The Swanton Board of Education Wednesday approved a five-year financial forecast that includes severe revenue reductions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is estimated that in the next fiscal year the district will see a 10% reduction in state funding and a 5% reduction in income tax collections, according to Treasurer Joyce Kinsman. If that comes to fruition, it would mean a decrease from $14.4 million in revenue to $13.9 million.
Kinsman stressed that the forecast is just that. There are still many unknowns.
“Again, it’s a forecast. It’s an estimate,” she said. “I don’t know what’s gonna actually happen. This is just our best guess at this point.”
This fiscal year’s reductions mean a $371,871 revenue deficit, leaving the district a cash balance of about $2.59 million, which is within the recommended range.
The forecasted revenue reductions would give the district a revenue deficit of about $670,154 next fiscal year. That would eat into the district’s cash balance, leaving approximately $1.92 million, at the lower end of the recommended range.
The treasurer added that the district may be able to handle one year of a 10% reduction in state funding, but additional years may require officials to look at reducing operating costs.
The 4% funding cut for this fiscal year caught Kinsman off guard. “I was anticipating a cut for next year, but just wasn’t expecting one quite yet this year.”
The forecast also assumes a full year of full operations next school year and includes a reduction in staff of two teaching positions and one classified position. They are vacated positions that are not being filled.
Taxes paid for the NEXUS pipeline will also remain in the general fund. The district had previously planned to move the money into the permanent improvement fund.
CARES Act funding is one item not included in the general fund for the forecast. The estimated $165,000 would likely be in a separate fund, according to Kinsman. That money may be able to offset general fund expenses or a food service fund deficit.
• Eighth grade student leaders presented to the board about their time at the middle school and expressed their appreciation for principal Matt Smith and assistant principal Leigh Pancoast.
• The board approved an agreement with Gardiner, an HVAC, energy services and professional building services company, to provide online monitoring services for the HVAC systems at all district buildings. Using the information, they will make remote changes to help the systems operate more efficiently and save the district money over the long term.
It is three-year shared savings agreement. There is not upfront cost to the district and any savings are shared with Gardiner. The district receives a majority of the savings.
Superintendent Chris Lake said Gardiner estimates it could save as much as $50,000 per year, with $27,500 of that going to the district.
• The board approved a contingency plan that allows the district to have more than three days of remote learning for this school year.
• An overnight trip for the volleyball team was approved by the board. The team camp is in Sandusky, and as of now is still on.
The board approved multiple personnel items at the meeting.
A continuing certified contract for Joel Visser was approved. Three-year certified contracts were approved for Jeffrey Dojcsak, Julie Zedlitz, Brooke Chinni, Kevin Heintschel, Julianna Beaber, and Abby Jones. Two-year certified contracts were approved for Sarah Durst, Jaclyn Borer, and Tiffany Kaspar.
One-year certified contracts were approved for Shannon Cargill, Kirk Ostojic, Britteny Rolfes-Schaafsma, Kersten Davis, Denton Saunders, Ernest Ruiz, Kori Reiser, Dakota Ulrich, and Charles Artino.
Supplemental contracts approved for next school year included Visser, head boys basketball coach; Saunders, head football coach; Samantha Preisner, band director; Kyle Borer, head volleyball coach; Ryan Borer, head boys track coach; Wade Haselman, athletic director; and Kendra Gustafson, head girls soccer coach.
The resignation of Megan Chonko was also approved.
• Elementary principal Kristi Molter praised building staff for their hard work to keep kids engaged and support parents during the pandemic.
• Matt Smith, middle school principal, also complimented staff at his building. “It’s been a challenge. But they’ve really stepped up,” he said.
The principals also thanked students and staff for their efforts during this unusual time.
• High school principal Jason Longbrake thanked the Swanton Athletic Boosters for paying a portion of the cost for senior yard signs.The signs are in addition to the graduation signs provided by SACC.
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010