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Performance Audit Recommends More than $640,000 in Savings to Help Belpre City School District
Columbus – The Belpre City School District (Washington County) could achieve average annual savings of $641,400 based on recommendations of a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
The audit was prompted by the district’s financial condition and an audit request from the district. In October, the district’s five-year forecast projected a $5.4 million deficit in fiscal year 2022. Subsequently, the district renegotiated healthcare benefits with certificated staff and this reduced the projected deficit to a little more than $3.1 million.
Passage of an emergency levy further improved district finances and generated a projected surplus of $966,233 in 2022. However, projections showed that spending would not be sustainable without further action. By implementing the recommendations of the performance audit, the district could realize a projected fund balance of more than $3.5 million in 2022.
“The leadership of the Belpre City School District has showed that it is willing and able to make the tough choices needed to maintain fiscal health,” Yost said. “These decisions are never easy, but they prevent far worse problems down the road.”
The largest savings recommended to the district, nearly $500,000, would result from the elimination of the equivalent of nine staff positions and of temporary summer custodians. The staff reductions include administrators, clerical workers, custodians, classroom support staff, a part-time librarian post and a psychologist.
Other recommendations for annual savings included:
- Reducing the subsidy for extracurricular activities to the level of local peer school districts to save $74,400
- Joining a purchasing cooperative for custodial supplies to save $9,700.
- Reducing the costs of dental and vision coverage to the Washington County public-sector average, saving $34,500.
- Renegotiating collective-bargaining provisions concerning professional leave and tuition reimbursement to save $26,100.
The audit also recommends that the district develop strategic, capital and financial plans to better guide district decisions.
A full copy of this report is available online.