Twinsburg school treasurer blasts school funding system

However, forecast difficult because of pandemic, state laws, says school treasurer

APRIL HELMS Reporter

TWINSBURG – While the Twinsburg City Schools show a positive cash balance through 2024,  the forecast is less certain due to the pandemic and state laws, said the district’s school treasurer.

“Future revenue streams are very soft numbers in light of the COVID-19 impact on the State’s budget,” Treasurer Martin Aho stated in notes submitted to the state May 27. “The State’s budget is for two years and the state does not provide any budget data beyond June 2021. Furthermore, HB66 demonstrates the state’s ability and willingness to significantly alter the collection of Local Tax Revenues to benefit the state. The State Budget Bill HB66 enacted July 1, 2005, is still causing financial uncertainty and increasing the level of forecasting difficulty.”\

The comments were part of Aho’s report on the five-year forecast recently submitted to the state,

According to information from the five-year forecast, submitted May 27, the district’s ending cash balance will be nearly $31.5 million in 2020. The ending cash balance is projected to be about $27 million in 2021; nearly $21 million in 2022; nearly $12.4 million in 2023, and a just over than $2 million in 2024.

Aho said during the June 3 school board meeting that in 1999, one of the results of the DeRolph decision was to require schools to send a forecast of its budget five years out.

“It’s more of a planning tool,” Aho said. “Projecting five years is sort of a best guess. All the school treasurers do the same thing. The whole idea of the five year forecast is to lay out a plan.”

The state auditor’s office reviews the plan, Aho said. If issues are found, such as deficits before the end of the five years, the auditor’s office could require the district to take action to avoid debt. By law, schools are not allowed to run into the red.

“Twinsburg City School District continues to face significant challenges,” Aho said in his May 27 statement. “The challenges are to provide an ever-increasing level of services to children with diverse abilities, needs, backgrounds, cultures, and requirements. This must be done with a level of funding that is neither stable nor predictable. Numerous funding models, HB59, HB66, Senate Bill 5, Charter Schools, and expanding voucher programs are perniciously nibbling away at public education funding and negatively impacting our prognostication. Oftentimes factions and legislators are more concerned with their own special interests than what is best for the education of all students.”