By Mick Davis, CFO/Treasurer, Indian Hill School District
At the Indian Hill Board of Education Meeting on Tuesday, November 28, I shared an update of the District’s five-year financial forecast. This important planning tool is required by the Ohio Department of Education and presented twice a year, in November and May. The forecast aligns our income and expenses to our District’s current and future goals with respect to academics, operations, and facilities. This update will provide you a look at how our forecast has evolved based on four key variables: state funding increases, property value tax impact, purchased services increases, and conservative fiscal management.
State Funding Increase
We are pleased to share the District will see an increase in revenue due to a rise in state funding. This is the first time in years we have seen a substantial increase, with the potential to double our funding over time. Please note that while we will see the increase, state funding would only make up approximately 7 percent of the District’s overall budget.
Property Value Tax Impact
As we shared with you in May, owning real estate within the Indian Hill School District has proven to be an excellent investment for our taxpayers. With the upcoming property valuation this year, we anticipate our investors could see an increase of up to 30 percent in their property values due to the current state of the housing market within our District. While this is excellent news for stakeholders who will realize increased value, we want to make it clear that the rise in property value does not equate to the Indian Hill School District receiving equivalent additional funding. Our funding in this area will remain as previously projected.
Additionally, I want to note that the Ohio General Assembly is looking to reform the impact of property tax evaluations; this could have significant impact on our forecast. We will continue to monitor this situation and provide you any updates.
One point of celebration for all taxpayers is the tax reduction that will happen as our 2001 bond expires in 2027. You may remember back in 2019, a share of what residents paid on this bond expired – reducing the bond debt by 1.74 mills. Additionally, it is important to know that in 2016, the District refinanced those 2001 bonds to achieve taxpayer savings of $8.5 million. That savings for residents was in the form of reduced millage paid toward the bonds.
Finally, we want to again note that we completed the first calendar year for collecting on the combined operating and bond issue passed by the community on May 4, 2021. As a reminder, the bond issue is a 30-year financial commitment that generates an estimated $77 million for our facilities. The operational levy is a five-year commitment that generates an estimated $3.3 million per year for five years in operating funds with an option to place a renewal on a future ballot.
Purchased Services Increase
While the new revenue growth is important to note, we also need to recognize a substantial increase in purchased services within this forecast update. The services our District are required to provide to our students by law has increased approximately 35 percent recently, due to an increase in student needs. We also continue to monitor the impact of inflation on all of our expenses.
Continued Conservative Fiscal Management
We continue to look for opportunities to provide our taxpayers savings with attention to conservative fiscal management. Already this school year we can celebrate an additional six grants we were awarded in October for a combined $30,000 to expand STEM learning projects through the Ohio STEM Learning Network Classroom Grant Program. The grants will fund projects at Indian Hill Primary School, Indian Hill Elementary School, and Indian Hill Middle School. This is in addition to last school year when we received $300,000 in Ohio K-12 School Safety Grants Awarded for construction and $15,000 in grants through the Ohio STEM Learning Network STEM Classroom Grant program. Additionally, we continue to celebrate savings we continue to see through the implementation of an Energy Savings Program, which guarantees more than $150,000 in savings annually.
Ours is a story of fiscal responsibility without compromising the excellence you expect and deserve. Again, thank you for the continued support of our schools. You can count on continued timely financial updates. Should you have any questions about our District’s finances, please contact me directly.
Indian Hill Exempted Village School District
Posted November 29, 2023
Photo caption: Indian Hill School District CFO/Treasurer Mick Davis