Members of the New Albany-Plain Local financial review and reporting committee (FRRC) want the school district to make conservative revenue estimates.

Members of the New Albany-Plain Local financial review and reporting committee (FRRC) want the school district to make conservative revenue estimates.

But estimates must also be realistic, members decided during the Feb. 22 meeting.

Superintendent April Domine told the FRRC actual revenues are lower than the district had anticipated for 2012.

Lower city income taxes shared with the schools and lower real-estate taxes have negatively affected the district's five-year forecast, causing the district to end fiscal year 2014 with a projected negative cash balance of $6,860,669.

The school board approved the most recent five-year forecast Oct. 24. Ohio law requires school districts to pass a five-year forecast prior to Oct. 31 each year and update it between April 1 and May 31 each year.

The Oct. 24 forecast showed the district in the black until fiscal year 2015.

Domine said it estimated city income-tax revenue would be flat all five years. Residential real-estate tax estimates were based on a three-year rolling average of past tax revenue.

Domine said other Franklin County school districts are estimating no increase in real-estate tax collections because of the poor economy and slow housing market.

FRRC member Kevin Stahl said if revenues are decreasing, the district should not use an average. He also said anticipating no increases in residential tax revenue is not realistic.

FRRC member Phil Derrow said the past three years of residential taxes do not provide insight into the future because those years are "atypical." He said the economy is showing signs of recovery and the district needs to find a way to end fiscal year 2014 with a positive cash balance.

Derrow said to balance the lower revenues, the FRRC needs to talk about expenditures.

Domine agreed the committee should review expenditures. She suggested the FRRC also talk about restructuring financial practices and finding alternate funding sources.

The district uses past information and several models to estimate future revenue.

Domine said when evaluating residential real-estate tax revenue, the district contracts with outside sources, such as Georgetown, Midwest & Pacific Consulting, to determine the number of new homes planned to be built in the district. The Franklin County Auditor's Office also provides tax estimates to the district.

FRRC member Brian Steel asked to review the model Georgetown, Midwest & Pacific Consulting uses in its enrollment projections.

Domine said both the consultant and auditor's information should be reviewed at a future meeting.