Westerville News & Public Opinion

School board approves temporary budget

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The Westerville Board of Education passed a temporary budget Monday, June 10 that will allow the district to continue to operate as the new fiscal year begins July 1 while administrators continue to hash out the details of a final budget for the 2013-2014 school year.

The general-fund budget totaled $111.2 million, or 75 percent of the districts expenditures for the 2012-2013 school year.

The board has followed a similar path in the past, passing temporary appropriations at the start of a fiscal year and waiting until the fall to pass a final budget, said district Treasurer Bart Griffith.

The approach is helpful this year, Griffith said, because the district still doesn't know how it will be affected for the next school year in the next state budget, and it will give the district time to get a handle on the federal funding it will receive.

The Ohio General Assembly has until June 30 to pass its next two-year budget.

"We need more time to figure out just what we're doing this year, what the state's going to do what the federal's going to do. This just buys us more time," Griffith said.

"If you set this now, we probably would have to change it in the fall anyway."

The temporary budget is needed before the start of the new fiscal year so the district can continue to operate, Griffith said.

"That allows me to start paying bills July 1," he said.

Board members supported the approach, saying they'll work to have a permanent budget ready to approve in August or September.

"We'll work through the details over the next couple of months," said board member Kevin Hoffman.

In addition to allowing the board to get a handle on state and federal funding, the passing of a temporary budget also gives the district time to involve new Superintendent John Kellogg in the process, said board member Kristi Robbins.

Kellogg will begin July 1, replacing outgoing Superintendent Dan Good, who retires at the end of this month.

Also at the June 10 meeting, the board passed its final appropriations for fiscal year 2013.

The district's general-fund budget was on pace with what was approved in November, with the district spending $148.3 million.

When all other funds, such as capital-improvement, bond-retirement and food-services funds, were factored in, the district spent $2.5 million less than anticipated, Griffith said.

For all funds, the district spent $190.5 million last year.

Most of the savings came through lower insurance costs, as the district moved to a self-insured model. With the self-funded insurance, the district spent $2.3 million less on claims than was budgeted.

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