CM: Meeting needs with funds available

By Clinton-Massie Local Schools

(This is the second of a two-part series from Clinton-Massie Local Schools.)

CLARKSVILLE—As Tracy Parker, treasurer of the Clinton-Massie Local School District, prepares for the 2015-16 school year, she continues to stay abreast of both the needs of the district and the funds available to meet those needs.

According to Parker, after a 25-year span of fiscal stability, the Clinton-Massie School District found itself in need of additional financial support as a result of a flat-lined guaranteed state funding in affect since the 2009-2010 school year and the reduction of property values beginning with the 2009 tax year.

“The reduction in property values caused the district to change from a 20-mill floor district to just a little over 21 mills, but the district was still collecting the same amount of taxes,” said Parker. “As the funding levels stayed the same, operating expenses kept increasing, thus, the need for more money.”

The district has made significant cuts and spent money from its cash reserves as well as utilized the funding from open enrollment and Rockies Express Pipeline to make it through financial difficulties.

Recent changes in tax collection have also come into play. In 2014 during the Clinton County Real Estate Triennial Update, CAUV property values increased in Clinton County which caused the district to fall below the 20-mill floor.

However, as stipulated in House Bill 920, school districts cannot collect less than 20 mills which resulted in an increase in tax collections as property values, as a whole, increased. With the 2014 CAUV increase, the district realized an increase of approximately $240,000 in the first half of the 2015 tax collections for the 2014-15 school year.

Parker projects an additional increase in tax collections for the 2015-16 school year to reflect a full year of the CAUV increase from Clinton County. And, the Warren County Real Estate Triennial Update is scheduled in 2015 which Parker believes will affect Warren County’s CAUV property values (half the amount of Clinton County’s) and may result in additional tax collections in 2016.

While there was an increase in Clinton County real estate taxes of approximately $240,000, the district realized a decrease of about $87,000 in property tax collections in Warren County for 2014-15 than it did in the prior school year.

For the most part, this decrease stems from the dropping of millage from 21.13 mills to 20 mills which decreased Warren County collections by about $51,000. The remainder of the decrease stems from the catch-up of delinquency payments made in 2013-14 which would not have been realized in 2014-15.

It should also be noted that for the 2014-2015 school year the district suffered a loss of $130,000 from the previous year due to the loss of 22 open enrollment students.

Taking proactive efforts to stay financially stable, the district made approximately $400,000 in cuts for the 2015-16 school year and recently learned that health insurance premiums would decrease by 1 percent effective January 1, 2016 which is a savings of approximately $100,000 yearly.

“It’s a constant balancing act between the needs of the district and the funds to provide those needs,” said Parker, who along with the board of education and district administration, remain vigilant in their efforts to be fiscally responsible as they serve the Clinton-Massie community.”

Information for this article was provided by Diana Miller, who coordinates communications for several area schools.

By Clinton-Massie Local Schools