The Long Beach Public Schools Board of Education and administration would like to inform the community about an issue that may appear in the media in the next few days regarding the district financial status in 2015.

In 2013, the State Comptroller’s office implemented a statewide fiscal stress monitoring system to identify local governments and school districts experiencing fiscal stress. We have been informed by the State Comptroller’s office that based upon the formula used to calculate a fiscal stress score, the Long Beach Public Schools has been listed as a school district “susceptible to fiscal stress.” Please be assured that this is only one aspect of the district’s overall financial picture.

The Comptroller’s designation is based upon a complicated formula that does not account for the unique circumstance that Long Beach Public School District is in financially due to SuperStorm Sandy. Because FEMA’s reimbursement process provides payment based on actual expenditures, Long Beach Schools borrowed approximately $35 million in the year immediately following the storm through a revenue anticipation note to pay for the costs associated with repairs due to SuperStorm Sandy so that our educational program could continue through reconstruction with minimal disruption. In the second year following the storm, we reduced the borrowing to $28 million and in the third year, it was reduced to $14.5 million. The district has been aggressively working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and our legislators to ensure that the district is fully reimbursed for all emergency expenditures related to SuperStorm Sandy. In addition, the District administration is working directly with the Governors’ Storm Recovery team to expedite reimbursement. The anticipated disaster recovery funding through FEMA and New York State is not accounted for in the Comptroller’s analysis.

The Comptroller’s formula identifies short-term borrowing as a financial stressor. If the short-term borrowing for the storm recovery was not an element in the Comptroller’s fiscal health matrix, Long Beach would a rating of “no designation” as pertaining to fiscal stress.

Again, please be assured that this designation is not an accurate representation of the district’s financial status.