Growth presents challenges in updated 5-year forecast
Expenditure reductions, increased efficiencies, and Board of Education advocacy are responsible for a positive 2017 five-year financial forecast.
Treasurer/CFO Brian Kern shared his bi-annual five-year forecast update with the Dublin City Schools Board of Education in October. When the last operating levy was approved by voters in 2012, the Board promised the funds would last three years. That promise has already been extended to five years.
“We have done a good job as a District holding the line on expenditures in areas such as staffing and insurance costs,” Kern said. “One of the positive results of our insurance plan design changes has been lower than anticipated insurance expenses, as premiums have gone down around 18% over the last four years.”
The District recently earned the earned the Auditor of State Award with Distinction for clean and accurate financial reporting and record keeping. Keeping this close eye on the financial health of the organization has helped the District secure the highest possible credit rating from global ratings agency Standard and Poors. The District’s credit rating is important to our taxpayers because they reduce the amount of interest the District must pay when it sells bonds to fund projects.
While the current financial state of the District is positive, challenges lie ahead. Enrollment projections can be subject to change depending on the national and local economy and other factors. If growth rates stay in the moderate to high range, the District can expect to enroll between 3,000 and 4,200 additional students during the next 10 years. By 2022, the District is projected to be more than 1,300 elementary students over current capacity. That figure translates into two additional large elementary schools.
The long-term solution to enrollment growth was formulated during the 2015-16 school year with the creation of a Master Plan committee to address our future facilities needs. The committee determined that over the next 10 years, the District will need two more elementary schools, a fifth middle school, additions to two of our high schools, and non-traditional high school space, which we have acquired in the form of Dublin City Schools Emerald Campus.
These additional schools and the additional staff that will be needed to operate them are not built into the current forecast because they will require community approval.
The Master Plan committee is currently working on a timeline regarding when new schools will need to open to avoid the issues caused by massive overcrowding. Consequences of overcrowding could include purchasing more portable classrooms, alterations to how a school day runs, and adverse impact on class sizes.
Additionally, many of our existing facilities are reaching an age where significant improvements are needed to keep them operating in the most efficient manner possible. One of the significant changes in this year’s financial forecast is $6-milion per year from the general operating fund will be used for current facility maintenance and upkeep. Due to the fact the District has been able to stay off the ballot for five years, the 2012 bond issue funds have been used. A dedicated revenue stream for building upkeep is also a need identified by the Master Plan committee.
View a presentation about the 5-year forecast here!