By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools’ treasurer painted a positive five-year picture in forecasting district finances—especially in property and income tax and other revenue sources.
“Our beginning cash balance (for fiscal year 2020) was $33.1 million,” said Nick Roberts during a May 17 Canal Winchester Board of Education meeting. “Our ending cash balance as of June 30 is $38 million, which is about a $4.9 million cash gain. You wouldn’t have thought we were in a pandemic.”
The projected cash balance at the end of the five-year forecast is projected at just over $42 million.
Approximately 54 percent of revenue is through local funding, followed by 45 percent from state sources. About two percent is derived from federal sources. On the expenditure side, salaries and benefits make up approximately 74 percent of the budget.
For school year 2021-22, the district is also adding new special services, which require an increase in personnel.
In referring to the forecast, Roberts said there are not a lot of changes forecasted for expenditures. However, he said there were big changes in tax revenue this year.
“We were not expecting property tax values to increase by $80 million,” said Roberts. “The $80 million was the largest in district history for an update (year). We’re going to see an abundance of growth. There’s still lots of farmland and it continues to be sold.”
According to Roberts, for about a decade, property tax values remained relatively flat.
However, within the last three to four years, he said values have jumped from the $430 million range to $610 million.
Using a portion of the projected increase in revenue in paying off the district’s debt in 2028 could also save $17 million.
Scout Troop 103 member Dan Myers reported on his Eagle Scout project—the installation of a 20-station story walk at Winchester Trail Elementary.
The wooden stands with metal bases will be located behind the school’s swing set along the tree line and constructed by fellow scouts and their parents starting in June. According to Myers, they can be removed to facilitate groundskeeping.
The first stand will contain title page information. Stands two through 19 will feature a book’s contents and the final stand will have an interactive element. The books will change periodically.
Myers said the cost of the project is $1,000 and is $500 under budget.
“The purpose of the story walk is to get kids out of the classroom,” Myers said, “and get them a better and newer way of learning instead of being stuck inside a classroom for six hours.”