The Ohio County Board of Education recently voted to reduce its contribution to the Ohio County Public Library from 3 cents to 2 cents per $ 100 of county assessed property values for fiscal year 2021- 2022. Some community members requested additional information on why this decision was made.
It is important to note that the BOE no longer has a legal obligation to remit funds to the OCPL. However, the BOE continues to have a duty to use the public resources entrusted to it wisely for the benefit of the Ohio County public education system – its students, employees and facilities. As reflected in the BOE vote, the majority of BOE members believe that OCPL funding at 3 cents ($ 884,542.83) for next year is not the best allocation of those dollars to benefit Ohio County schools. It is important to note that the BOE will continue to fund the OCPL substantially despite the reduction.
The BOE will contribute $ 589,698.22 to the OCPL for the 2021-2022 fiscal year.
The BOE devoted a lot of time and consideration to the decision to cut funding. In March, the BOE asked the OCPL for three-year audited financial statements. After reviewing the statements, several members of the OCPL board of directors met with two members of the BOE and several employees of the Ohio County Schools Central Office to discuss the services provided by the OCPL that specifically benefit children. students and their families, in addition to the community at large. This meeting took place several weeks before the BOE voted on the OCPL’s request to finance it at 3 cents. The timing of the BOE vote was intended to give the OCPL sufficient time to factor in the reduction when preparing its 2021-2022 budget.
The OCPL has significant income. Below are the figures for 2019 as reflected in its audited financial statements.
OCPL 2019 funding sources:
– Ohio County Commission, $ 783,242;
– Ohio County BOE, $ 766,142;
– WV State Library Board, $ 226,403;
– Grants, $ 2,000;
– Donations and gifts, $ 14,555;
– Program revenue, $ 24,470;
– Investment income, $ 129,706.
The BOE’s contribution was around 40% of OCPL funding in 2019; the current reduction is therefore around 14% of the total funding that the OCPL received in 2019.
The contributions of the Board of Education and the County Commission are not the same every year. Instead, they are based on assessed property values and vary each year. For example, in fiscal years 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020, the BOE donated $ 780,686, $ 753,394, $ 766,142 and $ 799,409, respectively.
For 2021, at 3 cents per $ 100 of assessed value, the BOE would have given the OCPL $ 884,542.83, or $ 118,400 more than the library received from the BOE in 2019.
An analysis of the reduction should be seen in the context of contributions from previous years.
An important part of the BOE’s analysis was the strong financial position of the OCPL. For 2019, OCPL had $ 3,467,513 in cash and marketable securities, total assets of $ 7,038,821, total liabilities of $ 345,659 and a net change in position of an increase of $ 250,985. OCPL’s net change in position has increased over the past three years by an average of $ 414,647. In 2019, the OCPL had $ 2.3 million in investment accounts.
The reduction in funding from 3 cents to 2 cents per $ 100 of assessed property value is close to the library’s profit margin in 2019.
We understand that no programs or personnel will be affected by the reduction. With this financial analysis in mind, the BOE has reviewed the OCPL funding allocation for next year. We have a duty to ensure the responsible use of taxpayer dollars entrusted to us for the benefit of public education. We regularly review costs to make sure they are necessary and prudent. OCS has over 5,000 students, nearly 800 teachers and staff, and 13 facilities. With a global pandemic and a massive bond project that involves work on all 13 schools, we have taken great care to ensure that we are fiscally responsible, prepared for unforeseen costs, and able to fulfill our primary duty to our students, staff and facilities. .
The BOE appreciates the importance of the OCPL in our community and continues to support the OCPL financially and otherwise.
David R. Croft, Molly J. Aderholt, and Christine N. Carder are members of the Ohio County Board of Education.