South Range forecast shows deficit by 3rd year

BEAVER TWP. — The South Range school board Monday approved a financial forecast that shows a cash balance deficit after two years.

Submitted by school Treasurer Jim Phillips, the five-year forecast shows a cash balance of just under $1.5 million at the end of this year that drops to just under $157,000 in two years. The balance is predicted to enter a deficit in the third year, finishing at over $2.1 million, and growing to over $10 million in the final year.

All five years show a deficit spending, starting with $727,000 this year and growing to over $4.26 million in the final one.

According to Phillips’ forecast summary, the forecast is developed using reasonable assumptions given current operations based on the district’s current financial status. Assumptions are based on maintaining as many offerings as possible while avoiding deficit balances the first two years, as well as the projected deficits in the final three.

“If revenue is not raised in state budgeting or by local support, then programming must be cut to balance the budget,” he said in the summary.

Phillips said the influx of open enrollment funds equals over 9 mills of property tax. With the last new general operating levy in 2004, prior history suggested the need for a new levy every eight years to maintain programming, but there is no immediate plan for a new money levy in the forecast. The alternatives are to financially support programming with expanded open enrollment as kindergarten class sizes continue to be much lower than in the past and to reduce programming to reduce costs, or some combination of the two.

Phillips said the district has avoided a deficit without a new levy for longer than anticipated due to a reduction in personnel through attrition, consolidation and layoffs in addition to the open enrollment revenue.

Two emergency levies will need renewed in 2019 and 2020. They will not increase taxes.

In other business, the board granted a one-year limited contract to Jennifer Lucido as EMIS/superintendent secretary effective Oct. 9, approved a supplemental contract for David Buzzacco as middle school football coach and named school nurse Kim Peterson as an event medical emergency provider for the 2017 fall sports season.

The board also granted permission for the high school band and choir to travel to New York City April 19 to 21 to attend “The Phantom of the Opera” and visit the National September 11 Memorial and Museum; and approved a family consumer science enrichment camp for elementary students Nov. 6 to Dec. 4, funded through the support of the high school Parent Teacher Organization and camp fees.

The next regular board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Nov. 20 in the high school band room.