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School Finance News

Board of Education Takes First Step to Request Additional Revenue, Place Operating Levy on November

During its monthly meeting Wednesday evening, the Bexley Board of Education considered and approved a resolution declaring it necessary to levy an additional tax. In June, the Board of Education will consider another resolution with its intent to place an operating levy request on the ballot in this November’s general election. Bexley Schools last asked for additional funding from voters in 2019.
 
Board members discussed an incremental five-year property tax levy for current expenses. This type of levy is also known as a “phased-in” levy. The proposal calls for an initial 5 mill tax, followed by annual increases of 2.5 mills in years two through five. This levy type and amount was supported by the District’s Finance Advisory Council members who regularly review the financial health of the district.
In defining this type of levy, the Ohio School Boards Association says an incremental levy authorizes additional millage on a regular schedule throughout the life of the levy; yearly increments are fully voted millage. An incremental levy is phased in gradually to make it more affordable for residents to address the increasing costs of operating the district. It allows for districts to request increased funding as increased expenditures occur, instead of asking for larger increases upfront.

The proposed levy will fund daily current operational expenses, support the work to meet the district’s strategic plan goals, and maintain current academic offerings and student services.
 
The need for additional revenue is reflected in the school district’s five-year forecast, a document summarizing the financial health of a school district that is required to be filed with the State of Ohio. This month’s updated five-year forecast confirms that the district’s revenue forecast will fall below the district’s 70-day cash-on-hand threshold in three years. 
 
Treasurer Kyle Smith told the Board last night, “What this says is we will be out of cash by fiscal (year) 2028. This is the reasoning for the need for additional revenue to continue current operations.”
 
The Board of Education will consider a second resolution on this recommendation during its Board meeting on June 12. The deadline to file a property tax levy with the Franklin County Board of Elections is August 7.

Published May 9, 2024 | District Newsletter


Recommendation Made to Board of Education to Seek Additional Operating Revenue

During the March meeting of the Bexley Schools Board of Education, Treasurer Kyle Smith provided a financial update and advised Board members that the district should seek additional revenue in order to maintain current operations, including student programming and services. Additional revenue, he said, would allow the district to avoid making cuts.

Yesterday, the Treasurer provided information on levy types and non-specific examples of the timing of levy-authorized revenue during the April Board meeting. Mr. Smith’s presentation was a preview of the school district’s Finance Advisory Council’s upcoming work when members will review various levy types and funding scenarios.

“Districts like Bexley do not typically receive enough inflationary increased revenues from property taxes or state funding,” Mr. Smith said. The last time Bexley City Schools was on the ballot requesting additional revenue was in 2019.

Mr. Smith’s March recommendation to seek additional revenue was in response to a recent financial evaluation. The evaluation confirmed that without additional revenue the district’s operating cash balance will be fewer than 70 days in fiscal year 2027 – the fourth year of the school district’s most recent Five-Year Forecast. The treasurer, abiding by the Board’s cash-reserve policy, reported the finding late last year and followed up with a new evaluation that was recently completed with the assistance of the Finance Advisory Council.

It is expected that the Finance Advisory Council’s work in the coming weeks will help inform the recommendation for a November 2024 ballot issue seeking additional funding for operations. The Board of Education will likely entertain a levy decision during its May board meeting. 

Published April 11, 2024 | District Newsletter



Bexley Schools Receives Second Consecutive State Audit Award

Pictured (from left): Dr. Jason Fine, superintendent; Joanne Pickrell, Board vice president; Kyle Smith; Dr. Jonathan Baker, Board member; Victoria Powers, Board president; and Scott Brown, Ohio Auditor of State’s regional liaison.Only 6% of the public entities audited by the Ohio Auditor of State have a clean audit and Bexley City Schools is one of them – for the fourth consecutive year! 

Scott Brown, regional liaison for the state Auditor’s office, attended yesterday’s meeting of the Bexley Board of Education to present the Auditor’s Award to Kyle Smith, school treasurer/CFO. 

“Clean” audits show no findings for recovery or indication of any weaknesses or deficiencies in their record-keeping or financial processes, nor indicate any financial or other concerns, such as public-records or banking issues.

“It’s important to note that this award puts your organization into a very select group,” Mr. Brown said during the Board meeting. “This award actually represents the hard work of all the school district’s administrative staff, Board, and the employees who make every effort each day to attain accounting excellence. We’d also like to recognize the fiscal office for all they’ve done and for watching over every dollar that comes into the system. Specifically, we’d like to recognize Kyle Smith for his leadership, professionalism, and exceptional commitment to fiscal integrity.”

