The Canal Winchester Times

Groveport district's finances uncertain, pending final state budget

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Treasurer Anthony Swartz told the Groveport Madison Board of Education last week that the current year-end budget shows the district should end the year with a positive cash balance of $42,000.

However, he said, the district does not know the amount of state funding it will receive because the state budget is still making its way through the Ohio General Assembly.

"The budget is going to a conference committee to work out what that final budget looks like," he said at the June 13 board meeting. "Right now, it has us gaining about $1.78 million in funding up front, but the disturbing thing that might also change is how the voucher program works.

"It used to be that low-performing schools were the basis for student vouchers but now they'll be based on a student's financial need -- meaning a lot of our students could be eligible for vouchers to go where they want.

"The result might mean money may come in from one place but then go right out the other."

The board approved a revised organizational chart presented by Superintendent Bruce Hoover that reflects changes dictated by voters' rejection of a 7.08-mill emergency levy in May. Of the $4.5 million worth of cuts the board has already approved to balance the budget, about $1.6 million will come from staffing, including the elimination of a deputy superintendent's position.

"The revised org-chart reflects changes in the downsizing and restructuring of the district and shows who reports to who, such as changing the direct reporting lines based on no longer having a deputy superintendent," Hoover said. "Looking back to org-charts since 1997, this shows how we've been able to do a good job streamlining administration costs to the district over time."

Board member Nathan Slonaker asked if special education and technical supervisors, based on the new organization chart, would be at the same level as other cabinet directors.

"They will all sit on the cabinet and report to me but the supervisors will not be at the same pay level as the directors," Hoover said.

Resident Athena Walton, whose daughter is a junior at the high school, asked the board to consider ways to increase parental involvement as a way to overcome some of the difficulties created by the district's financial situation.

"The votes unfortunately fell short and there are only two directions we can go -- the direction we've always taken that brought us here or we forge a new way forward," Walton said. "With more parental involvement, increased expectations for the kids and student involvement with the board, I believe we can make great strides."

The next scheduled board meeting will be a work session at 7 p.m., Tuesday, June 25, at the Administration Office, 5940 Clyde Moore Drive.

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