South-Western school board on May 23 approved a five-year financial forecast prepared by treasurer Hugh Garside.

South-Western school board on May 23 approved a five-year financial forecast prepared by treasurer Hugh Garside.

Garside told the board because of the contract agreements, conservative planning and various actions by the state concerning state funding to schools, the May forecast is quite different from the one presented last October.

The district expects to have a $51.8 million cash balance to begin fiscal year 2012 on July 1.

In October, that balance was projected to be $43-million.

The latest forecast also anticipates no deficit until fiscal year 2015, when the deficit will be $6.1 million.

Total revenues for fiscal 2012 are expected to be about $208 million with total expenditures at about $200 million.

Garside said employees' salary and benefit concessions helped keep finances stable.

Board member Karen Dover applauded Garside's work as treasurer.

"We are stable due to the advanced planning and conservative approach (to finances)," Dover said.

Superintendent Bill Wise agreed that the financial situation for the district has improved.

He cautioned, however, that because of the continuing recession and the uncertainty of state funding that "it really is a difficult time to forecast because of all the unknowns."

State law requires presenting preliminary forecasts each year in May with votes on a final forecast in October.