Feb., 8, 2021
Dear Husky Family,
I wanted to take some time to share some information in these uncertain times:
- doses for employees are planned for the last week of Feb. & last week or March.
- Our Wayne County Health Dept. is coming to us for convenience per my request.
- We will likely receive either Moderna or Pfister.
- Building Bond Pay-off: We received FABULOUS news late December then confirmed the details January meetings with Wayne County Auditor Jarra Underwood and Bond Counsel: Northwestern buildings are anticipated to be paid off early - in April, 2021! This is so exciting – and could not have come at a better time! It presents some tax relief for our families this calendar year and provides some optimism and hope for a better 2021 than 2020 proved to be. The details regarding this bond pay-off are located on the district website at https://www.northwestern-wayne.k12.oh.us/Treasurer.aspx
- There are two articles at the top of the webpage explaining the bond payoff, which will also be in the next district newsletter. One is a full explanation and the other an abbreviated version. Also note that there is a plethora of additional financial information on this page, including state funding information from 2011through 2021 exemplifying that the district received less in state funding in FY 2020 and in FY 2021 as we had in 2011 – 10 years ago! This is the major reason for our financial situation, since costs such as health insurance, salaries, books, school buses, utilities – literally everything consistently increases and does not go down without additional revenue or reductions somewhere. We continue working on legislators and the Governor to implement the Fair School Funding Plan, but with COVID, the sizeable cost of the plan, and the legislative focus on business supports I am not optimistic it will happen in this upcoming budget, which means the phased-in implementation of a fair funding plan will likely be delayed for two more years.
- Note that some of the financial information on this webpage is from some time ago, so please read in context of the relevant time period. We will continue adding information to remain transparent in order to keep our employees and community members informed of our district’s finances. Finally, since the district is in what the state is calling “Pre-Fiscal Caution” Treasurer Lesa Forbes is required to submit an updated 5-year forecast in February. This revised forecast will be added to the website later in Feb. once it has been finalized, submitted, then approved by the state. Our current Nov. 5-year forecast is available for anyone to view as well as prior forecasts.
- District Finances: Our district finances have improved, especially with new developments over the past month. We can now get through this school year without borrowing, it seems. However, the Treasurer’s forecast anticipates continued deficit spending with very little carryover. We have to continue moving to where we are operating “in the black” as an organization, which we have striven to do over the past 5 years (as well as prior to this time period with some cost reduction decisions early-on). Below are some of the recent positive financial developments:
- Expenditures thus far this school year have been significantly below what was projected and budgeted this year at the ½ way point due to extremely tight reins on spending.
- Revenue has been higher than what was projected.
- BWC (Bureau of Workers Compensation) sent businesses and public entities a one-time reimbursement – our reimbursement was @ $225,000.
- We are anticipating a sizable federal stimulus payment, but have not officially received it or the actual amount yet. These funds will remain in the State CCIP Grant system per state and federal guidelines with the process of requesting reimbursements as needed within their established parameters – just as we do Title I, IDEA, and other entitlement grant funds. These funds can be spent through January, 2022 and are earmarked for the additional COVID-related costs for safety and student educational needs - such as cleaning supplies and equipment, additional tutoring, possible summer school, software, technology equipment, etc. They will certainly help with additional COVID-related needs and supporting student educational needs!
- In spite of the good financial news the district will still need some position reductions to move us into the black as far as operating costs for the 2021-2022 school year and beyond and maintain efficient operational expenditures.
- We hope that our record showing lack of spread within our buildings is a testament to our COVID protocols and safety precautions. I would like to encourage more of our online students to return to the physical classroom as we move forward. Our teachers have a very challenging job and educating students in the classroom with additional time and effort for educating our online students is extremely taxing. It would help us all tremendously for more students to return to our school buildings. Also, we all know that there is nothing as effective as in-person learning.
- We are preparing a survey to send to employees, students, and parents by the end of Feb. to solicit additional feedback regarding our online learning, in-person learning, preferences, and perceived needs of students. Our administrators would like to hear your thoughts, concerns, perspectives, as would I, so we can reflect on how we are doing, how we can improve, and consider how we will proceed in the future.
There is a lot of information in this communication that I trust you find valuable. As always, I thank you for your efforts in sending us your best and brightest and entrusting us to help prepare your children for their future – and for the best opportunities possible.
All the best,
Jeffrey N. Layton, Ed.D.
Northwestern Local Schools