The Greenway School Board hasn’t always received good news on its annual report. In fact, for many years the district operated at a deficit and without a clear plan of how to turn it around.
That’s not the case anymore.
Don Zierke, from the district’s auditing firm Miller McDonald, Inc., said the district now has a “healthy” account balance. He complimented the board for their fiscal management and for leading the district into a new era.
“I did the audits during those difficult days,” Zierke said. “Those were difficult times. You’ve made a lot of progress.”
Superintendent Mark Adams said that the district’s developing financial position is the result of a lot of leadership, tough choices and teamwork. He said that taxpayers have been very supportive of the district’s initiatives. That includes everything from consolidating buildings to supporting the district through levies.
“The people in this district believe in their schools and want them to succeed,” Adams said. “They’re willing to make sometimes difficult decisions to provide a great education for our kids. We can’t underestimate that.”
Those changes were driven by hard numbers, of course. The district’s enrollment went through a two-decade long decline as the region’s demographics changed. Recent enrollment numbers are more encouraging, but it’s still too early to tell if district-wide enrollment is once again on the upswing. One year doesn’t make a trend.
Still, the district has climbed out of an operation dollars hole and can now afford to look (and plan) further out. School funding is notoriously difficult to predict because of changing politics, but Zierke said Greenway is solidly in the safe category as far as having emergency funds.
That message of fiscal sanity is also important since the district will most likely go back to voters next year and ask them to approve a new levy. The board also approved its final levy payable 2014 in the amount of $2.85 million.
- Scott Stein