Officials at New Albany-Plain Local Schools are keeping an eye on revenue from both local and state sources as the economy slides further into recession and property values and consumer spending decline.

With cities and states trimming budgets in a struggling economy, school districts also are planning for an uncertain fiscal future.

Officials at New Albany-Plain Local Schools are keeping an eye on revenue from both local and state sources as the economy slides further into recession and property values and consumer spending decline.

While local funds could be in jeopardy, the 13 percent the district receives from the state also could be reduced.

During a recent school board meeting, board member Mike Klein asked if the district is preparing for funding cuts from the state as Ohio faces a projected $7.3-billion shortfall in the two-year budget.

"Are we making preparations?" he asked.

District treasurer Brian Ramsay said any reductions in state funding likely would be minimal. Currently, the district receives about $1.4-million from the state on the guarantee that has given the district the same amount of money per student since 1993.

"If the state starts cutting into the guarantee, it could affect us," Ramsay said.

According to Castle, the state also gives the district money for aid in such areas as special needs and busing.

"If they get cut, it would be more harmful to our district than if they cut the guarantee," Castle said.

Board member Peter Horvath said he was more concerned about revenues from income-tax sharing that the district gets from the village of New Albany for abatements with local companies.

"We've got enough in revenue today to change our spending plans," he said. "The bigger concern is the $3.8-million we get from income-tax sharing."

Castle told ThisWeek the amount the district receives from the income-tax-sharing agreement is based on what companies make and therefore could be affected by the current economy.

"That's based on the income level of those companies," he said. "There is a cap on those; there's flexibility on both sides."

Although income-tax-sharing money could decrease because of the economy, Castle said, state funding is the most difficult to anticipate.

"As far as the state funding system, 13 percent of our total revenue comes from the state," he said. "That remains the biggest wild card today."

Gov. Ted Strickland vowed to unveil a solution to school funding within the state early next year, but Castle said he's pessimistic that the plan would help New Albany-Plain Local Schools.

"The business of funding Ohio schools, since there are 614 of us, is very complex," he said. "It's a challenging problem. I wish I could sit here and say there will be a solution, but I can't."

With no certain funding solution coming from the state, Castle said, the district will have to be vigilant with its money.

"Managing taxpayer dollars will continue to be a very important part of our work," he said.

Although the district has been working on cost savings and improving efficiencies around the district, Castle said a group will begin meeting in February to discuss ways to save more.

"For the first time ever, a committee will meet quarterly," he said. "We're starting a community financial advisory committee."

Some members would come from the subcommittee created as an offshoot of the finance committee that met last spring to look into operating-levy options. Castle said the group would be charged with finding additional cost savings for the district.