SWCS talk five-year plan

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At the South-Western City School Work Session, held on Oct. 22, the board unveiled their five-year forecast.  

The forecast shows where the district is going money-wise, which means they determine what needs to be planned for future levies.

The tangible personal taxes were phased out in the fiscal year of 2006 when the state legislature passed a bill in June of 2005 to do so. The district will receive a full reimbursement on the tangible personal taxes from the state until 2009. The gradual phase out begins in 2010 and that revenue source will be completely gone by 2018.

“The tangible personal property tax was 10 percent of our revenue, which is about $20 million,” said Treasurer Hugh Garside.

“For instance, in 2002 the value was $408 million, and in 2006, we saw a decrease to $242 million, a difference of $166 million in value.”

However, some of the provisions of HB 66 (the property tax allocation) are to reimburse school districts for losses in personal tangible taxes. The board thinks this reimbursement will increase $4.5 million annually, which offsets the loss in personal tangible taxes.

SWCS Superintendent Kirk Hamilton said it was a wash to the district, since it will be eliminated in 2018, and said it is as if the state took a financial tool for the district and put it in theirs.

The district also acquires funds from restricted and unrestricted grants-in-aid. The restricted grants-in-aid primarily consist of poverty based assistance funds, which are received from the State of Ohio. Throughout the forecast period, it is anticipated that these funds will increase by 1 percent annually. The unrestricted grants are also anticipated to increase by 1 percent each year through fiscal year 2012.

Garside said in fiscal year 2008, the district would most likely be on the state’s guarantee due to flat enrollment growth and increasing assessed valuations.

For expenditures, the personal services, which are the salaries and wages, have been forecasted to include historical base and step increases, and also include increased staffing due to a projected increase in enrollment. However, since the district is currently in negotiations with the certified staff, those numbers were not readily available.

Health insurance has been in the national spotlight for some time now, but in the fiscal years of 2008 through 2012, Garside said to expect an 11 percent trend increase.

Rising gas prices have put a damper on funds.

“We have added a 30 percent increase annually to maintain the cost for bus fuel,” said Garside.

Garside said SWCS will most likely be back on the ballot, but that is up to the board to decide.

Teacher absence program

The district is launching a new web-based program that is designed to help with absentees.

“Principals took 10,000 calls for 10,000 absences last year,” said Janice Collette, director of pupil personnel.

The new program is call Aesop. Aesop is a 24 hour a day, seven days a week Web site that allows teachers to log on to notify the schools that they will need however many days they need off. Since the Web site is monitored all day long, substitute teachers can find their field subject and apply to cover the class that day.

“The teachers can send private notes to the substitute, or even the administrator,” said Personnel Director Randy Banks. “They can also upload lesson plans so that the substitute can have their lesson plans by when the time schools starts.”

Training for Aesop begins in November, and will last for 60 days so the district can get a feel for if it will be more successful than the absent filling-in as of current.

Graduation rate

When students learn they failed a grade, missed a credit, or could not pass a portion of a test, they have to go to summer school – a word dreaded by all high school students.

Recently, SWCS held their summer graduation for 40 students who could not graduate with their class.

“The last graduation report, we had an 89.7 percent graduation rate,” said Lois Rapp, assistant superintendent. “We are hopeful those 40 students will put us over the 90 percent mark.”

SWCS has 90 percent as their graduation bar.

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