By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
The financial picture at Jonathan Alder Local Schools is improving, but it’s far from what school officials want it to be.
According to the five-year forecast Treasurer Aaron Johnson presented at the Oct. 14 school board meeting, the district ended the fiscal year, June 30, with a $114,000 cash balance. Johnson anticipates a $400,000 cash balance at the end of next fiscal year, June 30, 2014.
“We should have a cash balance of one month’s operating expenses,” he said, which would be $1.4 million. “Some districts have as much as three months expenses on hand.”
The five-year forecast will be filed with the Ohio Department of Education this month. Forecasts are updated and filed twice yearly in October and May.
Jonathan Alder’s finances took a hit last spring when a posting error was discovered in the five-year forecast. As a result, the district made over $1 million in cuts.
In order to get the cash balance where it should be, the district must find ways to raise revenue, Johnson said.
A newly created financial advisory council met in September and has another meeting in November.
“We inundated them with information,” said board member Shannon Foust. “I expect them to have questions at the next meeting.”
In the past month, the district received several grants to help with numerous projects.
Among them was a $7,000 grant from the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs Expansion Grant. Superintendent Gary Chapman said this money will be used to purchase portable point-of-sale tablets and breakfast carts to enable food service workers to give meals to students as they walk in the door.
Chapman said 25 percent of the district’s students qualify for free and reduced price meals, but only one-third of them are eating breakfast. The equipment will help food service workers reach more students.
Plain City Elementary School received a $2,000 grant from Mike Furrey for soccer goals. Monroe Middle School received three grants: $100 from The Silent Hand Circle of King’s Daughters for student fees; $500 from the Capitol Square Foundation Transportation Grant, funded by Honda of America and Wal-Mart for transportation to the Statehouse; and $750 in a Donors Choose grant for iPads in the classroom.