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Treasurer preparing five-year financial forecast

4/17/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

At the April 14 board meeting, Akron Public Schools (APS) Treasurer Jack Pierson presented some preliminary data he is compiling in preparation for making a five-year financial forecast, which is required by the state twice a year. The next one is due May 31.

A key unknown is the amount of state aid, he said. If the state funding formula stays the same, the district’s revenue could increase by 1 percent to 1.5 percent, he estimated. Another big unknown is enrollment, which fluctuates sometimes widely. Pierson said the district has lost 900 students since last fall. The “option out” category includes students who leave to go elsewhere on open enrollment or with a voucher, or go to a charter school or other specialized school. Pierson said 300 of the students “have just left” this school year, with no record of enrolling in another school.

The Ohio Department of Education is instituting “a whole new system of attendance” next year, said Superintendent David James. He said the district was considering using truant officers, something it has done in the past.

“Enrollment is our biggest variable,” Pierson said, adding he is uncomfortable projecting when it fluctuates so much. When the district loses students, it gets a higher valuation per pupil from the state, though, which provides some good news, he said.

He will present a finalized five-year forecast to the board to vote on in May, he said.

The schedule has been announced for the new “blizzard bags” with which students will be able to make up instruction missed on snow days this school year.

The homework is to be done online, either at the student’s home, at a library or on school computers before or after school or during noninstructional times like study hall or lunchtime.

High school assignments were posted April 14 and are to be completed by May 2. The middle school lessons will be posted April 25 and must be turned in by May 16. Elementary students will receive their assignments May 9, to be turned in by May 28. Students who do not turn in the work on time will be marked absent for that day.

The schedule for the grade levels is staggered so the system does not become overloaded, said Assistant Superintendent Ellen McWilliams. There are student help lines posted on the APS website (www.akronschools.com). More information may be found there and on the district’s Facebook page.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for April 28 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sylvester Small Administration Building, 70 N. Broadway St.

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