Ironton schools eye 5-year fiscal plan

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 16, 2003

Ironton City Schools Board of Education adopted its five-year financial forecast Tuesday evening.

There are some positives and some negatives in the plan. The negatives are four years ahead of them, but school officials are thinking now about how to solve potential problems before they become actual problems.

"For the first three years, we're in the black," board treasurer Patty Wade said in presenting the forecast to board members. "The last two years don't look good, but it really is hard to say what will happen that far ahead. It's hard to say what's going to happen in 2007 and 2008."

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The forecast shows that the school district will end the next three school years with a balance, but that balance diminishes with each passing year. The $1,193,810 balance projected at the end of fiscal year 2004 will decrease to a projected $208,664 balance at the end of fiscal year 2006.

The forecast shows that while the district's expected revenues fluctuate very little in the coming three years, expenditures are projected to rise.

"Do you feel confident about 2004 and 2005?" board president Teresa Parker asked.

"Yes," Wade said. "We're going on what's been certified to us."

"We have to assume we have the current staff and consider the cost of living and step increases," Superintendent Dean Nance said. "We're as accurate as we can be, three years out (in the future)." Because the district has a more experienced staff, 80 percent of the employees are in the top pay level.

"We're looking at all kinds of things, trying to implement any type of savings we can that will not decrease services to students," Nance said. "Most of all, we're trying to be wise with our spending."

Nance said the school officials are right now collecting data to help make intelligent decisions what changes need to be made to avoid red ink in the future.

Also Tuesday, the board renewed its membership in the Ohio Coalition for Equity and Adequacy of School Funding.

While the Ohio State Supreme Court ruled in

that the state's method of school funding was unconstitutional, the state legislature has yet to enact changes to correct the funding inequity.

"It's amazing that they can do it in Kentucky and they can do it in West Virginia but not in Ohio," board member John Wolfe noted.

The board also approved a field trip to the NASA Space Camp in Huntsville, Ala. for sixth graders at Ironton Middle School. Seventeen students will pay their own way to the two-day camp. The city school students will join sixth graders from St. Lawrence Elementary.

Nance said this year's trip is a pilot project, and he hopes that in the future funding can be arranged to allow more students to attend.