Twice yearly, Ohio’s public schools must approve a 5-year financial forecast. Hilliard Schools’ latest forecast was approved on May 18, showing careful planning amidst potential revenue challenges. Here are some essential details:
The Current Revenue Landscape
- State Funding: The Fair School Funding Plan, enacted in 2021, aims for more equitable funding for Ohio schools. The state aid is determined based on 60% local property valuation and 40% household income. However, as the plan was only partially funded in the last budget cycle, it’s still uncertain what it will mean for Hilliard Schools. Early projections suggest flat state funding for our district.
- House Bill 920: This 1976 law prevents districts from collecting increased funds even as property values rise. Despite this, Hilliard Schools has managed its funds wisely, not seeking additional operating money since 2016.
- Inflation: Rising inflation rates put added pressure on school budgets. Combined with HB 920, this likely leads to deficit spending as expenditures outpace revenues. However, schools are expected to manage their cash balances wisely and are prohibited from operating with negative cash balances.
Managing Administrative Costs
Contrary to rumors, Hilliard Schools has minimized administrative costs, even eliminating seven administrative positions over the past three years. The cut positions save the district close to one million dollars a year. This places us with the lowest administrative expenditure per pupil in Franklin County.
Deficit Spending and the Forecast
Deficit spending reflects the challenges of rising costs and restricted property tax growth rather than financial mismanagement. Hilliard Schools has carefully built a cash balance over the years, which is now utilized as costs exceed revenues. This prudent fiscal planning allows us to stay off the ballot asking taxpayers for more money only when it is absolutely needed.
We appreciate our community’s support as we navigate these financial uncertainties. We are committed to keeping you updated on our financial status. You can find our latest financial reports here.