Kettering schools treasurer: 4.99-mill tax levy needed if finances don’t change

The forecast for the Kettering City School District budget – currently at about $103 million – shows deficit spending for all but one fiscal years from 2020 to 2024. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF
The forecast for the Kettering City School District budget – currently at about $103 million – shows deficit spending for all but one fiscal years from 2020 to 2024. NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

KETTERING – Current financial trends have Kettering schools’ treasurer saying a 4.99-mill levy may be recommended to be on the fall ballot.

Projections for the Kettering City School District’s annual budget – currently at about $103 million – show deficit spending for this and coming years, as well as a decreasing cash carryover, Chief Financial Officer Dan Schall said.

Several factors could change the financial outlook, but Schall said he would advise the board of education to seek the levy if the district’s number “were to hold as is.”

Kettering school district voters in 2019 approved a 6.9-mill renewal levy. However, COVID-19, the state budget and delayed tax collections are all factors in the analysis, Schall told the board during a work session Tuesday night.

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The forecast shows deficit spending for all but one fiscal years from 2020 to 2024, according to Kettering records. The cash carryover, commonly around $20 million, is about $11 million, Schall added.

“If you look at that for the future, that means we have to do reductions or a levy here to get that cash carryover back to where it needs to be.”

The district could make cuts, but Schall told the board that the levy option would address both the district’s deficit spending and its decreasing cash carryover.

However, he did not say how much money 4.99 mills would generate or how much it would cost taxpayers.

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The state budget was released this week. But Kettering Superintendent Scott Inskeep said it’s unclear at this point how it will impact the district’s finances.

Schall said last month the district has been pushing for a change in Ohio’s current funding formula which would qualify Kettering for $8 million more a year than it now receives.

“So we may gear up for 4.99 (mills) and find out that they lifted some portion of the cap…and that would help us immensely,” Schall told the board Tuesday.

Inskeep said the district has had communications with state Rep. Andrea White and state Sen. Niraj Antani.

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“So I think they’re aware of the needs that as a district we have,” Inskeep said.

The coronavirus fallout will likely mean as much as $2.5 million of the carryover will go toward funding preschool, athletics “and the other ancillary programs,” Schall said.

More CARES funding could also influence projections as could tax collections, which have been “slow” due re-valuations by the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office, he said.

Schall said if the board favors a levy, it should start the process in June and decide by the end of July to meet the August filing deadline for the November ballot. Hopefully, he said, the state budget’s impact on Kettering will be clearer by July.

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