Marietta City Schools' five-year forecast shows the district in the black for the next four years - five if an emergency levy is renewed in 2016.
According to data presented to school board members by Treasurer Matt Reed during a special meeting Monday, the district is expected to spend more than $3 million more than it takes in during fiscal year 2017, the last year covered by the forecast. A $1.27 million carryover would reduce the amount, and renewal of a five-year, 6.21-mill operating levy in 2016 would push the final balance back into the positive.
"We're still going to be spending more than we collect, but it's going to go down $1.9 million," Reed said.
Superintendent Harry Fleming pointed out that the forecast does not show deficit spending until fiscal year 2015.
"For that three-year period, we're keeping our expenditures in line with our revenue," he said.
The amount of uncertainty in the predictions increases the further out one looks, Fleming said.
|Marietta City Schools 5-year forecast|
|Cash balance as of June 30|
|2017 (with levy renewed)||$53,975|
|Source: Marietta City Schools.|
"You start getting out there past three years or so, there's just so many assumptions," he said.
Among the variables the district will face is the number of retirees, with changes coming to the State Teachers' Retirement System in 2015. Seventeen employees retired at the end of the last school year, and while hiring younger workers yielded some savings, a lot of that was offset by severance pay for the retirees, Reed said.
"We still have a significant number of staff that are eligible to retire if they want to and most likely will before the rules change in 2015," he said.
Projected hikes in insurance costs account for a good portion of the increased spending in the forecast, Reed said. Some additional revenue was also figured in for the share of casino money the district will start receiving soon.
One thing that's not putting pressure on the district's budget is building repairs and maintenance, with just $15,000 in general fund money allocated to capital outlay in each of the five years in the forecast. That's thanks to a 2.69-mill permanent improvement levy voters renewed in March that brings in nearly $1.2 million a year.
"Just think if we were having to fund that stuff," board Vice President Wendy Myers said, referring to upgrades to security systems, roofs and other projects.
It couldn't all happen without the levy, Fleming said.
"Our buildings would be going down instead of gradually starting to build ... back," board member Bill Hutchinson said.
Fleming said some of the permanent improvement funds may be used in the future for expansion projects at the high school - connecting the main building with the auditorium and gymnasium and adding classroom space so students won't have to leave the building for classes in the nearby administration building. The goal of both is to improve security and keep students out of the elements during bad weather, he said.
In other business, the board approved hiring former Washington County Career Center Treasurer Janine Satterfield on a part-time basis to handle some of the assistant treasurer duties.
That position has been unoccupied since 28-year district employee Barbara Mincks resigned earlier this month amid an investigation into her alleged theft of more than $100,000 in district funds over a five-year period. She's been charged with a third-degree felony count of theft in office and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Wednesday in Marietta Municipal Court.
Satterfield, who served as the Fort Frye Local school district's interim treasurer for several months after her retirement from the career center, will be paid $21 an hour, which Reed said is a good deal for someone with her experience. He said he expects Satterfield to work a couple of days a week to handle some day-to-day duties and help the office recover from the backlog created by Mincks' departure.