Lake school forecast uncertain
Written by DEBBIE ROGERS Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 23 October 2013 10:21
MILLBURY - The five-year forecast for the Lake School District is cloudy with a chance of optimism.
At Wednesday's meeting, the board of education approved the five-year forecast as presented by Treasurer Jeff Carpenter. The forecast is required every October.
"This is probably the toughest one to work on," Carpenter said of this year's financial predictions.
He said this was the fourth funding model by the state in the last eight years.
"Will the funding model remain the same, can anyone answer that?" Carpenter asked.
The first two years of the forecast are fine, he said, with Lake finally getting an bump in state funding - the first increase in 14 years.
Total revenue for Lake was $12.6 million in 2012, and forecasted at $13.6 million for 2013, $13.9 million for 2014, $14.6 million for 2015, $14.1 million for 2016, $13.6 million for 2017 and $13.9 million for 2018.
Excluding the renewals/replacements of any levies, Lake has a small surplus through 2017 ($306,352).
"While it appears that this funding model reverses the downward trend in state revenues, we are still cautious given that this represents the fourth state education funding model in eight years and is still subject to the guarantees, caps and other distortions created by the political processes," Carpenter wrote in his report to the board.
"We've spent twice as much time on this forecast as any in the past, with half the confidence in the numbers, particularly for the years past the current biennium."
Board president Tim Krugh said it's difficult to predict some costs, such as health insurance for employees.
"It's definitely going up, how much - that's a big concern," he said.
Carpenter's report also noted:
• During the last tri-annual county property valuation update, Lake's total valuation dropped from $238 million to $217 million, resulting in a $380,000 annual loss in property tax receipts.
• Voters passed a 6.75-mill, three-year operating in 2012 that eliminated the need for a second round of layoffs.
• The Tangible Personal Property Tax is completely gone after a five-year phaseout. Combined with the Public Utility TTP payments being eliminated, the district's loss is $600,000 annually.
• Investment income has dropped, from $230,000 in 2008 to $1,900 in 2013, due to dwindling fund balances and interest rates at all-time lows.
In other business, the board heard a request from the Lake Equestrian Team, which has just won its fourth consecutive state title.
The state, which also means Lake, does not sanction equestrian clubs so the team is not able to participate in senior night, have a picture in the yearbook or get a letter.
Parents, including Jim Knieriem, and adviser Jenna Workman, who is a Lake graduate, asked if the team could be recognized with a banner in the gym.
Krugh said the board would consider the request.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Accepted an unpaid leave of absence for Laura Mapes, middle-school physical education/health teacher, for the rest of the school year.
• Heard the next meeting will be Nov. 20, starting at 5:30 p.m. with a dedication of the new classrooms in the high school. A board meeting will follow in the middle-school media center at 6 p.m.
• Heard Superintendent Jim Witt say Krugh was honored as one of the top six board of education members in the state by the Ohio School Boards Association. "When the tornado hit in 2010, Tim basically put his law practice on hold for six months," Witt said of the high school rebuilding process that Krugh headed, along with media relations. "He put in untold hours and never asked for anything in return."
• Went into an hour-long executive session to discuss employment and compensation of personnel.