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Springfield district reporting healthy cash balance

7/18/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Maria Lindsay

Springfield Local School District is ending the school year with a healthy cash balance.

At the July 16 Board of Education meeting, Treasurer Chris Adams reported he has closed the books for the fiscal year ending June 30 with $7.7 million in the black.

“It was a good year,” he said. “We increased our cash balance, and we are in a cycle where we are accumulating wealth. We are approaching a spending cycle, but we hope to extend the accumulation cycle.

“We will need these funds in the future. We can’t expect property owners to continue to carry the burden.”

Adams reported the district’s revenue for the year was down 4 percent, or almost $1 million, due to a number of commercial entities challenging the valuation of their properties, which resulted in a loss of about $500,000 to the district. He also said he expects next year’s revenue from property taxes to be “more stable” and “maybe even grow.”

Adams added the district has received a $60,000 Workers’ Compensation refund, with no restrictions on how it is spent, and it is expecting a 5 percent increase in state funding for this year, but he is also wary of the “floodgates on charter schools” opening this year.

“We can’t control revenue, but we can control expenditures to a certain extent,” said Adams.

Business Manager Dan Laskos also reported healthy savings in the food service area for the second year in a row. Laskos told the board food services closed the books with $75,000 in the black, although that amount will be reduced by expenditures made for new programs that helped to streamline service.

District officials also reported on efforts to address second-floor vibrations at the new $42 million school under construction for students in seventh through 12th grades.

“The matter is still under review, and we are unable to discuss all the details in public,” said board President Neal Hess.

Adams added, “All expenses related to the situation are being identified and tracked.”

Also at the meeting, the board voted 4-1, with member Dave Hofer casting the dissenting vote, on a revision to the administrative benefit and salary agreement, with amendments made to match what is currently offered to teaching staff.

The agreement includes $100 to be paid for every personal day that is unused and between $200 and $1,500 to be paid on point increases on certain district report card results.

Superintendent Bill Stauffer stated the initial agreement was made to keep teachers in the classroom to meet the needs of the students, and teachers used fewer sick and personal days because of it.

Hofer said the agreement amounted to paying the administration, which already gets a premium, twice as leaders, when they should be there anyway.

Hess said while the administration does lead by example, the agreement contributes to “developing a team approach” to education. Hess said the administration is paid for its education and increased responsibility and not just attendance. Other board members agreed.

The board also voted to extend one-year contracts to Cynthia Frola as principal of the new high school (seventh through 12th grades) and Dodi Zbuka as district librarian. Both retired last month.

In addition, the following reassignments involving students in seventh through 12th grades were approved: Shaun Morgan and Michelle Warner as assistant principals and Kevin Vaughan as athletic director and dean of students.

The next regular board meeting is set for Aug. 20 at 6 p.m. at Spring Hill Junior High, 660 Lessig Ave.

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