Archbold, OH
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Archbold Schools Out Of Money By 2013




The Archbold Area School District is going to have to look to its taxpayers by 2011, and possibly as early as 2010, for more money, David Deskins, district superintendent, said last week.

“I think based on our fiveyear forecast, we will have significant financial decisions to make in 2011, or as early as 2010,” he said.

But, that’s still two years later than the original prediction.

When school district voters approved a 4.91-mill emergency property tax levy in 2006, school officials said the district would be back on the ballot for additional operating funds in 2009.

Current Projections

Based on current projections, on June 30, 2013, the Archbold Area School District will end the fiscal year with about $558,000 on hand.

David Yoder, school board member, said that’s not enough to cover a month of expenses. The school is essentially a $12 million per-year business, he said, during the Monday night, Oct. 20, meeting.

At that meeting, the board approved the five-year financial forecast, a document that must be filed twice a year with the State of Ohio.

Ohio schools operate on a fiscal year that is similar to the school year; in school finance terms, fiscal year 2008, or FY08, started on July 1, 2007 and ended June 30, 2008.

The October forecast shows revenue trending down. It reached a high of $12.5 million at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. It drops to about $12.3 million at the end of FY09, about $11.95 million at the end of 2010, and just below $11.9 at the end of fiscal year 2011.

In fiscal year 2012, the phaseout of the tangible personal property tax is complete, and the five-year levy approved in 2006 expires.

There are many other factors involved. Phase-out of the CAT Tax, or Commercial Activity Tax, is scheduled to start in 2011.

Plus, Archbold is on the “guarantee,” meaning that under the state school finding formula, the district will receive no less state support than it did the previous year.

But Ted Strickland, Ohio Governor, has ordered the state to roll back spending by about 5%. That could mean a reduction of 5% in the guarantee payment.

Chris Zielger, district treasurer, said she projected a very conservative increase in some tax revenue items, due to the overall economy and sales in the housing market.

Expenses

The five-year forecast projects school district expenses climbing, from about $12.3 million at the end of fiscal year 2009 to almost $12.6 million at the end of fiscal year 2011, and just over $13 million at the end of FY13.

Those projections, she said, reflect increases in salaries approved by the board and projected increases for district administrators.

The future of electricity costs is unknown, as the district’s contract with Toledo Edison expires soon.

Plus, as a result of increased graduation standards, the district may have to add additional teachers in the math and science fields, further impacting the district’s finances.

No Decision

School Board members have not made a decision about a possible tax levy. There are several options: renewal or replacement of the current 4.91 mills, a new property tax levy of some other amount, or even a school income tax.

Whatever they choose, Deskins said school personnel will have to continue to reign in spending.

“We’re not out of the woods yet,” he said.- David Pugh


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