The Springboro schools are spending money faster than they are bringing it in, but officials say they are not ready to call for an additional tax levy until state lawmakers settle on school funding for the next two years.
The district projects deficit spending, but cash on hand, at the end of each of the next four years, according to its latest five-year financial forecast.
On Monday, the district is holding community meetings, but have no plans to discuss an additional levy, Treasurer Terrah Floyd said last week.
“We’re just not ready to determine yet when we will need new money,” Floyd said. “We don’t want to ask for money until we know we need it.”
The latest forecast, approved last month, shows the district’s deficit growing from $1.3 million next year to $2.9 million in the 2023 school year.
Over the same period, the cash balance is expected to dwindle from $10.4 million this year to $2.5 million.
“There is a continued need for additional revenue to meet the current level of district offerings over the forecast period. Potential revenue changes in state funding or in an additional pipeline not currently being taxed, could reduce the amount needed within the forecast period,” Floyd said in a forecast footnote.
The forecast is based on a variety of factors, including changes in state funding with new budgets, as well as revenue from sources such as pipelines that run through the district.
To manage finances, the district has put off $2 million in construction on the Educare facility attached to the football stadium, $500,000 in window replacement at the high school, $600,000 in parking lot repaving, as well as a long list of other “unmet needs,” according to the forecast.
During the community meetings, held from 5 to 6 p.m. and 6 to 7 p.m. Monday, the board plans to query the community as part of an ongoing strategic planning process.
“As we’re winding down the strategic planning process, the administrative team and the board are developing goals,” Floyd said. “We also want to have a discussion with the community and everybody interested.”
David Conley, president of Rockmill Financial Consulting LLC, and Todd Thackery, vice president of SHP Leading Design, are hosting Monday’s meetings.
Conley and Thackery do facility assessments for the district.
School officials want to know what the community wants the district to look like regarding school facilities, programs and security, Floyd said.
A school statement issued about Monday’s sessions alluded to “an extensive community engagement/master planning process” preceding passage of a 2003 bond issue.
Floyd said a bond issue was “definitely not something we are looking at.”
The district has collected $2.6 million in recent years in public utility tax from pipelines, allowing the district “to push back a little the need for new money,” Floyd said.
“Although revenue has improved from the pipeline companies, and additional increases in property values, the districts expenses continue to outpace the current resources provided, in each of the next four forecasted years,” Floyd said in her forecast report.
Floyd and other school treasurers and financial officials continue to urge state lawmakers to make a law change closing a loophole enabling the owners of the ATEX Express Pipeline to avoid millions in public utility tax.
In addition, Floyd said the district needed to wait until the end of June when Ohio lawmakers should set state school funding for the next two years. The Cupp-Patterson Fair Funding Model, a proposal for school funding being discussed in Columbus, could bring Springboro schools another $2 million over the biennium, according to Floyd.
“We will need new money at some point,” she said.
Meanwhile, on Monday, the district treasurer said she and other district officials looked forward to gauging community sentiment on the district’s current condition and future.
“We really want to hear from the community what they want to see not just today, but tomorrow,” she said.
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