December 4, 2015- Final New Albany Community Task Force Findings and Recommendations Report

Planning for Our Children’s Future

An important foundation for any great community is a strong school system defined by quality education and financially sustainable by the tax payers who pay for it. New Albany is no exception.

The New Albany-Plain Local School District (NAPLSD) is seeing the rate of expense growth dramatically outpacing revenue growth. As would be the case with any organization showing large deficit projections, the current situation is threatening the long-term financial stability of the New Albany-Plain Local School District – and our children and our community.

The New Albany Community Task, at the request of Superintendent Domine and the Board of Educations, was convened to study and recommend solutions for how our community can financially sustain the district’s educational excellence long term. We believe there is no issue more important facing the New Albany community today. Collectively, we are at a critical crossroad.

Any sustainable solution must include a restriction in the growth rate of the district’s expenses and the generation of additional revenue.

Notable contributing factors to long-term sustainability:

  • Expenses are growing approximately 2 ½ times faster than revenue and 2 times the rate of inflation.
  • District personnel costs comprise 83 percent of expenses.
  • The district pays $16,290 annually per employee for health care. Employees contribute $2,580 each year.
  • Employee salaries are increasing much faster than inflation.
  • Despite $7.5 million in district budget cuts, the current growth rate in expenses will create a $7.5 million operating deficit by 2020 and a $31 million deficit by 2030.
  • If budget cuts were restored, deficits would rise to $19 million in 2020 and $44 million by 2030.

What Does This Mean for District Tax Payers?
At this rate of budget growth, the amount of new tax revenue to close the budget gap is substantial.

If funded by property tax alone, and assuming that the recent cuts are not restored, the analysis shows that in fifteen years, the owner of a home valued at $500,000 would cumulatively pay $40,000 more than the property tax rates in effect today.

Similarly, the owner of a $250,000 home would cumulatively pay $20,000 more over the same fifteen year period.

Based on current and projected trends, the Task Force believes the district’s expense growth must be contained to no more than 2 percent, or the rate of inflation, in the future.

Background:
Superintendent April Domine, with approval of the Board of Education, asked the New Albany Community Foundation to create a community task force to analyze the situation.

The Foundation’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to convene the New Albany Community Task Force to study and make recommendations to the school district about how the community can stabilize the district’s educational excellence in the long run.

The Task Force, a cross section of all segments of New Albany, has met regularly since January 2015. More information about the group can be found under the Task Force tab above.

The work accomplished by the Task Force is not designed to trigger or promote a levy to the community.

Rather, the group has two objectives:

  • Share facts and findings about the school district’s revenue and expenses
  • Study and recommend long-term funding solutions to sustain quality schools

New information is emerging quickly, especially given recent news about union contract negotiations and anticipated approval of the state budget. So, please check back frequently. Please let us know the best way to reach you. Email us at info@communitytaskforce.com

The Task Force mailed to the community several updates on its research and initial findings. You can download those mailings here:

May 15, 2015 – Expense Growth & Revenue Growth, Plus Cost to Taxpayers

June 5, 2015 – The impact of Residential, Apartment & Commercial Growth

October 29, 2015- New Albany Community Task Force Findings & Recommendations

An earlier mailing dated March 1, 2015 can be downloaded here.