Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October Meeting - Spooky 5 yr Forecast

Our regular October board meeting was held last night, Oct. 20th, and we had quite a few people in attendance. President Jeff Michael was not able to be there, so Vice President Dennis Heban presided.

At the beginning of the evening, a Board Commendation was presented to Dave Smith, recognizing his great achievement in winning the national title of America's best bus mechanic. He shared a bit of what he had done to win the award - it was impressive! Great job, Dave!

We always address the reports of the Treasurer as our first order of regular business. After approving the Transfers/Advances, Now & Then PO for Great Lakes Biomedical (related to our cooperative venture in a drug grant with Evergreen), and the rates for various substitute positions for the 09-10 school year, we then turned our attention to the 5 yr. Forecast.

Sorry for the "Spooky" title - with it being October and all, I couldn't resist.
Anyway, Treasurer Cheryl Swisher walked us through each aspect of the 5 yr. Forecast which is required by the state to be filed by the end of this month.

A significant part of school financing comes from the State of Ohio through various avenues. As many of you know, the state has been having a lot of problems trying to finalize its budget - which has a direct effect on school budgets. Many items are still unresolved, which led Cheryl to ask (at a recent conference) why the October forecast is required to be filed when so many of the numbers aren't known yet. She is of the opinion that her forecast for our district is pretty good for this school year, but from that point forward there are too many state related variables for this forecast to give a true picture.

However - based on what she does know at this point, we will begin deficit spending in 2011 to the tune of $770,932. Because we have a healthy cash carryover, we can get by. From that point forward - as best as she can calculate - our deficit spending will be $2,336,064 in 2012; $3,392,859 in 2013; and $4,909,897 of deficit spending by 2014. That is not a typo.

Again, because of our healthy cash carryover, we might not go back into Fiscal Caution until 2013, but by 2014 we will be truly, honestly and completely in the hole to the tune of $2,989,466. Cheryl also mentioned that IF our current "Emergency Levy" is put back onto the ballot at some point as a renewal, we will still be broke by $2.5 million dollars in 2014.

None of this takes into consideration the fact that our turn for a new middle school should be coming up in a few years . . .

Cheryl reminded us that, since 2004, our district has 'lost' a total of 216 students. So even without all of the current gyrations by our state government, we lost the revenues tied into enrollment numbers.

Mike Wiederman asked how State Issue 3 might impact our district finances if it was passed this November? Cheryl was quick to point out that every time something related to gambling was touted as being "good for schools", it wasn't good at all !! For example, remember when the Ohio Lottery was going to infuse all that money into our state public schools? Well every time we got a dollar from the Lottery - the state found a way to take back two (or thereabouts). Cheryl assured everyone that it was a consistent pattern, and she was quite sure that it will be no different with the gambling money associated with State Issue 3 that will be on the ballot. All state public schools would experience a net loss of funding, just as they had with the Ohio Lottery. So - for those of you hearing the TV ads that mention how great this will be for Ohio schools . . . don't be fooled!

So - on that cheery note, we moved on to the reports and recommendations of the Superintendent.

Russ Griggs is our acting Superintendent right now, as Paulette is still officially "off" on maternity leave. She was in attendance that night, with little Paul David (already 4 weeks old!).

The Board approved all of the Personnel recommendations, including student teachers and volunteers. We also approved the adoption of the Ohio Department of Education model of Special Education Evaluation Procedures.

There was some discussion with Middle School Principal, Ben Ohlemacher, about the proposed 8th grade trip to Philadelphia next May. Dennis Heban expressed concern that deposits made in November were non-refundable, and we didn't want anyone to lose money on the deal. But we were assured that great care would be taken to ensure that no deposits would be made unless it was certain that the trip would occur. The Board then gave its unanimous approval for the trip.

We also approved a one year subscription to the OSBA Communication Plus publication, the ODE School Food Authority Permanent Agreement, and the BGSU Field Placement Agreement for 2009-12.

At the end of the business portion of our meeting, Dennis asked if we had any school board candidates in the audience? As it turned out, we did! Chris Oberheim and John Schaller were both there that evening, and introduced themselves. It was nice to be able to put a face with the names.

We were then adjourned - and it was only 8:15 !!

Obviously, the tenuous fiscal picture will make for interesting negotiations next year with the SEA.