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Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Celina City Schools financial forecast positive

By Amy Kronenberger
CELINA - Long-term finances look good for Celina City Schools if a future levy is renewed.
School treasurer Mick Davis on Monday presented the five-year forecast including data about a levy that expires in 2016. He said a small increase in revenue and money saved by about 20 staff retirements last school year improved the outlook.
"Generally our revenue is going to maintain a flat pace, except for .... unrestricted grants," he said. "We are receiving an increase from the state."
By the end of fiscal year 2014, which ends June 30, Davis predicts expenditures to exceed revenues by $463,292. Revenue of $27.7 million and expenses of $28.2 million will take the cash balance from $6.8 million to $6.4 million, he said.
But additional state funding and retirement savings should bring the district back into the black in 2015, with revenues at $28.6 million and expenditures at $28 million. This would increase the cash balance to nearly $7 million, he explained.
In fiscal year 2016, total revenues are expected to increase to $28.9 million with expenditures estimated at $28.5 million, increasing the cash balance to $7.4 million, Davis said.
If the property tax levy set to expire at the end of calendar year 2016 is not renewed, revenues would fall to $26.8 million in fiscal year 2017 and $24.9 million in fiscal year 2018. Expenditures would be $28.9 million and $29.3 million, respectively, leaving a cash balance of $943,585.
Levy renewal would add $2.2 million in fiscal year 2017 and $4.8 million in fiscal year 2018, preventing deficit spending.
"I'm very excited for this forecast," superintendent Jesse Steiner said. "The deficit for about four or five years now has been upwards of about $1 million each year, and we've really had to work everything through and look at things differently. ... We're on the right fiscal path, but it was through working together with teachers, administration and maintenance."
Steiner commended the teacher's union for agreeing to an alternate preferred provider organization healthcare plan that saves the district money. Retirements also allowed for attrition and the hiring of young teachers on a lower pay scale, Davis added.
Also on Monday, Steiner said he will be applying for $5 million through the state Straight A grant. If the district receives the funds, Steiner intends to implement a one-to-one technology policy giving every student and teacher in the district new iPads or MacBook Air notebooks. The school plans to partner with Immaculate Conception Catholic School, he said.
Students in grades kindergarten through second grade would receive an iPad mini, which is better suited for their smaller hands, Steiner said. Third- and fourth-graders would receive traditional iPads, fifth- and sixth-graders would receive either an iPad or a MacBook, and students in seventh through 12th grades would receive a MacBook.
Steiner said he wants to switch the district over to Apple products because they last longer, are more durable and the company has a 50 percent buy-back policy every two years. In the long run, Apple products are the more financially sound investment, he added.
In other action, the board,
• approved 12-year, 100 percent tax abatements for B&B House of Carpet and Consolidated Hunter Tax. City council can approve a tax abatement up to 75 percent for 10 years for a business building or expansion in a community reinvestment area. Anything beyond those amounts require school board approval.
• accepted donations from the Mercer County Civic Foundation for $594.86 for Trip Scholarships and from ARC of Ohio in Mercer County for $750 for special education.
• received a proclamation from Celina Mayor Jeff Hazel for American Education Week Nov. 18-22.
• approved various supplemental contracts and substitute teaching positions.
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