OFCS EVALUATES TIMING OF NEXT OPERATING LEVY AFTER STRETCHING FUNDS FROM LAST OPERATING ISSUE FOR NEARLY A DECADE

The Board of Education and administration of Olmsted Falls City School District are currently discussing the approaching need for a new operating levy. It has been nearly a decade since the district’s last operating levy was passed in February of 2010. At that time, school officials pledged to ensure that those new operating dollars would last for at least three years. Careful budgeting, expense monitoring, seeking and securing alternative revenue streams, and continually seeking to enhance efficiencies at all levels have allowed the district to stretch the local tax operating dollars for what will be 10 years in March of 2020.

Historically, Olmsted Falls City School District has typically chosen not to place new tax issues on the ballot until absolutely needed. Forecasting provided by the OFCS Treasurer’s Office indicates the time for a new operating levy is now approaching. Currently, Olmsted Falls City School District’s ending fund balance remains positive through June 30, 2020. School districts with cash balances trending downward toward a negative cash balance receive automatic notices from the Ohio Department of Education requesting the district provide its plan for returning to a positive cash balance in its extended forecast. The options are to cut programs impacting the quality of education or seek additional revenue. The Olmsted Falls Board of Education is currently considering placing an operating issue on the ballot in spring 2020 or fall 2020 at the latest.

In the coming weeks, the Olmsted Falls Board of Education will be having further discussions and will be making the decision on when exactly to place the operating issue on the ballot, as well as determining the millage amount (cost) of the levy. There has also been preliminary discussion about the possibility of combining the needed operating levy with an additional permanent improvement (PI) levy. The previous 1 mill PI levy has had a positive impact on overall district finances and the ability to maintain facilities and grounds in year’s past but a need for additional resources is still there. A community phone survey, which will get underway this week, will help provide additional data for further discussion by the Board of Education and administration.

Funds generated through operating levies help school districts cover operational expenses including salary, benefits, purchase services, materials and supplies. Operating levy dollars are to be spent differently than dollars from a bond issue which are dedicated to building projects specifically and cannot be used for operational expenses. For example, the district’s November 2016 bond issue provided funds dedicated to the much-needed expansion and renovation of Olmsted Falls High School completed this past school year. Dollars received from the bond issue were not used to pay for district operational expenses.

Olmsted Falls City Schools is fortunate to be able to continue to provide great value to our school community. The district stretches every dollar that is received from the local, state and federal level. The additional resources the district would be seeking are meant to provide economic support to fuel the district’s Academics, Arts and Athletic programs. Olmsted Falls students are inspired and empowered learners receiving a high-quality “Triple A” education with extensive academic, arts and athletic opportunities at one of the lowest per pupil expenditure rates in the county. Strong financial management and monitoring controls ensure effective and efficient daily operations. In addition to continual updates to the Board of Education, the Treasurer’s office also receives regular input from a District Finance Committee made up of local residents with financial expertise.

For any community members interested in reviewing the most recent five year forecast, please click HERE. OFCS Treasurer / CFO Mrs. Emily Dales is also always available and happy to discuss district finances and answer questions via phone at (440) 427-6000 or via email at edales@ofcs.net. Olmsted Falls City Schools will continue to provide the community with updates on the district’s financial plan.

 





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