The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has changed almost every aspect of our daily lives.
We see the social, emotional and economic impact on the members of our community.
As you know, Worthington Schools have transitioned to remote learning in response to the governor's directive to close school buildings. I would like to update residents on the state of the district's finances during this health crisis.
Generally speaking, so much uncertainty makes it very difficult to predict what the future will look like. Our school district has a strong track record of conservative and responsible financial planning. It is our hope that this ongoing commitment will enable us to get through this challenging time by protecting the quality of our schools as much as possible.
In Worthington, we have been fortunate to receive significant financial support from our community. Uncertain times make us even more thankful that our Worthington taxpayers have been willing to carry the majority of the tax load to ensure strong schools.
What we do know: The closure of much of the state will result in significant decreases in state tax revenue.
Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced the implementation of $775 million in cuts and reductions, as follows: Medicaid, $210 million; K-12 Foundation payment reduction, $300 million; other education budget line items, $55 million; higher education, $110 million; and all other agencies, $100 million.
That's understandable when you consider the economic impact of the pandemic right now.
We also know that the news changes almost daily. That's why in our financial forecasting, we are doing our best to be prepared and plan for some significant reductions in state funding this year and next.
We do remain hopeful that the state will use some of its "rainy day" funds to minimize the impact on schools. We also anticipate real-estate revenue will be affected by unemployment.
We are seeing more stress on our planned budget because in this emergency we are retooling constantly to the online environment. For example, we are experiencing modest increases in special-education expenditures and an increase in expenses to the food-services fund. The Worthington school board approved the refund of fees for all-day kindergarten, preschool and pay-to-participate activities. The capital-projects fund and paying for the expanded capacity needs of the middle schools also might affect the general fund.
As we are seeing in every aspect in our lives, the situation will continue to change as more information becomes available. Informing the community with accuracy and transparency will remain a priority.
Thanks to the supportive Worthington community, our schools are in a good place. Please let me know if you have any thoughts or questions.
Trent Bowers is superintendent of Worthington Schools. Write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.