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Walnut Township Schools considering additional levy

MILLERSPORT – Walnut Township School Board members took the first step at their Dec. 9 meeting toward putting an additional levy on the May 6 ballot.

Board members voted 4-1 with Vince Popo voting “no” to ask the county auditor to certify the tax rate or millage required to raise an additional $1 million per year. The proposal is currently structured as a five-year emergency operating levy.

Last month, district treasurer Kirk Grandy presented the bi-annual five-year forecast mandated by state law.

He projected a 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 last month. “We will have to do something.”

That something is currently a proposal for an additional levy raising $1 million per year for five years.

Superintendent Randy Cotner told The Beacon Wednesday, “It will take 6.9 mills to raise one million.”

Board members will have to decide at their Monday, Jan. 13, meeting whether to put a 6.9 mill levy on the ballot, scale back the size of the levy, or reduce expenditures to eliminate the projected deficit.

That meeting begins with the annual budget hearing at 6 p.m., followed by the annual reorganization meeting and then the regular monthly meeting. All meetings are held in the elementary school library and are open to the public.

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