Miami Trace Local Schools Treasurer Debbie Black recently shared the district’s five-year financial forecast with the board of education as they prepare for a number of “material changes.”
Black said recently that even though there have been material revenue changes to the forecast, the district continues to be in a strong financial position because of its fiscal policies, past financial decisions and community support. Miami Trace Superintendent David Lewis recently informed district staff that there will be no staff reductions for next school year.
“The board of education and administration are aware that further state cuts, and possibly other changes, are coming,” Black said. “Once the amounts are determined, an updated forecast will be provided. Decisions will then be made as to the direction of the school district. Fiscal responsibility will continue.”
Currently, Black is expecting a number of cuts, including a reduction in forecasted real estate tax revenues as a result of an expected property valuation decrease for the Tanger Outlet Mall. She reminded the board that the emergency levy expires at the end of 2021 with collection in 2022. Additionally, the fiscal year 2020 state funding is being cut in the amount of $566,485 (5.1% of fiscal year 2020 funding) and the district is expecting more state funding cuts for fiscal year 2021 and possibly beyond, but are currently unsure of what the amount could be. She said it was not a question of if it will happen at this point, but really how much they are planning to cut.
Black included an exhibit in the forecast for a potential 25 percent reduction for fiscal year 2021 to provide the board a perspective of the impact to the district, and she did note that the district expects to receive CARES Act grant funding of $533,688. She reminded the board that these dollars are not included in the forecast because they are federal funds that must be accounted for separately. The forecast is only general fund dollars.
There are 12 different areas in which the funds may be spent and currently the superintendent is considering a further commitment to instructional technology but has not yet made any decisions.
Finally, Black also forecasted a decrease in casino tax revenues and included an increase in revenue from a Bureau of Workers’ Compensation dividend, ordered by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
As part of the material expenditure changes, Black included $35,000 in fiscal year 2021 for the construction of a new restroom for a special education room. Additionally, she said benefits include a 3.51 percent increase in health insurance premiums for fiscal year 2021 and updated estimates for remaining years of the forecast to reflect a five-year average increase.
These expenditure changes also showed a slight impact from the recent closures due to COVID-19. Black said in the forecast that she included an estimated saving for fiscal year 2020 on transportation fuel ($76,810) and energy costs ($30,000). She also included transfers out for the preschool ($13,000) and food service funds ($140,000) because of a loss of revenue.
The information in this article was provided by Miami Trace Treasurer Debbie Black. Stay with the Record-Herald for more updates as they become available.
Reach Martin Graham on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.