Capital project funding delay, STAR program oversight lead to 'moderate fiscal stress' designation at Harrisville school
HARRISVILLE -- Harrisville Central Superintendent Rob Finster says there are three reasons the district was designated in “moderate stress” in January by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office.
The office released its annual Fiscal Stress Monitoring System report earlier this month with his office evaluated school districts statewide with fiscal years ending on June 30, 2022. The report classified the Harrisville Central School District in “moderate stress.” The district received a score of 55% out of 100%.“Despite this designation, we would like the community to know that our school district is in good standing with the state and our financial accountability,” said Superintendent Rob Finster. “We take the information outlined in this report seriously and would like to explain to community members the reasons behind this designation.”
The score is based on financial information that is submitted as part of each district’s ST-3 report, which was filed with the State Education Department, as of Dec. 31, 2022. These scores stem from factors such as year-end fund balance, operating deficits, surpluses and how much the district relies on short-term loans.
Finster says there are several reasons why the district was designated in “moderate stress”:
During the past two years, Harrisville residents approved two capital outlays. Unfortunately, both of these projects saw major delays as a result of ongoing global supply chain issues. This means any reimbursements for these projects were also delayed. The district expects to receive any outstanding aid related to these capital outlays by next school year, which will solve the accounting issue.
In addition, in December, the district discovered a filing deadline for the School Tax Relief (STAR) program had been overlooked. As a result, Harrisville has not yet received its expected 2022-23 school year funding from this state program. The Business Office has applied for the funding retroactively to rectify the problem.
Finally, the district is waiting to receive funding through the Smart Schools Bond Act (SSBA) for recent security upgrades to the school building. Now that the project is complete, the district is waiting for its approved reimbursement from the state.
“We fully expect Harrisville will not appear in this report again next year,” said Finster. “Our district is committed to being fiscally responsible to our taxpayers and being a good steward of our financial resources.”