The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport Madison

School board officials cautiously optimistic about state budget

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The Groveport Madison Board of Education heard a review of Ohio Gov. John Kasich's proposed budget plan and what those numbers could mean for the district over the next two years.

Superintendent Bruce Hoover and Treasurer Anthony Swartz said at the Feb. 14 meeting the district is still analyzing the proposal to determine how the numbers were calculated.

The premise of Kasich's budget is to bring every district up to a "$20 million floor equal to a $250,000 valuation per pupil" and to provide additional income to districts whose median household income was below the state average, according to Hoover.

In total, he said, the Groveport Madison district is expected to receive slightly more $31 million for fiscal year 2014, which is about a $4 million increase.

"I'm hopefully optimistic this is a slight increase for us," Hoover said.

However, he cautioned that the district will have additional costs associated with the implementation of four new measures next year that are a part of House Bill 555.

That bill, as it stands now, includes a new grading system for the performance of each school district, a new teacher evaluation system, the third-grade reading guarantee and a training requirement for dealing with concussions.

Those provisions, which are not expected to be fully funded, are expected to cost the district at least $1.5 million to implement, according to Hoover.

He also told the board that these new figures will not dig the district out of its projected $5.2-million budget hole.

During the meeting, Swartz provided the board with an update on the district's finances, which shows it will fare slightly better by the end of the June than originally anticipated due to energy savings of approximately $330,000.

Those savings are a result of new energy systems that were put into place over the past year.

Despite those savings, the district will still have to ask the Franklin County Auditor's Office for some of its share of property taxes a bit early so that it is not in the hole by $5.2 million at the end of June.

"At the end of June, our district five-year forecast has a negative $5.2 million fund balance," Hoover said. "In addition, it will experience a cash shortfall of $4.5 million in fiscal year 2014."

He told the board that the district desperately needs its 7.08-mill, five-year emergency levy to be approved by voters in May, and also needs a reorganization to trim costs to balance future budgets.

If approved, the levy would go into effect Jan. 1, 2014, and would cost about $217 more in property taxes each year or nearly $18 per month per $100,000 of home valuation. It is expected to bring in $5.5 million.

In other matters, the board officially hired Tricia Faulkner, a 1990 graduate of Groveport High School, as the new principal of Madison Elementary School, effective Jan. 28. Faulkner, a fifth-grade teacher for five years at Groveport Elementary School, replaces Cyndi Toledo, who left the district to take a principal's position in Canal Winchester.

Faulkner also worked as a math teacher at Groveport Madison Middle School North and Southwest Licking Middle School. She earned a bachelor's and master's degree from Ohio University and a master's degree from Ohio State University.

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