Lake schools may need new operating money soon


By Debbie Rogers

[email protected]

MILLBURY — The Lake Local Schools district hasn’t had new operating money since 2012.

At the May board of education meeting, Treasurer Maria Robinson presented a five-year forecast that shows the growing need for new money.

“It’s been a long time,” said board member Brad Blandin.

The district is running a deficit each year of the five-year forecast. It starts at $173,000 this year and goes to $1.8 million in 2027.

The outlook says that Lake will have $18.3 million in revenue in fiscal year 2022, $18.8 million in 2023, $19.6 million in 2024, $20 million in 2025, $20.4 million in 2026 and $20.7 million in 2027.

Total expenses are expected to be $18.5 million in fiscal year 2022, $20.2 million in 2023, $20.1 million in 2024, $20.9 million in 2025, $21.8 million in 2026 and $22.5 million in 2027.

The forecast assumes a 2.9% increase to real estate taxes in 2023, with revenue somewhat flat. The exception is 2025, which is 5.5%, to account for the county reappraisal.

Real estate taxes are 49% of Lake’s revenue, Robinson said.

“The guessing game is the Ohio Department of Education Public School Funding, which is 34%,” she said. “First Solar tax abatements are 4.8%.”

Interest rates are also a highlight, with the bank savings earning 4%, Robinson said.

The forecast can and probably will change, Robinson said.

“Our five-year forecast is very fluid document, every day things changes,” she said. “Again, with the state budget in limbo, we won’t know a lot more with the school funding until after June 30.”

With Ohio officials working on a biennium budget, state funding is just a guess right now, Robinson said.

The forecast assumes “flat line” for state funding in 2024 and 2025 and a small increase for 2026 and 2027.

The largest expenditure for Lake is salaries, at 55%; the next is benefits at 20%, Robinson said.

Purchased services from the educational service center make up 13% of expenditures, she said.

Also at the May 30 meeting, the board:

• Heard that 185 students are on campus for Summer Soar classes and programming; 30 registered the night before it started.

Summer Soar includes lunch, breakfast and transportation.

There are four buses running for it, said Jodi Takats, director of curriculum and special education.

“We don’t turn anyone away,” she said.

Takats added that she has fielded calls from 20 families from other school districts asking to attend Lake’s program.

• Accepted resignations from Heather Wulff, music teacher; Bethany Papst, third grade teacher; Angie Gutierrez, sixth grade math teacher; and Chad McCarthy, middle school assistant principal.

• Approved changes in position for Kelly Glass from building sub to seventh grade ELA, Amanda Healy from fifth grade math to sixth grade math, Angie LaFountain from high school intervention specialist to elementary intervention specialist and Nickie Myerholtz from second grade teacher to STEM/technology.

• Hired Sophie Sutter, second grade teacher; Miranda Swartz, sixth grade ELA teacher; Lane Bishop, fifth grade math teacher; Averia Dunbar, third grade teacher; Elizabeth Curavo, sixth grade intervention specialist; and Allyson Shinaver, fourth grade teacher

• Heard Blandin report that some Lake officials are in the early stages of exploring starting a foundation.

“We think there’s some opportunities there to build some partnerships,” he said.

• Tabled several co-curricular committee recommendations to give stipends or increase.

• Accepted donations from Mel-O-Creme, 30 coupons for free cones (value $75); anonymous, $2,500 to the special education department; and anonymous, $2,500 to the MVP Program.

• Went into executive session to discuss employment and compensation of personnel. No action was taken.

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