London reviews 5-year forecast

Each October and February, the Ohio Department of Education requires school district treasurers to submit a five-year financial forecast for their districts.

Treasurer Britt Lewis presented his forecast to the London City Schools Board of Education on Oct. 15. The report contains “good news,” but also news that the district likely will need to seek additional revenue in a few years.

“The good news is that we are in very, very good shape going into this year,” Lewis said, noting that spending cuts made last year have paid off.

Lewis’ report shows revenues outpacing expenditures by $1.1 million and a cash balance of $2 million for fiscal year 2008, which ends on June 30 of next year.

The district should remain in a “good cash position” for fiscal year 2009, he continued, when the projected cash balance is again $2 million. However, 2009 is when Lewis projects the district will begin deficit spending, meaning the district will have to dip into its cash savings as expenditures outpace revenues by about $50,000.

In fiscal year 2010, the forecasted cash balance goes to $1.4 million; deficit spending goes to $627,000. In 2011, the forecasted cash balance is negative by $280,000; deficit spending goes to $1.6 million.

Without renewal of the income tax levy and changes in state law for property tax allocation, fiscal year 2012 could mean a $6 million shortfall, Lewis said.

School board member Eric Schooley noted that even if the income tax is renewed at its current rate and the state makes the district whole on property taxes, the district could face a $2 million shortfall in 2012 due to increasing operational costs.

The district has already made substantial cuts in spending, Lewis said. The remedy likely will be to raise taxes to create more revenue, Schooley said.

Board member Melissa Canney asked when the district will start making levy plans. Superintendent Steve Allen said Lewis will share his forecast with the district’s finance action committee, which should have recommendations by the end of the year.

Comprehensive Plans

Ohio State University Extension community development agent Eric Imerman is heading up revision of the City of London’s comprehensive development plan. At the Oct. 15 school board meeting, he told the board he wants to be sure the city’s ideas mesh with any school district plans for potential access points to the back side of the high school/elementary school complex.

Residential development is increasing to the south and east of the school complex, he said. Road extensions are planned from the residential area out to Route 38. City planners have discussed the idea of eventually installing sidewalks, so children could walk to school from the Sheffield/Keny Boulevard residential area.

Imerman suggested that school and city officials meet to share information and ideas. School board President Vici Geer said a meeting will have to wait until after the district’s facilities action committee presents its recommendations for Phase II of the district’s building plan. The committee is expected to make those recommendations at the November school board meeting.

Elementary Radio Station

At each board meeting, one of London’s principals highlights a program or project going on in his or her school building. This month, London Elementary Principal Carol Daniels put the spotlight on her school’s radio station, WLES.

Each morning, a core group of eight fifth-graders organizes the morning broadcast, which can include music selections, announcements, current events, book of the week, famous quotes, and “This Day in History” facts. The eight students are Alex Cox, Sarah Flowers, Cheyenne Glover, Garrett Kronk, Samantha Newman, Nathaniel Oney, Skylar Virts and Bradley Wilson.  

According to fifth-grade teacher Chad Reeser, the core group began meeting in August before school started. They coordinate each show, help other student participants overcome performance jitters, operate the equipment, and “always sound professional” in front of their 1,000 classmates, Reeser said.

Daniels praised the fifth-graders for embracing their roles as upperclassmen at London Elementary and credited the fifth-grade staff for WLES’ continued success. In addition to Reeser, the fifth-grade teachers include Adrienne Crace and Julie Thompson.

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