COVENTRY TWP. The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission overseeing Coventry Local Schools raised several questions during a recent meeting.
During the Dec. 21 meeting, a lengthy discussion took place during a work session about moving the district out of fiscal emergency. The district has made progress towards being removed, but still has to resolve some accounting methods and present a strong positive five-year-forecast.
Commission members raised concerns about the district’s five-year-forecast, which shows a deficit in year five of the forecast of $593,299. To be removed from fiscal emergency, the district has to ask the state auditor, who will then review the district’s finances.
Commission Chair Jack Pierson said there are many districts that are not in fiscal emergency that show a negative ending balance in years four and five and even sometimes in year three. He wants to see more detailed information from the district on expenses and revenue.
Even with the passage of a renewal levy slated for 2021, the district is expected to end year five with a negative balance.
Pierson said nobody knows what will happen in two years with a new budget from the state. There are many moving parts between state aide, property values changing and the cost of expenses, it is hard to plan into the future.
Coventry Treasurer Matthew Muccio said he tends to make his forecasts conservative and he believes doing it that way negates some of the risk. Commission member Sean Fremon said his property appraisal came in higher than past appraisals, adding that everyone he has talked to also saw an increase.
Commission member Quentin Potter, however, said if he was in Columbus reviewing Coventry's forecast, he is not sure how it could work. He wants to see the district take steps to elevate spending and show a positive balance.
"We would like to see the new superintendent and new board provide us with a plan that has a positive fifth year," Pierson said.
In other business, Dec. 21 the commission:
- Approved personal items, purchase orders, supplemental appropriations and the amended Financial Recovery Plan.
- Heard the Accounting Methods Report, which shows the district still has 16 areas to address. Most of these area are policy changes, which are expected to be handled by the new school board in January and February.
- The commission went into executive session to discuss contract negotiations.
The next Financial and Supervision Commission meeting is set for 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at the Lakeview building.