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Fort Frye Local forecast shows cash decline

BEVERLY — The five-year financial forecast for Fort Frye Local Schools shows a continued decline in cash balances through fiscal year 2024 as, like other districts, it contends with increasing costs and flat revenues.

The board of education was presented with the forecast Thursday night. The five-year projection is required by the state.

Treasurer Stacy Bolton cautioned the board that state grants based on guaranteed funding were projected as the funding formula stands now, but changes, which might offer some benefit to the district, are still being considered by the state legislature.

“The state grants were frozen in 2019, we’re still on the guarantee, but there is for now no formula – they’re working on one,” she said. She noted that the $365,000 received from the state student success and wellness appropriation, to be spread over two years, goes into a separate fund. That money is intended for wrap-around services, including student counseling and mental health.

For fiscal year 2020, which began in July, the district is projecting revenues of $11,909,590 and expenditures of $12,419,903.

The district receives local revenues from an array of levies, which Bolton explained decline in millage as property values rise, with the exception of millage on public utilities, which remain constant.

Over the past year, Bolton said, the district gained $211,347 in interest from its investment fund and received a net income of $298,093 from open enrollment students who attend Fort Frye schools from other districts.

Of the expenditures this year, she said, 47 percent went to salaries and 25 percent went to employee benefits.

The district has met its maintenance and improvement costs by use of the capital outlay fund, enabling it to use its permanent improvement fund as a savings account. That fund is expected by next year to be about $14 million, she said.

In analyzing the district’s taxation, she noted that the rates are low relative to surrounding districts.

In terms of cost of taxation to property owners, superintendent Stephanie Starcher said, “Fort Frye is the most affordable district in Washington County.”

Bolden also told the board that health insurance premiums for employees will have a zero increase this year, remaining at $1,948.50 a month for the high-deductible family plan and $892.50 for single employees.

In other business, the board:

¯ Heard a presentation from FFA students

¯ Approved various personnel matters, including supplemental service contracts, employment, resignations and transfers

¯ Held executive sessions to evaluate the superintendent and treasurer, and for board member self-evaluations.

The board is scheduled to meet next at 6 p.m. Dec. 19 at Beverly-Center Elementary School.

Michael Kelly can be reached at mkelly@mariettatimes.com

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