It's Worth It: Leaders keeping close eye on district's financial health

TJ Cusick
Guest columnist

Last month, the Worthington Schools Board of Education adopted the latest five-year financial forecast.

As the country continues to deal with the financial fallout of the pandemic, Worthington Schools continues to see a reduction in revenue – but hopefully not to the levels that were forecasted last spring.

TJ Cusick

These adjusted reductions still have a significant impact on the district’s bottom line, and we are uncertain of the impact the virus will have on the economy this winter.

Back in May, Worthington Schools braced for a state-funding reduction of $20 million over the next five years, but it has been adjusted to $10 million since the governor indicated there are no plans for additional funding cuts to schools for the rest of the biennium.

However, the district expects state funding once again to be essentially frozen over the next four years.

In addition, property-tax revenue remains $1.2 million lower than what was anticipated last year, and investment income has decreased by $1.6 million.

On the expenditure side, Worthington Schools took several proactive steps to reduce the budget.

The district has realized $17 million in cost savings through spending reductions, retirements and changes to the insurance program. These actions are in keeping with our goal of offering excellent schools while remaining responsible with our community’s resources.

Looking toward the future, we expect additional pressure on our budget as our projected enrollment continues to grow, and we anticipate the need to address our aging schools at both the high school and elementary levels.

We will continue to communicate our spending patterns and additional financial needs with transparency.

For a more in-depth analysis of district finances, we encourage residents to read our latest Popular Annual Financial Report, which is coming to mailboxes soon.

Thank you for your continued support of our schools and students.

TJ Cusick is treasurer of Worthington Schools. Contact him by email at tjcusick@wscloud.org.