SWCS budget on track

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At the April 28 South-Western City School Board of Education work session, Treasurer Hugh Garside gave his budget updates and compared them to the five-year forecast.

In the revenues category, the forecast predicted the district would bring in $189 million for the 2007-08 fiscal year.

“To date, our projected revenue is $188.2 million,” Garside said. “That is $1.5 million less than what was projected, or less than a 1 percent variance.”

Garside said when making projections for the five-year forecast, he projects a higher amount on the expenditures, and a lower amount for the revenues.

The district receives the revenues acquired through the general property tax, restricted and unrestricted grants, property tax allocation and investment income. The district also receives approximately 43 percent of its revenue from the State of Ohio.

In expenditures, the forecast predicted the district would spend $186 million. Expenditures include employees’ retirement and insurance benefits, salaries and wages, debt payments, purchased services, and supplies and materials, such as fuel for buses.

According to the forecast, the gas prices are budgets to increase by 30 percent each fiscal year.

“The winter is a big benchmark for the budget,” Garside said. “If you can make it through the winter without spending more than estimated, that is a big thing.”

The expenditures for this fiscal year are projected at about $184 million.

The forecast also predicted a cash balance of $15.8 million.

“Overall, I would say the budget looks really good,” said Garside. “We’re on target with the forecast and we expect to finish the fiscal year in good shape.”

The district is currently three fourths through the 2007-08 fiscal year.

Wellness committee

In order to make an effort with students in grades K-12, congress passed a law requiring each local education agency participating in the United States Department of Agriculture’s School Nutrition Programs to establish a local wellness policy by July 2006.

“The wellness policy encompasses so many things,” said Beth Glitt, director of food services. 

There are four main areas within the  district’s wellness policy. According to Harvey Nesser, the director of human services and chairman on the district’s wellness committee, those include, physical fitness, alcohol/tobacco and other drug prevention, emotional and mental health and nutrition.

“As a committee, we are impressed with the food services department because they are helping to promote healthier lifestyles,” Nesser said.

Those changes include new milk packaging (switching from cartons to bottles), using whole grains for pizza and bread sticks, and weeding out unhealthy snacks from vending machines.

“In the middle schools, we have snack wise choices in vending machines, but there are also regular potato chips and Doritos,” Glitt said. “We haven’t made the switch completely.”

As part of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the food services department also plans on weaning out carbonated beverages in vending machines across the schools and replacing them with either juices or diet beverages.

Glitt said since implementing these new measurement to help fight childhood obesity and promote healthier eating habits, lunch participation was increased by 3 percent, with the biggest percentage being in elementary schools.

“I’m happy about that one because that initiative was directed by my office,” she said. “The kids don’t know we’re loading them with secret healthy items.”

Celebrating educators

For their hard work and dedication, the SWCS Board of Education passed a resolution proclaiming May 4-10 Teacher and Staff Appreciation Week, with May 6 being designated as National Teacher Day.

There are over 2,500 teachers and staff employed with the SWCS district.

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