Forecast: Hudson schools on firm financial footing

Despite state cuts, district finances healthy

APRIL HELMS Reporter

HUDSON – Despite recent funding cuts from the state, Hudson’s long-term financial future looks positive, at least for now.

In a presentation given at the May 28 Hudson school board meeting, Treasurer Phillip Butto said that the district has many positive factors in its favor.

“I am not spooked,” Butto told board members. “I feel strongly that if you step back and assess where you are at, we can move forward through these uncertainties. The district has a strong tax base that will continue to support the district. That is a positive.”

On May 5, Gov. Mike DeWine ordered announced $775 million in reductions to Ohio's General Revenue Fund for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020 which ends on June 30 due to income reductions because of the pandemic and economic lockdowns.

Superintendent Phil Herman said at a previous board meeting that, because of these state cuts, the district will lose $1.145 million from foundation funding, which is about 10% of the funding the district gets from the state — about 1.5% of the district’s budget overall.

As things stand now, the ending cash balance for the Hudson City Schools should be just under $33 million for fiscal year 2020, according to the May report filed with the Ohio Department of Education. Estimates are the ending cash balance will be about $30 million in 2021; about $27 million in 2022; about $22.6 million in 2023; and about $16.3 million in 2024.

Butto said he felt the district could “weather the current storm because of its solid financial position and cash balance.” He added that he did not see a long-term reduction in income tax in Hudson.

Board member Tom Tobin agreed, adding that many Hudson residents were able to continue working even through the pandemic.

Each year, the state requires school districts to send a five-year financial forecast to the Ohio Department of Education, once in the spring, and once in the fall.

Board member James Field noted the forecast “tries to predict what the state legislature will do.”

“Come October, we may find ourselves in need,” Field said.

Board President Dave Zuro agreed that the district will need to watch its financial situation due to the many unknowns surrounding the pandemic.

“The level of uncertainty is higher than usual because these are unusual times,” Zuro said. “We need to be nimble. Revenues could be lower, and expenditures could be higher. We are just going to have to remain nimble.”

April Helms can be reached at ahelms@recordpub.com.