By CHELSEA WEIKART
The Salem City School Board presented its five-year budget projection revealing that in 2017 there could be a possible $5.1 million deficit.
This number is a rough projection, Treasurer Jim Wilson told the board Tuesday night, since 36 percent of the budget depends on the State Foundation Program.
The State Foundation Program is money that is distributed by the state, and Ohio senators are debating two plans that could bring two very different amounts to the state’s schools.
“Coming up with a five-year projection has proven quite difficult because of the unknowns about the State Foundation Program that is being debated in senate,” he said.
In the past two years, the school system has lost $2.2 million that used to come from the State Foundation Program, board members said.
The money a school receives from the state is being determined on a per-pupil basis. This is a transitional method being used called the “Bridge Method” in effect until the senate comes up with a new method on how to allocate state funds to schools.
The method to calculating how much money each school should receive is based on the funding formula currently under debate.
“We are OK for 2014 and 2015, but we don’t know what we’re dealing with,” said board member Steve Bailey. “It looks bad but we are dealing with so many unknowns.”
Wilson said that he met twice with state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, D-33rd, about possible outcomes in the House’s decision on the State Foundation Plan. Schiavoni told Wilson plans could still be tweaked by the senate which makes planning for one of the outcomes difficult.
Wilson hopes the senate makes a decision soon, by the end of June.