A newly released audit of the Williamsville school system shows the district is in "sound financial condition," but officials will have to watch expenses carefully this year, auditors said.
The district took in $96.1 million and spent nearly that much in the 1996-97 fiscal year that ended June 30, said auditor Eugene Mahaney, partner in the accounting firm of Lumsden & McCormick.
The slight surplus, totaling about $136,000, was added to the district's undesignated fund balance, which was approximately $2 million at the close of the fiscal year, Mahaney said.
"They spent and received almost the exact same number of dollars. When you get a variation of $136,000, that's pretty close," Mahaney said. "If we all had financial pictures like that, we'd be in good shape. But it doesn't leave anything."
The bulk of the district's income, more than $65 million, came from property tax payments. The district also received about $21 million in state aid and $6.5 million in sales tax funds, according to the audit.
Mahaney said the district's undesignated fund balance, which is nearly at the state limit of 2 percent of the total district budget, is good but should be closely watched.
"With a $100 million budget, if they have to add two or three teachers or an extra program, it's really easy to go through $2 million," Mahaney said. "They're in a sound financial condition, but they have to be careful -- extraordinarily careful -- with their receiving and spending."
Superintendent Ann B. Fuqua said the district is happy with the audit, especially the fact that the fund balance has risen from about $850,000 at the close of the 1995-96 fiscal year to the current $2 million figure.
"We're pleased that the fund balance has rebounded to just under 2 percent of the budget, the amount allowed by law," Ms. Fuqua said. "It reflects the ability of our staff and the School Board to carefully manage our finances."
The auditor's warnings about spending controls will be taken seriously by district officials, Ms. Fuqua said.
"We can always do better, and we will," she said. "In this era of continued tax concerns, we will carefully reflect on every area of the budget."
The district has unveiled a budget calendar, meant to streamline the planning process, under which the board will begin considering broad budget outlines beginning Nov. 4.