Arkport Central School District under moderate fiscal stress

BREAKING: The Arkport Central School District, which has geographic boundaries extending into Allegany County, is under moderate fiscal stress, more than doubling its evaluation score during the last school year.

New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli is reporting that his office’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System has identified Arkport as having a rating of 45, just making the list of only five districts in the state to hold such distinction.

Mount Vernon, in the Hudson Valley, was the only school entity to hit the “significant fiscal stress” mark for the 2021-22 school year, with eight others between the 25 and 44 rating levels being “susceptible” to fiscal stress.

The 14 districts across the state are down in number from the 23 identified during the prior school year and is the lowest number since the rating system was established in 2012-13, according to the Comptroller.

Arkport jumped from a score of 20 for the prior two years to 45 last year, with the state reporting that fiscal stress can be due to any combination of low liquidity, operating deficits, low fund balances, and increased reliance on short-term cash-flow debt.

It wasn’t immediately able to be determined whether the school board has discussed the findings.

A full set of minutes isn’t able to be identified as having been posted online yet for the board’s December 11 regular monthly meeting, despite a state Open Meetings Law requirement that such documents be available to the public within two weeks from a meeting and one week from the date of an executive session.

An agenda document indicates that 6PM on Tuesday, May 9, is being designated for a public budget presentation on next year’s school budget, with 11AM to 8PM the following Tuesday, May 16, being the district residents vote on the spending plan.

A public board work session this past Wednesday, January 25, indicated discussion was to be held on the preliminary budget forecast, budget assumptions, expectations and key objectives, and a review of Gov. Kathy Hochul’s state aid proposal.

A report on the Comptroller’s findings, along with links to additional data, is available at http://bit.ly/3Dobnv7.