Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

School District not seeing red in the five year forecast

June 12, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

The Poland Local School District has a clear five-year forecast as far as the color red goes. This marks the first time since 2007 and after a lot of changes.

The five-year forecast is a state requirement that helps predict when a district is headed for a negative cash flow. Each school year the district has to end with a cash balance to be able to start the following year off.

"You can't start a new year without having a carry-over," said Poland Superintendent David Janofa.

When the five year forecast shows a year in the red, it gives the district time to try to alter the outcome. Janofa said in Poland, the plan the district came up with was to right-size what it has. The student population had taken a down turn path that warranted closing one building to start.

In 2005, Poland had a student enrollment of 2,428. It rose to 2,430 the next year before starting a downhill trend. Each year after 2006, the district saw a decline in numbers. In 2019, the enrollment is at 1,814 and the projection has the enrollment continuing to an estimated 1,742 by 2023.

Closing North Elementary in 2015-16 school year saved the district on operating funds, even though the building was still being used for minimal student activities.

Another savings move was made by not replacing teachers and staff who retired or left the district employment. As the population of students went down, so did the need for a larger staff. As Janofa put it, the goal was to "right-size."

The five-year plan included the moves yet to be taken. In the fall of 2021, Union will be closed, Dobbins is being considered as a board office and transportation department. Both of those entities would be moved from the high school.

When Union closes, the K-2 would be housed at McKinley, the resent Poland Middle School would be for grades three through six, and the seventh and eighth grades would move to the high school.

"The seventh and eighth grades would be segregated from the high school grades," Janofa said. "There would be eight classrooms that have separate restrooms."

Those two grades would be housed in the Southeast corner of the school near the Field House. Janofa said this move would further save the district finances.

Projected enrollment is expected to level off at around an average of 1,760 through 2028-29. If that holds true, then the district will have achieved the goal of right-sizing.

As for finances, in fiscal year 2023, the projected carry-over from that school year is at $3,300,692.

Janofa said some of the moves the district has taken and will take may not be popular, but it has worked out for the district and the students. In fact, the students will continue to have a great number of course selections and AP (Advanced Placement) courses.

"We just graduated with 155 walking," he said. "This class, the smallest in some time, was awarded just over $4 million in scholarship money and students earned 2,024 college credits. This class also had not one, but two National Merit Scholarship winners. Having just one is rare."

It has not been an easy road, but the end goal is to remain fiscally strong while being able to provide the very best possible education for the students.

As for a new K-6 building, Janofa said the Board of Education is still looking at options, but the decision was to get the moves in the plan for 2021 done first, and then stabilize the student numbers and staff.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web