Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D-Forestburgh) has requested the New York State Comptroller’s Office to conduct an audit of the financially troubled Sullivan West School District.
"The financial woes facing the Sullivan West School District – $40 million in debt, school closings, staff layoffs and double-digit tax hikes – warrant a thorough investigation and audit by the state Comptroller’s Office," Gunther said. "The impact on students, teachers, taxpayers and the entire community is far-reaching. It’s critically important that we ensure the school district’s finances are well managed and that there is accountability."
In her letter this week to State Comptroller Alan Hevesi, Gunther said that she has received countless complaints from constituents who believe there has been mismanagement at the Sullivan West School District after the merger of school districts in Delaware Valley, Jeffersonville and Narrowsburg, and the building of the new school in Lake Huntington.
The Sullivan West School District has proposed a tax increase this year of 19 percent, laying off 30 staff, closing two elementary schools, and busing some young children 30 to 40 miles to school.
"There are serious concerns being voiced throughout the community concerning the school district. Our children need a quality education and taxpayers deserve to know their tax dollars are being spent wisely," Gunther said. "Comptroller Hevesi has been a strong advocate for increased accountability and integrity in all our schools. I have every confidence that his office will bring needed oversight and a full accounting of the Sullivan West School District’s books."
As a mother and grandmother, Gunther said she understands how important it is for our children to receive a first-rate education. In the Assembly, she has fought to ensure the state makes a solid investment in our schools without placing a burden on local property taxpayers. In this year’s budget, Gunther secured more than $435,000 in additional operating aid for the Sullivan West School District.