NORTH OLMSTED

Potential figures will be discussed tonight as the North Olmsted school board continues to consider placing an operating levy on the November ballot amid financial uncertainty. The board meeting will be livestreamed at facebook.com/NOCSEagles beginning at 7 p.m.

The district is waiting to see the impact the economic crunch caused by COVD-19 has on state funding to school districts, Treasurer Robert Matson said at Thursday’s special board meeting. When doing financial forecasts, Matson said, he tries to be conservative in his estimates and recommended the board seek at least a 6.9-mill operating levy if it decides to go on the November ballot. Board member Brian Hall asked Matson to also bring information about what a 7.9-mill levy would bring in.

The district last passed an operating levy in 2010 and a capital improvements levy in 2014. The $80 million capital levy paid for the middle/high school campus that opened two years ago. It also paid for a performing arts auditorium and new stadium.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $241.50 annually in real estate taxes if voters approve a 6.9-mill operating levy, Matson said. He estimated it would bring an additional $5.6 million annually to the district. A 7.9-mill operating levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $278.50 annually, with the district getting $7.2 million, Matson said.

A new operating levy would prevent the district from dipping into its reserve fund as it did in the 2019 fiscal year, when it took $2.2 million from reserves. School buildings being closed this spring kept the district from going into the reserve fund during the current fiscal year.

“It’s hard to tell what will happen in the next year,” Matson said.

There is about $14 million in the reserve fund, but that would probably be used up within three years if the district has to use it for operating expenses, Matson predicted.

North Olmsted, like many school districts, is waiting for state guidelines to help determine whether its educational activities will be in classrooms, done virtually or some combination of both, said Superintendent Mike Zalar. It also has to determine how students and staff will be placed in schools to meet social-distancing guidelines, he said. Those factors, along with the need to expand the use of technology, will affect the budget, he said.

Contact this reporter at assoceditor@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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