Delaware City Schools BOE discusses five-year forecast

By Glenn Battishill -

The Delaware City Schools Board of Education was presented Monday with the district’s five-year forecast, which shows DCS in the black through 2021.

Treasurer Melissa Lee, who presented the five-year forecast to the BOE, said the district will end fiscal year 2019 with a $1.6 million excess of revenues over expenditures, and the district will have a cash balance of $10,547,730.

“This is pretty typical to see right after a levy is passed,” Lee said. “At the beginning of your levy cycle, you tend to have greater cash balance than you do in later years. With the passage of the emergency levy in 2017, we’re operating in the black through fiscal year 2021, that’s when we start to see some of our time limited levies fall off the forecast.”

Lee reported that the substitute emergency levy from 2010 will be up for renewal in 2020, and the emergency levy renewal passed last year will be up for renewal in 2022, but she isn’t allowed to include those in projections.

Lee said the district would be facing a deficit in 2022, but it would still be in the black if the levies are renewed.

“When we look at our cash balance, we can see that we begin to get very, very close to zero in that 2021 year and have a negative situation in 2022,” Lee said. “If we were able to take into account the levy renewal, we would be in the six-and-a-half million dollar range (in 2021), and the 2022 balance would be at about $1.2 million. It’s a little bit better of a situation if we were able to include those here. Actually, I think this is the most positive forecast, in terms of cash balance, I’ve been able to put together since I’ve been here.”

Lee said the district’s real estate revenue will increase by 1 percent annually because of construction growth and Board of Revision changes. She said the district also receives funding from the State of Ohio based on the number of students, but the funding is capped at 3 percent per year.

The district’s other source of revenue comes from the Tangible Personal Property Tax Reimbursement, which will give the district about $88,000 in fiscal year 2019, but previously gave the district much more. Lee said the state has been phasing out the reimbursements since 2017.

Lee also reviewed the district’s expenditures, which included agreements with unions, staff increases and health insurance costs.

Lee discussed uncertainties with the board, and she added the state is currently putting together its budget, which could change the district’s projections. Lee said the district could also see more revenue based on the amount of new construction in the district.

Additionally, Lee said the other uncertain source of revenue is the success of the substitute emergency levy renewal in 2020 and the emergency levy renewal in 2022.

Looking to the future, Lee said the uncertain expenditures are salaries and benefits for the district’s employees and whether funding will allow for planned increases to staffing.

“I think any surprises we have should be on the positive,” said Delaware City Schools Superintendent Paul Craft after the presentation. “The 3 percent gain caps I certainly hope that’s much, much higher as we go forward.”

Craft added that he was cautiously optimistic that the district is still at a “fairly conservative” five-year-forecast.

The board will meet next on Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. in the meeting room at the Willis Education Center.

By Glenn Battishill

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.