Talawanda approves $42 million budget for 2023 school year

By Devin Ankeney

The Talawanda School District will spend over $42 million next year under a five-year budget forecast approved in its meeting Thursday, May 18. The district is required to approve a five-year budget every May and November.

During the current fiscal year, the district is expected to spend $37.7 million. The $42 million budget for next year is a 12.67% increase.

On the revenue side, the district is projected to bring in over $39 million from all sources in 2023, compared to $37.7 million in 2022. 

The district has struggled to cut expenses since its proposal for a new property tax was rejected by voters in November. This struggle to cut expenses and raise revenues is largely unchanged since November’s five-year projection, prompting a similar forecast.

The biggest increase came in the “capital” section of the forecast, due to the need to provide maintenance to the district bus garage.

The forecast indicates revenues will rise over the next five years, but the district’s 90-day cash-on-hand is expected to dwindle.

“We have not solved our problem,” Treasurer Shaunna Tafelski said. “We still are deficit spending.”

Tafelski warned the board and community members of statewide legislation that threatens school funding, House Bill 1.  The bill would impose a flat income tax on Ohioans and change the way real estate taxes are paid. 

She said it would cause Ohio schools to lose over $1.2 billion annually. Local school districts will have to pick up the gap, she said.

“House Bill 1 is extremely important,” Tafelski added. “We need to fight against this one.”

In other news, the board discussed community-based plans for a club field hockey team. Last month, the board decided to end the district’s field hockey program to cut expenses.

“Hopefully that will work out and there will still be opportunities for girls to play field hockey,” Rebecca Howard, vice president of the board, said. 

The board also approved on second reading a resolution stipulating that nurses and trained district employees may keep a supply of Narcan, the anti-overdose drug, to use in emergency situations. 

The board also heard presentations from the music department’s chair, Mike Marston, the Talawanda chapter of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America, and the Talawanda chapter of Future Farmers of America.

It also approved the resignations and retirements of several teachers including Cynthia Kettlewell, a seventh-grade science teacher who has been with the district for 36 years.