Sidney BOE approves 5-year forecast

By Sam McCafferty - For the Sidney Daily News

SIDNEY — As the school year comes to a close, the Sidney Board of Education voted to renew contracts and discussed the budget for the future.

While Treasurer Michael Watkins said the school’s revenues will remain relatively static, insurance premiums could increase as much as 26 percent. Watkins presented the information during the 5-year forecast update.

Though there is the possibility of reducing this figure with a high-deductible health plan, he said new revenue strategies must be discussed; most likely a new levy.

“At some point, we are going to have to ask for new funds,” Watkins said. “We are not going to see increases in the budget from the state to offset the direction this is going.”

Expenditures have been decreased already, with a custodian and two teachers not being replaced next year. The school has also seen an increase in interest, going from 1.3 percent to 2 percent.

In an overview of the forecast for 2019-23, Watkins reported:

On the revenue side, items include:

• Property tax revenues are expected to remain stable. The emergency levy that was set to expire at the end of calendar year 2018 was renewed at the election in November 2018 so there is no gap in collections. It is anticipated that a request for a new operating funds will be placed on the spring 2020 ballot at the latest.

• Unrestricted Grants in Aid stabilized in 2019 after it saw a decease by more than $500,000 in 2018. Funding will remain flat through 2023.

• Restricted Grants in Aid includes Career Tech funding, $80,000, and Economic Disadvantage funding, $537,000, through 2019 to 2023.

• All other revenue includes open enrollment, special education tuition/excess costs, interest on investments, abatement donation/tax sharing payments, student fees and miscellaneous revenue. Watkins said there are less students open enrolling into Sidney City Schools. Interest income has increased to 1.3 percent because the bank the district uses has rolled out a new product, he said.

On the expenditure side:

• Personal services such as staff contracts, are known for three years: 2019, 2020 and 2021. The final two years will be negotiated with the Sidney Education Association (SEA) and Ohio Association of Public School Employees (OAPSE).

• Employees’ retirement and insurance benefits include an increase of 26 percent for insurance premiums. Watkins said he is working with both bargaining units to make modifications to the insurance plans.

• Purchased services include students enrolling into other districts, John Peterson/Autism Scholarship and Community School dedications.

• Supplies remain steady as they have been monitored closely for several years. This includes textbook purchases.

• Capital Outlay has been focused on the district’s technology and transportation, along with a few infrastructure needs. The purchase of a new maintenance building for $279,000 has pushed the district over budget.

“Fiscal year 2020 is the first year there is a negative carryover, which you can’t have” said Watkins. “We’ have to talk about strategies for new funding. We’ll need to decide what the levy will look like and that will depend on Ohio’s biennial budget. I don’t think we’re going to see an increase in funding from the state budget to offset our lack of revenue.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved a contract with the Sidney-Shelby County Board of Health for health services for the 2019-20 school year at a rate of $37 per hour.

• Approved a contract with the Montgomery County ESC to provide special education services for fiscal year 2020.

• Approved a purchase service agreement for Sidney High School and Sidney Middle School resource officers — one at each building — at a cost not to exceed $86,139.78.

• Approved a contract with Megan Knapke for speech therapist services at a rate of $50 per hour for a maximum of 760 hours for the 2019-20 school year.

• Approved a one-year, limited contract for elementary teacher Wendy Humble. She will receive $82,896 for the year.

• Approved a three-year contract for Manager of Business Operations Jason McLain. The vote was 4-1 with board member Jason Schaffner was the sole dissent, voting “no.” Schaffner said he felt the salary was too high and voted against it. McLain will receive $105,376, which is the same amount he was paid this year.

• Approved the student handbooks for Sidney Middle School, Sidney High School and the Latchkey Program.

• Approved the list of 254 in the Class of 2019 for graduation.

The board’s next meeting will be Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m. at the board office.

By Sam McCafferty

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a summer intern for the Sidney Daily News. News Editor Melanie Speicher contributed to this report.

The writer is a summer intern for the Sidney Daily News. News Editor Melanie Speicher contributed to this report.