Published April 11, 2024 | District Newsletter



Treasurer Gives Board of Education Update on District Finances

During the March 13 meeting of the Bexley Schools Board of Education, district Treasurer/CFO Kyle Smith reported on a recent financial evaluation of the district that was completed per Board policy DBDA. The evaluation included input from the Finance Advisory Council and Superintendent Dr. Jason Fine, as well as Mr. Smith.

The financial evaluation and report to the Board was initiated by policy after Mr. Smith presented the district’s Five-Year Forecast during the November 2023 Board meeting. The November forecast predicts the district will have 81 days of operating cash in Fiscal Year 2026 and 14 days in Fiscal Year 2027, which is the fourth year of the forecast.

In 2022, the Bexley Board of Education passed a cash-reserve policy stating that if the schools’ five-year forecast should have less than 70 days of operating cash within the first four years, then the Treasurer shall report such a finding, which Mr. Smith did via the November forecast.

As part of the new evaluation, Mr. Smith convened two meetings of the district’s Finance Advisory Council in December and February, when members reviewed the financial situation and the five-year forecast again. They also reviewed other data that indicated Bexley Schools’ financial situation is similar to other school districts’ current condition.

Mr. Smith told Board members during the March meeting that inflation is part of the reason that the district’s cash-balance reserve will decrease by fiscal years 2026 and 2027 without additional funding by the community. He said this is the natural cycle of school funding in a school district like Bexley, which is affected by House Bill 920 – legislation that keeps revenues relatively flat.

Published March 28, 2024 | District Newsletter



School District Earns Highest Achievement for Sunshine Law Compliance

Bexley Schools recently received the highest achievement rating for open and transparent government by the Ohio Auditor of State. The district received 4 out of 4 stars in Fiscal Year 2023 for compliance and excelling at implementing the recommended best practices.

Using a star system, the state auditor grades government entities on whether they follow the auditor’s seven best practices in regard to the state’s Sunshine Law requirements that promote transparency in government.

Published March 28, 2024 | District Newsletter




Published January 2024 | Community Newsletter




School District Five-Year Forecast Revenue, Expenditure Projections Show Need for Additional Funding

During the November 15 meeting of the Bexley Board of Education, Treasurer Kyle Smith provided a report on the school district’s five-year forecast. The five-year forecast, which is updated and submitted to the Ohio Department of Education each May and November, is the primary document used to assess the financial health of the district.

According to the latest forecasted projections and assumptions, the district will have a positive cash balance through Fiscal Year 2027. However, as predicted in the May 2023 forecast, the district is now spending into cash reserves/balance and district expenditures are forecasted to exceed revenues by more than $1.7 million by the fiscal-year end of June 30, 2024.

After the May 2023 forecast, Mr. Smith attributed the one-time federal dollars related to the COVID pandemic and unexplained sizable increases in past School District Income Tax payments as likely reasons the school district has avoided deficit spending this far past our 2019 levy.

The latest November 2023 forecast points out that COVID-related grant dollars are ending and the School District Income Tax payments have adjusted and are now back in line with previous years’ payments. Additionally, state funding to Bexley Schools has remained relatively flat since 2019.

In 2022, the Bexley Board of Education passed a cash-reserve policy stating that if the schools’ five-year forecast should have less than 70 days of operating cash within the first four years, then the Treasurer shall report such a finding. The forecast presently shows 81 days of operating cash in Fiscal Year 2026, but 14 days in Fiscal Year 2027, which is the fourth year of the forecast.

CLICK: General Revenue Fund Cash Balances – Best Practices

The Treasurer will convene the school district’s Finance Advisory Council to discuss next steps and options, as well as begin the process with Superintendent Dr. Jason Fine to fulfill the cash-reserve policy requirement of providing a financial evaluation to the Board within the next 120 days.

Mr. Smith said current projections show the potential need for additional revenue in the near future and he expects the Finance Advisory Council members to discuss the need for a future school levy, which could be on the ballot as early as next calendar year. The final decision to seek voter approval for a tax levy would be made by the Bexley Board of Education.

“This is part of the school-funding cycle in Bexley and others like us when we have to rely on ourselves for funding,” Mr. Smith said, and explained, “there are years when revenue surpasses our expenses, which has been the case in recent years. We are now at the point in time when our cash balance is used to fund our projected expenses. This is normal, but it can only last a short time.”

The complete five-year forecast document is available on the district’s website.

Published November 30, 2023 | District Newsletter




School Finance Note Increase in Property Values Does Not Equal Automatic Increase in Property Taxes

By now, property owners should have received their proposed property values from the Franklin County Auditor. It is important to remember that an increase in property value does not generate an equivalent increase in property taxes and it definitely does not generate a windfall of additional taxes for Bexley Schools.This is all because of a bill from the 1970s called House Bill 920 (HB920). HB920 impacts all of the voted mills for a district, with the exception of inside millage. HB 920 prevents school districts and other local taxing authorities from collecting more money as property values increase, instead adjusting the amount each resident pays based on community averages. Our community average is 27%.

