Treasurer offers improved forecast

EAST LIVERPOOL – Although not flush, the city school district expects to fare better over the next five years than previously expected, thanks to some additional state funding.

In his five-year forecast to the school board this week, Treasurer Todd Puster reported that the state share of funding for the school district is expected to increase to 83 percent over the next two years.

This school year, state foundation funding will be about $18.5 million, or an 8 1/4 percent increase, with a 5 3/4 percent increase expected next year to $19.6 million.

A 2 percent increase in state funding is forecast for the final three years of the five year period, but Puster said this is a “fragile assumption,” however, since no state funding appropriations have yet been made for these years.

The forecast he presented showed no deficits over the next five years, although it predicted a declining cash balance each year, going from an anticipated $3 million cash balance this year to $973,713 in the 2017-2018 fiscal year.

Although revenue is expected to go up slightly, it “flattens off,” while expenditures continue to rise, Puster cautioned.

After the meeting, Puster said the state budget has helped the school district push out the deficit which had been anticipated for a number of years through the next four to five years, provided there are no major changes in state policy that would result in less revenue or more spending.

School board member Bob Estell pointed out during the meeting, “We still have to watch ourselves.”

President Janice Martin mentioned the recent efficiency study that showed areas in which savings could be found, and Puster agreed, “We do need to change our way of thinking in providing services.”

One of the areas being looked at pertains to the cost of paying overtime rather than hiring another permanent person, Puster said, adding some information on other cost-saving issues Martin mentioned should be available by month’s end.

The board authorized Puster to submit the five-year forecast to the state as required by law.

Superintendent James Herring reported that the preschool department had received a grant equaling $4,000 per student enrolled, which could mean $112,000 if both periods can be filled with new students.

“We do have kids waiting (to enroll),” Herring said, adding this would be a good opportunity to expand the program.

The board also approved a licensing agreement with LRG Prep LLC of Holland, Mich., for athletic apparel as presented by the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

Puster was also authorized to negotiate the private sale of a 1983 Ford bucket truck since no sealed bids were received as the result of advertising.