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Performance Audit Recognizes Proactive Approaches Taken at Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools
Columbus – Even with aggressive efforts to contain costs, the Willoughby-Eastlake City School District (Lake County) still faces a deficit in the coming years. A performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost outlines options for the district to save an additional $1.7 million through reductions in staffing levels and employee payouts.
“With forecasted deficits on the horizon, the Willoughby-Eastlake City Schools have taken a proactive approach,” Auditor Yost said. “By undertaking a performance audit, the district and its taxpayers have the necessary information to help make the best decisions moving forward.”
The performance audit report outlines the option for the district to reduce its education service personnel (ESP) staffing levels. By bringing ESP positions close to state minimum standards, the district could save $1,160,000 in salaries, benefits and pensions for 21 full-time employees. In addition, the report recommends bringing clerical staff levels closer to the peer average -- a reduction of eight full-time employees. This reduction would save the district an additional $270,000.
The report also recommends that the district negotiate to reduce its maximum sick leave accumulation, severance payouts, and the number of paid holidays. By bringing these levels to the minimums required by the Ohio Revised Code, the district could save approximately $294,000.
The performance audit report commends the district on its formal, board approved capital improvement plan that outlines the district’s plan to address its maintenance and capital needs. It also praises the district’s building and grounds staffing levels, which are significantly lower when compared to national benchmarks. This can be attributed to the district’s efforts to reduce expenditures.
In November 2011, the Ohio Department of Education notified the district that it should submit a plan to correct projected deficits for FY 2012-2013, and that a failure to submit an adequate plan could result in the district being placed in fiscal caution. The district passed a 4.99-mill emergency levy in March 2012, but failed to pass a 4.71-mill renewal levy in May 2013. In an effort to be proactive in addressing the projected deficits, the district enacted a number of cost-cutting measures prior to the release of this performance audit.
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 5,800 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.