Due to a rather significant miscalculation by former Falls City School Treasurer Kathryn Sines, the district is dealing with a $1.6 million budget shortfall it hadn’t anticipated.
In her final five-year forecast prepared in October of 2011, it appears Sines neglected to incorporate six-figure state funding cuts that were handed down to the district over this school year and next.
Interim treasurer Jerry Zelenka said the discrepancy surfaced over the last few weeks as he prepared the next five-year forecast, which will be up for approval at the May 14 meeting.
The issue boils down to the figures included in the Property Tax Allocation line item of the forecast, which is made up of homestead rollback payments and tangible personal property tax funds (TPP).
Sines projected the state funds would slowly increase, from $5.85 million in 2012 to $5.97 million in 2013. However, due to heavy TPP statewide cuts that took effect this past July, the numbers will actually decrease by roughly $800,000 this year and next to make up the $1.6 million loss, said Zelenka.
The losses could deepen if the state decides to make further cuts past 2013.
It’s Zelenka’s hope that the roughly $48 million in expenditures from the current school year come in lower than expected to make the losses “less biting,” he said.
Open enrollment money generated from the district’s new could help as well.
Since there aren’t many programs like it in the area, Zelenka thinks parents will be more inclined to enroll their students into the district, and with each transfer, the school system would receive $5,700 in state funding. Yet, the calculations aren’t cut and dry as the district also needs to retain students too as funds are lost with every pupil that leaves the district, he said.
Zelenka couldn’t comment on what cuts might need to be made to eliminate the shortfall.
Sines resigned in January of 2012 and is currently serving as the treasurer and CFO of the Hudson City Schools. Following her departure, Zelenka was chosen by school officials to take on the roll of interim treasurer.