To provide for necessary capital improvements, the New Albany-Plain Local school board will consider placing a permanent-improvements levy on the ballot as early as November, according to treasurer Becky Jenkins.
Jenkins shared the district's financial outlook during Superintendent Michael Sawyers' State of the Schools address Jan. 23 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.
District leaders in 2014 determined that for the next 10 years, they would need to spend $1.9 million annually in capital maintenance, she said. Because the money wasn't available to cover the expenses, the district has delayed those projects.
Also, in November 2014, voters rejected a 6.9-mill operating levy and a 2-mill permanent-improvements levy. Both levies would have been permanent.
During the most recent fiscal year, the district spent $279,995 on permanent improvements, according to district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.
In addition, upcoming annual expenses could be higher than the $1.9 million estimate unless district officials choose certain projects over others, Jenkins said.
One project is a $250,000 replacement of the high school track, she said.
"We patched, patched, patched," she said. "It's to a place where we can't use it anymore."
A permanent-improvements levy last was approved in 2004, Jenkins said. The district allowed the five-year levy to expire in 2009, and its funds ran out in 2014, she said.
According to the Franklin County Board of Elections website, the filing deadline for issues to be placed on the ballot in the Nov. 7 general election is Aug. 9.
Meanwhile, Jenkins said, the district won't need to request operating funds until at least 2020. Voters last approved an operating levy in 2012 with Issue 50, which included a 2.59-mill bond issue to build the 2-8 Learning Facility and a 4.24-mill permanent operating levy to generate $3.51 million.
After the 2014 levy rejection, district leaders had suggested that funding could be sought in 2015 or 2016. However, during the fiscal years for that time period, the district had greater-than-expected revenue and reduced expenditures, which changed projections and pushed back the need for additional funds, Gallaway said.
The district's fiscal years run July 1 through June 30, he said.
According to the most recent five-year forecast, expenditures ($61,871,813) are not expected to start outpacing revenue ($61,244,327) until fiscal 2018, Gallaway said. However, the district still is expected to have a cash balance of $17,861,632 remaining at that time, he said.
In comparison, fiscal 2016's revenue is $59,812,106, expenditures are $55,421,365 and the carryover cash balance is $16,747,884, according to the forecast.
Meanwhile, in fiscal 2020, estimated revenue is $63,081,154, expenditures are $67,497,622 and the carryover cash balance is $11,027,486, which means the following fiscal year, the district would not have its school board-approved 30 days worth of cash on hand without additional funding, Gallaway said.
District officials have set a goal to cut $560,000 in total expenditures in the current fiscal year to mitigate deficit spending in fiscal 2017, Jenkins said.
Thus far, the district has identified $450,000 in savings that primarily come from personnel, Jenkins said.
As employees leave, their replacements have lower salaries and benefits than their predecessors, she said.
Alternatively, school board members could decide to use the $450,000 -- or any additional savings the districts identified -- for capital improvements, Jenkins said.