Fallen Timbers

Middle School

                      

Anthony Wayne Local School District News Article

Financial Update: Operational Levy Proposed


December 13, 2023


Dear Anthony Wayne Local Schools Stakeholders,


This letter contains information related to planning discussions that took place at the December Board meeting. Board members voted on a Resolution of Necessity to take the first step toward placing a 5-year, 2.42-mill operational levy on the March 2024 ballot. 


Please know there are a number of decisions the District needs to make on a very compressed timeline. We will be as transparent as possible in communicating this information with as much advance notice as possible. An explanation of this timeline and the rationale for the Board and Administration’s actions is below. 


At the November Board meeting, the Five-Year Forecast was presented to the Board. The information in this financial projection was based on reduction in significant revenue from the Nexus Pipeline, the Fallen Timbers Mall, ESSER funds, and the failure of the proposed November operational levy. Also shared was the expectation that the Ohio Department of Education & Workforce Development would now require a Financial Recovery Plan to balance the budget.


How did we get here?

School funding and our current financial situation are more complicated than this summary, but in the interest of brevity, below are a few of our biggest challenges:

  • The main three sources of revenue for public school districts are local, state and federal funds, and the State of Ohio's funding formula means public schools rely heavily on local taxes to educate students. What you should know is that:

    • there are NO federal funding increases for the District over the next two years.

    • state funding increases over the next two years are less than 50 cents per day per student. The state’s school funding system recognizes AWLS as a high-wealth district, putting the heaviest financial burden on local taxpayers.

    • local funding projections were affected by the failure of the November proposed operational levy.


  • The reduction of the following local funding sources played important roles in the Five-Year Forecast and current District financial situation:

    • A ~$200,000 reduction in funding from Fallen Timbers Mall

    • Millions of dollars of unpaid Nexus Pipeline tax funding

    • The end of the Covid-relief ESSER Funds

    • The failure of the November proposed operational levy

Financial Recovery Planning

The District has received a deadline of January 31, 2024 to submit a Financial Recovery Plan. This plan must include:

  • A plan for balancing the budget for FY25 (July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025).

  • A plan for balancing the budget for FY26 (July 1, 2025 - June 30, 2026).


These plans can include an Option A (pass a levy in FY2024) and are required to include an Option B (no new funds). As a part of Option B, the District will have to reduce expenditures by $764,176 in FY25 and $3,670,781 in FY26. All financial recovery options will require Board approval prior to submission to the state.


Option to Consider a March Operational Levy

The current Board of Education has decided that in order to give the new Board members the most flexibility in preparing the Financial Recovery Plan, they should begin discussions for placing an operational levy on the March 19, 2024 primary ballot.


The deadline to appear on the March ballot is December 20 at 4:00 p.m. This process requires several steps.

  1. The Board must first vote on a Resolution of Necessity. (Passed at the December 11 meeting.)

  2. The resolution is then submitted to the Lucas County County Auditor to certify the millage rate.  

  3. The Board must hold a second meeting to vote on a Resolution to Proceed. 

  4. If approved, the District Treasurer must deliver all documentation to the Board of Elections before the December 20 deadline.


In order to complete all of the required steps in the amount of available time, the Board will hold a special meeting at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 14. 


Why is This Important?

This is the District’s only chance in FY 2024 to secure additional revenue for planning for the next school year. If the levy is not proposed on the March ballot, the District cannot submit an Option A (pass a levy), and can only proceed with a plan that includes any changes/reductions in staff/services, etc. for the next school year. 


What About the August or November Elections?

Both are options for consideration, and would secure additional revenue effective January 2025. The March levy allows the District more options in planning for the 2024-25 school year even if the funding would not start until January, 2025. In addition, the fees associated with an August special election would be significant for the District since we may be the only one on the ballot during this election.


How is the District looking to improve its financial situation?

District administrators are:

  • closely examining the budget and reviewing all expenditures.

  • seeking ways to increase revenue and reduce expenses, while maintaining a high-quality education for students. 

  • working with the current and incoming Board members to discuss and plan for a potential March levy

  • developing the Financial Recovery Plan documents for the state


This is a lot of information, but we felt it was important to share this timeline and explanation with stakeholders. It is our intent to keep you as informed as possible throughout this process. More information will be made publicly available on the District website at www.AnthonyWayneSchools.org. More information will be made publicly available on the District website at www.AnthonyWayneSchools.org/Levy. Community members interested in receiving periodic updates via email can register online at www.AnthonyWayneSchools.org/Communications


If you have any questions about the District’s finances, please contact us.


Thank you,


Ms. Kerri Johnson, Treasurer

Anthony Wayne Local Schools


Dr. Jim Fritz, Superintendent

Anthony Wayne Local Schools

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