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Eagle Eye on Education: Fiscal accountability remains strong in New Albany-Plain Local

The end of the school year provides the opportunity to update our entire community on the state of New Albany-Plain Local Schools’ finances.

The district has updated our five-year financial forecast with all of the known variables for submission to the Ohio Department of Education as required by May 31. Our revenue for the current fiscal year will end 1.5% higher than projected to make our revenue projections 98.44% accurate.

Rebecca Jenkins is the chief financial officer and treasurer of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.
Rebecca Jenkins is the chief financial officer and treasurer of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

Based upon the due diligence of our staff and administration, overtime, salaries for new employees and other personnel expenditures to date are lower than projected. As a result of the revenue and expenditure changes from last October, the district is now projecting a $6 million positive ending cash balance in the fifth year of our updated forecast.

Barring the unknown, this sound financial forecast will not require us to seek any new operating levy support until 2024, which will be well over a decade since new operating taxes were approved for our schools.

Although the academic school year is wrapping up for students and teachers, our summer work to maintain our school campus will now begin.

During summer 2022, capital repairs and replacements include roofs at the Early Learning Center, middle school, the middle and high school cafeteria and annex buildings, as well as football field replacement, concrete, painting, lighting and asphalt repairs.

These capital repairs and replacements are competitively procured and funded by the 1.25-mill five-year permanent-improvements levy voters approved in 2017 that generates about $1.17 million annually. The board and administration currently transfer $1.3 million in additional funds annually from the general revenue fund toward these necessary repairs and replacements to sustain our schools.

Eagle Eye on Education: Clarity of purpose, values produces positive outcomes for students

A revised 10-year capital-improvements plan was developed by the administration to outline the expected capital repair and improvement projects and their estimated costs as presented to the board and community Jan. 24. This report shows the annual need to maintain our facilities and to protect our taxpayers’ investment is approximately $2.5 million per year.

The district’s current five-year permanent-improvements levy will expire Dec. 31.

The board has engaged in public discussion since January to determine the amount of millage to place on the Nov. 8 ballot. This ongoing public discussion resulted in the determination to place a 1.75-mill replacement levy on the fall ballot. The increase in millage from 1.25 to 1.75 mills results in a tax decrease of 88 cents annually per $100,000 in home value. This decrease is possible because the district has 0.75 mill of bond debt rolling off the ballot that currently costs taxpayers $26.25 per $100,000 in home value.

The 1.75-mill levy would generate about $2 million of the $2.5 million needed annually to maintain our school facilities. This will decrease the annual transfer needed from the general revenue fund to the permanent-improvements fund from $1.3 million to $500,000 and more clearly delineate where the funds should be allocated.

We will continue to share more information in the coming months. We plan to provide frequent updates on the specific areas for which these funds will continue to be used in order to maintain our aging campus facilities.

The board, administration, faculty and staff are committed to creating a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student within a fiscally sustainable budget. Our school district is thankful for our community’s continued partnership and financial support of our schools and its commitment to our students academically, operationally and structurally.

New Albany-Plain Local Schools is financially sound.

Rebecca Jenkins is the CFO/treasurer of the New Albany-Plain Local Schools.

This article originally appeared on ThisWeek: Eagle Eye on Education: Fiscal accountability strong in New Albany-Plain Local