By DAVID GREEN
Ohio school superintendents are expecting cuts in state aid, but the question remains about how severe the reductions will be.
Fayette superintendent Russ Griggs gave board of education members a preview of what the district could face.
Griggs told the board at the Dec. 15 meeting that the district should have a cash surplus of $131,677 at the end of the 2010-11 school year, based on current projections.
Griggs said he feels fairly comfortable with a forecast two years down the road, but anything beyond that extrapolates too far into the future.
State aid cuts, however, will change the district’s financial package severely. If the state were to cut funding by five percent—and the board did nothing in response—the 2010-11 balance could end up $500,000 in the red. A 10 percent could result in a $760,000 shortfall. Neither of those situations are legal under Ohio law, Griggs said.
“I am concerned with the projected deficit,” Griggs said after the meeting, “and I must present to the board a plan to balance the budget based on the levels of cuts we might receive.”
Griggs added that the district will receive less income tax revenue due to falling housing prices and probably an increase in delinquent property tax cases due to the economy.
It’s a not a pretty picture, he said, but noted that Fayette is certainly not alone. Griggs will present some possible cuts to the board at the Jan. 12 meeting.
Griggs said he’s had to deal with similar situations in the past and made it through.
“I don’t want to minimize this as though it’s not serious,” he told the board, “because it is serious.”
organizational—The board’s annual organizational meeting is scheduled at 7 p.m. Jan. 12, one week earlier than the usual monthly meeting date. The regular meeting will follow.