A 0.75-mill operating levy must by renewed to keep the Lorain County JVS financial picture clear for the next five years.
Treasurer Cory Thompson said $2.2 million in annual state funding is expected to hold firm, though the state legislature’s “guarantee” could change with the political winds.
“The only way we’re going to be able to get off the ‘guarantee’ is to increase enrollment,” he said.
In his six years with the district, enrollment has decreased slightly. To get a state funding increase, roughly more 500 students would need to enroll.
While state funding is crucial, the largest chunk of the vocational school’s $20.2 million income this year — slightly more than half — came from local property taxes.
Revenue is expected to increase almost $68,000 from fiscal year 2016 to 2017, but it takes a bit of a dive after that and drops $1.8 million in 2018.
Thompson said that’s because the existing five-year, 0.75-mill levy is set to expire Dec. 31, 2017. Renewing it is a necessity.
“If it doesn’t pass we instantly start deficit spending,” he said.
Without the levy, the JVS is expected to be $1 million in the red by fiscal year 2018. That number increases to $3 million by 2020.
The earliest the levy could go on the ballot is November 2016.
As far as expenses go, Thompson has a two percent base increase forecasted on all salary schedules for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. No increase is scheduled for non-salary positions.
Fiscal year 2016 shows a 6.9 percent increase on health insurance and no premium holiday period (when the employee’s medical insurance premiums will not be deducted from their pay).
In 2017 a plan design change will reduce premiums by about $254,000. Half is accounted for in fiscal year 2017 and the other half is realized in fiscal year 2018.
Thompson said the district is trying to curb expenses and recruiting and marking is helping bring in new students, but maintaining and increasing enrollment is a constant challenge.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.
Photo by Kelsey Leyva | Civitas Media Lorain County JVS treasurer Cory Thompson predicts the district will be in good financial standing as long as a levy set to expire in December 2017 is renewed.