By Linda Dillman
Canal Winchester Schools’ officials may put a two-acre tract of land on Groveport Road, up for sale soon.
The land abuts Indian Trail Elementary School and is sandwiched between two other private properties.
Canal Winchester Schools Superintendent James Sotlar said the land was originally intended as an access to Indian Trail, but is no longer needed.
“It isn’t doing us any good,” said Sotlar. “We don’t really need it.”
However, selling land belonging to a public entity like the school district is not easy. There are multiple hoops to jump through including offering the property to neighboring entities like the city and Madison Township.
“Canal Winchester has no interest in the land,” said Sotlar, who also imagined the township would not be interested as well.
The next step is to put the property up for auction, which is open to the public.
“Then, if it doesn’t sell (at auction), we can sell it privately,” Sotlar said. “I don’t believe it’s anything but a nice piece of greenspace.”
The district still owns developable land off of Lithopolis Road, according to Sotlar.
“There is interest from one of the individuals in one of the houses (bordering the property),” said Sotlar. “If no one bids on it, then we can sell it privately.”
Canal Winchester Schools Treasurer Nick Roberts said the most recent fiscal year, which ended on June 30 was efficient for the district.
Annual revenue exceeded expenditures by $5.27 million, which exceeded October forecasted projections by more than $2 million.
The year-end general fund cash balance is $29.5 million, which, according to Roberts, “allows the district to proactively plan for future needs without burdening taxpayers with additional taxes. We have a very strong fund balance. The longer we hold on to a cash balance, the longer we can stay away from taxpayers.”
Revenue from tax collections and state funding was up, as well as in investments.
“We almost hit the $1 million mark in investments,” said Roberts.
The ending balance was $911,433. In 2014, the number was $37,008.
Annual revenue totaled more than $47.7 million, which exceeded October projections by 2.5 percent. Property and income tax collections increased by $2.1 million, a jump of 4.6 percent.
Annual state funding also increased by $581,000 and all other revenue went up by 26 percent due to better than expected investment earnings.
On the expenditure side of the ledger, the district spent $42.5 million. Annual year-over-year expenditures increased, overall, by $2.2 million. Personnel expenditures for salaries and benefits, which make up more than 78 percent of the operational budget, increased by $1.2 million.
However, annual operating expenses—excluding personnel—decreased by $740,000.
“Overall, it was an excellent year,” said Roberts.