Delaware City Schools officials say they will have a better idea about the district's finances by spring's end, but the budget clearly is tight.

Delaware City Schools officials say they will have a better idea about the district's finances by spring's end, but the budget clearly is tight.

The next fiscal year, starting July 1, has a projected $1.4-million deficit, financial director Chris Blue told ThisWeek.

January's operations expenditures were $142,025 higher than projected. Total expenditures are nearly 2 percent higher than projected for this point in the year. Though total operational receipts are 3.8 percent higher than projected, Blue said overall revenue is still low.

Blue delivered January's financial report to the board during their Feb. 22 meeting at the District Technology Center. The projected numbers come from the district spending plan that also uses figures from the district's five-year forecast.

Blue told ThisWeek the district will get a better picture of the budget after May.

Compared to the five-year forecast, the district's income is $865,655 higher than projected for the fiscal year, Blue said. She said she thinks that's a temporary trend.

A lack of new construction has contributed to the decrease in the district's income. Blue said state funding is also an issue. The district has had the same funding amount for several years, despite the addition of 155 students to the district this year.

"That's really the dilemma we have," Blue said.

Blue said the three largest revenue sources are real estate taxes, state foundation funding and state reimbursement for personal property tax. The district should know more about real estate tax revenue in March and personal property tax revenue by May.

The district projected it would receive about $22.4-million from local property taxes and about $18-million from state and federal sources for the 2011 fiscal year.

Blue said that a levy is still necessary in addition to other cost-saving measures the district will implement. The board would have to file with the board of elections by Aug. 10 to request an emergency levy, she said.

"The sooner they make the decision, the better," Blue said.

Also during the Feb. 22 meeting:

Ted Knapke of the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio described the benefits of participating in the Ohio Superintendents Evaluation System. The standards-based system would provide a great opportunity for discussion, said superintendent Paul Craft.

Hayes High School students Nate Nichols and Alex Rider designed a project that helped teachers in four classrooms better use their space. The students' wall-based design included a white board, a wall-mounted LCD projector and shelving. About 30 square feet per classroom was utilized, said technology director Stan McDonald. The cost for each classroom ranged from $1,000 to $1,500 to remove old slate boards or white boards and prep the walls, McDonald said. Blue said the total project cost $18,143, of which $8,964 came from permanent improvement funds and $9,179 came from the parent teacher organization. Permanent improvement funds provided for the shelving and computer equipment, while parent teacher organization funds covered the white boards and LCD projectors. The district worked with Delaware Building Systems on the project. McDonald said he would like to continue the project in more classrooms.