School Finance
January 27, 2021

Fact Sheet 21-3: NYS Comptroller Designates Nine School Districts in Significant Fiscal Stress

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services
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New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released the annual Fiscal Stress Monitoring System (FSMS) report. According to the report, nine school districts were identified as being in fiscal stress—two being in “Significant Fiscal Stress” (Mount Vernon and Northern Adirondack) and seven being in “Moderate Fiscal Stress” (Cortland, Harrisville, Hempstead, Newfield, Wantagh, Wappingers, and Weedsport). Northern Adirondack was also designated as being in significant fiscal stress last year.

In addition to those nine districts, the report also identified twenty-two districts as being “Susceptible to Fiscal Stress” (Binghamton, Candor, Cohoes, East Ramapo, Elmont, Fort Edward, Lafayette, Marathon, Marcellus, Mattituck-Cutchogue, Medina, New Suffolk, Oxford Academy, Pavilion, Poughkeepsie, Rensselaer, Rome, Sauquoit Valley, Ticonderoga, Tupper Lake, Waterville, and Wyandanch).

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. 22 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are exhibiting some signs of fiscal stress.

  3.  Moderate Fiscal Stress. 7 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are fiscally stressed, but the level is not severe.

  4.  Significant Fiscal Stress. 2 school districts were given this rating indicating that they are considered to be the most fiscally stressed.

The current report also noted that:

  • The Central New York and North Country regions had the highest percentages of districts in fiscal stress.
  • Western New York was the only region that had no school districts in fiscal stress for the 2019-20 school year.

 

FSMS uses various financial indicators such as fund balances, operating deficits, cash ratio, and short-term borrowing to assign an annual fiscal score to every school district, except for the Big 5 City School Districts (Buffalo, New York City, Rochester, Syracuse, and Yonkers). The current fiscal score is based on financial data from the 2019-20 school year.

A copy of the comptroller’s report Fiscal Stress Monitoring System School Districts: School Year 2019-20 Results; 2020-21 Risks is available at http://www.osc.state.ny.us/files/local-government/fiscal-monitoring/pdf/2021-schoolssnapshot-jan.pdf

This is the eighth annual scoring of school districts provided by FSMS. The following table, based on data from the Office of State Comptroller, provides a history of the number of school districts identified by year.

 

 
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

2019-20
School
Year
Significant
Fiscal Stress
 12 10  8  2  2  5  4  2
Moderate
Fiscal Stress
 23  27  24  9  7  0  5  7
Susceptible to Fiscal Stress  52  53  50  48  17  21  24  22
No Designation  583  582  590  612  648  646  637  637


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