By Denny Morrison and Eric Soltis
During the most recent years, the Xenia Community City School District has proven to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. One fiscal tool that helps demonstrate this, as well as provide guidance on decision-making for school leaders, is known as the five year forecast (FYF). All school districts in Ohio are required to submit a FYF to the Ohio Department of Education by Oct. 31 and May 31 of each fiscal year. The FYF includes three years of actual data and five years of projected general fund revenues, expenditures, and net effects.
FY16 financial results
Xenia Community City School District’s most recent version of the FYF was board approved and submitted to the state in May 2016. The prior version, which was from October 2015, projected district revenues for fiscal year 2016 (FY16) in the amount of $48,417,503. The actual revenues realized at the end of FY16 exceeded projections, totaling $49,012,704. This represents a 2.39 percent increase in revenues from FY15 to FY16.
In reviewing district expenditures, the anticipated expenditures for FY16 were $46,162,423. The district actually spent less than those projections, totaling $45,564,994. With increasing revenues and decreasing expenditures, the school district ended FY16 with revenues exceeding expenditures by $3,523,887. This represents the fourth year in a row that the school district has ensured that revenues exceed expenditures.
To further help with these fiscally responsible efforts, the school district maintains a finance committee, which is made up of community members who are helping find ways to save money. Recently, the school district refinanced debt obligations and saved district taxpayers $1,276,824 over the life of the bonds. The district has also billed Medicaid for dollars owed to the district. Thus far, more than $2 million have been collected.
Correcting the school district’s Title I designation has allowed greater flexibility with spending these federal dollars, saving general-fund dollars in the process. Outsourcing transportation and maintenance services has been saving the school district roughly $1.4 million annually. All purchase orders that flow through the district are reviewed and approved by either the superintendent or assistant superintendent, as well as the treasurer. These requests are carefully reviewed to see if other cost-effective options may exist, or if higher quality products can be purchased for the same cost. The school district is living within its means.
A continued effort
Nothing we do as a district is more important than what goes on inside the classroom. Currently, the school district is spending 73.4 percent of revenues on classroom instruction. The state’s goal is 65 percent. In addition, the Xenia Community City School District spends the highest percentage of revenues on classroom instruction in Greene County. A plan to replace technology and textbooks on a regular basis has been implemented.
Staffing and programs are being added to ensure that the school district has something to offer every student. Finally, the board of education has established a policy requiring the school district to always maintain at least a 60-day carryover balance. We are being very fiscally prudent and will continue to do so.
Denny Morrison is superintendent of Xenia Community Schools. Eric Soltis is treasurer of Xenia Community Schools.