HOWARD — School finances were at the forefront of discussions at Wednesday’s meeting of the East Knox Board of Education.
In presenting the five-year financial forecast, Treasurer Jessi Busenburg said state funding for the 2011-12 school year is down $400,000, or 10 percent, and revenues were down $102,000 last year. Expenses have been reduced by $765,000, or seven percent of the district’s operating expenses and the staff has been cut by 15 percent, or 23 positions, since 2009.
Despite staff cuts, employee concessions and other cost containment measures, Busenburg said, expenses are estimated to exceed revenues by $540,000 by the end of this school year. She predicts the district will end the year with a cash balance of $606,911, which is less than one month’s operating costs. [The Ohio Department of Education requires that end-of-year cash balances equal a minimum of 60 to 90 days of expenses.] Busenburg said that if revenues do not increase, the district will have a negative balance of $188,303 by the end of the 2012-13 school year and show a deficit of $1 million at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
The district has placed a 5-mill emergency operating levy on the November ballot. It will generate $1.2 million a year for the five years it would be in effect and costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $13 a month.
“It’s important for people to understand the urgency of the need to pass the levy,” said Busenburg. “Because of the time lag for collections, if we waited until 2012 to pass a levy, we would not even start to see the money until 2013.”