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State’s fiscal stress test shows BC in good shape

Filed in District, District News by on February 2, 2018

In a review of school districts statewide, the Office of the New York State Comptroller (OSC) has found the Bethlehem Central School District is one of many school districts that is managing its budget in ways that minimize fiscal stress.

In the state’s fiscal stress test, school districts were assessed using two measures: a fiscal score and an environmental score, which looks at poverty, student demographics and tax base support as factors that can impact a district’s budget. The lower a district’s score, the less it is susceptible to fiscal stress, according to the Comptroller’s Office.

The Bethlehem Central School District had an overall score of 3.3. A score of 25 or higher would indicate a susceptibility to fiscal stress.

Fiscal scores were calculated by looking at the district’s fund balance, operating deficits, cash position, and reliance on short-term cash-flow debt. Bethlehem would have received a perfect score of zero if its cash position at the time it was reported was greater than 100 percent of monthly expenditures on hand. Instead, the district reported it had 92.24 percent of its monthly expenses in cash.

Environmental indicators, which measure challenges that are often outside a district’s control, showed Bethlehem in a strong position with a score of zero. These include class size, the number of economically disadvantaged students, the turnover rate of teachers, changes in property value, community support of the budget, and the district’s percentage of English language learners.

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