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Comptroller: Kings Park Schools Are "Susceptible to Fiscal Stress"

The district is among 87 in New York state that is designated as fiscally stressed.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.
Kings Park Central School District is "susceptible to fiscal stress," according to State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s Fiscal Stress Monitoring System.

Kings Park is one of the 87 school districts, or 13 percent state wide, that the state comptroller has designated as fiscally stressed based on financial indicators that include the district's year-end fund balance, cash position and patterns of operating deficits. 

“School districts are a critical barometer to the fiscal health of our local communities,” DiNapoli said in the report released Thursday. “Unfortunately, reductions in state aid, a cap on local revenue and decreased rainy day funds are creating financial challenges that more and more school districts are having trouble overcoming.”

According to the report, each district was scored as in “signficant fiscal stress,” in “moderate fiscal stress,” as “susceptible to fiscal stress,” or “no designation” based on financial information submitted as part of a ST-3 report filed with the State Education Department on Dec. 13.

Kings Park Superintendent Susan Agruso gave residents a preliminary glimpse into the challenges the district is facing in making up the 2014-15 budget at the Dec. 17 Board of Education meeting. 

" We are going to look at a budget gap of over $1 million," Agruso said on Dec. 17. 

If the district were to attempt a rollover its 2013-14 budget, with no changes to its staffing or students programs, Agruso said it would be approximately a $2.6 million increase. 

This $2.6 million increase would be due largely to increasing expenses in three areas: the state's Teacher Retirement Service, health care insurance costs and contractual salary agreements with district employees. 

Based on the state's calculations of New York State's "2 percent tax cap," if the district can raise a 1.66 tax levy based on cost-of-living increases it will fall short $1.59 million. If  the state allows the district the full 2 percent tax levy, it will be short  $1.37 million. 

ChudleyQ January 19, 2014 at 09:16 AM
Did anyone go to the meeting the other night? I heard Dr. Agruso tried to pull a salary increase fast one, but that Ms. Nally called her on it. Typical of Dr. Agruso. It's never the truth, but it is accurate.
KPLifer January 20, 2014 at 08:28 AM
The super is not the problem. The teachers union is. The union has costs the residents of KP MILLIONS of dollars over the years by not agreeing to a new contract and health care plan. They would rather see teacher layoffs and educational programs cut before agreeing to save the taxpayers a nickel. The anger should be directed at the union leaders, not the Super -she has done an excellent job with the resources and BS she has to deal with from you vultures..... beware what you wish for-a new super will be more expensive.....and stop electing union schills to the BOE!!!!
sally pruslow January 20, 2014 at 12:01 PM
Very bold statements from a person who wants to speak out but hides behind a made up name. Why would a union want to negotiate with a superintendent who shows no respect for her staff and gives raises and benefit changes to herself and the admin staff? I know you will say that the teachers don't need raises because they get steps anyway that is true(state law not district negotiated), however, just maybe if they (administration) were inclined to take a pay freeze and not negotiate to use their sick days to pay their insurance premiums when they retire things could change. MS. Agrusso has no problem saying NO to her staff, however, the board doesn't say NO to her. To negotiate, the people involved need to trust each other... I was there and it can be done when there is trust and give and take. This is a small district, 6 buildings ( one that is partially rented and houses admin office), a bus garage,a dwindling staff and increasing administrative staff. Running a district is like running a home budget you must live with in your budget, plan for the future and remember you get have everything you want... Do you think 219,00 is a just salary for running this district? Wake up Kings Park please get involved and vote for two board members who will do what needs to be done not rubber stamp the supt. and bring back transparency to this district. Example of this lack of transparency was when at last weeks BOE meeting the BOE only found about the raise to Ms Meehan was when they saw their packet. NICE!!! BY the way the roof at the high school is leaking and there were pails in the halls again. Sounds like the 1990's all over again. Wake up Kings Park and remember this district is in danger of financial distress. Demand change. It is your district.
ChudleyQ January 20, 2014 at 05:42 PM
Why would the teachers want to negotiate a new deal? It certainly wouldn't be on terms as favorable for them as the old deal. It IS a pretty sweet deal to be guaranteed a raise every year, even without a new contract. One of the biggest issues that the Board and the Superintendent have failed to address is the teachers contract. What have they done to get the teachers to come to the table and negotiate? Doesn't appear to be anything. But as Sally correctly points out, Dr. Agruso got her raise a year or two ago and Ms. Meehan just got hers in what appears to be a clandestine manner. It really leaves a bad aftertaste. But they get up at every school board meeting and say they squeeze every dollar till George Washington cries. There is plenty of blame to go around here, but shame on us in Kings Park for letting it get so bad.
Norman January 29, 2014 at 08:37 AM
Negotiation only works if both sides feel they have something to gain. Shaming does not work....The district should bring something to the table...perhaps salary reduction or a freeze now in exchange for something down the road. The idea that you will get something for nothing is silly, and saying it should happen won't amke it happen. Time to be realistic and creative.

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