The sting of state budget cuts has been soothed by a nearly $400,000 windfall for the Wellington Schools cash reserves.
The district starts off its fiscal year unexpectedly ahead mainly because of $204,000 in outstanding purchase orders.
They were set aside by former treasurer Michael Pissini for “what if” scenarios — what if a bus breaks down? What if a boiler goes belly up?
“I didn’t close those purchase orders out until I went to close out fiscal year 2017,” said current treasurer Tina Gabler. “By the time I went to close them out, I had already had my last meeting with the board to approve the final budget.”
Fewer insurance claims filed by Wellington Schools employees also helped. They resulted in a $180,000 “premium holiday” that meant going a month without a district payment on health insurance.
The extra cash left the district with a total of $4.2 million in its general fund at the end of June.
On the other hand, Ohio’s new two-year budget, which went into effect July 1, cut $210,000 in annual state aid to the school system.
Gabler said the purchase order and health insurance windfalls will help right now, but not in the long-run as the state continues to shrink its education support.
“This basically covers two years of those losses,” she said. “We’re still losing that money from the state every year going forward. This softens the blow and buys us some time. We’re losing $210,000 right off the top.”
“I understand it’s due to declining enrollment but enrollment doesn’t change my overhead costs,” she added. “Let’s say you lose 20 to 30 students. That doesn’t change your transportation costs. My utility bills don’t change. My staffing doesn’t change. Nothing changes in overhead costs because I lose those students proportionately kindergarten through 12th grade.”
Gabler said to not expect another windfall in funds next June since only $85,000 in outstanding purchase orders carried over in the new fiscal year.
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.