The Chardon Board of Education on Monday approved the five-year financial forecast showing some spending increases.

Due to uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic, expenditures increased primarily in fiscal year 2021 and somewhat in fiscal year 2022, according to Treasurer Deb Armbruster.

“Chardon had full in-person instruction for 99 percent of fiscal year 2021, but this came with the cost,” said Mrs. Armbruster. “Although personnel costs have reduced for fiscal year 2022, purchase service and supply prices are increasing, and benefits are hard to project at this time.”

The district relies heavily on property taxes and the two largest expenditures are salaries and benefits, she said.

Mrs. Armbruster said the district does not plan at this time to ask for any new levies in the next five years.

According to the plan, salary assumptions show a similar pattern to total expenditures which make up 56.9 percent of the district’s total costs and staff reductions are expected in 2022, mostly through attrition with additional reductions in 2023, according to the forecast.

Mrs. Armbruster said that “82 percent of the district revenue comes from general property tax, 69 percent from public utility taxes, 6 percent from property tax allocations and 7 percent revenue.”

For fiscal year 2022, $265,581 more tax revenue is expected according to estimated collection rates, which is 1.77 percent higher than anticipated by the Geauga County Auditor’s Office.

“The district expects deficit spending in fiscal years 2025 and 2026 but is still projected to maintain a $21,053,889 cash balance at the end of five years,” Mrs. Armbruster said.

State funding is under a new formula known as the Fair School Funding Plan for fiscal years 2022 and 2023. Under this formula Chardon district revenue has been reduced, she said.

“For unrestricted aid, Chardon will receive an estimated amount of $4,986,916 where in fiscal year 2021 Chardon received $5,595,434,” said Mrs. Armbruster. “Restricted aid has increased because student wellness revenue and catastrophic cost has been moved to this line item.” 

Variables that could significantly impact the general fund include ESSER funds, state funding, negotiations and COVID-19, which are out of the district’s control.

“Although state revenue has decreased, tuition costs, primarily for open enrollment, community schools, STEM schools, and scholarships are no longer run through the district, decreasing the expenses at a much greater rate than the revenue reduction causing a positive effect for the district,” Mrs. Armbruster said.

 To balance the budget for the next five years, the plan includes maintaining costs, seeking additional revenue and reducing expenditures, she said.

The five-year forecast is an estimate representing only the general fund of the district and is updated every six months to allow for any changes that may occur.

The next regular Board of Education meeting is Dec. 13 at 6:30 p.m.

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