Financial improvements, new challenges

The New Richmond Exempted Village School District has achieved something that’s nearly unheard of when it comes to school budgets and the five-year forecast.

Through diligence, tremendous planning, and community support the district has significantly changed the course of its five-year forecast.

Less than two years ago, the 2019 financial forecast projected that NREVSD would deficit spend over $8 million during the fiscal year beginning July 2021, according to Treasurer Matthew Prichard. Thanks to a number of factors, the actual amount will be just over $900,000 - a $7 million improvement.

The district is still in deficit spending, but we’ve made a lot of changes since 2019, and they are reflected in our new numbers, he said.

Factors that helped to chip away at that projected deficit include passage of the 2020 levy, staffing reductions through attrition, tighter fiscal management, pandemic-related stimulus dollars, and the recent overhaul of the school funding formula.

This improved financial picture is unfortunately overshadowed by the announcement that the Zimmer Power Station will now close in May of 2022 - five years earlier than previously announced. You can see a full report about the closure on WCPO’s website.

Superintendent Tracey Miller and Board Members noted that the news was definitely a shock. Just three months ago in a meeting, the company that owns the power station announced that it was committed to staying open until 2027.

“Our fine Treasurer will assess the impact for us and we will react accordingly,” Mr. Miller said. “We have made tremendous strides and headway for some years here on our financial picture with the support of our community, and our administration and staff. We have shouldered the load, and that’s what we are going to continue to do. 

“I think it would be good to see what the numbers look like, and go from there. We will survey our community and ask them to identify what’s important, what’s valued, and what’s prioritized. We will weigh the opinions of the Board Members and make decisions based on data.”

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