Thursday, October 26, 2000

New levy likely in Fairfield

Officials say more revenue needed to avoid cuts

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        FAIRFIELD — A levy will be needed sometime next year if the Fairfield Schools are to avoid cuts in 2002.

        School treasurer Stephen Maag recently presented a five-year financial forecast to the Fairfield Board of Education that projects a deficit during the 2002-03 school year.

        That projection assumed no new taxes and hiring 10 more staff members each year to meet enrollment and program needs.

        Even if no employees were add ed next year, the district would still be facing cuts in 2002, Mr. Maag said.

        “We'll need additional revenue in the next calendar year,” he said.

        This year the district is expected to spend $54,345,086 but will receive revenues of $54,262,087, Mr. Maag said.

        The difference will come from reserves. Those reserves will be depleted sometime in late 2002 or early 2003.

        Projections show the district will end the 2001-02 school year with a $2.6 million balance that will become a $2.7 million deficit the next year unless spending is cut or revenue is added.

        “We've watched this one coming for the last year and a half,” said board member Anne Crone. “Unless some things change, it looks like we'll be on the ballot next year. We haven't talked about it in depth yet.”

        Fairfield voters last approved a two-mill levy in November 1997 that was supposed to last just one year as a stopgap measure until a state lawsuit was settled, Mr. Maag said.

        But an increase in state aid has allowed the district to continue operations without raising taxes, he added.

        Included in Mr. Maag's forecast is a 3 percent increase in revenue from the state, but that could change depending on the state's next two-year budget, Mr. Maag said.

        Board President Kay Crain said the board would begin discussing the matter at a future work session.


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