At the Indian Hill Board of Education Meeting Tuesday, November 15, 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.
We want Indian Hill School District families to feel confident that our schools are the superior choice for the educational experience their children will enjoy, and we have seen an increase in enrollment within our lower grades. This is an absolute celebration. The increased enrollment did require additional personnel, which is reflected in the forecast. Additionally, our District is making an investment in professional learning targeted to the initiatives stakeholders set forth during the creation of our five-year #IHPromise Strategic Plan. We intend to deliver the excellence in education our community both expects and deserves.
It is important to note that our taxpayers will see a tax reduction as 1.18 mills from 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.
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.
Bond/Operating Levy Investment
We are within the first calendar year for collecting on the combined operating and bond issue passed by the community 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.
During the September 2022 meeting, the Board of Education voted unanimously to approve a resolution that provides the Board a supplemental borrowing option of $10.0 million to mitigate budget adjustments the master project is enduring due to inflation. This allowed the Board to take quick action to lock in interest rates prior to the steep incline on longer-term financing to cover additional costs. Our Board members were excellent stewards of the investment our stakeholders have made in this multi-building construction project, while working to stay true to the original project scope. This work includes building a new gymnasium and Unified Arts wing to replace the “sawtooth” at Indian Hill Elementary School, building a new Indian Hill Middle School building, and making significant safety and mechanical upgrades across our campus. We were able to achieve such a low rate, 3.75 percent, due to the Indian Hill School District’s Aaa credit rating; Indian Hill is one of an elite number of school districts – only two others in Ohio – with the Aaa rating.
Continued Conservative Fiscal Management
Despite inflation causing an increase in many of our expenditures, we want our stakeholders to know we continue to look for ways to trim expenses. Our partnership with Motz Engineering and Energy Optimizers in developing a fiscally responsible Energy Savings Program to make District-wide facility upgrades that are good for the environment is complete. Those improvements will result in a guaranteed energy savings of $154,528 annually. Additionally, we are investigating the investment in electric buses. This work, and the examples of how we managed past bonds, are proof the Indian Hill School District has a history of looking for opportunities to provide cost savings to our stakeholders in all that we do as an organization, while ensuring we provide unparalleled experiences for our students.
As we look toward the future using our five-year forecast, we know our financial outlook is stable; our focus is to continue to provide our stakeholders the excellence they expect and deserve, and doing so in a fiscally responsible manner.
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 16, 2022