Kettering school levy talk surfaces as budget lags behind plan

A levy voters in Kettering City Schools passed in 2018 allowed the district to add all-day kindergarten for the first time. FILE
A levy voters in Kettering City Schools passed in 2018 allowed the district to add all-day kindergarten for the first time. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

KETTERING – More outside funding is needed this year for Kettering City Schools to either avoid making cuts or placing a levy on the ballot this fall, its chief fiscal officer said.

The school district is lagging about $1.2 million behind its financial plan and state funding – or the lack of it – is a central reason, Kettering Treasurer Dan Schall told the board of education Tuesday night.

“If we don’t get more money from the state in the budgeting cycle, we will be recommending…being on the ballot in November,” Schall told the Dayton Daily News Wednesday. “Absent that, we would have to make significant reductions.

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“So it will be one of the two if we don’t get help from the state,” he added. “The state budget cycle is right now. So it just depends on how that goes.”

Schall told the board the district had communications with local state legislators in 2020 about getting more funding for Kettering in the next two-year budget, which is expected to be approved this year.

“There has been a lot of pressure,” he said. “We are advocating for the district to get on a formula” which would qualify Kettering to get $8 million more a year than what it is now receiving from the state.

A funding model approved by the Ohio House of Representatives would have generated $16 million more for Kettering, but was not passed by the state senate, Schall said.

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The district’s five-year forecast for its budget - $103.4 million this year - projects annual deficits through fiscal year 2023, when the shortfall tops out at $11.1 million.

Voters in the district in November 2018 approved a permanent 5.99-mill additional levy.

School officials said the levy was needed because of increased costs in several areas, plus a desire to expand career-tech education, increase security, and add all-day kindergarten for the first time.

The levy was earmarked for day-to-day operating expenses. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $209 annually and raises $7.5 million per year, officials have said.

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Currently, district expenses “are coming in about half a million (dollars) high,” Schall told the board. “We’re working through trying to figure out why that is. I don’t know the answers yet.

“Hopefully it’s a timing thing and it’s going to catch up,” Schall said. “December’s state payment was better – quite a bit. So we may just catch up over the second half of the fiscal year.”

He said Wednesday because of several variables “it’s very difficult to quantify” what impact the coronavirus has had on the district’s budget.

DISTRICT FINANCES

Kettering City Schools five-year forecast:

Year Revenues Spending

2021 $103.4M $105.4M

2022 $104.6M $107.2M

2023 $104.9M $110.7M

2024 $105.2M $114.5M

2025 $105.7M $116.8M

SOURCE: Kettering City Schools.

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