Reynoldsburg News

Reynoldsburg schools

Forecast: Finances stable for at least 5 years

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A new five-year financial forecast for Reynoldsburg City Schools reveals a "stable financial outlook" for the district, according to Treasurer Tammira Miller.

Miller presented a revised five-year forecast to Reynoldsburg Board of Education members May 20.

"We had made a promise to our voters that we would have a positive fund balance through 2014," Miller said.

She said the district has exceeded that promise.

"This forecast has a positive fund balance through 2018 and we are on target to have a positive fund balance in 2020," she said.

Reynoldsburg voters approved a 6.9-mill incremental operating levy in 2010, which increased by 1 mill each year until it reached 9.9 mills in January this year.

The fund balance forecast for the end of this fiscal year (which ends June 30), is $8,892,406.

The year-end balance for fiscal year 2015 is projected at $13,945,388; for fiscal 2016 at $17,575,985; for 2017 at $19,149,237 and for 2018 at $18,566,136.

Actual revenue for 2013 was $60,036,004, with total expenditures of $57,475,485, according to Miller. A carryover cash balance gave the district an actual fund balance of $9,905,330 in 2013.

Miller wrote in her report that the financial stability indicated in the forecast was accomplished by "controlled expenditures, reasonable personnel contracts and district partnerships."

Those partnerships include agreements with Columbus State Community College, BalletMet, Kiddie Academy and others.

"Reynoldsburg students have more educational opportunities and are achieving higher levels than ever before," Miller wrote. "That is made possible by careful prioritization of spending, strategic deployment of resources and creative collaborations.

"To continue that trajectory, the board has adopted a long-term financial goal of maintaining a positive cash balance through 2020," she said.

Miller said state funding "has and will change" during the forecast period. This is the first year of the state's new biennial budget, which bases funding to school districts on the three-year average enrollment of resident students.

Reynoldsburg schools received $28,711,087 in state funding this year and are projected to receive $30,164,224 in 2015.

Miller said the district experienced a loss in revenue, though, when the state eliminated a subsidy that reimbursed districts for the elimination of the tangible personal property tax. That loss was about $1 million.

Revenue that boosted the district's bottom line this year, however, included open enrollment income of $2,195,000.

Miller said Reynoldsburg began accepting open enrollment students in 2013, which resulted in revenue of $1 million for 176 students. This year, the number of open enrollment students increased to 381.

She said expenditures were kept in line by negotiating a base salary freeze in the current contract for certified employees, which froze base salaries for three years from August 2011 and froze step increases for two years. Employees who did not receive a step increase in 2012 received a 2-percent cost-of-living increase. Certified staff also received a 1-percent increase in fiscal 2013 and a lump sum payment equal to 1 percent of their contracted salary this year.

The current classified staff agreement froze step increases beginning in 2013, but staff received a 2-percent increase that year and a 1-percent salary increase this year. Salaries are frozen for 2015. However, staff members will receive a lump sum payment equal to 1 percent of their contracted salary, Miller said

She said a lower second-tier salary schedule was approved for all staff hired after April 2012.

The negotiated agreement with certified staff expires July 31. The classified staff agreement does not expire until June 30, 2015.

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