Fairport responds to NYS Comptroller's audit on spending practices

Posted at: 04/25/2013 11:02 PM
Updated at: 04/25/2013 11:28 PM

If you own a home, you pay taxes to the school district you live in. What if you heard your school district has a multi-million dollar surplus and was being told to find a way to spend some of that money?

That's what the New York State Comptroller's Office is saying about the Fairport Central School District. In a report, Thomas DiNapoli says as of June 30, Fairport had a surplus of $48 million in its general fund and it is budget practices had generated nearly $16 million in operating surpluses. What is the district saying about it?

The comptroller's report looks at several school districts in Fairport. The audit gives Fairport a poor grade because it has been holding on to a large reserve. The comptroller says Fairport could have used this $15.8 million more more productively. News10NBC want to hear why.

News10NBC's Lynette Adams said, “It's not like the comptroller would pick on Fairport?”

Maureen Nupp, Fairport School Board President, said, “It surprised me. Didn't have accurate numbers, things that were water over the dam. That's all I'm going to say.”

Maureen Nupp says she disagrees with the findings of this state audit. She says it goes beyond the scope of what the state comptroller's office said it was looking at. Nupp says that's two years of budgeting. Instead, the audit looked at four years from the 2008 school year until this year. Nupp says she acknowledges there's quite a bit of money in reserves, but she says it's not $15 million. And she says the district has restored some of its previous cuts with that money.

The audit finds district officials have withheld significant funds that it says could have been put to good use, it also says the district levied unnecessarily high taxes and compromised the transparency of its finances. Nupp says that's not the case and again questions these findings.

The comptroller did not find any wrong doing in the district's finances. However, he is recommending Fairport develop a plan for using the surplus balances in a manner that benefits the taxpayers, like lowering the property taxes in a manner that's more transparent. It also recommends Fairport review it's reserves and determine if they are necessary and reasonable.