By: 1808Delaware Staff

When the Delaware City Schools Board of Education met on Monday evening, they joined boards of education around the state in trying to plan for the future in an unpredictable time.

Noting that the requirement nevertheless exists under the Ohio Revised Code for the Board of Education to adopt a Five Year Forecast, District Treasurer Melissa Swearingen led members on the review of finances and projections.

Described as a “snapshot” of what is known today, the presentation focused on what is expected in terms of revenues and expenditures.

As for revenue items, the following information was highlighted:

  • Property tax projections have minimal increases over the next five years, with an anticipated increase in delinquencies over the next two years.
  • The revenue line also includes anticipated passage of the 2010 substitute levy.
  • The latest information from the State of Ohio shows a sizeable drop in funding which currently constitutes 28 percent of the district’s revenues. The District discovered last week that this amount will be reduced by 4.7 percent, or approximately $773,000, for the current fiscal year. For Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, there will be an additional 10 percent reduction, after which the District will be back to FY 2019 levels for the remainder of the forecast period.
  • Casino revenue is anticipated to be down 40 percent during the next fiscal year, 20 percent the year following, and thereafter returning to FY 2019 levels in 2023 and 2024.

Overall revenue projections are down 2.75 percent since the November 2019 forecast.

As for expenses, the following items were mentioned:

  • Current union agreements are in place through FY 2021, and those and 2021 cost of living adjustments are integrated into the forecast. There is still a projected four new hires per year, although the District is looking to reduce staff levels through attrition.
  • Medical benefits are projected to increase 10 percent increase throughout forecast
  • All non essential purchases for the remainder of FY 2021 have been shut down.

Overall, projected expenses are down 1.4 percent since the November forecast.

Swearingen emphasized that for these numbers to remain as valid as possible, the District will have to pass the substitute levy last passed in 2010. This would take place at the November 2020 General Election and, if passed by voters, would generate 9.4 million annually.

The measure to place the levy on the ballot has to pass at two different Board meetings before August 5, so it is anticipated to be on the Board’s June 22 meeting agenda.

CARES Act funding was not included in the forecast, but remains a possible source of revenue. Guidance is still needed on this, the Treasurer said, and in any case will not be here before June 30 to impact this fiscal year.

In response to a Board member question, it was shared that claims are trending well for insurance, although this may be related to the close down of elective procedures in Ohio during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

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