Hudson Falls CSD explains Comptroller’s ‘fiscal stress’ designation, says finances are sound

According to a Jan. 25 report issued by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Hudson Falls Central School District is in “moderate fiscal stress” – but school officials disagree with that designation.

“Despite what the report says, the school district is not facing any financial stress,” Superintendent of Schools Linda J. Goewey said. According to a Jan. 25 report issued by state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, Hudson Falls Central School District is in “moderate fiscal stress” – but school officials disagree with that designation.

In the recently released report, the state Comptroller’s office named 59 school districts that state officials believe are in fiscal stress or are susceptible to fiscal stress, with the designations ranging from “significant” to “no designation.” Hudson Falls Central School District is one of nine districts listed as being in “moderate fiscal stress.”

“We are aware of the designation, but want to assure our community this isn’t a case of money mismanagement,” Goewey said. “As a district, we’ve continued to maintain and grow programs for our students and community while limiting the impact on our taxpayers. I applaud the school district business office for making this possible.”

The Hudson Falls Central School District‘s designation of “moderate fiscal stress” is based in large part on a $850,000, short-term bond anticipation note paid in June 2016. That short-term loan was needed to cover expenses until the district received EXCEL funding in July from the state for a building project approved by voters.

“The designation isn’t a direct relation to our current fiscal condition,” said Kevin Polunci, Hudson Falls director of business services. “In fact, the findings are a little misleading. When the comptroller’s office looked at our finances in late June 2016, we had just paid several large bills, leaving our balance below the recommended year-end fund balance.

“Knowing more money was coming in the following month,” Polunci continued, “we decided no action was necessary. When the money arrived, it put us right back where we needed to be. We are also operating at an ’A+’ bond rating, meaning we are borrowing at the best possible rates and have stable financial backing. The district has other reserve funds it can use for specific purposes, so we are not operating without a financial safety net.”

The comptroller’s office will be conducting an audit of Hudson Falls’ finances in the near future, and school officials expect to see high marks for the district’s overall fiscal health and for having sufficient “rainy day” reserves.