Where the $4 million deficit comes from

By BRIAN FERRY

bferry@timesobserver.com

Costs are going up.

Revenues are doing the opposite.

As a result, Warren County School District is facing an almost $4 million budget deficit.

It’s not a new problem. The district has had to overcome multi-million dollar budget shortfalls every year since 2011.

According to Director of Business Services Jim Grosch, about half of this year’s budget deficit is a result of increases to employee benefits. That line item went up almost $2 million on one year – from a little over $16.9 million in 2013-2014 to just under $18.9 for 2014-2015.

Employee salaries are a distant second at $800,000, but easily the second largest expenditure increase.

Professional services, property services, and transportation/charter schools/other add up to less than $530,000.

The remaining expenditure items represent less than $40,000 in increases.

Altogether, the district’s expenditures are up $3.33 million compared to last year.

“Revenue adjustments would be the difference” between $3.33 and the almost $4 million, according to Grosch.

The property tax collection rate is down, leaving the district about $500,000 short on the revenue side.

There is another factor, but its impact is unclear.

Because the district works through its budget process before the state budget is finalized, the district’s financial position could grow better or worse this summer.

More than half of the district’s revenue – 55.3 percent in 2013-2014 – comes from state funding.

Administration made projections based on Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed budget. “The money that we’re receiving from the state could change again,” Superintendent Dr. William Clark said. “We could be looking at more cuts if it comes in less.”

The state legislature will make changes to the budget and send it back to the governor for final approval.

“We never know what’s going to happen in Harrisburg,” he said.