A Binghamton-area assemblywoman posed a question to the state comptroller’s office: What are we going to do about school districts near fiscal insolvency?
“While these concerns have been mounting over the years, the level of stress and anxiety I am witnessing is truly unprecedented,” Lupardo wrote. “Between the combined wealth ratio with its artificial floor and ceiling, the gap elimination adjustment, and the property tax cap, many are wondering how they will be able to preserve the quality of education in their schools.
“What would happen exactly if a school district declared themselves to be insolvent?,” she wrote. “What are the immediate practical implications? What state services might be available to help them?”
DiNapoli’s deputy comptroller, Steven J. Hancox, responded March 5.
Hancox wrote that in the past, the state has been able to provide additional funding for school districts in trouble. He used the example of Roosevelt School District in Nassau County. In the early 2000s, the state allocated an additional $6 million to Roosevelt annually for educational programs.
The other way the state has responded to struggling districts and local governments is to impose a state fiscal control board, which have broad powers over a municipality’s finances.
Hancox also pointed to DiNapoli’s new fiscal stress monitoring system.
“Comptroller DiNapoli is well aware of the many fiscal challenges facing local governments and school districts,” he wrote. “We will continue to provide all the assistance we can to help those localities that are struggling to make ends meet.”
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