By Rick Palsgrove
Groveport Madison Schools’ finances are in good shape.
According to a recent five year financial forecast prepared by Groveport Madison Schools Treasurer John Walsh, the district is expected to have positive ending cash balances of $10.7 million in 2017; $12.8 million in 2018; $14.9 million in 2019; $12.1 million in 2020; and $4.8 million in 2021. (The projected figures for 2020 and 2021 could change if the current five year operating levy – which was passed in 2014 – is renewed.)
“The district’s existing 6.8 mill substitute emergency levy will expire on Dec. 31, 2019,” said Walsh. “The renewal of this levy is necessary to keep the district financially healthy long term.”
Walsh described the five year forecast as a planning tool for the district.
“Over the next several years we are in an excellent position to make gains for our students,” said Walsh.
Walsh said the district receives 52.6 percent of its revenue from state funding and 42 percent from real estate property taxes.
He cautioned that state funding can change from year to year, adding that the current proposed state budget does not include increased future revenue for schools.
“Also, future state funding formulas are uncertain,” said Walsh.
Walsh said real estate property values fell by 5.1 percent for residential and 0.7 percent for commercial in 2014. However, he said an appraisal update in 2017 projects a 1 percent increase in residential and commercial property values.
“People are where your costs are as about 60 percent of expenditures go to employee salaries and benefits,” said Walsh.
He said another 35 percent of expenses go to purchased services. Of the total amount of purchased services: 36 percent goes to community/charter school deductions; 20 percent goes toward transportation; 16 percent to legal, network, curriculum, substitutes, etc.; 6 percent toward open enrollment deductions; and the remaining to utilities, STEM, and other services.
“Significant payments are made to community schools, open enrollment, and the Educational Choice Voucher Program,” said Walsh. “We have about 1,200 students who live in our district but who attend other schools elsewhere.”
In Ohio, money follows the students and, because of this, Groveport Madison loses dollars to other schools that some students choose to attend instead of Groveport Madison.
Regarding future expenditures, Walsh said it is inevitable that costs will continue to increase over time.
“The district administrators will be able to plan for the future needs of our students with the financial stability obtained with the current state budget and the passage of the levy (before it expires in 2019),” said Walsh. “But they will also need to be mindful that there are many risks and uncertainties that will need to be considered in planning as there are two new state budgets in the time period of fiscal year 2018 to fiscal year 2021.”