District updates 5-year forecast

With levy renewal, positive outlook predicted

By Cecilia Fox

For Miami Valley Today

BETHEL TWP. — The Bethel Board of Education heard an updated version of the district’s five-year forecast, which predicts deficit spending and highlights the importance of renewing the district’s current levies, according to Treasurer Brennon Hattery.

As long as the current levies are renewed, Hattery said the district will retain a positive ending cash balance, although his forecast predicts deficit spending in each of the next five years. If the levies are not renewed, the positive cash balance would only hold out through 2021.

“It just shows you how important the income tax levy and the operating levy are for our district,” Hattery said.

Hattery said the district’s main sources of revenue continue to be its levies, both property tax and earned income tax, and state funding. The district’s 0.75 percent earned income tax generates about 12 percent of the district’s total revenue and will expire in December 2020. Hattery also noted that the district is a “capped” district, meaning that the state limits how much aid it will provide. He said the district currently loses about $4 million in funding because of this limit each year and added that he expects the funding formula to stay in place for the next state budget.

Salaries, at 42 percent, and benefits, at 17 percent, represent the largest expenditures, as well as purchased services, Hattery said. Benefits increased because of additional staff, but also because the average premium cost went up about 17 percent this year.

“When you have a growing school district, you don’t know all your needs until you have every student that’s enrolled for the year and all your additional staff,” Hattery said. “It’s kind of hard to project what areas you may need more one year and not as much the next year.”

As district enrollment continues to grow, hiring will also go up, Hattery said. He noted that the five-year forecast presented in October predicted that the district would need to hire four additional teacher, one administrator, one aid and one bus driver. The updated forecast predicts the need for six additional teachers, a school counselor, an aid and a bus driver.

“Based on this current year how many people we hired, as well as next year’s projection, I increased an additional two staff positions for 2021, 2022 and 2023. So it went from two additional staff to four, and it includes one additional bus driver each year as well,” Hattery said.

In other business, the board congratulated the district’s seven participants in the state science fair, who were all the recipients of superior ratings. Bethel Middle School was also awarded the Harold C. Shaw Outstanding School Award, which requires a high percentage of superior ratings.

The board also approved the issuance of diplomas to the class of 2019.

With levy renewal, positive outlook predicted