Piqua BOE OKs five-year forecast

By Matt Clevenger

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PIQUA — Members of the Piqua City Schools Board of Education discussed the district’s five-year financial forecast during their regularly scheduled meeting held on Thursday, May 18.

“We’ve been in the black since 2007,” district Treasurer Jeremie Hittle said. “Our ending cash balances are well above the 60 days that we’re mandated to have. We’re fiscally healthy, and things are in good shape.”

“Our long-term projections have been holding on target,” he said. “We still have a positive cash balance through the forecast time period of June 30, 2027.”

Hittle also discussed the district’s revenue sources for fiscal year 2023. During that time, the district’s revenue was almost equally divided between state and local sources, Hittle said.

“Almost exactly half of it is coming from state sources, and almost exactly half of it is coming from local sources,” he said. “The biggest is the state foundation, and then real estate taxes are the next and then income taxes.”

Wages and benefits make up the district’s largest expenses, Hittle said.

“We are a people business, so 74% of what we’re doing is related to wages and benefits,” he said.

Hittle also discussed several pieces of current legislation that are currently before state legislators, which could impact school funding levels in the future.

“The good news is we’re financially stable for the next three years,” he said. “Obviously, it’s always subject to change if something crazy comes out of Columbus, but we’re in good shape at this point.”

Board members approved the five-year forecast as presented. In other business, board members also heard presentations by the Piqua High School valedictorian and salutatorian, and approved a list of graduates receiving diplomas at the upcoming Piqua High School graduation.

Board members also approved several minor NEOLA policy changes, and voted to accept two grants from the Piqua Education Foundation and the Ohio Division of Wildlife that will be used towards the district’s new national archery school program that will be implemented next year.

Board members also approved school fees and lunch fees for the 2023-2024 school year. Student fees will be $30 for students in kindergarten through grade 12. Pay-to-play fees will also be waived again this year.

School lunch fees will be $1.25 for breakfast for students in grades K-6, $2.50 for lunch for students in grades K-6, $1.50 for breakfast for students in grades 7-12, $2.75 for lunch for students in grades 7-12, $2 for adult breakfast and $4 for adult lunch. Extra milk will be $0.60.

“They’re going up slightly, but we’re still at a place that’s very competitive, comparatively speaking,” Assistant Superintendent Tony Lyons said.

“We’re going to have to continue to look at those a little more closely each time they come up,” he said.

“The lower grades are a little bit less, because the food quantity is less,” Hittle said. “We’ve been really focusing on improving the food quality, so while we’re being crushed with inflation costs, we’re also trying to listen to what the students want.”

“Most high school lunches are $3.00 or over now,” he said. “We’re well below the average.”

School fees also increased for the first time in approximately 17 years, Hittle said, from $20 to $30 for students in grades K-6.

“The high school is now $30 as well,” he said. “Our fees are way below any other school in our block; we still have the lowest fees in the area.”

Board members also approved student handbooks for the 2023-2024 school year, and a list of damaged books from Springcreek Elementary for disposal. Board members also voted to accept the resignation of Washington Primary School principal Eric Hughes, effective Aug. 1, 2023, and the hiring of a list of supplemental employees for the 2023-2024 school year. Board member Steve Frazier voted against approval of the supplemental employees.

Board members also discussed the upcoming transportation job fair that will be held at Piqua High School on Saturday, June 3.

“They are rolling that out on June 3,” Lyons said. “We’ve got lots of information coming out on social media.”

“People will actually be able to get in to a seat and feel what it’s like, behind the wheel of a bus,” he said. “They’ll get to ask questions of drivers, to dispel some myths about what driving’s like. We’re actually going to do some on-site interviews, if people are interested.”

“It’s a great job,” he said. “It pays $21.23 per-hour to start. Full benefits are available.”

Board members adjourned their meeting to enter an executive session for the purpose of appointment, employment, dismissal, discipline, promotion, demotion or compensation of an employee, negotiation of contracts, student or school official. Board members next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 22.