by Sheldon Ocker
Nov. 15 school board meeting
Revere Local Schools Treasurer Rick Berdine painted a rosy picture for the board of education, as he delivered the highlights of his latest five-year forecast, a twice-yearly overview of the district’s finances.
“Our balance has improved in my projections by about $4.5 million,’’ he said. “Our tax base continues to grow at an incredible pace with new construction. The substitute levy will exceed $1 million in valuation, and there’s more construction on the horizon.’’
Berdine said one reason for an increase in revenue was unexpected: higher interest rates triggered by inflation.
“Last November we were earning about .08% on overnight money invested,’’ the treasurer said. “On any given day, we had about $20 million invested. That rate now is about 3%. That’s nothing I do; that’s the economy.
“I’m not great and wonderful because we’re earning so much more in interest. But when it amounts to $300,000, $400,000, $500,000 a year and we’re talking about five years in the forecast, and I’m telling you we’re $4.5 million to the good, more than half of that is interest earnings.’’
When Berdine generates a five-year forecast, he can only use current data and his own professional skills to speculate how the future will play out.
“I could tell you in two years this thing plummeted and we’re back to .08 again,’’ he said. “But I’m telling you on what I know today – and I have ratcheted down a little bit in 2026 and 2027 so as not to be too overzealous in my prediction. But we continue to do very well.’’
The district has not asked for operating money since 2011. But eventually, a new levy will have to go on the ballot.
“The board and the district made a commitment in 2011 – when the last operating levy was passed – not to seek additional resources for seven years,’’ Berdine said. “We will be at 12 by the end of the [school] year.’’
Berdine said it is time to begin planning for a new levy.
“We’re going to start looking at some levy modeling and what that means,’’ he said. “There are ways we need to do this with emergency levies to [protect that millage] … so we’ll put together ideas and plans.’’
Berdine noted that asking for money during the pandemic would have been a mistake, and the current run up of inflation makes a ballot issue counterproductive now.
“We’ll figure out the right time,’’ Berdine said.
New projects coming
Board members Claudia Hower and Diana Sabitsch unveiled drawings ofa new football stadium entrance and a new playground at Richfield Elementary.
Cost of the stadium entrance is $650,000; the playground is a $350,000 project. Both have been included in the budget, but the board is not expected to approve the expenditures until December.
“I’m hoping it is in place by the start of the next school year,’’ Hower said of the stadium entrance.
Sabitsch said the PTA is helping pay for equipment for the playground, which will be done in two phases and include apparatus for special needs students.
The board approved the disposal of six school buses that have been out of service and used for parts. Now that the transportation department has harvested all the usable parts, the district no longer has any use for the buses.
Expression of appreciation
Board President Keith Malick thanked all of those who helped maintain calm and order during the recent bomb threat at Bath Elementary.
“Officer [Scott] Dressler and our first responders at Revere, at Richfield, at the federal level and the county level did a phenomenal job,’’ he said. ∞