London schools: Slipping into a deeper hole
By Jane Beathard
There’s more bad financial news at London City Schools.
School board members learned Tuesday the district faces a $1.5 million shortfall by June 2012. Only more budget cuts or passage of an additional property tax will spare the school system from a wave of red ink.
Pat Willard, a financial consultant from the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), delivered the negative message at the board’s regular meeting. ODE dispatched the consultant to London schools in October after real-world expenditures failed to match those of the district’s five-year projection.
Willard said the first problem was to separate the budgets of London Academy, the district’s community school, and London City Schools. Once that was accomplished, she found the school district was “borrowing” on future property tax collections to meet current expenses — a practice allowed by county auditors.
Without the “borrowing” habit, London schools began operating in the red during the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2010.
“You’ve done it for several years, so you dug yourself a bigger hole,” Willard told the board.
She said the district should discontinue the practice and “show next year’s tax collections as next year’s money.”
Board member Marv Homan summarized Willard’s gloomy report in a sentence.
“Going into the 2012 fiscal year, we’d better find a way to cut $1.5 million or pass a levy,” Homan said.
Board president Vici Geer said a levy proposal will be the main topic of discussion at a work session set for 7 p.m. on Monday, June 20, at the central office, 60 S. Walnut St.