School district is collecting casino, levy revenue

By Kristin Bednarski
Sun staff

The five-year forecast at Batavia Local School District is looking better with casino and levy revenue coming in, but the district is still waiting to hear more about state funding.

Batavia Local School District Treasurer Michael Ashmore updated board members and members of the community on the districts financial status during their Feb. 11 meeting.

Ashmore said the district received the first casino funds, approximately $44,000, in January.

“Theoretically, it should be the lowest payment we should get, that’s the good news,” Ashmore said. “The bad news is we don’t know how that is going to be treated with the state budget bill.”

Ashmore said if it is like what happened with lottery money, the schools could still receive the funds, but those funds could essentially be deducted from the funds allotted by the state.

Board members voted at the Feb. 11 meeting to put casino money into the permanent improvement fund, to be used for improvements in the district, rather than keeping it in the general fund.

Ashmore said this was the first casino payment the district has received, he said they will receive the payments in January and May each year.

Ashmore said levy revenue is also beginning to be collected from the 7.26 mill bond issue and operating levy the district passed in November.

“We will only receive one-half because of the timing the levy was passed,” Ashmore said.

He said this year they will collect approximately $300,000 from the operational part of the levy, and next year they will receive the full $600,000.

Additionally, he said the district is also receiving revenue for the bond issue, which is being placed into a separate fund for the new elementary school. Revenue is also being received for the maintenance and road construction funds that also were a part of the 7.26 mill bond issue and operational levy passed in November.

“We’re really collecting four new taxes,” Ashmore said. “They get accounted for and segregated.”

Ashmore updated board members on what the five-year forecast looks after factoring in the additional revenue.

“If you put all of the new monies in the five-year plan, it will show we are solvent all five years,” Ashmore said. “But we still don’t have a big fund balance that we would still like to build up.”

Ashmore said things also will continue to change depending on Ohio Governor John Kasich’s budget bill.

“From the first glance here, it looks like we are not going to lose money,” Ashmore said. “We’re going to get some, we just don’t know what that is going to be.”

Ashmore said the initial press release showed the district getting an additional $1.3 million the first year, and more funds after that.

He cautioned board members that the additional funding could change because nothing has been finalized.

“No one knows the details of the budget yet, we are a long way from knowing what that means,” Ashmore said. “And it’s just (Kasich’s) budget bill. It has to be approved.”