The Evergreen Board of Education on Monday approved a five-year financial forecast that includes more uncertainty than usual.
The areas of uncertainty are primarily related to future revenue. The impact of COVID-19, a new state biennial budget and pipeline tax appeals all make it difficult to produce an accurate forecast.
Due to the uncertainties, the forecast includes conservative revenue projections. For example, revenue from the Rover and NEXUS pipelines is in the forecast at its lowest amount. But if the companies’ pipeline tax appeals are rejected, the revenue would be higher. That will not be known until late spring.
Although there are uncertainties, the forecast looks better than it did in May, according to Superintendent Eric Smola, who updated the board on behalf of Treasurer Denise Leu, who was not in attendance. “The forecast for fiscal year 21 has improved since the May update due to three things: Better than expected income tax returns, hiring than expected foundation funding, and decreased personnel costs because of the RIF (reduction in force) that took place this year.”
The first two income tax collections for the fiscal year are down about 9 percent from the previous year. In May it was projected to be a bigger decrease.
With increasing COVID-19 cases and possible shutdowns, the future of income tax collection is more difficult to project than normal.
“All in all, while deficit spending is projected each year of this forecast and the fund balance continues to decline, if the district is able to renew both of the income levies that will expire during this forecast period, a $3.7 million balance is still projected at the end of fiscal year 25, and the district remains on solid financial footing,” Smola said on behalf of Leu.
The superintendent also gave an update on COVID-19 numbers in the district.
“Overall we’re in pretty good shape, but cases and quarantine numbers continue to increase,” he said.
As of Monday there were four staff members and one student with confirmed cases. In addition, eight employees, 37 elementary students, 19 middle school students and 10 high school students were quarantined.
“We currently have adequate staff to continue on campus instruction and have no plans to move to remote learning unless numbers go up drastically or we are ordered to close through a government mandate,” Smola said.
He added that every district in the area has struggled finding enough substitutes. “There’s days we get them and others we cover internally.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010