By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Joyce Boyer unveiled the district’s latest five-year forecast— which previously maintained financial stability by factors like limiting expenditure growth to just over 2 percent—and she hopes to follow a similar pattern for the next half-decade.
Like other districts across the state predicting conservative increases in state funding, Boyer said, “Since the district is trending toward expenditures exceeding revenue, it shows the need for the continuation of existing levies.”
According to Boyer, fiscal year 2014 funding was up $1.2 million due to a change in the state funding formula and is projected to be up an additional $1.7 million this fiscal year. Property values are expected to remain stable through the forecasted period. No substantial increases or decreases are anticipated due to reappraisal activity and the outlook for new construction growth is modest.
“Income tax growth has been strong over the last four-year period, and has exceeded state and national economic trends following the 2008 recession,” said Boyer. “Since 2011 income tax collection growth has averaged over 5 percent. The forecast assumes income tax growth for fiscal year 2015 through 2019 to remain strong at a 4 percent annual growth rate.”
Canal Winchester adopted an open enrollment policy in 2014 and generated $405,000 in revenue from 71 students. The level remained the same in 2015 and the forecast projects 75 students through open enrollment for fiscal year 2016 and beyond.
“The Diley Road TIFF supplied another $249,000 worth of revenue,” said Boyer. “In fiscal year 2015, the TIFF will generate $400,000 worth of revenue plus another $100,000 in delinquency payments for a total of $500,000. In 2016 through 2019 the TIFF is expected to generate $400,000 annually based upon information received from the Fairfield County auditor.”
Purchased services increased nearly $200,000 in 2014 because of transfers to community schools, open enrollment and other external scholarships. In fiscal year 2015, expenses are expected to increase another $200,000 due to increases in Educational Service Center costs.
Boyer said overall expenditures are projected to increase, on average, at a rate of 5.62 percent per year.
Some year-over-year projected increases are due to the demand increasing enrollment is expected to place on the district. In addition, purchased services spending was impacted in 2014 and 2015 because of the new state funding formula, which transferred dollars to community schools.
“Despite enrollment growth from 2009 through 2014, the district actually reduced staffing levels during the same period. These past staffing reductions helped the district remain financially stable during an economically challenging period,” said Boyer.
Boyer said fiscal year 2015 reflects the restoration of some of the staff that had been lost recently. Fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2019 anticipates staffing increases consistent with the rate of growth projected in student enrollment. Additionally, the forecast assumes a 2.5 percent annual base wage increase for fiscal year 2016 through fiscal year 2019.
In related action, board members approved a 2.5 percent classified salary increase for 2015-16 and the increase for the following year, followed by a two percent increase in 2017-18. Administrators also received a 2.5 percent increase for the upcoming school year, a 1.5 percent increase for 2016-17 and no increase in 2017-18.