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Highland treasurer presents five-year forecast

10/18/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Audrey French

At the Oct. 15 Highland Local Schools Board of Education meeting, Treasurer Neil Barnes presented the five-year financial forecast.

The forecast is a tool used to assist the district in planning for the future and includes analysis and predictions of the district’s General Fund, Emergency Levy Fund and Education Jobs Fund, according to district officials.

Total operating revenues for fiscal year (FY) 2013 are projected to increase by 8 percent over FY 2012 to an estimated $28.2 million, according to Barnes. This is attributable to the fact FY 2013 is the first fiscal year in which a full year’s worth of collections will take place from the emergency levy passed in May 2011, he said.

In addition, other major revenue assumptions include 1 percent new construction growth beyond FY 2013, the commencement of casino tax revenues in FY 2013 and the discontinuance of the tangible personal property tax reimbursement in FY 2014, said Barnes. Subsequent to FY 2013, these revenues are only expected to increase by roughly 0.50 percent annually, he said.

Expenditures for FY 2013 are expected to increase 2.7 percent over FY 2012 to about $26 million, due largely in part to purchased service costs, Barnes said. Beyond FY 2013, expenditures are expected to increase 4 percent annually.

Given these estimates, it remains possible the district will experience a budget deficit by FY 2015; however, in his five-year forecast summary, Barnes said this forecast was “compiled in a conservative fashion,” and “it is too early to draw conclusion about [the need for] future levy requests at this time.”

Barnes said the district’s goal will continue to be “maximizing revenues and containing costs in a manner that results in a lengthened levy cycle.”

In other business:

• The board approved the renewal of the district’s property, inland marine, crime, general liability, automobile and umbrella insurance policies with Ohio Casualty through Brooker Insurance Agency.

• Granger Elementary School Principal LeAnn Gausman gave a presentation on the new state-mandated Third Grade Reading Guarantee, which focuses on reading diagnostic testing and intervention for kindergarten through third-grade students with the goal of ensuring all students can read by third grade. Students who test below a certain level will be required to participate in a reading improvement and monitoring plan and ultimately may be retained in third grade until their scores improve, she said.

• Four Highland High School students participated in the Cleveland Clinic Internship Program this past summer, including: graduate Calvin Rhoads and current seniors Ashley Lengel, Kristen Bede and Nicole Hadler. Bede and Hadler both presented their summer research at the meeting. Bede explained how she interned with a radiologist at Cleveland Clinic’s main campus, and Hadler discussed her internship with the Rehabilitation Services staff at Medina Hospital.

• Teacher Darla Miller discussed the out-of-country high school trip she has planned for June 2013. Students who participate will travel to northern Spain, southern France and Italy, allowing them to practice their language skills, learn about architecture and experience travel abroad.

• The board agreed to pay parents of 44 students attending area private schools the state average cost of transportation in lieu of the district providing transportation.

• Several donations were made to the district totaling $9,753. Specifically, the Highland High School Speech and Debate Team received $900. In addition, Sharon Elementary School Principal Connie Marzullo explained the Sharon Community Trust granted Sharon Elementary $4,500 to purchase iPads for first- and second-grade students as part of a new technology pilot program.

The next Highland Board of Education meeting will take place Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Hinckley Elementary School, 1586 Center Road.

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