Auditor Yost Places Liberty Local School District in Fiscal Emergency
Columbus - The Liberty Local School District is in a state of fiscal emergency, declared today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“During these tough economic times, governments at every level have to cope with fewer dollars,” Auditor Yost said. “My office stands ready to work with Liberty Local Schools’ leaders and the commission to develop and carry out a plan to bring them back to fiscal health.”
The Ohio Department of Education placed the district in fiscal caution on January 18, 2010, based on potential deficits in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The district’s five-year forecast, filed with the Department of Education on October 28, 2010, projected deficits of $293,000 for fiscal year 2011 and $2,565,000 for fiscal year 2012. The Auditor of State’s office determined that the district’s financial records were unauditable on February 7, 2011.
On May 17, 2011, the Auditor of State’s office received a letter from the Ohio Department of Education asking that the Auditor of State place the Liberty Local School District in fiscal watch. Based on the district’s projected deficits and unauditable records, the Auditor of State’s office determined the request to be reasonable. The district was placed in fiscal watch on May 26, 2011.
The Liberty Local School District Board of Education failed to submit an acceptable recovery plan to the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In addition, the board passed a resolution on June 14, 2011 requesting the Auditor of State place the district in fiscal emergency.
A Financial Planning and Supervision Committee will now be created to assume all or part of the powers of the board of education. Three members of this commission must be appointed within 15 days of this declaration of fiscal emergency. A financial plan must be developed by the commission within 120 days of the first meeting of the commission to address the district’s financial crisis.
The Auditor of State’s office takes an advisory role to the commission and may provide accounting training and assistance. A performance audit may be conducted to provide the district with cost-saving recommendations.
A full copy of this fiscal emergency declaration can be found online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.