May is the month when school boards across Ohio must approve a revised five-year forecast to submit to the state. The forecast includes actual numbers for the past three completed years; the status of the current year; and forecasts for the next four years. This forecast projects through Fiscal Year 2020, which runs from July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020.
Treasurer Mrs. Debbie Caudle is conservative yet realistic in her forecasts. She includes expenditures the district is committed to, and reasonable expectations for other areas. For revenue, she has assumed the current state funding will stay in place – something no one can predict for sure, since a new administration will be in Columbus for the next budget season.
The last time the district passed an operating levy was May 2013. Operating levies work sort of like “inflationary adjustors.” The majority of property tax collections are static, not increasing with inflation or property values, yet expenses continue to increase – just as they do for any type of business, organization and household.
Since in Milford, property taxes are the majority of our revenue, expenses that are increasing will naturally begin to outpace revenue that is usually flat or close to flat (and sometimes, depending on the state, decreasing). Thus, new operating levies are required to meet the district’s financial requirements.
For the past 9 years, Milford has focused on keeping operating levies as low as possible – and because of this, they do generally account for expense inflation.
When we passed the May 2013 operation levy, the district promised the community this levy would last at least 4 years. That would be 2017. However, we are thrilled to see that, due to some recent increases in state funding, combined with conservative fiscal management and aggressively looking for other small revenue opportunities (such as Food Service administrative costs, Catastrophic Reimbursements, renegotiating local agreements, etc), we expect the levy to last at least through 2019 (6 years), and possibly to 2020 or 2021 (7 or 8 years – depending on what happens with the state).
Our new Superintendent, Mrs. Nancy House, is committed to stretching community funds as far as possible. She and Mrs. Caudle will be working closely, along with other administrators, to keep our current trend of fiscal responsibility going strong.