Tri-Village News

Grandview schools

Budget soon comes up short without 2014 levy

District voters last approved an operating levy in November 2010

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The Grandview Heights City School District may have to consider placing an operating levy on the ballot in 2014.

That was the message Treasurer Tammy Rizzo conveyed Jan. 14 in her annual tax budget presentation to the school board.

While the district is projected to have budget surpluses of slightly more than $3 million at the end of fiscal year 2014 and about $1.8 million for fiscal year 2015, a deficit is looming the following year.

Rizzo said a budget shortfall of $137,041 is anticipated for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016, without a new tax levy and/or without using reserve funds.

The deficit would increase in subsequent years, she said.

State foundation payment, general property taxes, tangible personal property tax reimbursements from the state, and other state and local revenue totals for fiscal year 2015 are expected to remain consistent with the previous year's levels, Rizzo said. Medicaid reimbursements are predicted to increase slightly.

The district is expected to receive about $559,368 in payments in lieu of taxes as a result of the Grandview Yard development in fiscal year 2015, she said. Since August 2012, the district has received a little more than $1.6 million in payments under the provisions of its Grandview Yard compensation agreement with the city of Grandview Heights.

Going forward, the district will continue to receive about $418,000 in hold-harmless payments each year under the agreement and about $141,000 for the next five years as a result of new construction within the Yard, Rizzo said.

The next phase of the Yard apartments, expected to open in the summer, will feature 120 units in three interconnected four-story buildings, each with first-floor commercial space, she said.

The assumptions for district expenditures in fiscal year 2015 include educational advancement increases and potential performance base increases for certificated staff, but no base salary increases, Rizzo said. Step increases are included only for non-certificated staff salaries.

The anticipated inflation rate is 2.5 percent and health insurance costs are expected to rise by 15 percent, she said. Dental insurance costs will grow 6 percent and utility costs are expected to increase about 10 percent.

The levy question likely will be a topic discussed when the board holds its annual work session sometime in the next several weeks, Rizzo said.

The district's last levy passed with 65 percent of the vote in November 2010. It was a combined 5.9-mill levy containing a three-year, 3.9-mill component for operating funds and a continuing 2-mill component for permanent improvements and classroom technology upgrades.

In 2010, the levy timeline included a community forum in April and the board's June approval 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 will have to be made around the same time to meet the filing deadline.

Rizzo also provided an update on the proceeds over the last year from the district's participation in two new programs.

The district has earned $5,787 in interest on investments through Ohio's STAR Plus program.

The program allows public-funds managers to deposit money "into a single, convenient account, which in turn (is) deposited into FDIC-insured accounts" in banks, Rizzo said.

Grandview has received $6,590 since joining the Ohio Medicaid Schools Program in April, she said.

The program provides federal Medicaid money to districts that provide services to disabled children.

"I know (these figures) don't sound like much in a general fund budget of $16 million, but every little bit helps," Rizzo said.

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