An independent financial audit of Huntington UFSD by Cullen & Danowski, LLP, certified public accountants based in Port Jefferson Station showed solid fiscal oversight and management by district officials.
The firm conducted an extensive examination and review of the district’s financial books, records and internal control procedures. The audit covered the period through the end of the last fiscal year, June 30, 2020.
The firm examined records, interviewed employees and documented the procedures in place. Sample transactions were tested for deficiencies and checked to determine if purchasing was in line with both Huntington School Board policies and state law.
The audit showed effective segregation of duties among employees and revealed no discrepancies in the district’s books and records.
The complete audit documents are posted on the district’s website at www.hufsd.edu.
“This is a particularly challenging fiscal time for school districts and municipalities in general, however Huntington’s approach during the past decade will hopefully help to mitigate those challenges,” Superintendent James W. Polansky said. “Debt reduction and prudent use of reserves seem more important than ever as we face considerable uncertainty with respect to federal and state revenues.”
Huntington UFSD had no outstanding short term debt at the close of the 2019/20 school year. Long-term debt declined over the past year by $175,000 to $1.220 million. It will drop by another $180,000 to $1.04 million in principal during the current school year. The existing debt will be completely eliminated by June 30, 2026.
Huntington UFSD has one of the lowest levels of debt among any of Long Island’s 125 separate school districts or any of the state’s nearly 700 districts.
The district’s outstanding serial bonds are less than one percent of Huntington UFSD’s debt limit. Huntington has dramatically reduced its debt in recent years. As of June 30, 2009 the district had a total bonded debt of $6,370,000.
The district carried out a bond refunding in April 2015, which reduced the interest rate on its long-term bonded debt from between 4.125-4.25 percent to an average of 2.21 percent. The refunding resulted in interest savings of nearly $200,000 over the remaining years of the debt.
While there has been turnover on the Huntington School Board over the past three decades, trustees have maintained a general distaste for increased debt and have avoided budgetary gimmicks and overly optimistic fiscal forecasts.
The most recent external audit also revealed the district has net capital assets amounting to $25,212,734, including:
- Land: $1,545,142
- Construction in progress: $2,568,204
- Buildings and improvements: $16,816,025
- Site improvements: $2,829,160
- Furniture and equipment: $1,454,203
Challenges lie ahead, including the prospect of reduced state funding due to a drop in tax revenues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.