Excess funds returned annually to districts
Sept. 30, 2012 — An article in the Sept. 30 edition of The Journal News discusses BOCES surplus across the state. Below are facts about how BOCES surplus works, including how it protects school districts:
BOCES surplus are the funds that were not spent during the year. This funding is annually returned to component school districts.
BOCES is the only governmental agency required to refund its unused funds at the end of each fiscal year.
BOCES do not 'cushion' budgets, but plan budgets based on past experience and anticipated costs.
BOCES annual costs are set to handle unexpected liabilities, such as health insurance increases and fluctuations in student enrollment. This ensures that BOCES are not requesting critical, operational funds from school districts in the middle of the school year — since schools districts are responsible to pay for any BOCES budgetary deficiencies. BOCES asking for additional funding mid-school year could wreak havoc on school district budgets.
BOCES surplus is an accounting process that protects school districts and taxpayers because excess funds are always returned. BOCES budgets are created in accordance with New York State Education Department guidelines and general accounting principles.
The amount of money refunded is tiny compared to BOCES’ budget or to the aggregate school district budgets. For example, at Capital Region BOCES, the surplus in 2010-2011 represented about 1% of the total $121 million annual budget.
BOCES budgets are prepared months prior to school districts making commitments about service subscriptions — as a result, they are at best estimates and predictions.
Bottomline, BOCES are complex yet highly effective entities that help schools and municipalities share resources and contain costs. Due to their cooperative nature, BOCES have been cited as a model for cost savings in New York state.
Questions? Contact District Superintendent Charles Dedrick at 518-862-4901.