Treasurer sees Salem schools in black 4 years out

SALEM — Salem Schools Treasurer Michael Douglas reported the latest 5-year financial forecast to board members this week with this caveat: “All of these numbers will change in a month.”

That’s because the state’s biennial budget is supposed to take effect July 1 and at this point, he said it’s hard to tell what the budget is going to be and what it will mean for schools.

“There’s still many things up in the air with state funding and how they’re going to fund school districts,” he said.

Salem has been funded in recent years as a capped district, restricted to a certain percentage. If Salem had been funded under the statutory formula, the district’s state funding would have increased by $1 million.

Besides state funding on the income side of the equation, on the expense side, negotiations with the district’s two unions, one for teachers and one for non-teaching staff, are underway. Both contracts are expiring this summer.

So the one fact Douglas was sure about for the financial forecast was the fact that the numbers will change.

School districts are required twice a year to submit a five-year financial forecast to the state as a tool for districts for planning.

Douglas said the income in general appears consistent with the property taxes steady and up slightly. In talking about expenses, he noted he’s expecting an increase in the health insurance premiums. For the school district, 70 percent of all expenses are personnel.

According to the forecast, with the numbers as of this week, the district will remain in the positive for the first four years, then go negative in the fifth year, but not by much. For 2019, the amount is listed at $2,7 million for the fund balance. By 2023, the balance will become minus $30,717 and be in the red.

The school board approved the forecast as part of the consent agenda, also moving up certified staff on the pay scale, with Kaitlin Vogt going from MA to MA plus 15 and Susan Getz Slopek going from BA150 to MA, pending transcripts. The board also approved employees for summer help at $11.59 per hour, including Carolyn Cecena, Jill Maenz, Maggie Oshnock, Beth Risbeck, Michelle Shreffler, Rhonda Nolan, Leslie Wilson, Shane Metzgar, Owen Kirkland and Brant Rothbauer.

The board approved the high school credit recovery program for the summer, with Jeannette DeShields and Elaine Habeger as summer school instructors. Vicky Grindle was named a classified substitute. Non-teaching continuing contracts were approved for assistant to the treasurer Lori May and administrative assistant Terri Roberts. Non-teaching supplemental contracts were approved for payroll clerk Angela Williams, assistant to the treasurer Lori May and administrative assistant Terri Roberts.

The next school board meeting is 7 p.m. June 24.

mgreier@salemnews.net

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