An updated five-year forecast presented to the Marysville Board of Education Feb. 23 shows the district will avoid a budget deficit in fiscal year 2012 thanks to a carryover balance, but will be in the red in 2014.

An updated five-year forecast presented to the Marysville Board of Education Feb. 23 shows the district will avoid a budget deficit in fiscal year 2012 thanks to a carryover balance, but will be in the red in 2014.

Interim Superintendent Bill Reimer and district treasurer Cindy Ritter presented the board with projections that show a $1.4-million deficit in fiscal year 2012. However, the budget balance at the end of June will be $3 million, so that will cover what would otherwise be a deficit.

The forecast shows fiscal year 2011 actual revenue at $47.4 million. Total expenditures of $46.5 million leave the district with a balance of $832,425.

The numbers shift in fiscal year 2012 projections. Ritter's numbers show a total of $46.7 million in revenue with expenditures of $47.9 million, leaving the $1.4 million deficit.

Reimer pointed out that the fund balance on June 30 will be $3 million. A year from now, the fund balance drops to $665,230.

"Our current reserve balance when we entered this fiscal year was $4.2 million," he said. "When we end this fiscal year, the reserve balance will be $3 million. We're slowly eating into the pot we have."

Reimer said about a dozen employees, including one principal, have accepted extended severance package offers.

The forecast shows a balance at the end of 2013 totals $1.3 million, but that does not include replacing any of the employees who took the buyout.

"It's just not reasonable to not replace them," Remer said.

"We will either lose 13 staff members after this school year or we'll have to replace some of them," Ritter said. "It just isn't realistic to keep saying we're not going to replace these people. I don't know how we could possibly not replace them."

The Marysville district is losing $817,862 it receives from the federal Education Jobs Fund that provides assistance to states to save or create education jobs. Ten district teaching positions are paid for with Education Jobs money.

That means the district either has to absorb those 10 teaching jobs into the regular budget or lose the positions.

"Just glancing at a five-year forecast, you can see when a district is going to be in financial need," Reimer said. "We go into the negative in the year 2014. We're not just deficit-spending at that time - we can't pay our bills. The district will have to make cuts or generate new funds.

"The way you do that in Ohio is seek and pass new levies."

Reimer said the district will have to replace or renew three levies.

A 5-mill levy and a 4-mill levy each began in 2009 and run through 2013. A 6.56-mill levy began in 2010 and runs through 2014.

If the 5-mill levy were renewed, it would bring in the same revenue it does now, which is $3.44 million annually. If it were replaced, revenue would increase by $40,000 to $3.47 million a year, Reimer said.

"If you replace it, you tell your community you're raising their taxes," he said. "If you renew it, you're not raising taxes."

The 4-mill levy brings in $2.75 million a year currently. If it were renewed, it would bring in the same amount but if it were replaced, revenue would increase by $32,000, up to $2.78 million.

A renewal of the 6.56-mill levy would bring in the current $2.6 million a year.

"But this was originally passed back in November of 1989, so that's operating on that assessment and that valuation," Reimer said.

Replacing that levy would increase revenue by $1.9 million, up to $4.6 million annually.

"You'd have to honestly say to the community, that's like voting three extra mills," he said. "Right now, we think if you look at our financial projections, there isn't any question the district will have to replace or renew these three levies. I don't think you can do without that money in the coming years."

Reimer said even if the levies are renewed, the district cannot cover projected expenditures in 2014.

Board member Doug Lassiter pointed out that communication with the voters is important to make sure the community understands the financial picture.

"They also need to understand some of the cuts and reductions that have been made and we may have to make other ones," he said. "We need to find an efficient way to get this information out there."

Reimer praised the school board for managing the funds so far.

"You've done a nice job of really tightening things up and running more efficiently, but I'm afraid you're getting to a point where it's going to be really important for the community to decide: Do we want to continue to make cuts or do we want to step up and raise more money?" he said.