With expected cuts in state funding and a revenue stream that's projected to be flat, the Westerville City School District is predicting a major deficit in its 2012-2013 budget.

With expected cuts in state funding and a revenue stream that's projected to be flat, the Westerville City School District is predicting a major deficit in its 2012-2013 budget.

The five-year financial forecast approved by the Westerville school board Monday shows a $13.5-million deficit by the end of fiscal year 2013, which is June 30, 2013. The forecast goes on to show a $41.1-million deficit by the end of fiscal year 2014 and a $78.4-million deficit by the end of fiscal year 2015.

The forecast does not include future levies.

In presenting the forecast to the board, treasurer Scott Gooding said the document shows an anticipated loss of $10.9-million through state funding cuts and the elimination of one-time federal dollars over the next five years.

"It's not small change," Gooding said. "That's a major piece that's out there."

The district's total budget is forecast to be $148-million in fiscal year 2012, up from $137-million in the current fiscal year. In fiscal year 2015, the last in the five-year forecast, the district's total budget is projected to climb to $188-million, a growth of $51-million from this year's budget.

The growth reflects the addition of 10 teachers for contractual and legal obligations and the addition of 20 teachers the district expects it will take to implement the state-mandated, all-day, everyday kindergarten next school year.

The 20 additional teachers are expected to cost an additional $1.5-million, but the district is not currently expected to receive any state aid to help with those additional costs.

Eleven positions currently funded with federal stimulus dollars were eliminated from next year's budget after board of education members expressed concern about absorbing that cost at the Oct. 11 board meeting, Gooding said.

Six special-education teachers funded this year with stimulus dollars were added to next year's budget, Gooding said. Those positions will cost an estimated $335,300.

The budget also includes 2-percent pay raises for fiscal years 2013 through 2015, when contracts with three of the district's four unions are set to expire. The district's fourth union is in negotiations, requiring the district to work on projected raises for all five years for those employees.

Gooding said the forecast does show a rebound in state funding in fiscal year 2014, which will come after the state's next biennial budget, which is expected to reflect an $8-billion budget hole that school funding professionals believe will lead to funding cuts. Uncertainty continues to surround the projected funding cuts, Gooding said. "The question is: How much is it going to be for how long?" he said.

While board members said election day might cast some light on how school funding will be affected in the next budget, they said the district is likely going to have to watch news from the Statehouse closely for some time to look for those affects.

"We all need to recognize that we're not going to know on Nov. 3 what's going to happen," board member Jeff Gale said. "That's all going to play out over six months to a year."

During the public comment portion of the board meeting, Westerville resident Robert Edwards, founder of levyfacts.com, which posts data on the district's finances, said the forecast concerns him because it shows the district will have to ask voters to increase property taxes to cover rises in salaries and benefit costs.

"In my opinion, this is totally unsustainable, and it has set the district toward an unavoidable train wreck," Edwards said. "In a couple years, we're going to be on a path of $27-million levies every two years."