Without the passage of Issue 20, the Westerville City School District will see a $2.3-million deficit at the end of the current fiscal year and a $22.9-million deficit at the end of fiscal year 2013.

Without the passage of Issue 20, the Westerville City School District will see a $2.3-million deficit at the end of the current fiscal year and a $22.9-million deficit at the end of fiscal year 2013.

With the levy, the district would have a $3.4-million surplus at the end of this year and a $1.6-million surplus at the end of fiscal year 2013. In fiscal year 2014, however, there would be a $3.4-million deficit and, in fiscal year 2015, a $14.4-million deficit.

The figures were included in a five-year forecast district treasurer Bart Griffith reviewed at the Westerville Board of Education's Oct. 24 meeting, outlining the district's financial future both with and without the passage of the levy Nov. 8.

The district is required to submit an updated five-year forecast to the Ohio Department of Education by Oct. 31.

Generally, the board approves the document before it's forwarded to the state, but with the uncertainty of the election, Griffith recommended that the board not take a vote.

The five-year forecast cannot assume the passage of the levy, but Griffith presented financial figures with and without the money that would be generated by Issue 20 - a 4.06-mill property tax combined with a 0.5-percent earned-income tax.

The property tax would cost an additional $124.34 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The income tax would apply to all income earned by district residents but would not apply to Social Security, retirement or investment income.

"That's really the crux of the whole thing; where we will be with the levy and without the levy," Griffith said of the two forecasts. "We can't assume the passage of a levy. If it passes, it changes."

If the levy fails, the district will have to cut $23 million from the 2013 budget. The district's administration has outlined cuts to arts, music, foreign-language and physical education classes; the elimination of all extracurricular activities; reductions in busing and the loss of special programs such as the magnet schools and the International Baccalaureate program.

If the levy does pass, the board has said it will cut $4 million from the budget to keep the district solvent through fiscal year 2015.

According to Griffith's projections, the property tax would generate an additional $5 million for the district in fiscal year 2012, and an additional $10 million in the following years.

The earned-income tax would generate an additional $688,000 in fiscal year 2012, $8.7 million in fiscal year 2013 and an additional $11.5 million in the following three fiscal years.

Without the levy, the five-year forecast shows revenue decreasing by more than $6 million between fiscal years 2011 and 2012, and by an additional $5 million in 2013. In the following four years, however, revenue remains relatively flat.

At the same time, the forecast shows an increase in expenditures of $7 million from fiscal year 2011 to 2012, an increase of $2 million in expenditures in 2013, an increase of nearly $6 million in 2014, an increase of more than $6 million in 2015 and an increase of nearly $7 million in 2015.

The $7-million increase between last year and this year is due to a 27th pay period that falls within the current fiscal year, Griffith said.

The Westerville Education Association, the union representing teachers, has agreed to go to a 24-pay-per-year cycle, but the district's other three unions would have to agree to that before it could be enacted, Griffith said.

The district can choose to push the 27th payday back a few days to take it out of the fiscal year 2012 budget, he said.

"It has to be an all or nothing. We can't run two pay periods," Griffith said. "Instead of making the pay period on a Friday, you take it to a Monday to take it out of this fiscal year."

After the election, the board will revisit the five-year forecast, board president Kristi Robbins said.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

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