May 19, 2022

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HIL Consultants share financial analysis with Asheville City Board of Education

As a follow-up to our May Budget Presentation, Executive Director of Communications Ashley-Michelle Thublin asked Mrs. Harvey to contact HIL Consultants to complete a financial analysis of the district,” said Asheville City Board of Education Chair James Carter.

In response to this request, HIL Consultants presented on the district’s current budget and the projected Fund Balance, which is the amount we have in reserve in case of an emergency, for both the 2021-2022 school year and moving forward during tonight’s Work Session.

In their findings, HIL Consultants shared the underlying issues with our declining revenues, specifically noting:

-Anticipated State increases for both staff salaries and benefits,

-The rise in local charter schools and

-A decreased number of students that attend our school on a daily basis, sometimes referred to as Average Daily Membership, since the 2018-2019 school year.

HIL Consultants believe Asheville City Schools is heading in an unsustainable direction
if measures are not taken. They’ve come to this conclusion based on projected decreases in the money we received both locally and from the State. Knowing this will have a significant impact on our budget moving forward, they made four recommendations:

-The Board of Education should begin an immediate hiring freeze. As attrition occurs, the district should not rehire unless the position is essential.

-The district should consider the consolidation of schools and programs when it’s feasible to do so. Buildings and the number of support staff it takes to successfully maintain a campus are expensive, especially when the district is continuing to lose students.

-Review all outside service contracts, including maintenance and facility contracts that
are not safety-related or essential.

-All departments should review their respective budgets and eliminate all non-essential expenditures.

We invite you to read their full report here.

Tonight was the first time Board Members heard HIL Consultants’ recommendations.

According to Superintendent Dr. Gene Freeman, “District leadership will continue to
present recommendations to the Board. It will ultimately be up to them to make these hard decisions.”

In addition to this report from HIL Consultants, independent auditors plan to give their final report to the Board of Education in November.