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Budget deficits loom for Margaretta Schools

Alissa Widman Neese • Oct 1, 2013 at 9:50 AM

Margaretta Schools will hold off on possible building projects for at least another year, based on its new financial forecast.

The district will likely finish this school year with a $135,000 surplus, but it doesn’t have enough extra cash available for such projects, according to the five-year forecast treasurer Jude Hammond presented board members Monday.

Margaretta Schools is projecting yearly deficits ranging from $115,000 in 2014-15 to $1.75 million in 2017-18. Its reserve cash will cover excess expenses until 2017, when the funds will be entirely depleted.

As such, board members agreed Monday to defer a possible project with the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission until a later date. The commission is a state organization that provides partial funding for building construction or renovation projects it oversees.

The state would currently cover about 34 percent of the cost for Margaretta Schools, with the district providing the remainder, superintendent Ed Kurt said.

The Ohio Schools Facilities Commission first evaluated the district’s buildings about a decade ago in preparation for future projects, but the district hasn’t been able secure enough funds for its end of a possible deal, Kurt said.

“We have other things that are a priority right now, especially finding ways to increase security and safety in the buildings we already have,” he said.

Also at Monday’s meeting, board members agreed to amend the district’s policy of evaluating its treasurer. Previously, the policy didn’t mention allowing board members to contribute to the evaluation — only the superintendent could. “We always collaborate for that, though, so in a sense we just amended the policy to say what we were already doing,” Kurt said.

Board members were also set to vote on three agenda items to amend salaries and insurance for the district’s non-unionized employees, including secretaries, central office personnel, administrators and supervisors. Hammond removed the items from Monday’s agenda, however, because he and board members needed more time to review the proposals, he said.

They’ll likely take action at their Oct. 21 meeting.

Board members concluded the meeting with a closed-door session to discuss legal matters. No action took place after the private discussion.

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