Otsego balance heading downward PDF Print E-mail
Written by PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 28 October 2013 10:48
TONTOGANY - The Otsego Schools' finances will be in the black in the near term, but a levy may be needed in future years.
These numbers come from a five-year forecast approved by the school board at its meeting last week.
"These forecasts are for what you know at the time you put the numbers together," said District Treasurer Dawn Jacobs in a later interview, noting the difficulty of accurately predicting the numbers so far in advance.
School districts are required to submit five-year forecasts to the state twice a year, in October and May.
According to the forecast, the school district will end up with positive - but declining - balances every fiscal year through FY 2017, with FY 2014 ending with just over $3 million, and FY 2017 ending with approximately $1.17 million.
However, a projected deficit of just under $216,000 is projected for FY 2018 if district expenses continue at their current rate. Among the most significant expenses are employee health insurance costs, which increased by seven percent for FY 2014.
"If they don't do some sort of levy... we would end up with negative cash at the end of the year," said Jacobs.
At Tuesday's meeting, Jacobs indicated that the forecast reflects expectations that the district's tax revenue will be flat, "basically because we don't know what we don't know."
No growth is expected in property tax revenues, while a small increase is projected in the collection of income tax revenues.
"The increase in this revenue stream from 2012 to 2013 is nearly $100,000," the forecast says of income taxes.
In other business, the board:
• Went into a 10-minute executive session near the beginning of the meeting to discuss negotiations or bargaining sessions with public employees. No action was taken. Another executive session on the same subject also took place at the end of the meeting, and no action was taken as a result of that session.
• Heard from student board members concerning technology use at the high school. They reported that students like their new email accounts, which allow easier communication with teachers, as well as the Chromebook computers. Teachers, they said, are also increasingly permitting students to use their smartphones to seek out information in class.
• Approved an overnight trip for the Knightmusik group to Kettering on Nov. 9 and 10. The trip is at no cost to the board.

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