Groveport Madison Schools’ finances are in good shape

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By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Editor

Groveport Madison Schools’ five-year financial forecast indicates the district is on solid financial ground through 2025.

“We are very stable through 2025,” said Groveport Madison Treasurer Felicia Drummey. “District staff is doing a great job of holding expenses in check with thoughtful and conservative management of district resources. We are maintaining about the same spending level as three to four years ago and are spending less than we did in 2019 and a little more than we did in 2018.”

Added Groveport Madison Communications Director Jeff Warner, “We are on solid financial ground for the duration of the five year forecast based on current information and the current funding model.”

Groveport Madison Superintendent Garilee Ogden cited the district’s efforts to increase efficiency and to make necessary reductions – all while maintaining programming opportunities for students – as important steps for financial stability and quality education offerings.

Warner said that, in May 2020, Governor Mike DeWine issued an executive order reducing state funding to Ohio’s schools by $300 million due to the loss of sales tax revenue from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Of that amount, Groveport Madison’s reduction equaled about $1.1 million (approximately 2.67 percent of the district’s fiscal year 2020 budget). Additionally, the district cut $2.3 million in staffing and spending reductions in 2021 with 22 staff positions remaining unfilled through attrition, expiring contracts, and program changes.

The district’s most recent operating levy was approved by voters in 2019 and it is set to expire in 2024. That five-year levy was a “no new taxes” levy and it was the renewal of an existing levy.

“We promised the community we would be fiscally responsible and not ask for a levy before 2024,” said Ogden.

Ogden said if the proposed House Bill 1, which deals with Fair School Funding, currently working its way through the Ohio Statehouse is approved as it stands now, it could possibly generate more state funding for Groveport Madison and enable the district to put off asking for its renewal levy.

“I encourage our community to tell their state legislators to support House Bill 1,” said Ogden.

According to the forecast, the district’s cash balance (which Drummey described as being the district’s “savings account”) for the next five years is estimated at: $25.5 million in 2021; $24.9 million in 2022; $22 million in 2023; $16.4 million in 2024; and $6 million in 2025. The 2025 figure is lower because the levy expires in 2024.

Revenues
The district had revenues totaling $84.2 million in 2020. Of that amount, 50.5 percent comes from state aid; 42.1 percent from local taxes; 2.7 percent from restricted state aid; 2.4 percent miscellaneous; 1.5 percent from tuition; and 0.73 percent from interest.

Expenses
The district had expenses totaling $82.7 million in 2020. Of that amount, 42.8 percent is employee salary and wages; 30.7 percent is purchased service; 20.7 percent is employee benefits; 3.1 percent is other; 2.5 percent is supplies and materials; and 0.19 percent is capital expenses.

“We will continue to be vigilant and monitor our spending,” said Warner.

Drummey noted most area school districts spend around 80 to 85 percent of their budget on employee salaries and benefits while Groveport Madison only spends about 63 percent.

Warner said personnel costs are the dominant expense in school districts because schools are service organizations whose main resources are its people.

Coming up
Community members will notice a lot of work being done at the schools this summer. Ogden said these projects are being funded by federal COVID-19 relief funds. The Groveport Messenger will have articles in June and July discussing the nature of these projects and how they are funded.

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