November 16, 2023
Culminating his first 100 days with Beachwood Schools, treasurer Matthew Brown unveiled his inaugural five-year financial forecast at the Board of Education meeting on November 15. This forecast, a state-mandated requirement for all public school districts in Ohio, offers a detailed look into the District's financial future, balancing anticipated revenues against expenditures while considering the impact of various legal and economic factors.
Highlights of the Forecast
Robust Revenue Sources: The District's primary revenue sources include a nearly equal split of residential and commercial property taxes, state funding encompassing foundation payments and casino revenues, and local revenues from interest, tuition, and rentals.
Property Tax Evaluation and Reappraisal: With new construction in the area, a steady increase in property tax valuation is expected. A full reappraisal scheduled for 2024 may bring significant changes, although the impact on individual tax bills will be moderated by House Bill 920.
State Funding Under House Bill 33: The District is a beneficiary of House Bill 33, which phases in a fair school funding plan over six years, indicating a rise in funding levels that include transportation costs and special education reimbursements.
Expenditure Considerations: A major portion of the District's expenditures relates to salaries, wages, and fringe benefits. The District is prepared for future salary increases and benefits, remaining self-insured for health benefits.
Interest Income and Expenditure Growth: Benefiting from high interest rates, the District has seen an increase in interest income. However, annual expenditures are expected to grow by an average of 2.57% per year due to inflationary pressures, healthcare costs, and the need to stay competitive in hiring quality staff.
Deficit Spending and Cash Reserves: While the forecast predicts deficit spending starting in the current fiscal year, the District's strong fund balance is expected to temporarily mitigate this. Additionally, the District aims to maintain a minimum of 60 days of cash on hand by fiscal year 26/27, in line with recommendations from the Government Finance Officers Association.
Beachwood Schools is actively taking steps to address its financial challenges through a series of strategic measures. This approach includes monitoring and evaluating its spending, along with collaborating with the City of Beachwood to attract new businesses and investment into the area. Another key aspect of their financial strategy involves closely observing the financial health of significant local properties, such as Beachwood Place Mall and Menorah Park. A change in the tax status of the Menorah Park properties is particularly important in shaping the District's revenue projections.
The Board of Education is expected to vote to approve the five-year financial forecast at its November 27 meeting. For a full recording of the presentation, stay tuned to the District’s Youtube page.