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$4.7 Million in Potential Savings at Mansfield City School District
Columbus – Altering expenditures to align with its peers could save the struggling Mansfield City School District (Richland County) $4.7 million per year, according to a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost.
“The Mansfield City School District is simply overspending,” Auditor Yost said. “Although the district deserves credit for significant cuts, including nearly 150 full-and part-time employees, similar districts still spend much less.”
Auditors found the district could bring its operations in line with peer districts by reducing a total of 36 teaching positions and 61 non-teaching positions. These reductions would save $4,567,700 annually.
The district not only employs more than its peers, but it offers higher starting salaries and greater step increases as well. Implementing a one-year freeze on step increases would close this compensation gap and create one-time savings of $209,100. As an alternative, the district could negotiate to lower salaries to ensure they are comparable to similar positions within the region.
The audit also found that purchasing fuel through a contract with the Ohio Department of Administrative Services and applying for the Ohio Motor Fuel Tax refund could save the district a total of $13,700 annually.
On December 17, 2013, the Auditor of State’s office placed the district in fiscal emergency. The Ohio Department of Education requested this performance audit after the district’s October 2013 five-year forecast predicted general fund deficits of more than $35 million by fiscal year (FY) 2017-18.
Prior to the release of this report, the district’s Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, which is established to address its fiscal emergency status, implemented the following changes:
- Reduced 148 full- and part-time employees;
- Closed an elementary school and three conversion community schools;
- Ceased offering regular education preschool; and
- Reduced supplemental positions and stipends.
These reductions also are expected to save the district $4.7 million annually. The performance audit’s potential savings are exclusive of the commission’s actions.
A full copy of this performance audit is available online.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,800 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.