FOUR MORE IN THE GIFTED COLUMN … Montpelier Elementary Principal Lance Thorp explains the process that uncovered four more gifted students in the Montpelier School District. (PHOTO BY TIMOTHY KAYS, STAFF)
By: Timothy Kays
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to play havoc with finances in practically every school district across America, and the Montpelier Exempted Village School District is no exception. At the December 8 meeting of the Montpelier Board of Education, the Board members were given the latest financial news, but it was tempered with a considerable amount of sunlight breaking through the COVID clouds.
“Concerning the five year forecast,” reported Treasurer Donna Rice, “…a couple items I just want to highlight are that we did receive our income tax settlement for the 3rd quarter. The amount was 1% higher than last year for the same period. So that was a good indicator, but it did not make up for the loss that we had in the first quarter in this fiscal year. The withholdings had not increased as much as I was hoping they would to bring us back to show that everybody’s going back to work.”
“So the forecast included a reduction of 5% in income tax receipts for fiscal ’21, and I did not make any adjustments in that. By all indications, we should be right about in that are for the remainder of the year.”
Rice reported that the forecast reflects expenses of $195,000 that are earmarked to be paid by the Student Wellness and Success fund. These costs include salaries and benefits for the social worker, the high school guidance councilor, and the school health aide. In order to offset this expense, $195,000 has been added to the Other Revenues line in the forecast. This has been added for fiscal year ’21 through ’23. Indications from ODE are that these funds will be available in the next biennial budget, but there are no guarantees about the final years of the forecast.
The forecast also includes increases to insurances, Rice added. This year’s increase was larger than budgeted, so additional amounts were added to the Benefits line. The change was an increase in health insurance from an estimated 8% to 9% for the remainder of the forecast. “I recalculated that and added 9% all across the forecast, kind of hoping that the 9% is the highest that we go for the next five years,” she said.
For fiscal year ’21, Rice continued, $200,000 was added to the purchased services line due to an increase in Community School costs. The cost increased from $88,960 to $360,163 as of November 27. This cost increase is due to the number of students that left the district to attend an online program due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This line item will likely require another increase in appropriations as the pandemic continues and students do not return this year. It is anticipated that these students will return next fiscal year, so the increase does not carry to the other years of the forecast.
“So the bottom line in the forecast is we had a negative 5-year balance of $1.8 million,” Rice concluded. “But keep in mind there’s two years of possibly $200,000 or more in Student Wellness and Success money that is not accounted for in those last two years and, depending on how quickly the income tax recovers, you should wipe out most of that negative balance by that fifth year. It’s in much better shape than when I looked at it…a year ago when we are looking at it, as opposed to now.”
“I’m going to share something that I think is a super positive thing,” said Elementary Principal Lance Thorp as part of his report. “We had fourth graders complete gifted testing, right before Thanksgiving. We had to do this before third grade, and then again before students go to junior high. So we had four new students…four students that were identified this time around. They weren’t identified when they were second grade. So those four students, starting in the second semester, they’ll start getting gifted services in our buildings. Another neat thing there is we’re one of the few schools, to my knowledge, that offer elementary gifted services in general.”
In other actions, the Board agreed to reappoint Michelle Kannel as a Montpelier Library Board Trustee for another seven-year term to expire December 31, 2027. The Board adopted a resolution seeking a waiver from the Ohio Department of Education requirements to implement a Career-Technical Expansion (CTE) program for students enrolled in grades seven and eight. The waiver of requirements for the CTE programming will be for the 2020-2021 school year.
The Board accepted donations of 50 Happy Meals from McDonalds, 50 Kids Meals from Subway, and a $100.00 donation from St Paul’s United Methodist Church to the Nurse’s fund.
The Board moved to approve suspending the charging of utilities to the cafeteria fund using the indirect cost method, from January 1, 2021 to June 30, 2021, due to lack of revenue from the COVID 19 pandemic situation. The original suspension was approved by Resolution #46-20 on May 12 of this year. “This is through the federal funds,” Rice explained. “We can charge back some utilities towards the cafeteria fund, but due to the cafeteria not having much money anymore we are stopping that practice until…next year.”
Finally, the Board agreed to schedule the 2021 reorganizational meeting for January 12, 2021 at 4:45 p.m., with the regular meeting immediately following. Current Board President Jeremy Clinger was selected to preside as President Pro-Tempore for the meeting.
Tim can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The Village Reporter