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5 Year Forecast Passes 3 - 2
Tuesday, October 25, 2011 8:36:13 AM - Monroe Ohio

Monroe School Board Meeting 009

Photo: Interium Treasurer Ken Ulm and School Board Member John MacDonald

by Tom Birdwell

What is our school's financial future? With the board saying virtually nothing, it is impossible to fully know. Some of their silence is probably due to lack of public demand to be informed. Far more people in Monroe seem upset over the city's funding. That is a debate about if we will have a $3M or $5M positive cash balance three years from now, plenty of time for Council to resolve things in a positive manner.

Our school budget problems are not years away, but right in front of us. Just to make THIS year’s payroll, the district was forced to borrow $1.5M in August. Unlike previous years, this is not a very short term loan, to be paid off in just two months when the county auditor finally gets around to releasing district funding.

In tonight’s board meeting, the 5 Year Forecast was released and passed, on a 3-2 vote. Why 3-2? It is a great question, but there are no answers. Chris Snyder voted no, saying only “I don’t agree with it”. Board President Mike Lane also voted no, but made no comment whatsoever. And this was the last opportunity to do so before the November 8th election. But their silence speaks volumes, and the 5 Year Forecast says a lot as well. Here are some key points.

The district ended FY 11 with a positive cash balance of $271,381. During the last three years, district spending exceeded revenues by $351,206, an average of $117,068 per year.

This year alone, district losses are anticipated to be $1,689,585, and its year in cash balance is projected to be $ -1,418,144. Next year’s losses are expected to be $2,555,448.

Even more ominous is the district's anticipated but unexplained $1,400,000 in income from Ohio’s Department of Education in account 2.02 - State Emergency Loans and Advancements. As was explained in the September board meeting by the state’s manager of fiscal watch/warning/emergency programs, to even qualify for this funding, the district must be in Fiscal Emergency. When a district is in fiscal emergency, it cedes all control of its spending to the state’s appointed fiscal officer.

Without internal district information it is difficult to assess how long it will take to dig out of this situation. But this was enough bad news for one day in any case.  

Talk about it on The Voice: Schools 5 Year Forecast

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