Superintendent Andrew Wise provided Board members with the District’s current financial statistics and projections through the 2018-2019 school year.
Dr. Wise noted if the state provides timely reimbursements in the amounts communicated to school districts, Olympia should receive approximately $19.9 million in revenue. Although the District has made reductions in expense, the District is projected to finish the fiscal year with $21.6 million in expense. The primary reason for this $1.7 million dollar deficit is the loss of General State Aid funding. Only eight years ago, the District was receiving $4.7 million annually in General State Aid, and today, the District receives approximately $2.3 million. In general terms, the state has reduced Olympia’s General State Aid payment in more than half, which leaves a $2.4 million dollar hole in our revenue. Although Olympia’s declining enrollment and farm land values are contributing factors in the decreased state funding through the unequitable convoluted General State Aid formula, the bulk of the decrease is due to the state’s inability to adequately fund their public schools.
Dr. Wise also noted that although a $1.7 million dollar deficit exists, the final budget for FY 16 will show revenue being greater than expense due to the $5.4 million dollar bond issue received on July 1, 2015. With the $1 million dollar working cash transfer in the budget and the $5.4 million dollar bond issue in the budget, final totals will show approximately $26.3 in revenue and $22.6 in expense.
Dr. Wise showed projections for FY 17, FY 18, and FY 19. Unless something changes at the state level, he predicts the deficit to continue. Dr. Wise thanked the Board and community for supporting the working cash bond issue that resulted in a tax increase starting with the upcoming tax cycle. The bond issue was authorized to help close the gap between revenue and expense for the next three years, and without any big changes at the state or district level, should get the District through FY 19.
To provide more specifics on possible changes which could impact revenue/expense, Dr. Wise shared that if the state decides not to pay their contracted obligation to the pension system, school district and employees could incur that cost. In addition, Dr. Wise noted that a property tax freeze could result in the District’s inability to capture increases in EAV. The possibility of both a cost shift and tax freeze could increase the deficit.
Dr. Wise thanked employees, community members, and parents, all of which in their own way have had to step up from a financial perspective to help Olympia continue their pursuit of excellence.
A copy of the Olympia CUSD 16 budget is now available to the public. Use the link below to download a digital copy. A hard copy is available at the Unit Office, 903 East 800 North Road, Stanford, IL.