The five-year financial forecast and a proposed change to start times were among the items discussed at the Wednesday Swanton Board of Education meeting.
Treasurer Joyce Kinsman presented a five-year forecast that had some unknowns, but showed Swanton with a positive year-end cash balance throughout the period. Funding from the state included in the five-year forecast will be flat.
The new student wellness and success funds, approved as part of the state’s two-year budget, are among the funds not included in the projections. It is an attempt to address a concern with student mental health issues.
District officials do not know if this funding will continue after the second year, according to Kinsman.
“The intention of those funds was to give us flexibility in how we can do programming and services for students,” she said. “We can use it to offset current programs but we can also use it for new programs.”
The forecast shows deficit spending starting in fiscal year 2021. Revenue exceeded expenses in fiscal year 2019, and is projected to again this year.
“We have tried very hard to keep the revenues and the expenses very similar in each year,” Kinsman said. “We are trying very hard not to deficit-spend.”
Despite projections of revenue exceeding expenses in future years, the year-end fund balances would remain positive, according to the forecast. The balance is projected to be just over $3 million at the end of fiscal year 2020. It remains over $1 million with renewal of a project tax levy, but will be much closer to zero if the levy is not renewed.
One wild card in the financial future of the district is potential revenue from the NEXUS pipeline. That could add an influx of money to the district, but the amount is currently unknown. The final numbers should be known in December, and Kinsman plans to include that information in an update to the five-year forecast early next year.
Also at the meeting, Superintendent Chris Lake gave a brief update on a proposal to change school start times. At the previous board meeting, a group of residents offered ideas they had for start times. They had expressed concern about the later end of the day for elementary students.
District officials are now looking at the bus routing and the possibility of decreasing the time between elementary and middle/high school start times.
“That’s a complex process,” Lake said. “You’ve got to get into the software and really almost rebuild the routes. So, that’s going to take some time. I hope to have that for you by December, just to give you an update on that, and then we can kind of come up with a firm proposal of what we think the start times should be.
“Just trying to take everyone’s viewpoint into consideration and not make a change that’s going to be really drastic for a third of our school population.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010 or on Twitter @Swan_Enterprise