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LORDSTOWN Monitor to assist school district finances



Published: Thu, November 8, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The commission chairman said appointment of a monitor is routine, not in response to district happenings.

By DENISE DICK

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

LORDSTOWN -- The secretary of a commission appointed to oversee school district finances will review district purchase orders and prepare monitoring reports for the commission.

Commission members passed a resolution Wednesday, assigning Joe Funai, commission secretary, as monitor to provide technical assistance to the district.

William Wenger, commission chairman, said a monitor to provide technical assistance to a district in fiscal emergency is a regular element in a recovery process.

"It's not as a result of anything that's happened here," he said.

Funai will sign off on purchase orders other than those covered by a contract.

Resolution: Commission members also passed a resolution requiring the district to develop an economy and efficiency plan in response to a performance audit. State Auditor Jim Petro released a performance audit of the district in July. The administration and school board will respond to each of the recommendations listed in the performance audit.

Wenger said the commission and district didn't respond to the audit sooner because they thought they should focus on the operating levy. Voters passed the five-year, 6-mill levy on Tuesday's ballot.

"The levy was certainly a major piece in the puzzle in terms of fiscal emergency," he said. "The commission will continue to look for economies and efficiencies in the operations of Lordstown schools."

Teachers contract: Another item the district must address is a contract with teachers. Teachers have been working without a contract since August 2000.

Both the teachers union and the school board have said they had a tentative agreement in late September, but the commission didn't act on it. Neither the union nor the school board had voted on it.

Wenger said the commission won't act on a proposed contract until the union and school board have responded.

"It's not our role to negotiate a contract," he said.

Since the levy passed, the district must update its financial forecast to reflect the roughly $770,000 the levy will generate annually.

"Any contract that is worked out that fits with the financial forecast, I would recommend be approved," Wenger said.




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