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School District Released From Fiscal Caution

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CADIZ – Harrison Hills City Schools’ ongoing efforts to reduce its deficit have helped it emerge from a state fiscal caution designation.

Superintendent George Ash announced the district’s release and said tough budgetary choices were made to remain in the clear.

”Harrison Hills City Schools have managed to operate within the confines of the budget despite more than $1 million in state funding cuts. In essence, the district has strived to do more with less,” he said. ”While news of the designation is worth celebrating, I would be remiss to not reflect upon all of the choices that were made to get the district back on track.

”Schools were closed and jobs were impacted, but I am grateful to the school board, teachers and staff for all the sacrifices they made so we could become fiscally solvent. The district has been prudent with its expenditures while also effectively working to give our students the best education possible.”

He said Roger Hardin, assistant director of the Office of Finance Program Services for the Ohio Department of Education, informed the school board Nov. 17 by presenting a letter from Stan Heffner, superintendent of public instruction, congratulating the district on its efforts. The letter said with the district’s changes, it should not see a deficit for the next two years and the state was no longer requiring a monthly monitoring of its finances.

For his part, Hardin said the turnaround was quick, but ODE policy dictates that a district cannot be released from a designation in the same fiscal year. He also thanked local officials for their cooperation along the way.

”I think they did a nice job to come through the program,” he said. ”I’m pleased they were able to get out of it before it got any worse.”

Ash cited such cost-saving methods as renegotiating health care costs to reduce expenses by 9 percent and implementing a shared services plan with the Buckeye Local School District whereby one director oversees transportation and food services in both areas. Other efforts have included working with unions and updating buildings to be more energy efficient and cost effective. Those steps have enabled the district to reduce expenditures by 20 percent so leaders would not have to approach voters with an operational levy.

A campaign will be under way in the foreseeable future to pass a Permanent Improvement Levy in 2014, but Ash has said assistance may be needed in the future. The district has operated on the same levy for years, with the original 19.15-mill measure on the books prior to 1976 and a 6.6-mill additional levy approved in 1991. Since then, other attempts for general fund levies and bond issues have failed.

Harrison Hills should stay positive until fiscal 2015 when it shows a $900,000 deficit and a $2.8 million shortfall in fiscal 2016. However, officials are seeking grants for programs and gained about $1.4 million in the past 20 months.

Meanwhile, board President Debbie Kenny said everyone worked together to get back in the black.

”We are appreciative to the staff. It really was a team effort,” she said.

Source: Harrison Hills School District

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Larry Bertolino

Larry Bertolino

Owner at myLocalPCpro
Larry Bertolino is a 31 year old, U.S Navy Veteran and currently sitting on the board of Directors for the Harrison County Chamber of Commerce, as well as Harrison County Rural Transit.
Larry Bertolino
Larry Bertolino

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Posted by on November 29, 2011, 10:02 am. Filed under Community, Kids & Youth. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry