Troy BOE examines 5-year forecast


By Matt Clevenger

For Miami Valley Today

TROY — The Troy City Schools Board of Education held a special work session on Thursday discussing the district’s current five-year forecast and 2021-2022 capital improvement plan.

“We’re approaching the end of our first year in the forecast,” board member Jeff Price said. “There are a lot of unknowns. Half of our budget is state and federal dollars; we’ve been given no figures yet.”

The district has collected $17,100,462 in general property tax this fiscal year, and $11,312,368 in income tax.

“We are within $45-50,000 of last fiscal year,” Price said of the income tax collections. “If you remember when we headed into this fiscal year, we were potentially facing a $1 million shortfall. We had no idea where we were heading, but we never really saw that decrease.”

“I’m projecting a 1% increase each year, which has been typical since I’ve been here,” he said.

Board members discussed expenditures for personnel services, including medical and dental benefits. “We will not see any rate increases for medical or dental for the next fiscal year,” Price said. “

The district is on track to spend approximately $27 million for personnel services.

“That’s after staff reductions last summer, and with wellness dollars covering the expansion of guidance counselors and nurses at each of the buildings,” Price said. “That’s offsetting that cost, and will continue for the next two years and then that line item jumps up drastically. It also projects maintaining those staff reductions that were made last summer.”

Board members also discussed the status of a property tax challenge that should be settled by sometime in June.

“We are down to one property tax challenge by the property owner,” Price said. “That is a hotel behind Ruby Tuesday’s; they are asking for about an $800-900,000 reduction in value.”

Board members also discussed the financial impact of state and federal changes to the school lunch program. As a result, the district should not have to transfer any additional funding to the school lunch program throughout the 5-year forecast.

“There was an announcement about two weeks ago that students will receive free breakfast and lunches through the entire next school year,” Price said. “We are delivering basically 1,000 lunches to all of our Trojan Online Academy students all year long. We will continue the delivery of those.”

“We’ll continue that all summer long,” he said. “We will continue the pick-up points and add a few to them throughout the summer.”

The athletic department is also doing better than expected this fiscal year, with an estimated $100,000 carry-over.

“Our worry was knowing that we may have to transfer money to the athletic department because of lack of ticket sales,” Price said.

“As of right now, we’re looking at close to $1 million in revenue over expenditures,” Price said.

“It’s a rosy picture for the moment,” board member Sue Borchers said. “I’m cautiously optimistic; I still don’t feel like we’re sitting on very sound soil.”

“You’re never out of the woods in school financing,” board member Doug Trostle said.

In other business, board members also discussed the district’s 2021 capital improvements project list, and a plan to save over $440,000 by re-financing debt from a 2012 issuance of bonds. “The cost of this refinancing is $47,000,” Price said. “We are projected to close on May 19 at this point, and the savings of going through this refinancing to the taxpayers is over $441,000.”

“This batch will be paid off in 2028,” Price said. “The proposal was sent out to 25 institutions. The low proposal was provided by Key Government Finance at a rate of 1.76 %.”

Board members discussed several different projects from the 2021 capital improvements list, including the purchase of new radios for secondary school employees and asphalt patching/ re-paving for portions of the bus compound, the back drive at the junior high school, the high school kitchen parking lot, and portions of Ferguson Drive.

The district also plans to spend $9,450 to replace curbs and sidewalk at Van Cleve Elementary School, while the city re-paves an adjacent side street this summer. “While they have the roadway ripped up, we’re proposing to replace the curb and sidewalk where necessary,” Price said.

Other projects included in the capital improvements list include work on the main entrance at Kyle Elementary School and the replacement of two heaters at the stadium. The district is also planning to replace an HVAC compressor at Heywood Elementary School and inspect HVAC units on the roof of the junior high school building.

“We’re coming to the end of life for a few of those units,” Price said. “We wanted an evaluation to plan, because we knew that project will not be cheap, when it does hit us.”

Other upcoming projects include the replacement of two kilns in the high school art classrooms, a leaking drainage tile in the board of education office basement and replacement of three sections of roof at the high school building. The district already completed another project from the list, repairing a damaged underground feeder circuit at the high school building.

Board members also discussed the installation of seven additional bottle-filling stations at different school buildings, and the feasibility of installing air conditioning at the high school building, which has been estimated to cost over $5 million.

“You’ll notice, there isn’t a lot going to the elementaries,” Price said. “Something needs to be done at some point.”

“We’ve got a lot of those buildings sitting on the verge right now,” Trostle said. “Heywood School’s got an 80 year-old slate roof that had a 75-year life expectancy; the day we have to replace that …”

“I think we have to be more open about some of these things,” he said, “just to say what some of the pending challenges are going to be in all of those buildings.”

“Hook and Cookson, they were constructed with one boiler,” Price said. “The boilers are still original in both of those buildings. They look brand new, but they are original.”

“All four boilers at the high school are original,” he said. “They were installed in 1957.”

The district is also planning to implement a change in graduation requirements that would make it easier for some students to graduate.

“The state allowed schools across Ohio to adjust graduation requirements,” Piper said.

“We require one additional elective credit over what the state requires,” he said. “If we have a student who can’t cross that elective threshold, which is very, very few, we could say OK. It won’t catch many kids, but if it catches any and gets them a diploma that’s a good thing.”

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