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Lakewood School Board OKs ‘Challenging’ 5-Year Financial Forecast

Board approves budget document that shows that expenses will exceed revenues every year through 2017.

The Lakewood School Board OK’d a five-year forecast that shows that the school district could be in some dire financial straits if a levy doesn’t pass soon.

Lakewood City Schools treasurer Timothy Penton, who recently began the post full-time, recently presented the district’s proposed five-year financial forecast to the Lakewood School Board.

On Monday night, the board unanimously approved the proposal.

Like other recent five-year forecasts, it revealed that the district is going to need some help if further cuts are to be avoided. 

“The bottom line is that the expenditures are forecast to exceed the revenue each year through fiscal year 2017,” Penton recently told the school board.

“The big picture is that home values are dropping and it is affecting our revenues.” 

In addition, the state slashed its local funding — to the tune of about $1.5 million in fiscal year 2012.

According to the financial projections, by fiscal year 2017, the district’s expenditures will exceed revenues by more than $9 million. 

The revenues are expected to remain relatively flat — at around $67 — for the next five years, according to the data. However, expenditures rise about $2.5 million each year. 

“We’ve already made dramatic reductions in staffing levels and our staff has made concessions on wages and benefits,” Penton said at the board meeting earlier this month. “If we don’t’ have revenue coming in, we’ll have to make reductions in the expenditures. And that has a direct impact on our classrooms.”

Penton did not include a passed levy into the five-year-forecast. But officials have said that the district will need to ask voter for additional money soon. The district last passed a levy in 2006.

“Right now, there has only been a discussion about levy and that was done prior to my arrival,” he said. “What the size of that amount would be is only preliminary.”

The deadline to get a levy on the May ballot isn’t until February, leaving the board with some time to decide.

The district has cash reserves on-hand, but those would expire in fiscal year 2016.

William Johnston November 23, 2012 at 09:56 PM
If the Lakewood school system is in need of money maybe it should have applied for the Race to the Top funds which could have been at least $767,000 , however they did not even try for this funding.
kris November 25, 2012 at 06:45 PM
William, I wonder if there were reasons that we're unaware of. For example, sometimes funds require additional testing of students, required changes in curriculum, etc. and those measures are not always the best way to deliver a quality education to students. I myself find it impressive that the district has not asked for additional moneys from taxpayers since 2006. I love Lakewood, feel grateful to have the schools we have for our kids and would definitely support a levy.
cathy smith November 28, 2012 at 05:03 AM
I have young kids I would support a levy. Please take a look at all that unused high-school.

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