Tri-Village News

Pair of new programs may help district financially

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The Grandview Heights City School District plans to participate in two new programs that will provide financial benefits.

Treasurer Tammy Rizzo reviewed details of the programs during her annual tax budget hearing held prior to the Jan. 15 school board meeting.

The STAR Plus program "allows districts to earn a little more money on their investments," Rizzo said.

Districts can make an initial deposit of between $500,000 and $10 million into a single, convenient account, which is then deposited into a Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation insured account in an Ohio bank, she said.

The benefits of STAR Plus include a competitive yield, no credit or market risk, no term commitment on deposits, the capability of making weekly withdrawals and daily deposits, and penalty-free withdrawal, Rizzo said.

Board approval is not needed to participate in the program, but Rizzo said she was looking for "the board's blessing."

Board members agreed the district should participate, with board President Grant Douglass saying Rizzo should proceed "as quickly as you can."

The other program, the Ohio Medicaid Schools Program, provides federal Medicaid money to districts that provide services to children who meet four criteria.

The students must be Medicaid eligible, be under age 21, be enrolled in special education for one or more disabilities, and have Individual Education Plans that prescribe the needed services provided by the district, Rizzo said.

The results of a viability study for the district show that 48 of 99 special-education students in Grandview meet the criteria, she said.

Based on those results, the district can expect to receive $62,496 in Medicaid reimbursements over the next three years, Rizzo said.

A resolution to participate in the program will be brought to the board in the next few months, she said.

The main purpose of the tax budget hearing is to demonstrate the need to collect property tax revenues to cover estimated expenditures for the budget year, Rizzo said.

Given that property taxes make up 72 percent of all operating resources for the district, that need is established, she said.

Revenue assumptions for fiscal year 2014 include that state foundation payments, general property taxes and tangible personal property tax reimbursements will remain constant, Rizzo said. The district is projected to receive about $512,000 worth of payments in lieu of taxes from the Grandview Yard project.

The state foundation payments make up about 10 percent of district operating resources and other state funding provides 13 percent, she said. The remainder will come from the Grandview Yard payments and other local sources.

Personnel costs, including salaries and benefits, are expected to total about 82 percent of the anticipated $16.5 million in expenditures the district will make in fiscal year 2014, Rizzo said. Another 14 percent will pay for services.

Rizzo said she would not yet present an updated five-year financial forecast because of the uncertain impact of the new state budget Gov. John Kasich is expected to introduce early next month.

The Franklin County auditor also is expected to post the market value of the properties within Grandview Yard next month, she said.

The school board will decide over the next several months whether the district will need to place a levy on the November ballot.

In 2010, the levy timeline included a community forum in April and the board's approval in June of multiple resolutions declaring a necessity for a levy, each with a different levy scenario, Rizzo said.

Board members voted in mid-July of that year to go to the ballot; the decision on this year's levy would have to be made around the same time to meet the filing deadline, she said.

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