Strong financial outlook projected for the next five years

Hugh W. Garside Jr.

The most recent five-year forecast for the South-Western City School District indicates a positive cash balance throughout fiscal year 2025-2026.

Forecasting is a standardized planning tool required by the Ohio Department of Education that must be completed annually. It provides detailed information on actual and forecast income, expenditure and cash balances of the general fund, and serves as a financial roadmap for the district.

Recent forecasts cover fiscal year 2021-2022 through fiscal year 2025-2026. It is prudently prepared on the basis of economic trends and known facts, which are detailed by category in the written assumptions that accompany the forecasts.

The biennial state budget bill, House Bill 110, was approved on June 30 and ushered in a major change in the way school districts in the state are funded.

The methodology of the equitable funding plan for schools uses a “base cost” that has been deemed adequate to fund the needs of students from the time they are taken care of until the time they are dropped off. A “district share” is then applied to that “base cost” to determine how much individual school districts are responsible for what the state will pay. The main data sets used to calculate a “district share” are local land values ​​and median incomes within the boundaries of a school district.

The Fair Trade Schools Funding Plan is not fully funded at this time.

The district has always planned income and expenditure prudently, which has ensured overall financial stability.

The district is in the first year of the most recently adopted biennial budget. With that in mind, it’s important to note that the forecast has biennial budgets, starting July 1, 2023 and July 1, 2024, respectively, which are completely unknown and could have a significant effect on future income. The district will continue to closely monitor the progress of the forecast to ensure it stays on track and uses the funds it receives in the most cost effective manner.

South-Western received just over $ 61 million in elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds to safely reopen and keep schools operating safely and deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic .

Twenty percent of these funds will be used to meet learning loss goals and will provide programs, equipment and supplies, including, but not limited to:

• Tutoring

• Chromebooks

• Summer school social and emotional support programs

ESSER funds will also be used to meet some of the district’s infrastructure needs, such as:

• HVAC renovations to Middle School buildings, South-Western Career Academy, Central Crossing High School, and Grove City and Westland High School Recreation Centers

• Classroom additions at Hayes Intermediate School and South-Western Career Academy

• Sound and lighting improvements in the high school auditoriums

The use of ESSER funds for the capital projects listed above focuses on buildings that have not been replaced by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission projects.

Leveraging these federal funds strengthens the district’s overall facilities plan, provides state-of-the-art facilities to our students and our community, and will pay dividends for years to come.

Hugh W. Garside Jr. is the Treasurer of the South-Western City School District.

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