MT presents five-year forecast

Black talks district finances at school board meeting

By Martin Graham -

The Miami Trace Local Schools’ five-year financial forecast was shared Tuesday evening during the board of education meeting.

The meeting began with the usual approval of the consent agenda, which included employment for nine individuals, a recommendation to approve a volunteer assistant cheer advisor, another to approve a fiscal services specialist III, approval for scholarships and more.

Following the consent agenda, Miami Trace Treasurer Debbie Black presented and explained the five-year forecast.

“This is the time of the year, by May 31st, the board of education has to file their second five-year forecast for the school district, the first one is in October,” Black said. “On the document we have three years of actual data and five years of forecasting. To remind the board, 2018 was a reappraisal year for Fayette County. The district is in six counties and the last county is Ross, who has their reappraisal year in 2019.”

To begin, one line on the forecast of note are numbers showing the difference in expenses and revenues for each year without showing the carryover from previous years. For fiscal years 2019 ($1,554,836), 2020 ($1,012,011) and 2021 ($168,580) the amounts shown are in the black, and reflect many aspects of the budget, including payroll, property tax revenue streams and more.

The forecast also shows two red total values — one for 2022 (-$212,201) and another in 2023 (-$1,712,479). According to Black, these numbers are estimates currently based on increasing salary amounts within the district. Currently, salary increases have been agreed on with the unions at the school district for 2020 and 2021, but with nothing else but estimates to go on for 2022 and 2023, it led to the negative amounts shown. Black said the board will have time to discuss and make the necessary changes. Additionally, in 2023 an emergency renewal levy could make up a good portion of the negative balance if it is approved by voters.

According to Black, the reappraisal amounts also were reflected in the property taxes on the forecast. These updates show general property tax revenue for 2019 ($13,802,906), 2020 ($14,296,504), 2021 ($14,596,486) and 2022 ($14,606,133). Due to the renewal levy ending in 2021 — which accounts for $1.9 million — the property tax in 2023 ($13,528,381) is only showing half of the revenue as taxes are paid per calendar year, and the school district’s year starts July 1 and will run through June 30 of the next year. Collection for that levy will occur through 2022, which would only cover half of the 2022-2023 school year, leading to the lesser amount shown.

Within the forecast are explanations to the changes in property tax revenue. According to Black, agricultural property was negatively impacted by the changes in the calculation of current agricultural use valuation (CAUV). This property classification was also positively impacted by the termination of the Meerland Dairy tax exemption, which added about $696,605 in value to the agricultural property and partially offset the CAUV effects.

Another interesting impact to the school’s property tax revenue is Tanger Outlet Mall filing a complaint with the Fayette County Board of Revisions requesting a reduction in its 2017-18 property valuations. This resulted in a reduction in market value from $114,500,000 to $92,650,000 for the mall and the necessity for the district to refund $188,661 to Tanger. This payment was delayed further though when Tanger appealed the decision and is now aiming for $71 million in value, which could result in another refund.

“This is a live document and will be updated as I receive more information,” Black said. “The biggest expense in a school district is its people. I told the board about these issues, but I also stressed that we have time to fix them and make decisions. I really encourage the community to check out the document when it is put on the website and to focus on the assumptions. I really tried to use everyday language to make it easier to follow. Finally, I wanted to say that the final page, the fiscal policies, are very important. We are lucky to have a board that has taken the time to set these policies up. They have helped to set up a stable system for the district.”

A final portion of the five-year forecast was potential money from the state that could help student wellness and success based on a recommendation given to state legislatures. The funding would help in the areas of mental health services, services for homeless youth, services for child welfare involved youth, mentoring programs and more. This funding could add anywhere between $487,000 to $635,000 for next year and up to $928,000 the following year.

Currently the state legislature is looking into the recommendation and it has not been reflected in the five-year forecast. Stay with the Record-Herald this week for administrative reports from the Miami Trace Local Schools Board of Education meeting.

The information in this article was provided by Miami Trace Treasurer Debbie Black. For more information contact the district at (740) 335-3010. The full five-year forecast will be available on the Miami Trace website in the near future.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.
Black talks district finances at school board meeting

By Martin Graham