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Coventry district views state’s financial forecast

2/16/2017 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Encouraging estimates regarding the financial future of Coventry Local Schools were affirmed by the State Auditor’s Office.

Steven Moomaw, from the State Auditor’s Office, attended the Feb. 8 Coventry Board of Education meeting and presented a drafted financial forecast for the district for the fiscal year ending June 30.

“Last year, it was not as pretty of a picture,” he said. “This year is looking better.”

He said the forecast reflects an operating excess for the fiscal year ending June 30 of $1.1 million. The report shows Treasurer Matt Muccio anticipated a balance slightly less for the fiscal year at a little more than $1 million.

Moomaw said the district is responsible for doing its own forecast, but the state also provides an opinion on that forecast based on its own examination.

He pointed out the district’s financial picture would have looked a lot different had it not received the solvency assistance loan through the state. The state solvency assistance fund advances money to school districts that are in fiscal emergency. The district received $4.8 million in solvency assistance in fiscal year 2016, according to the outline Moomaw gave to the board.

“Things are improving,” Moomaw said.

He reviewed with the board the district’s various revenue sources and the estimated amounts for this fiscal year, including open enrollment, which was estimated to bring the district $4.39 million in tuition in fiscal year 2017.

He also highlighted money the district is saving this fiscal year through a decrease in salaries of certified personnel due to a reduction in force and new employees being hired at lower rates.

“Supplemental salaries have had little fluctuation historically, but due to a 20 percent decrease in noncertified supplemental contracts during fiscal year 2017, there will be a reduction in supplemental salaries in fiscal year 2017,” Moomaw said.

According to the information he presented to the board, certified salaries decreased by $118,000 from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017; classified salaries decreased by $66,000 from fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017; and supplemental contracts decreased by $33,000 in the last year.

He also told the board that a significant decrease in health care costs the school district is seeing is due to being caught up on delinquent payments made during fiscal year 2016 to the Stark County Council of Governments Health Benefits Plan, which contracts with third-party administrators to process and pay health benefit claims incurred by its members. The health care costs that relate to fiscal year 2017 are anticipated to be $2.25 million, Moomaw said.

From fiscal year 2016 to fiscal year 2017, the district’s expenses of health care decreased by $2.62 million; Workers’ Compensation costs decreased by $36,000 and purchased services decreased by $67,000, he said.

Moomaw additionally highlighted that the district’s expense of general supplies is anticipated to increase by $59,000 due to the need to replenish supplies not purchased in the prior fiscal year.

Also, he highlighted that in fiscal year 2017, the district is forecasting $182,000 for general capital outlay needs due to wrestling mats and a laminator being purchased, as well as acquiring floor scrubbers for the elementary, middle and high school buildings.

At the end of the presentation, Board President Robert Wohlgamuth pointed out the state and the district treasurer’s estimates only vary by $100,000 on a $22 million budget.

“I am impressed,” he said.

Also at the meeting, Wohlgamuth said the district’s committee commissioned to thoroughly review open enrollment in the district completed its findings. He said the committee met at length multiple times over the past few months before drafting a final report.

“Tons of work was done on it,” said Wohlgamuth, who served as a member of the committee. “It is the most comprehensive study done on open enrollment in the state. No one else looked at it more in depth. I am proud of the work done.”

Board member Vicki Tavenier also served on the committee, he pointed out.

A community meeting regarding the committee’s report took place Feb. 13. [For more on the meeting, see related story on Page 1.]

Additionally at the meeting, Superintendent Russell Chaboudy said the district is looking into a reasoning behind a “small rash outbreak” in children at Coventry Elementary School. He said several children have visited the school nurse for a small rash that goes away once a cold compress is applied.

The rash had been diagnosed as contact dermatitis and various things have been checked at the school, said Chaboudy. The superintendent said the district has the situation “under control.”

The next regular Coventry Board of Education meeting will be March 15 at 6 p.m. at the Lakeview Administrative Offices, located at 2910 S. Main St.

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