In November, I presented to the Board of Education a five-year financial forecast for the district covering three years of actual data and five years of anticipated revenues and expenditures. This is a legally required document that is presented to the board for approval and then filed with the state of Ohio.
This document is an important check-in point for our district, so that we can keep a clear view on what our future impacts and needs are.
The new five-year forecast reflects what we have been anticipating for some time — that the biggest impacts on our future finances will be inflation, enrollment growth and the decision to delay an operating levy for two years as a result of the pandemic and the economic situation.
As you may know, the last 10 years have been a period of significant growth for our district, and past projections have indicated that enrollment will continue to grow.
At the Board of Education meeting in January, we will be sharing a new enrollment projection report. This independent report is prepared by an outside agency that looks at everything from real estate trends to birth data to project how many students will be enrolled in our schools during the next 10 years. The updated report will provide us with an even clearer picture of the growth that is ahead of us.
As of next fall, it will have been five years since we last went to voters to request additional operating funding. Over the past two years, in the absence of new operating funding, we have creatively stretched our financial resources by reducing our budget reserve; seeking out approximately $4.6 million in cost reductions, primarily through a three-year hiring freeze on new positions; and utilizing additional COVID-related funding made available to school districts.
Even with the proactive steps we have taken, our expenditures are already outpacing our revenue. This is a typical levy cycle for a school district, and it’s why school districts usually go back to voters every three years to request new operating funding.
As we go forward in the 2022 calendar year, the Board of Education will continue to discuss how it will address the district’s future financial needs.
To review the new five year forecast, please visit our website at www.uaschools.org/treasurer.aspx.