Written by MARIE THOMAS BAIRD Sentinel Education Editor
Monday, 21 October 2013 09:40
PERRYSBURG - With uncertainty reigning in Columbus, Penta Career Center's financial forecast remains flat for the next five years.
Center Treasurer Carrie Herringshaw presented her five-year forecast at the Oct. 9 board meeting, explaining that without information from the state, she is keeping her total revenue flat at $26,169,605 from 2014-15 to 1917-18.
She said she was "fairly confident" with her projected revenue of $26,130,618 for this school year - combined property tax income and state foundation payment - but is frustrated over not getting any answers from the state for future funding.
That total includes $14,041,000 from the state, a 6.25-percent increase over what was received in 2012-13.
She said she asked officials why they're requiring a five-year forecast when those same officials can't guarantee the level of funding in future years.
She said she was told the center could always change its forecast as funds are released.
"That's just the best information we have right now," she stated.
The state did provide numbers for next year, "but we don't know where their numbers are coming from."
She wrote in her report to the board: "The funding estimate provided by the Ohio Department of Education cannot be verified for FY15 at this time, so state foundation payments are projected for the forecast to remain constant for FY14 to FY18."
"But people look at these to make decisions," she stated.
Superintendent Ron Matter told the board he and Herringshaw might have answers in May.
Herringshaw's reported an overall decrease in real and personal property tax revenue and property tax rollback/homestead exemptions due to reappraisals in 2012 in Lucas and Ottawa counties.
Penta enrolls student from those two counties, plus Sandusky, Fulton and Wood.
Penta collects on a total of 2.2 mills, which is a combination of three continuing levies, the last one approved in 1981.
Herringshaw has projected tax revenues to remain flat for 2014-15 to 2017-18 at $9.74 million.
The salaries line item will increase each year after contracts with both certificated and classified personnel were ratified effective July 1.
The contracts contain a 2.5-percent increase as well as a step increase for this school year, and 2 percent in 2014-15 and 1.5 percent in 2015-16.
This year's budget for salaries is $15,294,527 but increases to $16,584,730 in 2017-18; the last year's increase is due to salary step increases, Herringshaw explained.
Penta's unreserved fund balance - containing funds not specifically earmarked - falls from $5,597,065 this year to $325,904 in 2017-18.
That's due to an estimated overspending of expenses over revenue by $1 million this year, $434,814 next year, $868,845 in 2015-16, $1.58 million in 2016-17 and $2.38 million in 2017-18.
Any cuts to increase that projected fund balance would have to be made by the board.