Significant losses in revenue, first from the phase-out of the tangible personal property tax reimbursement and also from expected cuts in school funding as part of the next state budget, have Marysville school officials seeing red.

Significant losses in revenue, first from the phase-out of the tangible personal property tax reimbursement and also from expected cuts in school funding as part of the next state budget, have Marysville school officials seeing red.

As in red numbers in the district's five-year forecast presented at last Monday's board meeting, showing operating shortfalls as soon as fiscal year 2011.

The forecast as currently presented does not include any new operating levy money. The district's board of education has discussed the possibility placing an issue on the ballot at some point, perhaps in 2011, and past forecasts have included projected revenues from a hoped-for new levy.

"The levy was taken out as I wanted to show what is going to happen without a levy," treasurer Cindy Ritter told ThisWeek. "The new finance committee will be discussing this and I felt they needed to see the forecast without stating that."

The elimination of the tangible personal property tax has been on the district's radar for a number of years, as the tax was a significant revenue generator for the district given the industrial base in the city. The state of Ohio later agreed to compensate districts for this lost revenue through payments that would be phased out over several years. Additionally, schools have been able to convince lawmakers to delay this phase-out.

Currently, the state plans to begin phasing out these payments in fiscal year 2014. Superintendent Larry Zimmerman told ThisWeek he intends to continue to work with lawmakers to reconsider how they handles this tax.

"If (the tax revenues) were in the forecast it would be a lot different," he said. "The biggest item is the loss of 30 percent of used to be taxable. To replace it would require an additional 12.66 mills (in local property tax). That's a lot for this community to be asked to replace."

Ritter is also working with multiple scenarios based on how much the district might expect to lose in state funding, as the budget process is still ongoing. Ritter said the district could lose as much as 30 percent from the state depending on what the next state budget ultimately looks like.

Either way, she said, the formulas used by the state to determine funding for individual school districts has changed, and it remains uncertain exactly how this will play out in budget discussions among state lawmakers.

Zimmerman also said the district is looking at cost-saving measures now, to try and mitigate the impact of revenue shortfalls.

"It's an expense and revenue problem," board member Doug Lassiter said. "The discussion needs to include cutting expenses. Raising taxes in a recession cannot be the district's first option."

Ritter concluded by telling board members that the forecast is not fixed, and is only representative of conditions at the time it was created.

"Every time there is a change in either revenue or expenditures, the forecast will change," she said.

The state requires public school districts to complete and approve a five-year forecast in May and October of each year.