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Board of Education Meeting Recap

May 18, 2016 – The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Board of Education held its monthly work session on Tuesday in University Heights. The main topic of the session was school funding and finance.

Below are the highlights from the meeting. Please check back later for the complete video of the meeting.

School Funding Presentation – Scott Gainer and Jayne Geneva
CH-UH Chief Financial Officer Scott Gainer and Lay Finance Committee Chair Jayne Geneva presented on the topic of public school funding. Ms. Geneva led the presentation, which included a historical overview of how Ohio has funded its public schools and a committee report that recommends the CH-UH Board place an operating levy on the November 2016 ballot.

Operating Levy Recommendation:

  • The Lay Finance Committee recommended that the District place a 5.5-mill levy on the November 2016 ballot. This would last three years and generate $5.8 million annually for the District’s operating budget.
  • The Committee explored three options to recommend to the Board:
    • Waiting until 2017 to place an operating levy on the ballot. This would have required the District place an 11.8-mill levy on the ballot to last three years.
    • Establishing a 4-year levy cycle by placing an 8.5-mill levy on the ballot in 2016.
    • Placing a 5.5-mill levy on the ballot in November 2016, which would be collectible in 2017.
  • A 5.5 mill levy would allow the District to accommodate slight inflationary increases without large budget cuts. This is necessary to maintain at least the District’s current programs.
  • The 5.5-mill levy provides no cushion in Fiscal Year 2019, not even one month’s payroll, which is what is traditionally included.
  • Placing an operating levy on the November 2016 ballot represents a second attempt to address the forecasted budget shortfall after the District’s levy failed in May 2015.
  • Through budget cuts and staffing reductions, the District has stretched the 2011 levy to last five years. That levy was projected to only last three years.
  • Without passing another operating levy, the current Five-Year Forecast projects a $1.1 million deficit in Fiscal Year 2018, a $14.2 million deficit in 2019 and a $31 million deficit in 2020.

The Board read the 5.5-mill levy resolution and passed it unanimously. The County will now certify the resolution and it will be brought before the Board for a second reading at the June 7 BOE meeting. Once the resolution passes the second reading, it will officially be placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot.

Notes from the Presentation:

  • The state gives CH-UH a 31% share of its per-pupil funding, which equates to $1,800 out of a full share of $5,900.
    • For students who live in the district but choose to attend private or charter schools, the state gives the district $1,800 per student. However, the state then collects $5,900 for each of those students and pays that to the private/charter schools. That represents a District cost of $4,100 per student who chooses to attend a private or charter school.
    • The state gives the district $19 million annually, but that total is reduced by $6.7 million in transfers for school choice programs.
    • The state guarantees the district $2.1 million annually, regardless of enrollment, but state officials have expressed the intention to remove such guarantees in the near future.
  • The CH-UH District is considered a high-wealth district by the state because it is property dense. This distinction reduces the amount of funding the district receives from the state.
  • The estimated property tax collection rate for Fiscal Year 2017 is 93.41% for the CH-UH District. This is largely due to home foreclosures and delinquent taxes.
    • Prior to the Recession, the collection rate for the district was nearly 98%.
    • CH-UH pays $1.5 million annually to the County Auditor to collect the District’s property taxes.
  • Board members were given a copy of the book “Making Sense of School Funding” which was produced by the Ohio School Boards Association.
  • View the complete PowerPoint presentation

Finance – Approval of Five-Year Forecast
Scott Gainer gave the Board an updated Five-Year Forecast, which takes into account the recent staffing reductions. The Board formally approved the updated Forecast.

English Language Arts Curriculum Adoption – Second Reading
Karen Heinsbergen, Program Specialist for Literacy, presented the second reading of the District’s proposed English Language Arts curriculum adoption. It takes three official readings before the Board to adopt the curriculum, which would go into effect for the 2016-2017 school year. The District has piloted the proposed curriculum this school year.

Next Meeting
The CH-UH Board of Education will hold its monthly regular meeting on Tuesday, June 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the Heights High Wiley campus cafeteria.

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