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State Comptroller Discusses Recent School Audits
By Jasmyn Belcher
Oswego, NY – New York's Comptroller is working to hold school districts more accountable when it comes to their finances.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has released five years worth of school audits. The audits show nearly 300 school districts and BOCES improperly retained $615 million in taxpayer money held in reserve accounts. DiNapoli says that money could have been used to lower property taxes.
Meanwhile, Liverpool school officials are looking into closing two elementary schools. DiNapoli says a number of dynamics leads to a situation like Liverpool's.
"The issue of closing a school is tied, not only to finances, but tied to pupil enrollment and birth rate in the community. But I do think it underscores the point that districts across the state are facing real challenges and having to look at ways to save money. That again, depending on the proposal, are not without significant opportunities for debate," said DiNapoli
DiNapoli says either way, community members in every district want to be sure efficiencies are realized and the quality of education isn't compromised. Liverpool school officials cite a $10 million dollar budget short fall and declining enrollment as reasons for the proposed closings.