Five-year forecasts are living documents that are used as planning tools for school districts and communities. They are a five-year projection of a district's operational revenues and expenditures, which are based upon a snapshot of today that has been adjusted to reflect all known activities of the future, along with certain assumptions and predictions of what might occur.
State law requires every school board to submit a five-year projection of operational revenues and expenditures, along with assumptions used to make the projections, to the Ohio Department of Education prior to Oct. 31 of each year and to update this forecast between April 1 and May 31 of each year. The ODE encourages school districts to update a forecast whenever events occur that will change the forecast significantly. We are currently in the update process.
What does this mean to our community?
The forecast is your way of knowing in a very transparent, higher-level way how the district spends the money received from all general-revenue sources. It is a tool for the community to understand the percentage of dollars invested that go to salaries and benefits, supplies, utilities and facilities.
The New Albany-Plain Local School District is 85 percent locally funded, meaning the revenue source is mostly from residential and business property taxes from those within district boundaries. The remaining 15 percent mostly is from state and federal funding.
What does our forecast say about our district?
As required, the school board approved the district's five-year forecast Oct. 23. The October forecast includes $62 million in revenue and projected district general-fund expenditures of $62.9 million. Based on the projections in the district's forecast, we have a positive ending cash balance for each of the next five years, which the board and administration continue to strengthen and safeguard for our taxpayers.
Based on the recommendation the superintendent and I developed, the board approved the additional expenses from the five-year capital plan.
These additional expenses were recommended because we now have identifiable capital costs that must have a budget plan, and we cannot assume the passage of Issue 42, a five-year permanent-improvements levy on the Nov. 7 ballot. Adding these costs to the forecast is the cause for expenses to outpace revenue in the current fiscal year.
Because the district begins to spend more than it brings in on an annual basis beginning in 2018, the administration continues to search for additional cost savings to eliminate the deficit spending forecasted for 2018. The administration overachieved its financial goal of eliminating $560,000 in last year's budget by cutting almost $1.7 million in compounding costs. Again this year, the board approved the financial goal of reducing the current-year budget by $609,000. The board and administration equally are committed to maximizing our existing resources to meet the academic and developmental needs of our students without additional general-fund resources from our taxpayers for several more years.
You can take a deeper dive into our five-year forecast and view the district's comprehensive annual financial report, commonly known as CAFR, and other documents at our website: napls.us. Look under the Treasurer section.
Any parent/guardian or community member who has any questions related to the financial health of the school district may contact any board member or the administrative offices directly.
Rebecca Jenkins is the treasurer and chief financial officer for New Albany-Plain Local Schools.