Financial forecast helps plan future IH Schools expenses and goals
Guest Column: By Mick Davis, Treasurer, Indian Hill Schools
At the Indian Hill Board of Education Meeting Tuesday, November 19, I presented an update to the District’s five-year financial forecast. Presented twice a year, the forecast is a tool that aligns our income and expenses to our District’s current and future goals with respect to academics, operations, and facilities. This important planning tool is required by the Ohio Department of Education, and is critical for us to understand what we need to do as a District to maintain the excellent educational services you have come to expect.
As we communicated last year, the District has been diverting funds from our operating budget to pay for needed building improvements and emergency repairs. Due to this demand on our budget, the District launched a Facilities Assessment Task Force in 2018. In October, after a year of extensive review, research, and analyses, the Indian Hill School District’s community-based Facilities Steering Committee – a subcommittee of the overarching task force – presented the Board of Education with four options to address needs for school facilities within the Indian Hill School District.
Additionally, I convened a Finance Committee to review school funding processes and capital/operating funding options. The Finance Committee is now tasked with placing millage amounts to the facilities options and pairing them with the District’s needs on the operating side. The District’s last voter-approved operating issue was passed more than 25 years ago, and the District is approaching on a need for additional dollars.
Within the forecast, we continue to see near-flat revenue growth (near one percent per year, within the forecasted timeline). One percent per year is well below the rate of inflation mark. Inflationary costs affect us on the revenue side, as well as the expense side as things get more expensive over time but we do not see a corresponding increase to match on the revenue side. Additionally, Indian Hill receives minimal state education funding – in fact, just under five percent of our revenue is from this source. This is something we do not anticipate ever increasing. The majority of our revenue comes from property tax – more than 90 percent.
We do have reasons to celebrate our financial position. The Indian Hill School District is an excellent value; our District’s tax rate is the lowest in Hamilton County. The District also did a great job managing the last bond issue and has structured the refinancing of bonds to achieve taxpayer savings of $8.5 million. That savings for residents comes in the form of reduced millage paid toward the bonds. In addition, a significant share of what residents pay on this bond expired at the end of 2018 – reducing the bond debt and providing our residents a savings of $304 annually on a $500,000 home.
We expect our Finance Committee to have a recommendation to the Board of Education early 2020. We will continue to provide you timely updates.
As always, I thank you for your continued support of the excellent educational services we provide within the Indian Hill School District. Should you have any questions about our District’s finances, please contact me directly.
Mick Davis Treasurer, Indian Hill Exempted Village School District