By KATHRYNE RUBRIGHT
Findlay school board on Monday approved a fiscal year 2019 budget totaling $90.6 million, which is down slightly from last year, but still includes a general fund deficit.
The district has a hefty carryover balance, however.
The 2019 budget includes general fund revenue of $61.9 million and $63.6 million in spending.
The fiscal year 2018 budget totaled $90.8 million and originally included $4.1 million in general fund deficit spending. The actual deficit was less, coming in around $758,000.
“Through good management of our expenses, we did a nice job of closing that gap, and I think that we all have a responsibility this year that we do the same thing with this budget as well,” said board member Susan Russel.
A change in health insurance consultants, which the board approved Monday, should help with savings, she said.
The district is also assembling a “task force” to understand the causes of the district’s open enrollment losses and what could “turn that trend around,” Russel said.
The group will begin meeting this week, she said.
In fiscal year 2018, Findlay City Schools lost about $2.8 million to other districts as students who lived in the district enrolled elsewhere. The net loss was about $1.3 million after accounting for students who attend Findlay through open enrollment.
Despite the general fund deficit spending, the district had a carryover balance of about $9.48 million at the end of the 2018 fiscal year.
Separately, Superintendent Ed Kurt announced that the district will hold a community meeting about the proposed safety and security levy at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 24 in the Findlay High School auditorium.
Findlay City Schools is asking voters for a five-year, 1.5-mill levy that would generate $1,226,000 annually.
The money would be used to hire police officers and clinical counselors for schools, and to pay for safety and security equipment and training.
Separately, the board approved a one-year, $37,855 contract with MediaLinks Advertising, a Findlay-based company.
MediaLinks will make the district’s website easier to use and improve consistency across the various parts of the website, Kurt said.
Separately, Transportation Director John Dell reported that a new camera system has been installed on the district’s 40 buses. The system also has a GPS component that records routes, stops, speeds and other information.
Two routes are currently covered by substitute drivers. That’s part of a nationwide bus driver shortage that has been going on for years, Dell said.
Also, the district does not have a bus driver handbook, so one is being created.
Separately, the board approved updated calendars for the next two school years that include later start dates.
Students will return to school on Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2019, and Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020.
They went back on Wednesday, Aug. 15 this year.
Asked after Monday’s meeting about rumors about some kind of incident at the Findlay vs. Toledo Start football game on Friday, Kurt said that because of a previous “incident” at Start with a different school, the procedure at Start is for police “to escort the buses out to the freeway. That’s all that happened at our game.
“We have interviewed all of our personnel, and we have no reports of any incident,” Kurt said.
He said there were some “spats” or “pushing” among Start students, but Findlay students were not involved.
Lt. Kevan Toney with the Toledo Police Public Information Unit said Monday that the procedure for the past two years or so has been to escort the away team after a game at Start.