Reynoldsburg News

Five-year forecast reflects stability

Treasurer credits new contracts, cuts in expenditures, revenue from open enrollment


Reynoldsburg schools leaders say the district will likely exceed a campaign promise made in 2010, since the new five-year financial forecast submitted to the state shows a positive cash balance through 2016.

Treasurer Tammira Miller said 2016 is "two years more than the board had promised when voters approved the most recent operating levy."

Reynoldsburg Board of Education members approved a new five-year financial forecast at a special meeting Oct. 29.

"With the passage of the May 2010 levy, we made a promise to our taxpayers to have a positive cash balance at the end of fiscal year 2014," Miller said. "We have exceeded that promise and based on the assumptions in this forecast, are estimating a positive cash balance at the end of fiscal year 2016."

Voters approved a 6.9-mill incremental operating levy in May 2010 that increases each year until it reaches 9.9 mills in January 2014.

Total actual revenues on the new forecast are listed at $58.6 million for fiscal year 2012, which ended in June, with total expenditures for that period listed at $54.3 million and a fund balance of $7.3 million.

Revenues are projected to total $57.7 million at the end of fiscal year 2013, with expenditures of under $57.3 million.

Expenses begin to exceed revenue, however, in 2015, when revenues are projected to be $58.49 million and expenditures are projected at $59.54 million. An expected ending fund balance of $7.2 million would keep the district in the black, according to Miller.

Expenses are projected to continue to exceed revenue through 2017 on the forecast, with a 2016 balance of just more than $4 million.

The forecast projects a budget deficit in 2017, however, of $1.46 million.

Miller stated in the assumptions to the forecast that the district has incurred revenue losses of $3.6 million since the passage of the levy, which includes $1.6 million in state revenue, $1 million in tangible personal property tax revenue and $1 million in real estate tax revenues due to reappraisals.

She said the district's negotiated contracts with certified employees will cost $8 million less over the next three years than if the previous contract terms had remained in effect.

"The base salary is frozen for the duration of the contract," she said. "Step increases are awarded in year one and then frozen for two years. Cost-of-living increases, at 2 percent in year one and 1 percent in year two, apply only to staff who do not receive step increases and are frozen in year three."

Miller estimates the district will receive $855,000 each year from its new open enrollment program, which allows a limited number of students from other districts to enroll in Reynoldsburg schools.

"The new contracts with our certified and classified staff, open enrollment and continued reductions in expenditures have contributed to our financial stability," Miller said. "Earning the highest rating on the state's local report card, Excellent with Distinction, Reynoldsburg continues to be a leader in providing high-quality educational opportunities for students in a fiscally responsible manner."

Miller said the forecast is a "working document" that changes as more up-to-date information becomes available.

"We strive for the highest level of achievement for our students and for a financially sustainable model for our community," she said.