West Jeff Schools: Financial forecast and food service update


(Posted May 9, 2023)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

At the May 8 Jefferson Local Schools board meeting, Treasurer Mark Ingles provided an update on the district’s five-year forecast. The forecast is required by state law.

“It’s a financial forecast,” Ingles said. “A television weatherman has to go out 10 days. We have to go out five years.”

The financial forecast is adjusted with changes in the state budget, tax levies, salary increases, and businesses moving in and out of the district. It is a crucial management tool that enables district leaders to be proactive in meeting challenges, as well.

According to Ingles’s report, a revenue overview indicates Jefferson Local is substantially on target with original estimates at this point in the year. Total general funds are estimated at $17.4 million, more than 6 percent higher than the $16.4 million that was predicted in the November 2022 forecast.

Property taxes, estimated to be $6.87 million, are the district’s most significant source of revenue representing 39.5 percent of all revenues. The district received $2.13 million in income tax in fiscal year 2023, and Ingles estimates it will receive $4.75 million in state aid.

State revenue represents almost 31 percent of Jefferson Local’s funding resources, however the source is subject to significant risk if the state economy stalls due to sustained high inflation.

“We have projected our state funding to be in line with the fiscal year ‘23 funding levels through fiscal year ‘27 which we feel is conservative and should be whatever the state approves for FY24 to FY27 biennium budgets,” Ingles stated in his department’s written report.

Other revenues are up $892,381 over original estimates, and interest revenues are up, as well. Nevertheless, these sources are somewhat unpredictable from year to year.

Total general fund expenditures are estimated to be $15.97 million for the current fiscal year, which is $12,000 higher than the original estimate of $15.96 million in November.

Benefits and wages are approximately 70 percent of the district’s budget which Ingles said is typical for school districts. He expects personnel costs to go up every year.

“Labor relations in our district have been amicable,” Ingles reported, “with all parties working for the best interest of students and realizing the resource challenges we face. We believe that as we move forward, our positive working relationship will continue and only grow stronger.”

According to Ingles, the district has a pair of levies that expire in a couple of years that are critical for the district’s overall financial health.

School food service
Prior to the treasurer’s presentation, Angela Hotlosz, local food service director for Chartwells, and Will King, lunch services director, updated the board and superintendent on the company’s services to Jefferson Local Schools.

“We’ve seen a nice growth pattern at the elementary and high school buildings,” King said. “We continue to cook throughout the day.”

Parents and guardians can access the Nutrislice menus app to view meal selections on a daily basis, and students can provide feedback through CHATback, a text-based tool. The company also conducts surveys and solicits comments through focus groups.

King said Chartwells features scratch and batch cooking at each building, and food selections are rotated on a daily basis. The company also participated in Breakfast with Santa, staff appreciation events, and a health fair.

Interactive Discovery Kitchen programming introduces students to the food service process, and Global Eats introduces them to dishes from around the world.

“We really want to involve the kids,” Hotlosz said.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.