City Schools financial outlook


By Morgan McKinniss - mmckinniss@aimmediamidwest.com



GALLIPOLIS — The Gallipolis City School District recently completed its first five-year financial forecast for 2018.

According to the treasurer for the district, Bethany Volborn, the district is required to turn in a five-year forecast twice a year to the state.

“We do this so that the state knows we are looking forward and we anticipate what our revenues and expenses will be and what our plans are to adjust for them if need be,” said Volborn.

For this report, it was due just a few weeks before the 2018 fiscal year ended on June 30. Because of this, their projection for the 2018 year has a higher degree of accuracy, according to Volborn. The report also includes the current year and the two previous fiscal years for comparison.

According to the report, the district’s budget results in a surplus for years 2017 and 2018, and is projected to be in the black for years 2019 and 2020 as well. However, the report does show a negative balance for years 2021 and 2022.

The report also includes unreserved fund balance for each year, which acts as a safety net for the district.

“We’ve made a lot of progress, we are happy with the progress we have made,” said Volborn. “To feel comfortable, we want that (unreserved fund balance) to be at $3.3 million, and really that would be a nice ending balance so if we had something catastrophic happen, we would be safe.”

Volborn explained that they have reason to expect increases in the cost of insurance for those two years and so they predicted high on expenditures to be better prepared. They will receive new insurance projections in October and will be better able to plan for those years with more accurate information.

An important note to make of the five year forecast is that it strictly deals with the district’s general fund, not any special grant moneys or funds from the federal government, although those are a small portion.

When preparing for the report, Volborn and others look at every aspect of the state budget and any current legislation at the state level that could affect funds. They also consider student enrollment, as this figure directly affects funding from the state. When considering particular expenditures, they look at programs they offer and how they can creatively offer more with less.

According to Volborn, state funding is determined by student enrollment in the district and real estate taxes.

One significant change between the 2018 and 2019 fiscal years is a decrease in revenue, which is a result of increased employee contributions to insurance and the system changing how those numbers are recorded. While there is less revenue, there is also less expense along with it.

This is also the case with the Erate program, which reimbursed schools for purchasing technology for the classroom. Volborn explained that districts would have to wait a year to get the reimbursements, but now they get the discounts for technology expenses up front. This also reflects as a loss of income, however it is followed with a decrease in expenses.

Volborn noted another decrease in expenses, a decrease in employee services. As employees retire and the student enrollment decreases, positions are used more creatively and efficiently to serve students while making district dollars go father.

Another important note in purchase services, is the decrease in expenditures thanks to the use of efficient technologies and solar panels through House Bill 264.

“We are pleased where we are right now, but we still need to make some progress to be comfortable. A few years ago we ate through our ending balance pretty quick because of some high insurance renewals and some unexpected expenses,” said Volborn. “So now we have made some changes to our insurance, we’ve tried to put some programs in place to use our money more creatively, and we’re looking to continue a balance of watching where we are but also not taking away from students.”

The report can be found on the Ohio Department of Education website at education.ohio.gov/Topics/Finance-and-Funding/Five-Year-Forecasts or by searching “five year forecast ODE” online.

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By Morgan McKinniss

mmckinniss@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.

Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.