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How much does your district have in reserve?

During state budget hearings in Albany on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy echoed the same theme we've been hearing from the governor: the schools should be able to absorb the proposed state aid cuts without feeling the pinch.

Among other things, Duffy again pointed to the millions that school districts have in reserve funds. By the most recent estimates available, from the end of the last fiscal year in June, that totals $1.5 billion statewide.

By law, a district can have up to 4 percent of its total budget set aside in undesignated fund balance -- what many people refer to as the "rainy day fund." (The state cap used to be 2 percent, but that's been increased in the past few years.) The money is there to cover costs that might arise unexpectedly.

The governor's office says it's time for school districts to tap into those reserves to cover budget shortfalls. School officials say that's not what the reserves are for -- and add that if they use up the reserves this year, they'll have nothing left next year, when that property tax cap is expected to take effect.

Cuomo's office has released a list detailing how much each suburban district had in reserve, as of June 30. Keep in mind that a district may have spent down its reserves since then.

Erie County:

Undesignated fund balance (in millions) As % of budget
Akron $1.08 3.7%
Alden $1.25 4.0%
Amherst $2.01 4.5%
Cheektowaga $0.93 2.3%
Cheektowaga-Maryvale $1.41 4.0%
Cheektowaga-Sloan $0.00 0.0%
Clarence $2.80 3.9%
Cleveland Hill $1.50 5.3%
Depew $1.50 4.0%
East Aurora $1.10 3.9%
Eden $1.04 4.0%
Frontier $2.92 4.0%
Grand Island $2.07 4.0%
Hamburg $0.70 1.3%
Holland $0.73 4.0%
Iroquois $1.64 4.0%
Kenmore-Tonawanda $5.87 4.0%
Lackawanna $1.40 3.2%
Lake Shore $2.06 4.0%
Lancaster $2.54 3.0%
North Collins $0.60 4.0%
Orchard Park $3.20 4.0%
Springville-Griffith $1.55 4.5%
Sweet Home $2.62 4.0%
Tonawanda $1.00 3.3%
West Seneca $1.49 1.4%
Williamsville $6.19 3.9%

Niagara County:

Undesignated fund balance (in millions) As % of budget
Barker $0.80 4.0%
Lewiston-Porter $1.60 4.0%
Lockport $2.07 2.7%
Newfane $1.30 4.0%
Niagara Falls $3.00 2.4%
Niagara-Wheatfield $2.70 3.9%
North Tonawanda $2.47 4.0%
Royalton-Hartland $0.89 4.0%
Starpoint $1.76 4.0%
Wilson $0.95 4.0%


- Mary Pasciak

E-mail me at or follow me on Follow  SchoolZoneBlog on Twitter Twitter. Check out the Buffalo News' education page at

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About School Zone

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee

Denise Jewell Gee joined The Buffalo News in 2007 and currently covers education and suburban schools. She also writes a column for the City & Region section and previously covered government in Erie County and Niagara Falls. Gee graduated from Boston University with degrees in journalism and political science.

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Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes

Tiffany Lankes joined The Buffalo News in 2013 and primarily covers the Buffalo Public Schools. She has written about education since 2003 at newspapers in Florida and New York. In 2008, she was a nominated finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Lankes is an Amherst native and graduate of Sacred Heart Academy and Syracuse University. She started her journalism career writing for the News’ NeXt section.

@TiffanyLankes |

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan

Sandra Tan has been a cityside reporter for The Buffalo News since 2000 and currently covers the Buffalo Public Schools beat. She previously covered the Williamsville school district and was a full-time education reporter for five years prior to joining The News. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

@BNschoolzone |

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams

Deidre Williams began working for The Buffalo News in 1999 and currently covers Buffalo Public Schools. She formerly was a suburban reporter on the Northtowns beat and has been a cityside reporter covering communities since 2004. Williams has a mass communications degree from Towson University.

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