HB920 is in place to provide stability for residents and taxpayers and, at the same time, requires districts to ask for inflationary increases through ballot initiatives.

School funding and property taxes are complicated, and it is difficult to summarize it all in digestible amounts. Residents are encouraged to visit the county auditor’s website at 
franklincountyauditor.com/KnowYourHomeValue for more information about how your home’s appraisal may affect your property taxes beginning in 2024.

Published September 28, 2023 | District Newsletter



School Finance Note July School District Income Tax Receipts Fall by More than $1 Million

Bexley Schools’ quarterly school district income tax receipts fell by $1.2 million in July, a 22% decrease compared to July 2022.

This year’s significant decrease was projected, as Bexley Schools Treasurer Kyle Smith forecasted a future decrease of more than $1 million in the district's November 2022 and May 2023 Five-Year Forecast revenue projections. An important resource for Mr. Smith is the Finance Advisory Council, comprised of community members who assisted him in confirming this limited data-driven assumption.

Bexley Schools’ latest five-year forecast, issued in May, is available on the district’s website. The five-year forecast is the primary document used to assess the financial health of a public school in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Education requires each public school district to file this report at least twice annually.

School district income tax receipts are the district’s second largest revenue source. It is received quarterly and the July payment is typically the largest of the year. The schools’ .75% continuous income-tax levy was approved in 2004.

Image of a bar chart showing five years of Bexley Schools July income tax receipts

Published September 7, 2023 | District Newsletter



Bexley Schools’ Five-Year Forecast Projections Show No Additional Revenue Needed in Immediate Future

During the May 10 meeting of the Bexley Board of Education, Treasurer Kyle Smith provided a report on the school district’s five-year forecast. The five-year forecast, which is updated and submitted to the Ohio Department of Education each May and November, is the primary document used to assess the financial health of the district.

According to the latest forecasted projections and assumptions, the district will have a positive cash balance through Fiscal Year 2027. However, the district is expected to spend into the cash reserves/balance as early as Fiscal Year 2024.

Prior to last week’s Board meeting, Mr. Smith met with the schools’ Finance Advisory Council to discuss the forecast. He said everyone on the advisory council was in agreement that the district had sufficient revenues and would not need to seek additional revenue before the end of the 2023 calendar year.

According to Mr. Smith, “Two key factors have kept us from deficit spending this far past our 2019 levy: the one-time federal dollars related to the COVID pandemic and sizeable increases in School District Income Tax payments.”

Mr. Smith also went into detail about many of the unknowns of future revenue projections, which include flat funding of state support, potential income tax anomalies, and an upcoming property tax reappraisal from Franklin County.

“While it is rare for Bexley to see a reduction in property tax collections and state aid payments, we have experienced reductions in the School District Income Tax payments,” he explained.

In 2022, the Bexley Board of Education passed a cash-reserve policy stating that if the schools’ five-year forecast should have less than 70 days of operating cash within the first four years, the Treasurer shall report such a finding. The forecast presently shows 96 days of operating cash in Fiscal Year 2026, but 33 days in Fiscal Year 2027.

The complete five-year forecast document is available on the district’s website.

Published May 18, 2023 | District Newsletter



Published May 2023 | Community Newsletter



Bexley Schools Treasurer, Staff Receive State Audit Award

Image of a man sitting at his desk looking at the camera with 3 women standing behind him" class="imagealign_left" src="https://www.bexleyschools.org/WindowImages/202397143321706_image.jpg" alt="Image of a man sitting at his desk looking at the camera with 3 women standing behind himBexley Schools’ Treasurer Kyle Smith and his staff recently earned the Auditor of State Award for having a clean audit of their work managing the school district’s finances. Given by state Auditor Keith Faber, the award recognizes Ohio government entities that meet the criteria of a “clean” audit report. “Clean” audits show no findings for recovery or indication of any weaknesses or deficiencies in their record-keeping or financial processes, nor indicate any financial or other concerns, such as public-records or banking issues.

Additionally, the district received an “Outstanding Achievement” designation in relation to open and transparent government. Using a star system, the state auditor grades government entities on whether they follow the auditor’s seven best practices in regard to the state’s Sunshine Law requirements.

The “Outstanding Achievement” rating is the state Auditor’s second-highest designation, indicating that Bexley Schools follow up to four of the state’s best practices.

“The STAR-rating program is new,” said Treasurer Smith. “We’re happy with our ‘Outstanding Achievement’ rating, but now we’re aiming for the highest designation in the future.”

Published March 30, 2023 | District Newsletter