November 6, 2019
Keeping our school community informed is a top priority for Olmsted Falls City Schools. As superintendent, I am reaching out today with an important update regarding the latest discussions about district finances and the timing of the next operating levy. Over the past 18 months the School Board, Superintendent and Treasurer have been discussing the district’s financial status. These discussions continue as the district’s revenues remain flat and the cost of educating a student has increased since the last time the district passed an operating levy. When this happens the choices are clear -- reduce spending, increase revenue or both.
Olmsted Falls City School District has not asked its residents for new operating money in nearly a decade. Specifically, an operating levy provides funds meant to pay for a school district’s operating expenses and the cost to educate students -- including the adults working with, and for kids. Our district last passed an operating levy in February 2010. Like your own household or company, the cost of living and "doing business" has gone up over the last ten years. We've made those funds stretch for as long as we could, while providing the high-quality academics, arts and athletic experiences that our community expects and values.
Community Survey data gathered in 2017, and most recently in August of 2019, has consistently demonstrated that our community has a very high degree of tax sensitivity when compared to other communities. As a primarily residential community, our citizens are asked to support with their tax dollars a variety of local entities in addition to our schools. The school district recognizes this reality and, as a result, our levy history has been such that we have not gone to voters for additional resources until it is absolutely necessary.
The district’s latest financial forecast from the treasurer, pending approval later this month, predicts a negative cash balance at the end of the 2021 Fiscal Year (which is the 2020-2021 school year). 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 a plan for returning to a positive cash balance. That plan is being developed and will include refining budgeted expenditures for this year and next year, and taking steps to address the projected deficit. This will include examining ways to save money by changing what we do and how we do it, along with evaluating the timing of an operating levy sometime in 2020. Our school district belongs to the community and ultimately it will be the community’s voice that helps to guide our decision making. We look forward to further engaging you as we create our plan to address the projected deficit.
The Olmsted Falls Board of Education will next meet for a work session this Thursday, November 7 for further discussion. We will continue to communicate and share additional information as it becomes known. Keeping our community informed will continue to be a top priority.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please contact me directly at 427-6001 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
Dr. Jim Lloyd, Superintendent
Olmsted Falls City School District
26937 Bagley Rd.
Olmsted Township, OH 44138