By HOWARD BALABAN
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA - Thanks to a projected budget surplus, the Medina Central School District will look to keep the local property tax levy for the 2013-2014 school year the same as 2012-2013.
For the current school year the school board budgeted for $33,427,930. Next year’s budget, which has not yet been finalized, sits at $33,769,630. The budget-to-budget increase is 1.02 percent. The board agreed to use some of this year’s surplus to offset the budget increase for next year, which will result in no tax levy increase.
The levy will remain at $9,135,636.
At Tuesday night’s school board meeting, Sharon Zacher, district business administrator, presented the preliminary numbers to the board. With the fiscal year coming to a close she said it appears the district is on its way to winding up ahead.
“We are in good shape so far,” she said.
Zacher said the district saved in areas such as instruction, transportation, and employee benefits (health insurance). Other costs lower than anticipated included those associated with board of education training, as well as buildings and grounds maintenance.
Board member William Keppler asked how much of the savings could be attributed to the closure of Towne School this past fall, and Zacher said several areas were indeed related. Among them were the drop to a single bus run, which will lead to even more noticeable savings in the future by lessening wear and tear on district buses. Utility costs in the district also decreased, she said.
Overall, budget-to-budget Medina is planning to maintain existing programs and retain its current staff. Also, the board agreed to consider renewing the modified sports program, contingent on other districts in the area renewing theirs also.
With a projected surplus, board member Wendi Pencille asked if it was possible to lower the tax levy given all that has happened within the district over the past year or so.
“Enrollment is going down, we’ve closed a school…we have a chance to make a good will gesture,” she said. Her vision was shared by a few board members. Ultimately, though, the board reached a consensus to err on the side of caution and keep the levy constant.
The board will meet Tuesday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. to approve a finalized budget. The annual budget hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, May 7 at 6 p.m. Two weeks later, May 21, the taxpayers will vote on the budget. All three events will take place at the district office.
In other news Tuesday night, Todd Eick asked the board for permission to pursue a Monsanto Grant. Eick, an agriculture/FFA teacher in the district, said Medina received a nomination for the grant. Only those who are nominated are allowed to apply for it, he said.
Eick said he planned on applying for a $25,000 grant. He proposed the money, if awarded, should go toward funding an on-campus facility that would house smaller animals like goats or llamas. The continued growth of the Medina’s agriculture program and the student body’s centralized location make the proposal beneficial for the entire district, Eick said.
The board gave Eick its approval to move ahead with the grant application.