Audit: South Huntington S.D. overestimates budget needs
A new audit of South Huntington School District shows that the district has been overestimating its budgetary needs.
The state comptroller's office found the district had overestimated its budget by a total of $10.6 million over the past three years, resulting in higher taxes for residents.
South Huntington Schools Superintendent Dave Bennardo says the district was careful in its use of the funds. He says the extra money ended up in its reserve fund.
The state requires that such a fund not exceed 4 percent of a district's budget. If it does, anything extra should go toward lowering property taxes.
"We used several million dollars of that money this year that had been saved to keep programs despite that anemic tax cap," says Bernardo.
The district recently sent out a letter to parents and community members to explain the auditing and budgeting process and what it means to taxpayers.
The district blames unforeseen expenses, rising enrollment and construction for its overestimations.
The state has ordered South Huntington to stop the over-budgeting, saying it would be monitored closely.