Board passes resolution to put 4.5 mill levy on November, 2012 ballot

To see an overview of the cuts made by the Milford School District over the past few years, click here.

To see the magnitude of what will need to be cut if we do not run (or pass) a levy, click here.

To see levy level requirements to maintain current programs if a levy does not pass in November, 2012, click here.

For the first time in at least recent history, Ohio school district budgets are, without question, declining.  While school administrators in the past have argued their budgets are “declining” because they are receiving “less” from the state, revenues were still increasing each year over the year before.

This is no longer true.  The Milford School District’s budget is now decreasing by $4.1 million due to several changes in how schools receive money from the state. 

Because of this, despite the careful spending and savings the district has implemented, the district will start deficit spending (spending more than we take in) in Fiscal Year 2013 (July, 2012 – June, 2013).  We have been able to “live within our means” for four years now, which is a huge accomplishment in this day and age (see article here).  However, while we have been able to build up a comfortable carryover, we will now start to eat into it every year.

Therefore, at the May meeting, the board began to discuss the need for a levy to maintain current programs.  As noted in the article linked above, the board approved a five-year forecast that included a 4.5 mill levy.  The projections assumed the levy would be placed on the November, 2012 ballot and that it would pass at that time.

At last Thursday’s board meeting (June 21, 2012), the school board unanimously took the first step to place a levy on the November 6, 2012 ballot by passing a resolution for a 4.5 mill operating levy.  The resolution requires a second vote at the July 26, 2012 school board meeting before it becomes official.  A 4.5 mill operating levy will cost a family $137 per $100,000 retail home valuation.

The board and administration’s goal is to pass an amount that will allow us to: 1) keep our current level of education and programming; and 2) last a minimum of four years.  A 4.5 mill levy will generate approximately $3.9 million a year in additional income.  This is LESS than the $4.1 million we are losing, but it is sufficient to meet the two criteria of maintenance and support for four years, assuming there are no more large changes to the five-year forecast assumptions.

The five-year forecast, which is used as the planning document to determine how much we need based on expected revenues and expenses, does NOT have any additional programs or expenditures built in, besides reasonable assumptions for increases in insurance, transportation, etc, that we cannot control or reduce.  We are NOT projecting base salary raises for employees, although amounts for standard step increases are built in.

The administration and board has worked extremely hard over the past four years to find ways to reduce expenditures while maintaining – or increasing – the quality of education provided.  We have implemented new approaches such as guided reading, math investigations, intervention & enrichment, which are working to help our students achieve.  While the state results for this past year have not yet been released, they are phenomenal – in fact, the results will be even better than last year, and one of our buildings is actually ranked one of the best in the State of Ohio!

We fully intend to keep the reductions already made, as we know they have not hurt the level of education yet saved us over $20 million in the five-year forecast.  However, while we will continue to look for – and find – efficiencies, these will be in the tens or, if we’re lucky, hundreds of thousands in savings.  In order to keep what we have, we need to replace close to the $4.1 million we are losing; and we can only do this by receiving new monies from the community.

Clearly this is a tough economic time for many people, and I as a board member respect that.  I would not be voting to place this levy on the ballot if I did not feel we are truly being as efficient as we can be; that we will continue to search for additional efficiencies; and that it is critical to maintain the programs and support we have.

Please post or email your thoughts, concerns, questions, etc, to me.  This is a critical time for the Milford school district, and I promise you will receive honest, complete answers to any questions.

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