BEAVER TOWNSHIP- The South Range Local School District is facing an operating deficit by July 2014.
The school board Monday night accepted Treasurer Jim Phillips' five-year forecast which predicts the district to be operating in a deficit of $884,600 by the end of the next fiscal year and $2.7 million the following one. The district will have a $799,945 carryover at the end of this year, according to the forecast.
According to Phillips, the projections include the renewal levy on the November ballot. If it fails, the district could be facing a $1 million deficit by the end of next year, ballooning to over $3 million the following year, he said.
Phillips reminded the board and the public that the forecast only shows what the budget will look like if the district continues to operate in the same manner in the coming years, acting as a warning of impending problems.
"The point is to show that we need to do something about it," he said. "This shows what will happen if we continue on the same path, which we are not permitted to do (operate in a deficit)."
Phillips also noted that the deficit had been projected two years ago, but that financial maneuvers including staff cuts and the shale gas bonus had delayed it. He said that although expenditures continue to increase, revenue from the state and property taxes does not, causing the deficit.
In other business, the board approved the consideration of a comprehensive update to the board policy manual.
According to schools Superintendent Dennis Dunham, the school board and administration have been working with the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) and the Northeast Ohio Learning Associates (NEOLA) the past year to update the bylaws, which will be available on the school's website if accepted at the November board meeting.
The board also approved an addendum to its contract with Nutrition Group for management of the cafeteria, agreeing to pay an upfront cost for personnel and curriculum that will be reconciled at the end of the school year. According to Phillips the term of agreement is usually included in the company's contracts, but had been missed in South Range's.
Also at the meeting, Dunham reminded residents that the district has a 2.4-mill, 10-year renewal levy on the November ballot. Generating approximately $430,555 annually, the levy enables the district to maintain its level of operation, he said. He reminded residents that it is a renewal levy and will not raise tax rates.
The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Nov. 19 at the K-12 campus.
Kevin Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org