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More Than $430,000 in Potential Savings Found at East Knox Local Schools
Columbus – Closing the elementary school and moving all students to the Howard campus will help save the East Knox Local Schools (Knox County) $156,000 annually. A performance audit of the district released by Auditor of State Dave Yost provides a total of more than $430,000 in potential savings.
“When budgets are tight, performance audits help make sure taxpayer dollars go where they do the most good,” Auditor Yost said. “Bringing all of East Knox Local’s students to one location not only saves in building costs, but could lower transportation costs as well.”
The report recommends that the district close East Knox Elementary and move all students to the main campus in Howard. Doing so would save the district approximately $156,000 annually on building utilities, maintenance and repair costs. If the building is sold, the district could save an additional $57,500. During the course of the audit, the district decided to close the elementary building for the 2013-2014 school year. The building closure does not result in any staffing reductions, and additional transportation efficiencies could also be achieved.
The audit recommends the district reduce staffing levels by 4.5 full-time positions to bring staffing levels within 20% of state minimum standards. This reduction could save the district $195,000 in salaries and benefits. During the course of the audit, the district eliminated 2.5 full-time teaching positions and one administrative position. Eliminating paid lunch breaks for classified staff could save an additional $39,300 annually.
The performance audit commends the district for its low worker’s compensation premium. The district also uses a broker to shop for insurance providers, ensuring that the district receives the best rate. This process has saved the district approximately $79,000 on its insurance premiums in FY 2013 compared to FY 2012.
The East Knox Local School District was placed in fiscal caution by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) on September 4, 2012 due to potential deficits listed in its five-year forecast. Upon the fiscal caution declaration, ODE asked the Auditor of State’s office to conduct a performance audit of the district to help seek out ways to improve operations and address the potential deficits.
A full copy of this performance audit may be accessed online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,700 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.