Five-year forecast for city schools approved

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2004

What a difference a year makes.

The Ironton Board of Education approved the district's 5-year financial forecast Tuesday evening.

From all indications, the district's financial picture is improving.

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The new forecast shows

that district officials anticipate ending the fiscal year 2004 with $1,658,628 - $464,818 more than they had earlier anticipated. The good news continues for the next year. According to the forecast, the city school district should end the 2005 fiscal year with $2,133,365 -

more than $1 million more than what district officials had earlier estimated.

The less positive figures were calculations provided in the financial forecast at the beginning of the 2003-04 school year. The earlier 5-year forecast had projected that the district would be in the red by the 2007 fiscal year.

Superintendent Dean Nance attributed the improved financial forecast to several things. One factor was a more effective use of state and federal monies and a second factor was the district officials' efforts to actively pursue state and federal grants, some of which the district had never applied for in the past.

Nance also said administrative staff carefully checked all expenditures to make sure purchases were necessary.

"We did not cut anything that would affect the

quality of education," Nance said. "But we did scrutinize our purchases."

A fourth factor was that within the next two years, some of the older teachers who have reached the top rung in the pay scale plan to retire. Figures show that 85 percent of Ironton teachers are at top salary level. Nance said even though the district officials will hire the most qualified people they can find to fill vacant positions, those newer employees will be paid less than the older teachers they are replacing, meaning a savings for the district in the areas of wages and compensation.

Nance was quick to praise treasurer Patty Wade and director of federal programs Bill Dressel for their work in making ends meet.

"They've been relentless in their quest to manage this physical plant as well as any district in the state," Nance said. "I just can't praise them enough."

Board member Teresa Parker commended Nance, Wade and other administrative staff for their hard work in making changes that helped the bottom line.

"It looks great," Board president Robert Pleasant Jr., agreed. "The treasurer and the superintendent have finances in good order. They've watched spending and have just been diligent. This feels good."

While the financial statement shows ending balances of $2 million or more for each of the remaining three years of the forecast, Nance cautioned that such figures are, at this point, only projections.

In other matters, the board agreed to support a proposal to create a community college within the Collins Career Center. In bringing the matter to the board, Nance said the resolution in support of the community college was not meant to show favoritism of one institution of higher learning over another one, but simply to show the district's support for higher education.