Columbus' Horizon Science Academy is facing tough financial times, but the superintendent of the North Side charter school said it will work its way out of the problems without layoffs.
A state audit released yesterday showed that the 575-student school, with two facilities -- a high school at 1070 Morse Rd. and a middle school at 1329 Bethel Rd. -- lost about $236,000 in the fiscal year that ended in June 2006. That followed an $87,000 loss the previous year.
The school had $3.75 million in annual operating expenses in fiscal 2006, but ended the year with only $9,846 in the bank.
The school's management company, Concept Schools Inc., waived $50,000 of its fee from January to June 2006, auditors said.
Also at one point in 2006, the school fell a month and a half behind in paying rent on its high-school building to Breeze Inc., which is owned by another of Horizon's founders, Vedat Akgun…
Huseyin Kara, president and chief executive of Concept Schools, said Concept forgave a total of $150,000 for the 2006 school year and could waive a similar amount this year to make sure the operation is fiscally sound. (The school still paid Concept Schools $192,000 that year.)
Horizon also had to borrow money; it entered into a promissory note for a $50,000 line of credit with National City Bank in fiscal 2006. It must make the minimum interest payment each month, with an adjustable rate. As of June 2006, the interest rate on the loan was 7 percent and the amount due was $48,843, auditors said.
The school's superintendent, Ozgur Balsoy, said the financial difficulties are related to the expansion of the high-school program into its own building several years ago…
State Auditor Mary Taylor also recovered $395 of $3,830 that Horizon paid to help a school employee, Kemal Gezgin, and his family obtain expedited visas so they could come from Turkey and live in the United States. In April, Gezgin repaid the portion of the legal fees prorated to his family members, who aren't school employees.
Auditors also found that Horizon was using state-aid payments to pay property taxes, which is prohibited by Ohio law.
Horizon Science Academy – Columbus
HORIZON CHARTER SCHOOL IN FINANCIAL FIX: STRUGGLING SCIENCE ACADEMY $236,000 IN THE RED LAST FISCAL YEAR, STATE AUDIT SHOWS; May 30, 2007; Columbus Dispatch (OH)