Financial Forecasting in Uncertain Times

Mr KowalskiThe Liberty-Benton School District has a long record of responsible, thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer funds and maintaining a sound budget while sending dollars to the classroom for students. While our recent five-year financial forecast reflects these priorities, the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has interjected a number of unknowns for our future. 

Because of the State of Ohio’s revenue performance in April, Governor DeWine reduced state funding for all school districts in the final two months of the 2019-20 school year. For Liberty-Benton, this reduction totaled $271,122, and we must brace for more reductions as the current health and economic crises continue. Like many of our residents who are also seeing shortfalls to their family’s income, we are doing what it takes to cut costs and stretch our resources.

At this point, the full economic impact of the pandemic is difficult to predict. We are working closely to review historical trends and the financial impact of the last recession to provide a helpful precedent for scenario modeling. As always, there are lessons we can learn from our past as we plan for the future. 

I can tell you that we are forever grateful for the successful passage of the November 2019 income tax renewal levy, which enables us to keep local dollars local, supporting our local schools. In looking at our data, I am 100% confident that it is because of our community’s support that we will be able to weather the fiscal crisis facing our schools as best as possible. 

In the meantime, we pledge to analyze all of our spending and smartly allocate our budget - just as we have always done. Our school district has a strong track record of conservative, sustainable and responsible financial planning. It is our hope that this ongoing commitment will enable us to get through this challenging time by protecting the quality of our schools as much as possible.  

Mark Kowalski

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