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Performance Audit Recommends $429,300 in Savings to Waterloo Local School District
Columbus – The Waterloo Local School District (Portage County) could achieve annual savings of $429,300 through staff reductions and other measures recommended in a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
Several of the recommendations would reduce district spending to the level of peer school districts. But even with these reductions, the district would need an additional $1.16 million in average annual reductions to avoid projected deficits.
The audit was prompted by the district’s October five-year forecast which projected a deficit of more than $5.5 million by fiscal year 2022. A revised forecast in May projected a smaller 2022 deficit of $4.6 million.
“The Waterloo Local School District faces some hard decisions to balance its books,” Auditor Yost said. “Our audit provides options that can help district leaders find a way through these difficult financial straits.”
The audit includes two noteworthy accomplishments undertaken by the district to improve its bottom line. One is an agreement to split the cost of treasurer services with the Field Local School District. Under the agreement, which was entered in 2013, the treasurer is paid a reduced salary by both school districts, saving Waterloo more than $30,000 in fiscal year 2019. This arrangement is an example of local governments embracing shared services to improve efficiency and economy and provide better value to taxpayers.
Also, by acting as fiscal agent for the Portage Area Schools Health Consortium, Waterloo earned $91,000 in 2018. Under this contract, the district treasurer and a part-time administrative assistant handle the management and administrative duties of the Consortium.
To bolster the district’s bottom line, the performance audit recommends:
- Eliminating the equivalent of 5.88 fulltime positions, including two teachers, along with reductions to the counseling, clerical and monitoring staffs. This would save more than $268,800 annually.
- Renegotiating collective bargaining provisions concerning service on educational committees, building checks and bus driver incentives to save $105,200 annually.
- Reducing the bus fleet by 3 buses to save $55,300 a year.
The audit outlines several options that could be combined as necessary to reduce expenses by an additional average of $1.16 million annually to avoid projected deficits.
- Eliminating an additional 9.5 full-time teaching positions to save $742,900 annually.
- A 20-percent across-the-board staff reduction to save nearly $1.2 million a year.
- Adopting a base salary and step freeze for three years to reduce expenses by an annual average of $504,000.
- Eliminating the General Fund subsidy of extra-curricular activities to save $211,000 annually.
The audit also recommends that the district develop a long-term capital spending plan, a preventive maintenance plan for the bus fleet and a bus-replacement plan.
A full copy of this report is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,900 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.
Public Information Officer