By Rick Palsgrove
The passage of its recent operating levy on Nov. 5 has put Groveport Madison on solid financial footing.
On Nov. 13, the Groveport Madison Board of Education reviewed and approved the district’s most recent five year financial forecast.
“A five year financial forecast has risks and uncertainty, not only due to economic uncertainties, but also due to state legislative changes that will occur in the spring of 2021 and 2023 due to the deliberation of the next two state biennium budgets for fiscal years 2022-23 and 2024-25,” wrote Groveport Madison Schools Interim Treasurer Joyce Disharoon in her report on the forecast.
Groveport Madison’s most recent five year forecast shows the district with positive cash balances of $19.3 million in 2020; $17.6 million in 2021; $14 million in 2022; and $8.3 million in 2023; and a projected deficit of $8,009 in 2024.
Disharoon said the passage of the renewal levy allows district officials “to plan for the future and to help maintain fiscal stability for the district.”
Looking ahead, Disharoon said, “The district’s 6.68 mill current expense levy will expire on Dec. 31, 2024. The renewal of this levy is necessary to keep the district financially healthy long term.”
According to the five year forecast, the district’s general fund revenue for fiscal year 2020 is $85.1 million.
The district receives 53 percent of its revenue from state funding. Real estate property taxes make up 42 percent of the revenue with the remaining 5 percent coming from other local sources.
Disharoon reported the district received additional state funding in fiscal years 2016-17 and 2018-19.
“The increases were beneficial to the overall operations of the district and for the education of our students,” said Disharoon.
However, state funding for students was not increased for 2019-21, according to the forecast.
She added that district officials are “disappointed that (the state) does not provide additional non-restricted funding to our district to help offset the ongoing phase out of tangible personal property reimbursements.”
According to the forecast, the district’s expenditures for fiscal year 2020 are $83.7 million.
District employee wages and benefits account for 64 percent of the district’s expenditures. Purchased services make up 30 percent of expenses while materials are 4 percent, capital is 1 percent and miscellaneous is 1 percent.
Purchased services expenses include payments for contracted services, utilities, gas, electric, property insurance, and transportation. A significant percentage of purchased services expenses comes from Groveport Madison being required to make payments to community (charter) schools. Likewise, the Educational Choice Voucher program and open enrollment schools are also expenses.
The cost for students who live within the Groveport Madison district borders but who attend school elsewhere is an expense for the district. In Ohio, state money follows the student so Groveport Madison loses dollars to other schools where these students choose to attend instead of Groveport Madison. This amounts to approximately $11 million annually the district loses because the money follows area resident students who choose to be educated in another district.
Another expense for the district is the $121,057 per year it spends leasing modular classrooms.