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Three area school districts ranked as fiscally stressed

The Niagara Wheatfield, Lewiston-Porter and West Seneca school districts were among the 10 most fiscally stressed in the state during the 2013-14 school year, the state Comptroller’s Office reported Thursday.

For the second year in a row, those three districts were found to face “significant fiscal stress” based on things like short-term borrowing, patterns of operating deficits and year-end fund balance, Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s office said.

Niagara Wheatfield was rated the most fiscally stressed district along with the Wyandanch Union Free School District on Long Island.

Of 672 districts across the state – excluding Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Yonkers – reviewed by DiNapoli’s office, an additional 27 districts were found to be in “moderate fiscal stress,” while 53 were categorized as “susceptible to financial stress.”

In Western New York, six districts were rated as facing moderate stress: Lackawanna, Lake Shore, Frontier, Niagara Falls, Jamestown and Scio.

Area schools rated as susceptible to fiscal stress were East Aurora Union Free, Springville-Griffith and Grand Island.

School districts showing fiscal stress most often are operating with a low fund balance, have a pattern of operating deficits and limited cash on hand, while high-need urban/suburban districts were four times more likely to face fiscal stress than low-need districts, DiNapoli’s office said.

For the full list of scores, visit www.osc.state.ny.us.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com