Thursday, October 17, 2013

Feeling like a Million Bucks.

The State of Ohio has not had a school funding formula last more than just a few years in quite some time. Every 2 years seems to bring us another biennial budget with its share of winners and losers as the formula is changed.

While the legislature and the Ohio Department of Education produce simulations, conservative treasurers will always wait until the money starts flowing before incorporating the numbers into projections.  For this cycle, that first payment happened last week and the financial news appears to continue to be very good for Worthington.

Here are the summaries. The first is from the "Bridge" report that detailed our state foundation funding and deductions from 2011. The second is from the new funding report in October of 2013.

Worthington State Funding 2011-2012 and 2012-2013

Worthington State Funding 2013-2014 and 2014-2015

So the numbers are as follows:
Previous Budget:  Total Foundation Funding before deductions: $13,818,020
                              Total Foundation Funding after deductions:     $10,891,501
New State Budget Total Foundation Funding before deductions: $14,681,693
New State Budget Total Foundation Funding after    deductions: $11,936,511
To be sure, these are unofficial projections based solely on the data from ODE.  Our Treasurer will be updating the Board with his official projections later this month. The numbers will be vetted through the Treasurer's Advisory Committee at a meeting on October 21 and be the main topic of the Board Meeting on October 28.
Unofficially, though, this is a difference to the bottom line of $1,045,010 for the first year. That's a little over a million dollars a year  of unanticipated revenue that can be use for programmatic expansion or saved for a rainy day. Please note that these funds are over and above the funds that Worthington will receive from the permanent reimbursement of the Tangible Personal Property Tax now ensconced in state law.
The news gets even better!  Worthington's state foundation funding was "Capped Out". The state, in an attempt to conserve funds, ruled that no school district would receive more than a 6.25% increase between this year and last year, even if it would receive more funds under the formula. As you can see from the second chart, the calculated formula number is closer to $19,000,000. Since the cap is 10.5% in the second year of the biennium, Worthington should receive another increase for the 2014-2015 school year.
All of this good news is why I continue to believe we will have sufficient revenue (again, assuming current state law is maintained with regard to TPP reimbursements)  to extend the 2012 levy until at least 2017 and maybe 2018 while also having sufficient funds for programmatic expansion such as the reintroduction of a foreign language program in the elementary grades.