WL-S predicting deficits despite levy renewals


By Casey S. Elliott - celliott@civitasmedia.com



WEST LIBERTY – West Liberty-Salem Local Schools officials are predicting budget shortfalls five years out, even if current levies are renewed.

The school board approved the district’s five-year financial forecast at its Oct. 20 meeting. The forecast is required to be produced in May and October each year by Ohio law.

The forecast predicts the school district will end the current school year with $13,406,749 in revenue, and next school year with $13,351,186. Revenue is estimated to decline to $12,345,880 in the 2019-20 school year.

Revenues are predicted to decrease if current levies are not renewed, and state funding is predicted to remain flat, according to the five-year forecast assumptions document prepared by Treasurer Steve Godwin.

Expenses are estimated to end the current school year at $13,150,961 and next school year at $13,778,120. Expenses are estimated to increase to $15,234,419 in the 2019-20 school year.

Expenses are estimated to increase in salaries for employees and health insurance costs. The forecast predicts salaries will increase 2 percent each year along with step adjustments calculated at 1.5 percent, through fiscal year 2016. The remaining years the base increase included is 1.5 percent.

Health insurance is predicted to increase by 7.5 percent each year.

The forecast predicts the district will end the current school year with a $255,787 surplus, and next school year with a $426,933 shortfall. The district is estimated to end the 2019-20 school year with a $2,978,540 shortfall, but with levy dollars and cash reserves, that would decline to a $6,608 shortfall.

By Casey S. Elliott

celliott@civitasmedia.com

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.

Casey S. Elliott may be reached at 937-652-1331 ext. 1772 or on Twitter @UDCElliott.