POMEROY — The five-year forecast on finances of the Meigs Local School District required annually by the Ohio Department of Education shows the district financially stable until 2015 at which time it is currently predicted to move into a deficit financial position.
Treasurer/CFO Mark Rhonemus presented the extensive report on district finances at a recent meeting of the Meigs Local Board of Education. It reflects a somewhat better financial position than was indicated in last year’s report for 2015 and 2016. However, as always, Rhonemus stressed that “the five year forecast is a living, breathing document,” which means it is subject to change.
The report indicates that at the end of the 2013 fiscal year there will be a cash balance of $451,1343 which is predicted to drop to $73.564 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year. It is in 2015 that the district is predicted to move into a deficit position of $313,908 growing to $1,131,586 in fiscal year 2016, and $2,379,868 in 2017.
Rhonemus gave a summary of significant forecast assumptions on which he based his predictions. Because of tax collection restraints at the state level, caused by the poor economy, funding increases for each district were capped at 75 percent of one percent from the past three fiscal years. The reduction in student enrollment also figures into a funding decrease at an estimated “cost” of $7,500 per student, which makes having a reduction of 20 students in the district results in the district receiving a $150,000 decrease in projected funding for fiscal year 2013.
As for grants in aid, the report says that at this point “there is no indication that the federal stimulus dollars will continue to flow into a new biennium which means that the state will have to fill the budget deficits with one-time money in order for districts not to realize/incur significant cuts in future state funding,” which, he said it “appears the state has done just that, with the exception of the projected decreases due to the declining enrollment mentioned above.”
As for other revenue, the trend has been toward an increase of three percent. However, due to the decline in interest rates, and the declining balance available to invest, along with other factors, the sources of revenue has declined. Casino revenue at the rate of $19 per student is projected to bring in $35,000 in this fiscal year.
As for expenditures in the Meigs Local School District, Rhonemus’ report speaks to how the past reflects on the future when it comes to projected fund deficits. It refers to the Board of Education’s resolutions at its May 13, 2008, May 27, 2008, May 12, 2009, and April 26, 2011 meetings to implement a reduction -in-force (RIF) due to lack of funding for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 school years. The financial results of the specific reductions made to date are reflected in the current Meigs Local School District’s five year forecast, it was noted.
Details are given in the report on salaries and the cost to the district based on negotiated agreements, retirement funding, insurance premiums, services, supplies and materials for general operation, capital outlay such as the purchase of buses, and debt retirement.