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District seeks renewal of levies

Alissa Widman Neese • Oct 18, 2013 at 3:40 PM

Huron Schools can get through the next two years without additional funding from any tax levies.

Nonetheless, officials are hopeful voters will approve two renewal levies in the next two years. Doing so would secure enough funding to keep the district from asking voters for new money as long as possible, likely until 2016.

At a board meeting this week, treasurer Mike Weis reviewed Huron Schools finances with board members and about 30 others. A few questioned the district’s financial status before the presentation even began.

Huron Schools is projecting deficits every year, ranging from almost $2 million in the current school year and $5.6 million in the 2017-18 school year, according to its most recent fiveyear financial forecast, updated this month.

It is set to spend all its reserve cash by 2016. Its annual budget is about $14.6 million.

The forecast does not account for renewal levies, however, which significantly alter the picture.

The district is seeking its first renewal of a five-year, 5.9-mill operating levy voters approved in 2008. That levy will appear on the November ballot, while another, smaller levy renewal will likely appear on a ballot next year.

This year’s proposed levy generates about $1.2 million annually for the district. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home about $181 each year.

If voters approve both renewal levies and district officials enact a few cuts, Huron Schools will possibly have enough reserve cash to end the 2015-16 school year without a deficit, Weis said.

Voters have never rejected a renewal levy for the district, so that’s likely a more accurate portrayal of the district’s current finances, as well as the best possible scenario, he said.

“All our numbers on the forecast are very conservative, with the lowest possible revenue and the highest possible expenses,” Weis said. “I’m positive, even without the levies, we’ll end the 2014-15 school year in the black. It’s not a lot of black, but it’s still black.”

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