District Continues to Monitor Financial Status
The global pandemic we are currently living with has obviously caused a great deal of disruption to our society and to everyone’s lives. We have all seen significant economic impact throughout our country, state, and community.
The Dublin City Schools Board of Education has taken proactive steps to ensure our District remains financially solvent during this crisis and we want to make sure the community understands we will keep a close watch on your taxpayer dollars. We know there are real economic hardships across our country and right here in our community, and will adjust accordingly.
Last month, prior to Governor DeWine announcing $300-million in cuts to K-12 education statewide, our District had enacted $3 million in proactive cost reductions through a series of personnel moves which included the reduction of 3.5 administrators from the Central Office. About 85% of our General Fund costs are in the form of personnel as we are a service industry. Reducing personnel is always very difficult but in order to achieve significant financial savings is an unfortunate impact of the financial impact of Covid-19.
Soon thereafter, we learned our portion of the state funding cuts totaled about $3.4-million. We received a more significant cut than other public school districts due to the fact the state funding formula considers Dublin City Schools a “wealthy” District that is capable of largely funding itself through local property taxes. About 80% of our general fund revenue is funded through local property taxes.
On May 26, our Treasurer/CFO Brian Kern updated the Board of Education on the District’s financial outlook via an updated five-year forecast. Thanks to the actions of our Board, we will be hiring 36 fewer teachers than anticipated for the 2020-21 school year, in spite of the fact we are opening two new elementary schools and a centralized preschool in August. This is possible due to creative repurposing of personnel. We have also seen some significant cost savings since March, simply because our operations have not been as normal. Bus fuel, substitute teacher costs, and reduced energy use in our schools represent a few of these areas.
In summary, the five-year forecast indicated the District remains in a solid financial position but will need to continue taking proactive steps to ensure that remains the case.
In closing, some of you may ask yourself, how can infrastructure improvements and new school construction continue during a time of cost reductions? This summer’s infrastructure improvements will be funded by the Permanent Improvement (PI) portion of Issue 5 approved by the community in November of 2018. This portion of the issue will provide the District with $6-million annually that can only be used for building maintenance and some specific equipment purchases such as school buses. PI funds cannot be used to pay for personnel.
The construction of our new schools and the renovation of the former Central Office into a centralized preschool are funded by the bond issue portion of Issue 5. This pot of funding can only be used for these purposes and again, cannot be used to fund personnel costs.
We will continue to keep our community updated on the District’s financial status going forward. Have a great summer and stay safe and healthy.