Surplus may reduce TPS' levy request - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Surplus may reduce TPS' levy request

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) – Toledo Public Schools could be asking voters for less money this November. The district's treasurer plans on recommending it to the finance committee Friday.

Administrators just finished analyzing the budget and discovered the district operated $8.5 million under budget this year.

TPS has started its campaign hoping to get voters to approve a 6.9 mill levy in November. There is a chance that millage could be reduced.

"We understand it's a challenge for everyone, and we're only asking for what is appropriate," said Matt Cleland, TPS treasurer.

Cleland has calculated the balance is about $8.5 million more than projected in the five-year forecast. 

"We have a situation here where we are very fortunate to be able to report that, because it could have went the other way, but we are able to report good news about the finances in the school district," said Jerome Pecko, TPS superintendent.

Kris Staler is a parent to three TPS students. He thinks this could help TPS' chances of passing the levy. 

"Usually when you say less, more people get involved in it, so it's a good chance. For everyone that owns their home, it helps a lot to save a few bucks here and there on property taxes," said Staler.

Cleland said there are three major reasons for the money. The biggest is student retention. The district lost less students to charter or private schools than expected, giving them about $3.7 million more from the state. 

"It's not extra money by any means. There's still tremendous need for the schools and the students, and our resources coming from the state are still not what they've been in the past," explained Cleland.

The district also saved $1 million more than they expected from the transformation plan, which was the district's decision to combine elementary and middle schools. Additionally, changes and concessions to TPS' health insurance plan contributed.

Cleland said they took a conservative approach to the budget. 

"When you budget appropriately, and with appropriate conservatism, you're going to have a variance between budget and actual. It's important that that variance be positive," said Cleland.

Cleland would not say what levy millage he is considering, but he will present it at the finance meeting Friday. 

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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