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These Long Island School Districts Under Fiscal Stress, State Comptroller Says

Wyandanch Union Free School District
Wyandanch Union Free School District Photo Credit: Google Maps street view

Multiple Long Island school districts were among 33 statewide to be under “fiscal stress,” according to the New York State Comptroller.

According to Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System, eight districts were facing financial stress, including five in Suffolk County and three in Nassau County.

The Comptroller said that the Fiscal Stress Monitoring System “analyzes a set of six financial indicators to create an overall stress score. The fiscal stress score determines if a district is in ‘significant fiscal stress,’ ‘moderate stress,’ ‘susceptible to stress’ or has not been designated in one of the levels of fiscal stress.

The system also has environmental indicators that assess other factors, such as poverty rates and tax base, which are outside of the control of school officials, but could impact revenues or drive costs.

Any district with a score above 25 percent and below 45 percent were dubbed “susceptible to financial stress,” by the system’s metrics. Districts under “moderate stress” have a score between 45 percent and 65 percent, and districts under “significant stress” have a score greater than 65 percent.

The Wyandanch School District was ranked the school district in the most significant stress in the state, with a total score of 83.3 percent, ahead of Fort Edward Union Free School District (Washington County) at 80 percent. Other districts in significant stress are Northern Adirondack Central School District (Clinton County) and Norwich City School District (Chenango County).

DiNapoli noted that Wyandanch was in fiscal stress last year as well.

For the school year that ended in 2019, according to the Comptroller’s Office:

Susceptible to Fiscal Stress:

  • Copiague Union Free School District;
  • Fishers Island Union Free School District;
  • Roosevelt Union Free School District;
  • Deer Park Union Free School District.

Moderate Stress:

  • Hempstead Union Free School District;
  • Wantagh Union Free School District;
  • New Suffolk Common School District.

Significant Stress:

  • Wyandanch Union Free School District.

DiNapoli noted that the 33 school districts under fiscal stress is up from 26 in the past two years, and 95 percent of New York school districts were not categorized. Seventeen were “susceptible,” seven were in “moderate” and two were in “significant” fiscal stress.

“Some of New York’s school districts are in fiscal trouble. While there are a number of factors causing their fiscal stress, each district should address these problems today,” DiNapoli said. “My Fiscal Stress Monitoring System flags issues early so communities can correct them. My office will continue to provide financial planning tools, guidance and training to help schools in stress.”

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