Busing focus of Edison board

HAMMONDSVILLE – Busing matters were discussed during Thursday’s Edison Local School Board meeting.

The board voted to purchase three new 77-passenger buses from Midvale Truck Service in a bid package through the Ohio Mid-Eastern Regional Education Service Center, according to Bill Beattie, district superintendent.

“We bought three new buses that were left over from last year,” said Beattie, adding the buses are new and unused. “So we got a little break on the price because of that.”

Beattie said the buses were needed because of the district’s antiquating fleet.

“We were in dire need of new buses,” he said, adding the district covers a lot of area. “We haven’t purchased any new buses since 2009. Three of our buses didn’t pass (recent) inspections. Seven of our buses have more than 200,000 miles on them.”

Busing resumed at the high school after district voters approved a levy earlier this year. The district suspended busing in 2012-13 because of financial matters.

“We recalled the bus drivers – Shela Carson and Robert Hancock – that were laid off,” Beattie said. “We’re going to use two bus routes from the 2012-13 school year for the high school. We’re using the elementary school routes we used last year.”

The district will have two less bus districts than previous years, Beattie said.

In other matters:

The board approved its five-year forecast on Thursday and said passage of the 2-mill emergency renewal levy this fall would help avert a major deficit in the coming years.

District Treasurer Dennis Menoski laid out the financial assumptions, saying it has to be approved by October for submission to the state.

“We project a $1,864,195 balance in fiscal year 2015, and that’s without the emergency levy,” he said. “Without the emergency levy, we will face a deficit in June of 2018. If it is renewed, we’ll work in the black for at least five or six years.”

According to the forecast, the district will gain some revenue from the 5.9-mill operating levy passed this past spring, plus state foundation funds and about $25,000 in vocational agriculture funds. The balance should remain in the black without passage through fiscal year 2017, which shows a positive outcome of $313,195. However, a $1.4 million deficit would appear in fiscal year 2018, and the number could grow to as much as $3.85 million the following year.

Should voters approve the emergency levy in November, Edison would remain solvent through 2019, with a $1.86 million positive balance in 2015 and $844,195 in 2019. Menoski said expenditures would be on the rise with supplies, maintenance and other operational costs.

“The biggest item we’re changing this year is we’re increasing supplies,” he said. “Last year it was $586,000. This year, we’re estimating $721,000 because of the reinstatement of high school transportation. Also, we’re purchasing textbooks and replacing supplies we haven’t been purchasing for the last several years.”

He added that step increases were built into the budget. In 2012 the district had 218 employees. Now that number stands at 168. He noted a 12 percent boost in fringe benefits per year plus 3 percent increases each for purchased services and supplies.

Menoski told the board members could approve the forecast or postpone further discussion until the September session. Leaders opted to approve it on Thursday. Meanwhile, the board also approved appropriations for 2015, which the treasurer said concurred with the amended certificate. That estimate was $20,863.945.