Thursday, Jan 18, 2018
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Our Town Schools

Sylvania Schools administrators prepare for an operating levy request

Sylvania Schools Superintendent Brad Rieger told the district’s school board members to prepare for a levy recommendation in July.

Mr. Rieger, at Thursday’s school board meeting, said a recommendation for an operating levy would be presented to the board by the July 22 meeting. The plan would be to have it approved so that the millage can be put before voters on the November ballot.

The amount of the levy or millage is not solidified, he said. He and Laura Sauber, chief financial officer for the district, have been presenting the district's budget to the community, noting the budget shortfalls. School officials said they should have a better  understanding of the school’s financial needs once the state's budget is signed by the governor. The state legislature has passed a budget, and the governor is expected to sign it in the next week or so.

In a March board meeting, Mr. Rieger and Mrs. Suaber presented the district's financial picture, explaining that despite the scaling back of expenses and streamlining services still left a deficit of $3 million forecast for June 30, 2015.

Since 2012, there has been a reduction of about $4.5 million in state funding and reimbursements. If there was no increase in state funds for fiscal year 2014 and 2015, they said, the district would have a total loss of $16.4 million over time by fiscal year 2015.

Declining local property tax revenue also has hurt the district. Mrs. Sauber said the district will be down $2.3 million per year in property tax revenue from five years earlier.

In the past 2010-11 and 2011-12 school years the district eliminated 120 positions and reduced the cost per student to $10,600 from about $12,000 in 2010, said Mr. Rieger.

In determining a levy amount, Mrs. Sauber said, officials have to base it on what property values in the district might do in the next few years.

"What is the likelihood that in 2019 we will experience another drop in value? I can’t answer, but I hope it’s stable, there is no way to know that,” she said to the board this week.

The school board this week approved an $11 million athletic facilities construction project, but that is to be paid largely through funds raised through the parent-run Athletic Foundation.

The administration is expected to have a better handle on the budget in the first 10 days in July.

Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356 or 

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