Berea City Schools 5-Year Forecast Shows Deficit Spending

BEREA, Ohio — Berea City School District Treasurer/CFO Jill Rowe presented the most recent five-year financial forecast at the May 23 school board meeting, indicating that some challenges lie ahead.

His presentation showed that 81% of district revenue comes from taxes, with state funding providing 11%, and other revenue (i.e. tuition from other districts, interest revenue) providing 8%.

While actual 2021 revenue was over $85 million, forecasts show a reduction to $80.6 million for 2023. Property taxes are expected to drop from the actual 2022 $57.9 million to $54.9 million. planned dollars.

District payroll in 2022 was 53% of total expenditures, followed by Benefits (27%), Services/Utilities Purchased (11%), and Supplies/Other (9%). Spending is expected to remain constant for 2023.

Rowe noted the stimulus funds generated about $15 million for the district. Details of what that money paid out are available on the treasurer’s page of the district’s website, she said.

The deficit spending is expected to occur in fiscal year 2023, when financial statements indicate the district will be shortfall by $1.1 million. For 2024, the trend continues and shows a shortfall of $4.1 million, followed by shortfalls of $7.9 million in 2025 and $8.5 million in 2026.

“Going out (from 2023), you can see we’re continuing to spend in deficit, which is concerning,” Rowe told the board. “As we watch enrollment, we’re going to have to watch wages and benefits. We’ve been doing this for three years since Tracy (Wheeler, superintendent) and Mike (Draves, assistant superintendent) are here to really, really watch the forecast .

“We’re going to have to monitor how the situation develops, as we sign up, and make sure we keep tabs on that,” Rowe added.

A month of district expenses equates to about $8.5 million to $9 million, she said. No mention was made of a possible future exploitation fee.

Council vice-chair Cori Farris asked for more time to review the numbers, so the council postponed its vote until a special meeting on May 26. The five-year forecast was then unanimously approved and submitted to the state as required.

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