The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison

Financial uncertainty affects district's planning


The financial future for the Groveport Madison Local School District heading into 2013 is a bit patchy, due to the uncertainty of state funding, the possible dip in federal monetary support and a decrease in revenues.

According to the district's board of education president, superintendent and treasurer, the greatest challenge in the new year will be balancing the budget and the needs of the students.

"We must continue to work to provide long-term fiscal solutions that resolve both our operational and aging facilities costs while continuing to build on our academic successes," Superintendent Bruce Hoover said. "In short, we could be looking at a $6-million cut to our educational system and programs."

Those cuts may be needed, according to Treasurer Anthony Swartz, in order to make up for the loss of revenue from the tangible personal property tax reimbursement and delinquent real estate taxes, which may erase the revenue gained when voters approved a substitute levy in August.

The substitute levy will not generate any new revenue for quite some time, according to Swartz. It would only bring in additional funds in the future if new construction occurs in the district.

"In addition, the current news from the federal level is that we may see a cut in federal funding as well," he said. "The district receives over $3 million per year in federal funding that may be in jeopardy.

"Finally, our first glimpse at the new funding formula seems to indicate that we may only get 92 percent of our current level in state funding for FY14, with the remaining 8 percent distributed based on a number of performance criteria -- if it gets disbursed at all," he added.

Uncertainty surrounding the funding formula and how schools may be required to use the money could spell unexpected cuts for the district, Hoover said.

Still, he has set a number of goals that he hopes the district can accomplish in 2013.

Included in the list are:

* Creating a 10-year financial plan that takes into account the cost of the operating the district.

* Permanent improvements to the facilities, along with technology and maintenance needs.

* Continued efforts to build the confidence of the community through better communications and "transparency in our operations and costs."

* Improving the professional and student culture for academic achievement.

School board President Charlotte Barker has set some very similar goals for the schools in 2013: establish a healthy and positive school culture; increase participation in online learning; improve the district's fiscal stability; improve academic achievement learning goals in literacy and math; and work on better communication.