Westerville News & Public Opinion

Five-year forecast

District should end fiscal 2018 with a surplus


The Westerville City School District will remain financially solvent through fiscal year 2018, even after the emergency levy passed in March 2012, according to the district's latest five-year financial forecast.

The forecast shows the district will spend $13.2 million more than it takes in revenue in fiscal 2018, but will end the year with a cash balance of $44.8 million.

The district's fiscal year, like the state's, runs from July 1 to June 30. Required by law, the five-year forecast is presented annually in October and adjusted in May.

The 2012 levy was meant to keep the district in the black for two years, but the funds were stretched as a result of the cuts the district made before passing the levy, concessions from the district's unions, gains in state funding and savings in healthcare, said district Treasurer Bart Griffith.

"From doing that process -- the cuts -- that's how we ended up where we are," Griffith said.

Now being in a sound financial position, the board could begin to examine the district's programs and decide whether some programs should be enhanced, Griffith said.

"(The board has) the opportunity and the dollars there to do some additional things," Griffith said.

Though the district would not need a levy before 2018 to remain solvent, Griffith said he would recommend that the district seek a renewal of the 2012 levy in 2017 to preserve a reimbursement from the state for the Homestead Exemption.

Due to changes in state law, districts will not receive the current 10 percent reimbursement from the state for the exemption on levies passed after 2013.

The reimbursement would continue if the district renewed the levy, Griffith said, but not if the current levy expired and a new levy was passed at a later date.

"It makes sense to keep this in play," Griffith said of the 2012 levy.

The five-year forecast shows a 2.4 percent rate of growth in operating expenditures, from $141.1 million in the current fiscal year to $170.6 million in fiscal year 2018.

Meanwhile, the forecast shows revenue decreasing from $160 million in the current fiscal year to $157.4 million in fiscal year 2018.