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LORDSTOWN Recovery panel chief replaced



Published: Tue, May 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The reason for James Levero's leaving is confidential, the state education department says.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LORDSTOWN -- The Ohio Department of Education has replaced James Levero as head of the school financial recovery commission here.

Levero was serving as chairman of the Lordstown Local Schools Financial Planning and Supervisory Commission, responsible for digging the district out of fiscal emergency status.

J.C. Benton, a state education department spokesman, said Levero's supervisor, Jeff Hundt, associate director of the ODE's fiscal assistance section, has replaced Levero.

The five-member commission to oversee the Lordstown School District recovery was appointed in January.

Hundt chaired a similar commission to get Youngstown schools out of its financial problems.

Reorganization: Benton said the May 1 removal of Levero had nothing to do with his role at Lordstown but came as a result of a state education department reorganization.

Benton said today that the personnel action is confidential between Levero and the state. He added that Levero has left the ODE.

Hundt, Benton explained, had previously worked with Levero, and is familiar with the school district and will provide a smooth transition.

Surprised: School board member Becky Albrecht said the replacement of Levero "was a surprise to all of us. There was no warning."

There also was no reason given for the change, she added.

Albrecht said the change is a concern because Levero and Hundt "have done a fantastic job" in working with the district.

There has been no interruption in the education process since the commission was established, Albrecht said, adding that she has confidence in Hundt.

Levero and Hundt played a major role in approving a 10-year, 100 percent tax abatement to the General Motors Assembly Plant as an enticement to keep the complex in Lordstown.

yovich@vindy.com




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