2013-11-16 / News

Walnut Township Schools to review levy options

By Charles Prince

MILLERSPORT – District Treasurer/CFO Krik Grandy had some good news for school board members at their Nov. 4 meeting.

He said the district’s income tax has brought in $80,000 more this year than at the same time last year. The property reappraisal will be up 4.42 percent exceeding his expectations.

“We will see a little increase in real estate (tax revenue),” he told board members.

But the small increases won’t eliminate the district’s projected deficit next fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2014. “We will be in a deficit next fiscal year,” Grandy said.

School districts are required to produce a five-year financial forecast twice a year. It includes actual data for the two previous fiscal years and the current year. The district spent $104,946 more in fiscal 2011 than it took in, $486,075 more in fiscal 2012 than income and expects to spend $734,112 more this fiscal year than income. This deficit spending is reducing the district’s cash reserves, dropping the estimated carryover from fiscal 2014 to fiscal 2015 to $551,811. The forecast projects a negative cash balance of $487,273 by the end of fiscal 2015 (June 30, 2016).

School districts can not have negative cash balances so the district will have to either bring in more income or reduce expenditures.

“I think we will need to raise revenue some way before next school year,” Grandy told board members. “We will have to do something.”

He will present levy options at the board’s December meeting set for 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 9, in the elementary school library.

In other business Nov. 4, Superintendent Randy Cotner said the district has applied for grant from Ohio’s new Straight A Fund. The district wants to purchase a Chrome Book laptop computer for every student in grades 5 -12. He expects awards to be announced by Dec. 17.

After a rather lengthy discussion, board members approved a change in this year’s school calendar by a 3-2 vote. Commencement was originally set for Sunday, June 8, with seniors finishing up school work on June 2. Cotner believes the delay between the last day of school and graduation is too long which could lead to some seniors getting in trouble.

The district already has an extra day (beyond the state minimum) in the calendar so Cotner proposed setting Friday, May 30 as the last day for seniors with commencement on Sunday, June 1. “Everything is pushed up a day,” he explained. The last day for the rest of the students would be June 4. Board member Carol King suggested just moving the last day for seniors and keep the ‘extra’ day in case the district exceeds its allowed calamity days this winter. She and board member Karen Keller were on the losing end of the 3-2 votes.

A junior high parent said her son received a zero for failing to get a book cover for his language arts book by the deadline. A couple of weeks ago his mother said that zero pushed his grade down to a “D,” in spite of grades on work of 85 and 100. He now has a “C,” with work grades of 100, 85 and 95.

“I don’t think it is fair to penalize these kids,” she said. She said her fifth grade son had no control over purchasing a book cover. “I didn’t have time to go get a book cover,” she said.

She told board members she had discussed her concerns with the teacher but was basically told that’s the way it is. She added that other teachers with book cover requirements consider it an extra credit grade.

“It is ridiculous to affect his grad over a book cover,” she said. “Four grades is all he has and one is for a book cover?” she asked.

Cotner said he will check with the principal to get his side of the story.

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