By Rick Palsgrove
The latest financial forecast for Groveport Madison Schools projects the district will have a positive fund balance for the next five years.
“Overall we’re in good shape,” said Groveport Madison Treasurer John Walsh. “We’re pretty healthy.”
Walsh presented the five year financial forecast to the Groveport Madison Board of Education on Oct. 14.
“Prior cuts, funds from the 6.68 mill levy (passed in May 2014) and increased state funding are promoting financial stability for the district through 2020,” said Walsh. “The levy helps diversify our revenue.”
Walsh cautioned that the district needs to keep a watchful eye on future state budgets and those budgets’ potential affect on public school funding.
“There are two unknown state budgets in this forecast period covering three fiscal years (from 2018-20),” said Walsh.
He said Groveport Madison receives about 53 percent of its total funding from the state, 41 percent from local property taxes and 6 percent from other local sources.
Walsh also noted that property values are projected to be flat through 2017.
Regarding expenditures, Walsh said the district pays about 60 percent of its budget towards salary and benefits for its employees. He said other typical school districts pay about 75 percent of their budget toward wages and benefits. According to Walsh, one reason Groveport Madison’s wages and benefits percentage are lower is because the district contracts out for its busing transportation services.
Purchased services account for another 35 percent of the district’s expenses. These services include utilities, gas, electric, property insurance, transportation, and legal fees.
Included under purchased services are payments the district is required to make to “Community Schools, Open Enrollment, and the Educational Choice Voucher program,” according to the financial forecast report. These are deductions from the district’s state funding that must go to charter and community schools that receive state funding. Walsh said in fiscal year 2015 Groveport Madison was required to pay $12 million of its state and local funding to these programs.
“We are projecting this amount will continue to increase throughout the forecast,” said Walsh.
This $12 million figure is based on the number of students who live in the boundaries of the Groveport Madison district, but who attend community schools instead.
“There are approximately 2,000 students from Groveport Madison who are enrolled in community schools,” said Jeff Warner, Groveport Madison’s marketing, communications and community relations officer.
According to district officials there are approximately 5,900 students now attending Groveport Madison Schools.