LORDSTOWN Steps begin for dissolving panel overseeing schools
By SHERRI L. SHAULIS
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
LORDSTOWN -- The end could be in sight for the state-imposed commission that oversees financial decisions for the school district.
Members of the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission met Tuesday and agreed to meet with the Lordstown Board of Education next month to start outlining the procedure to dissolve the commission.
The five-person oversight commission was created by the Ohio Department of Education when the school district found itself in financial crisis in December 2000. The commission's purpose is to work with local officials to eliminate a more than $1 million deficit.
During its tenure, the commission has worked with school officials to improve finances by eliminating staff and faculty positions. Increased collections in personal property taxes and the passage of an emergency levy in 2001 also helped reduce the deficit.
Marsha Harrison, a consultant from the ODE who chairs the commission, said members will meet with the board of education to talk with incoming board members about the commission's role in the district, as well as to discuss what steps need to be taken to petition the state to dissolve the group.
The announcement came on the heels of Treasurer Mark Ferrara's report that said the schools are running in the black even more than originally projected.
Ferrara said that based on collections of property taxes -- which are up about $52,000 over this time last year -- combined with about $54,000 fewer expenditures through November, the schools are about $120,000 ahead of what he originally predicted.
"This is one time I would love to be wrong," he said, referring to his original projections.
District officials originally planned for the schools to finish the fiscal 2004 year with a positive balance of about $613,000.