The Avon Lake School District, long regarded as a “wealthy” district, may have some serious financial decisions to make if Gov. John Kasich’s budget is approved. Numbers released on March 27 indicate the district could lose $4.4 million of state funding in the next two years. For the 2010-11 fiscal year, the district received $7.2 million in state funding.
Although Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said some information about how dire the numbers were had been previously leaked, the information received Tuesday was startling.
“We’re hoping some sanity comes out of it,” Scott said.
Kasich's proposed budget must be set by June 30 and still needs to go through the state House and Senate before being approved. Scott is hoping the final funding cut isn’t as severe as initially proposed.
“I’m listening to this thinking, ‘At least be straight about it,’” Scott said. “We’re trying to plan for next year.”
District-wide, the situation could be worse. Scott said that because of the recession, the district has maintained a tight budget and may not have to make as severe adjustments.
“We’ve been planning for this because of the economy,” Scott said. “We’ve been cautious about our expenditures, how we’re spending money. Because we’ve been so conservative, we don’t have to immediately tear things apart. We have a good fund balance.”
According to the school’s October 2010 5-year forecast, the 2010 revenues are $37 million and expenditures are $38.38 million. The forecast for 2011 and 2012 revenues are $35.11 million and $32.46 million, respectively, with expenditures of $38.87 million and $41.26 million, respectively. The district maintains a current balance of $13 million which will decrease with each year’s progression.
Scott said some of the cuts were not a surprise.
“We knew we were easy pickings,” he said. “It’s easy to say we’re going to take away from the wealthy school districts.”
The district will now wait until the state budget is finalized before making some decisions. Other decisions, such as adding new teachers to the district, are probable.
“First thing we’re going to have to do is back out adding new teachers.,” Scott said.
Earlier this week, the Office of Budget and Management released a letter saying next year's school fund distribution plan was a “bridge.
“Over the next year, the administration will develop a new approach to state support of education,” the letter said. “In the interim, a bridge formula will allocate state foundation funding to school districts based on a district’s reliance on state support for education as measured by its property valuation per pupil and the number of students who reside within a district.”