The New Albany-Plain Local School District likely will have to figure out ways to educate more students with less money, according to the district's five-year forecast, released at the Sept. 26 school board meeting.

The New Albany-Plain Local School District likely will have to figure out ways to educate more students with less money, according to the district’s five-year forecast, released at the Sept. 26 school board meeting.

Board members got their first look at the projected finances and enrollment through 2016. Ohio law requires school districts to pass a five-year forecast prior to Oct. 31 each year and update the forecast between April 1 and May 31 each year.

Superintendent April Domine said that while state funding will remain the same for the next two years, it is expected to decline thereafter.

The district also expects a drop in local funding, due to declines in property values from the recent reappraisals by county auditor’s office. Federal funding cuts also are projected.

Enrollment projections show New Albany will be educating more children. The district has 104 more students enrolled this year and the five-year forecast shows that trend continuing through 2016.

By using data that include housing and development trends, the district expects to add about 100 students each year over the next five years, with a projected total enrollment of 4,830 pupils in 2016.

So far, officials have been able to implement changes for fiscal year 2012, including freezing administrative wages and benefits, renegotiating health insurance premiums and salary increases and cutting departmental budgets, saving an estimated $2.1 million.

Domine cautioned that as enrollment increases, additional staff likely would be needed. Increasing enrollment also could warrant another school building by 2016, although the type of building and what grades it would house are still in the early stages of discussion, officials said.

“We’re finding ways to think differently about our costs, our expenditures and our forecasting,” Domine said.

Board members will again discuss the five-year forecast at a work session on Oct. 11, and at a financial review and reporting committee meeting Oct. 4, before voting on it at the Oct. 24 regular board meeting.

In other news, the board adopted three goals for the 2011-12 school year: to increase student achievement and growth; to align and enhance professional growth, feedback and evaluation; and to inspire confidence in day-to-day operations by continuously improving finance, facilities and communications.

Although the goals are broad, board members said, the first two relate directly to student achievement and the third goal relates to the business side of running a school district, allowing students and teachers to focus on academics.

“This is what districts have to do to be high-achieving districts,” said board president Mark Ryan.

Board members also discussed proposed changes to the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school calendars, including moving exams for middle and high school students to the week before winter break.

The proposed calendars will be posted to the district’s website, www.napls.us, before the board votes next month.

Before adjourning the meeting, the board went into executive session to discuss preparations for negotiations or bargaining sessions with employees.

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