State Audit: Quogue School Overbudgeted, Piled Up Too Much In Reserve

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A state audit of the Quogue Union Free School District revealed that the district has consistently overestimated expenditures and might have set its tax levy unnecessarily high in recent years.

The New York State Comptroller’s Office released a report earlier this week revealing that the district intentionally overbudgeted between 2009 and 2013, and accrued $969,000 through four reserves, exceeding the state-mandated 4-percent limit for the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years.

According to the audit, the district, which consists of 177 students and 38 employees, had a retirement reserve balance of $310,000—five times what the district spent during the 2013 fiscal year.

Superintendent Richard Benson said the district intentionally budgeted for surpluses on the recommendation of previous auditors to create a rainy day fund that accidentally became too large.

“We always try to keep a little bit of additional funds for those rainy days,” Mr. Benson said. “For example, in case a special needs student moved into the district, we’d have extra funding to support programs and services for that child.”

The district is in the process of paring that surplus, Mr. Benson said, adding that it likely will result in a break on the tax levy for the next two years or so.

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