Switzerland of Ohio Local School District Could Save $2 Million Annually, Eliminate Forecasted Deficits

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Columbus – Switzerland of Ohio Local School District’s current spending exceeds its peers in some areas and could be reduced by $2 million per year, according to a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.  

“Once the threat of a deficit was realized, the district took steps in the right direction,” Auditor Yost said. “It’s not yet out-of-the-woods, but this performance audit provides the guidance needed to get there.”    

The Ohio Department of Education requested this audit after Switzerland of Ohio Local School District’s October 2013 five-year forecast predicted general fund deficits of more than $6.3 million, by fiscal year (FY) 2017-18. If all of the audit recommendations are implemented, it is estimated that the projected deficit would be eliminated and the district would instead achieve a surplus of approximately $1.3 million.

Although it reduced 45 positions in FY 2012-13, the district could reduce one additional administrative, four custodial and six clerical positions to put it at peer staffing levels and save at least $344,300 annually.

The district utilized 60.4 percent of its total building capacity in FY 2012-13, far below the benchmark utilization rate of 85 percent. Closing the two least utilized buildings would increase the district’s utilization rate to 79 percent and save around $231,000 annually. 

Exploring options that would reduce health insurance premiums to regional averages, and renegotiating to increase employee contributions to benchmark levels, could save the district approximately $941,000 per year.

Sick leave usage in the district surpassed the Department of Administrative Services’ benchmark by an average of 63.9 hours. Implementing a sick leave policy based on the benchmark would save about $32,900 annually in substitute expenses. Additionally, renegotiating sick leave severance payouts to the state minimum would save approximately $151,000 annually.

Other renegotiations could save $219,000 annually, if employees paid their full retirement contributions and $37,600 annually, if overtime calculations were made similar to district peer groups.

Finally, food expenses are currently 53.5 percent higher than peer groups. This is due to purchasing pre-packaged items instead of bulk commodities offered by the district’s food provider. Transitioning to bulk commodities would lower the district’s cost-per-meal and save approximately $180,500 per year. 

A full copy of this performance audit is available online.