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Clyde-Green Springs Schools up against it

Alissa Widman Neese • May 21, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Treasurer Joyce Dupont presented a five-year financial forecast to school board members Monday night, noting several variables contingent on the still preliminary state budget. The budget, which determines how much funding schools will receive, won’t become official until June 30.

Under its current “conservative” forecast, planning for no state funding increases, Clyde-Green Springs Schools is set to spend all its reserve cash by 2014, Dupont said. It is forecasting a deficit each year, ranging from about $76,000 in the current school year to about $2.8 million in the 2016-2017 school year. Its budget is about $20 million.

Board members approved the dismal forecast without discussion. 

“We’ll revise the forecast as soon as we get definite numbers from the state,” Dupont said at the meeting. “I’d rather go with the conservative proposal than backtrack on one expecting the funding.”

In his February budget proposal, Gov. John Kasich flatlined funding for Clyde-Green Springs Schools. The Ohio House of Representatives, however, recently amended the budget to include an increase of $500,000 a year for the district. It’s unknown if the amount will remain when the budget leaves the Ohio Senate.

“That would push us out to 2017 before our reserves are gone,” Dupont said. “Hopefully we’ll get some relief from the state, but we’ll see.”

Voters overwhelmingly rejected a five-year, 5.25-mill emergency operating levy May 7, leaving the district in its precarious financial position. The levy would have generated $1.1 million a year for day-to-day expenses.

After the levy failed, superintendent Laura Kagy said the district will likely decrease costs by cutting several staffing positions before the upcoming school year, also after the budget is approved. It may also place a levy on the November ballot.

Without cuts or increased funding, Clyde-Green Springs Schools could face fiscal emergency as early as next year, Kagy said.

In other business, school board members approved Monday a one-year contract between the district’s administrators and teachers union. It includes agreements related to the new state teacher evaluation system and amended health care benefits, but does not include pay increases. The current three-year contract expires June 30.

About 15 people attended the meeting but none spoke about the five-year forecast or the approved contract.

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