2013-05-25 / News

Sunny financial forecast for Lakewood

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – Lakewood Schools can focus on other things than levies for the next five years, Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted told board members during last Tuesday night’s school board meeting. The meeting was rescheduled from its usual second Wednesday of the month time. Plaisted presented the district’s latest five-year financial forecast to the board, which was full of good news.

She said since voters approved the district’s 5.24 mill, five-year emergency renewal levy May 7, “That’s put us in great financial stability for the next several years.”

In a PowerPoint presentation, Plaited said she forecasts a cash ending balance of $8.9 million by the end of fiscal year 2014 and a cash ending balance of $6.5 million by the end of fiscal year 2017. “I think we’re in good shape for at least five years out,” she said.

Plaisted said collections of delinquent property taxes was up $161,000 in fiscal year 2013 and she’s hopeful that next biennium state budget may provide the district an additional $128,000 for 2014. She said the district’s share of casino profits were $41,839 for 2013 and she expects it to increase to $106,000 for 2014 and then drop slightly to $101,250 for the following year.

Plaisted said there have been some significant changes in the district’s finances since the last five-year forecast was done last October. She said substitute teacher costs were down this year. Severance payouts were down from the projected estimate, health insurance costs did not increase, and fiscal year 2014 finances include an additional $49,500 of salaries shifted to the general fund from title allocations.

Plaisted said purchased services include an increase in open enrollment/community school charges and an increase in special education costs. There was also an increase in educational service center and county auditor charges.

Plaisted said the district’s per pupil expenditures increased 2.7 percent from fiscal year 2003 to 2012, which Plaisted said is “substantially less” than the state average. She said for 2012 Lakewood’s per pupil expenditure was $9,561, compared to the state average of $10,508 per pupil.

Plaisted said Lakewood’s en- rollment is steadily declining from 2,211 in 2007 to a projected 1,892 in 2017. This year’s enrollment was 1,981 students. “There are more going out than coming in,” she said. “The state bases funding on enrollment.”

In other district news:

• Ohio Auditor of State Regional Liaison Tim Kraft presented Plaisted with the Auditor of State Award for a clean audit. Entities that receive the award must meet the following criteria:

• The entity must file timely financial reports with the Auditor of State’s office in accordance with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles);

• The audit report does not contain any findings for recovery, material citations, material weaknesses, significant deficiencies, Single Audit findings or questioned costs;

• The entity’s management letter contains no comments related to: Ethics referrals, questioned costs less than $10,000, lack of timely report submission, reconciliation, failure to obtain a timely Single Audit, findings for recovery less than $100, public meetings or public records.

“We don’t give out a lot of these,” said Kraft. He said out of 6,000 entities audited annually, roughly 150 receive an award.

“We’re very blessed to have Glenna as our treasurer,” said board president Judy White.

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