Lakota Earns Auditor of State Award for Fifth Time

Lakota Earns Auditor of State Award for Fifth Time
Posted on 03/28/2019
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Fiscal responsibility and transparency are top priorities for Jenni Logan, Lakota’s treasurer/CFO. “One of the pillars of our new strategic plan states that WE are fiscally responsible,” said Logan. “This is something that I have always taken very seriously.”

Logan’s commitment to fiscal responsibility has earned the district the prestigious Auditor of State Award with Distinction for the fifth consecutive year. One of the highest financial honors at the State level for outstanding financial accountability, the district has also received a clean audit report for the fifth year in a row. “This is a testament to our commitment to financial responsibility and transparency,” said Logan.

Recently, the district announced more good news for local taxpayers. By refinancing its debt in order to take advantage of lower interest rates, the district has been able to lower its debt service payments. This, in turn, combined with increasing values of the residential and business properties in West Chester and Liberty townships, has allowed the amount collected from residents to be lowered,

“The bond millage has been decreased by one (1) mill and the property tax bill(s) residents receive this year will reflect this change,” explained Logan. “This means that our tax payers will pay less to Lakota Local Schools annually.”

Logan and her team pay close attention to aligning district resources to educational priorities. Plans to ensure sustainability of programs and the financial stability of the district are in place. Programs such as all-day kindergarten without a lottery, daily specials and the 1:1 initiative have been possible because of smarter spending and reallocation of dollars.

The district has operated with a balanced budget for six consecutive years. “Our cash balance is very strong and is predicted to remain that way throughout our most recent five-year forecast,” said Logan. “With revenue growth predicted to fall below inflation, we are projecting a spending deficit in fiscal year 2023, the fifth year of our forecast,” she continued. “This will require us to dip into our cash balance at that point.”

Logan is watchful, but notes that more than 95 percent of schools in Ohio are showing a spending deficit in year five or before. She explains that a financial forecast is based on assumptions for the present and future. “We will remain vigilant and have already begun to review Board policy with our finance committee, including policies to address: fiscal budget stabilization reserve (rainy day policy); minimum cash balance; and a structurally balanced budget.”