July 2, 2016

Mostly clear

$5.1M in the hole projected for Brunswick Schools after 2015-16

BRUNSWICK — A five-year financial forecast shows Brunswick Schools ending the year in June with $2.1 million in the general fund.

But the forecast — a document the state requires school districts to file annually by the end of May — shows Brunswick expects a shortfall of $5.1 million following the 2015-16 school year if no new money comes in.

The forecast also predicts a deficit of $20.9 million at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

School officials expected the deficit predictions and are debating asking voters for an additional levy.

Last May the school board scrapped a nine-year, 5.9-mill levy, choosing instead to see what the funding would be in the two-year state budget.

When the state provided $2.2 million more than expected, the board asked voters to approve a two-year, 4.9-mill levy in November 2013. Voters rejected the levy by a narrow 253-vote margin.

An eight-year, 6.1-mill renewal levy passed easily with 63 percent of votes earlier this month.

Superintendent Michael Mayell thanked the community for its support at Monday’s school board meeting, calling the election results “encouraging” and “supportive.”

Mayell said board members are likely to begin discussions soon about asking for new levy money this fall.

The board’s next work session is June 2 and its regular meeting is June 16.

During the past year, the district has cut $4 million from the budget and eliminated 20 positions. Brunswick school administrators and central office staff took a pay freeze in an effort to save money. Those moves have helped keep the district in the black through June 2015, but they’re not enough to prevent deficit spending.

The budget estimate school board members approved Monday shows expenses outweigh revenues in each of the next four school years leading to a deficit within two years’ time.

The report shows revenues of around $64.9 million at the end of June, but estimates revenues will fall to around $61.5 million annually by the summer of 2018.

The report also predicts annual expenditures will increase from about $64.9 million this year to $73.4 million at the end of the 2017-18 school year.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @lorengenson.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.