The Big Walnut School District’s five-year forecast anticipates budget deficits in fiscal 2019 and 2020, but district officials say there are cash reserves to cover the shortfalls.
On Oct. 26, the Big Walnut school board held a special meeting to review the district’s five-year forecast, which had to be submitted to the Ohio Department of Education by the end of October.
Big Walnut’s 20-page document includes a schedule of revenue, expenditures and changes in fund balances for fiscal years ending June 30, 2013, 2014 and 2015; and anticipated income and expenditures forecasted for fiscal years ending June 30, 2016, through 2020.
According to the forecast, assembled by Treasurer Terri Day, Big Walnut ended fiscal 2015 as a $31.3 million operation, up from $28 million in fiscal 2013.
Looking ahead, with significant residential and commercial growth on the horizon, the district anticipates expenditures to exceed $42 million by 2020, with revenue estimated at $41.5 million that same year.
The forecast shows red ink in fiscal 2019 ($374,199) and fiscal 2020 ($498,542).
Superintendent Angie Pollock said that toward the end of the five-year levy cycle, the school district would dip into reserves to offset the deficit.
“We have cash reserves to cover the deficit,” Pollock said. “We tried to be conservative more than two years out in our projections. We need to monitor development and growth, and we don’t know what will happen with state funding. We do know that residential growth brings in more money, but that doesn’t completely offset the cost of educating students.”
Pollock said the school district is discussing development compensation agreements with villages and townships to keep the schools whole.
“We’re very appreciative for our community’s support last May, ”Pollock said. “The substitute renewal levy is enabling us to continue serving our kids as the Big Walnut community grows.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093