Shrinking cash balance predicted for West Branch

BELOIT- Stagnant revenue and growing expenditures has left the West Branch school district with a shrinking cash balance.

The school board Wednesday night approved the five-year financial forecast submitted by Treasurer Daniel Telzrow that shows a significant annual growth in deficit spending and a cash balance deficit of $2.6 million in the final year.

According to Telzrow, state revenue is at levels that preceded 2011 as operational costs continue to rise. He noted that there is also a modest decline in property taxes.

Telzrow explained that taxes account for 22.5 percent of the daily operations revenue and state funding 60.6 percent. Open enrollment makes up the largest portion of other revenue that makes up another 14.4 percent of the daily operations revenue, generating $1.6 million last year, with a projected similar amount each of the next few years, and balancing the decline in local enrollment, he said.

Telzrow also explained that salaries and benefits constitute 78.7 percent of expenditures, a number that usually runs between 80 and 85 percent for most districts.

Also at the meeting, Mike Helm, president of the teacher’s union, asked whether the board was aware of operating millage at districts surrounding West Branch, noting that the district is operating at the lowest possible millage and still performing at a high level in education.

“If we’re at the bottom tax-wise and we’re outperforming them (educationally) when they’re not…I think that’s something our community needs to know,” he said.

Prior to Helm’s remarks, schools Superintendent Dr. Scott Weingart reported that the district was recently recognized by the Youngstown-Warren regional chamber of commerce, one of only three in the county for its Value Added data and meeting 23 of 24 standards on the local report card.

Telzrow said the information about other districts’ millage is available on the Ohio Department of Education’s website under the finance tab.