BOE approves 5-year forecast

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The five-year forecast for Sidney City Schools is seeing some “red.”

The forecast, approved by the Board of Education Monday night, predicts the district will be in the red by the end of the five-year period ending with fiscal year 2022. The forecast deals with fiscal years 2018 through 2022.

Treasurer Mike Watkins discussed the revenues and expenditures for the district, along with possible solutions to the financial situation of the district.

“Beginning in FY2020, the emergency levy beings to be reflected in Section 11 because it is up for renewal beginning inFY2019,” said Watkins. “The first opportunity to renew this levy will be in November 2018.”

State funding, said Watkins, is also an unknown factor.

“In the current biennial budget, only $10 per pupil was added to the funding formula,” said Watkins. “This funding concept was carried out throughout the remainder of the forecast, which significantly flattened the anticipated state funding.”

When discussing the property tax allocation, Watkins said the Homestead and Rollback accounted for reflects the impact of the expiration of the Emergency Levy.

“Additionally,” he said, “the tangible personal property reimbursement is fully phased out by FV2021.”

Under the expenditures, Watkins said some funds will saved under personal services because the district is not going to replace the business manager’s position. That will save the district $102,000 plus retirement costs beginning with fiscal year 2019.

The district’s health insurance premium will be increasing, he said.

“Beginning in FY2019, the district’s health insurance premium increease of 11 percent is reflected,” said Watkins. “An increaseof 10 percent for each of the following years is used. This increase is double of what the district has experienced over the past five years.”

Watkins said the district received some relief from the closure of Ecot with students returning the Sidney City Schools or taking classes online throught the school district.

“But that relief was more thanoffset by the impact of the Shelby County MRDD preschool program deficit balances being invoiced back to the school districts,” said Watkins. “Over the course of the final four years of this forecast, this approach will add an additional $1,000,000 to the purchased services expenditures. Based on current projections, the preschool program will potentially cost the district in excess of $500,000 each year.”

Shelby County MRDD, said Watkins, will no longer transport students next year, so Sidney will have to transport its own students to the preschool.

Watkins presented solutions to the district’s future financial problems.

“We can slow or reduce expenditures in areas such as personnel, bus purchases, textbook adoptions, capital projects, etc.,” said Watkins. “We can also try for new revenue from the passage of a new emergency levy. The renewal of the current emergency levy is the priority but we have to also look at putting a new levy on the ballot in the future.”

Watkins said the solution could also be a combination of reduction or expenditures and a new emergency levy.

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.