs of fiscal stress.

  3. Moderate Fiscal Stress. 5 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are fiscally stressed, but the level is not severe.

  4. Significant Fiscal Stress. 4 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are considered to be the most fiscally stressed.

This is the seventh annual report on fiscal stress scores for school districts.  Various financial indicators such as fund balances, operating deficits, cash ratio, and short-term borrowing are used to assign an annual fiscal stress score to every school district, except for the Big 5 City School Districts (Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers).  The current fiscal stress score is based on financial data from the 2018-19 school year.

A copy of the comptroller’s report Fiscal Stress in School Districts Common Themes for School Year 2018-19 is available at https://www.osc.state.ny.us/localgov/fiscalmonitoring/pdf/common-themes-for-school-year-2018-19.pdf

The following table, based on data from the Office of State Comptroller, provides a history of the designations by year.

                                                                                Number of School Districts Identified

 
2012-13
School
Year
 

2012-13
School
Year
 

2014-15
School
Year
 

2015-16
School
Year

2016-17
School
Year
 

2017-18
School
Year
 

2018-19
School
Year
Significant
Fiscal Stress
 12 10  8  2  2  5  4
Moderate
Fiscal Stress
 23  27  24  9  7  0  5
Susceptible to Fiscal Stress  52  53  50  48  17  21  24
No Designation  583  582  590  612  648  646  637


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