Mason School Board Approves Five Year Financial Forecast

Mason School Board Approves Five Year Financial Forecast
Posted on 10/30/2018
Decade of DecisionsThe Mason City Schools Board of Education recently approved the high-performing school district’s five year financial forecast. View Treasurer Shaun Bevan’s presentation to the School Board.

The district is currently on stable financial ground and is maintaining a healthy cash reserve balance at the beginning of FY’19. Mason has cash balance available due to cost reductions that have been made since 2010.  However, those cash reserves will be depleted within the next five years and the district will need additional local revenue and/or additional expenditure reductions.  The most recent operating levy was passed 13 years ago, in 2005. There will not be an operating levy on the ballot for Mason City Schools in 2019.
“Careful and continued monitoring and planning will be necessary to determine the steps to sustain future success and financial health,” said Bevan. “Due to the fact that school districts are a service industry, personnel expenses are the largest portion of the budget.  As such, wages, health insurance renewals, and staffing levels are significant variables for the future. The largest variable into the future is the amount of state funding the district will receive.”
Board Vice-President Kevin Wise reminds that Ohio’s elimination of the Tangible Personal Property tax reimbursement has significantly reduced the district’s funding -  tangible property tax revenue in 2007 was $14.1 million, or the equivalent of over 8 mills.
“A portion of our state funding has basically been reduced to zero. I like the way [Bevan] calculated that - about 8 mils. This is essentially a levy that was reduced. When you hear the state talking about local control - ‘you need to talk to your school board about funding, your local community needs to pass levies’ remember, we live in a world that is complicated. This dynamic where they take one chunk of our taxes away and force us to replace with local taxes is really a tax increase.”
MCS Remains Committed to Delivering Value
The district spends 71 percent of the budget on direct classroom instruction, and remains watchful of how much financial responsibility is borne by local taxpayers. This year, the district is making strategic investments in mental wellness initiatives and staffing, security personnel and infrastructure, and culture, equity and inclusion professional development for all staff.

“Our staff and administration stepped up and made sacrifices to get us to this point. But also, to help us look forward and recognize that we’re in a different season. We’re always going to strive to do what’s best for the students’ experiences and opportunities and it is exciting to look at areas where we can make key investments,” shared Board President Matt Steele.

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