Graham budget shows lean operations

Graham is maximizing its dollars to deliver a quality education. However, over the last number of years, our schools saw some of their hardest financial times. Just like the rest of the country, we felt the effect of declining income from local and state funds. Those were tough times and we worked hard to balance our budget. We even made deep cuts to offset the losses. We did what it took to make things work.

Now, in the years since those difficult financial times, and thanks to the tough decisions made by the district and board members, our schools are fiscally steady. In addition, we still maintain a very lean budget.

Twice a year, Ohio schools like ours are required to submit an updated financial five-year forecast. We recently updated ours this past October. Our forecast shows that revenues will continue to remain flat. Meanwhile, costs outside of our control like transportation and facility maintenance continue to increase and place strains on our budget.

We are seeing so much stress on the budget that our schools are coming up on a need to secure additional funds in the next year or so. The board and district officials will need to discuss options and next steps as they go forward, so stay tuned with those discussions. We will continue to keep you updated, too.

As part of our new strategic plan, we created goals that commit us transparent and frank dialogue about our plans for our students, and our needs. Students come first in our community.

Our schools are at an important crossroad. We are already lean and operate in a fiscally conservative manner, but we need to determine what the future looks like for our students. With today’s competitive workforce, we risk having our Graham students fall behind as our limited resources affect our district’s ability to offer a good and quality education to our students.

These are the discussions that our community, district and board must engage in over the next year. In the meantime, we will continue to operate in a frugal manner.

By Judy Geers

Judy Geers is the treasurer of Graham Local Schools.