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Casino funds lower than expected for Groveport Madison Schools
The new casinos in Ohio are not generating as much money for the public schools as was initially anticipated.
"Casino revenue will not save school districts," said Groveport Madison Schools Treasurer Tony Swartz.
According to Ohio Department of Taxation estimates, Swartz said it was originally thought Groveport Madison would receive $21 per pupil, for a total of $120,183, in casino revenue in fiscal year 2012-13. However, the revised estimate is the district will receive $19 per pupil for a total of $108,737. In fiscal year 2013-14, it was expected Groveport Madison would receive $71 per pupil in casino revenue for a total of $406,333. Instead it is estimated the district will receive $50 per pupil for a total of $286,150.
"Revenue at the casinos is turning out to be not as high as was estimated originally," said Swartz.
According to an Oct. 17 casino revenue estimate report by Mike Sobul, treasurer at Granville EVSD, revenues at the Toledo casino are 16 percent below projection and 13.5 percent below projection in Cleveland. He stated revenues at these two casinos in September were down 14 percent from July.
Sobul stated the recent opening of the casino in Columbus "will help revenues in the current quarter, but should not completely offset the continued shortfall in the other two casinos. Also, given the pattern in Cleveland and Toledo, I would assume the Columbus casino will begin showing drops in revenue from early levels after the first of the year."
Sobul's report notes the fiscal year 2014 estimates are "a little trickier to predict" because of the uncertainty of the opening date of the Cincinnati casino next spring.
The news of the decrease in anticipated casino funds further impacts Groveport Madison's already gloomy five-year financial forecast, which projects the district to be in the negative in each of the next five years by: $438,397 in 2013; $4.7 million in 2014; $9.6 million in 2015; $15 million in 2016; and $20.5 million in 2017.
According to Swartz, Groveport Madison's financial shortfall is the result of a combination of:
•declining property tax revenues due to a 2011 reappraisal of property tax values in the district that resulted in an 8 percent decrease in value;
•a loss of $1.9 million in 2011 and $2.5 million in 2012 caused by the rising number of delinquent residential and commercial property tax collections in the district;
•no more federal stimulus money being available for the district;
•the state's latest budget bill, which will result in Groveport Madison losing state monies of $1.7 million in 2012 and $362,000 in 2013; and
•the levy district voters passed last August being a "no new taxes" levy, so it did not generate additional money for the district.
Swartz said the school board must act by February if it wants to place a levy on the May 2013 ballot.
The board will consider the issue of a potential levy further at future meetings.
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