LORDSTOWN Board moves to end oversight

Asking the state to audit financial forecasts is the first step, the treasurer said.
LORDSTOWN -- Board of education members will start the ball rolling this week to get a state-imposed commission relieved of its duties.
Schools Treasurer Mark Ferrara said the board of education will meet Wednesday, in part to ask a state auditor to come in and review the district's financial forecast.
"If they look at our five-year projections, and come up with a figure that's pretty close to what we have, then that will be the first step," he said.
A 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 meets routinely with school officials to eliminate what was initially a more than $1 million debt.
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.
Financial forecasts
The district's financial forecasts have changed repeatedly in the past two years, but the most recent numbers show Lordstown schools should end the fiscal year June 30 with a balance of about $326,000, Ferrara said.
Current projections show the schools should end with figures in the black through at least fiscal year 2007, Ferrara said.
"And if we are able to renew our two levies in the next few years, we should be OK through 2008, too," he said.
Based on collections of property taxes in the village, the schools could end this fiscal year as much as $120,000 ahead of original projections.
In addition to the audit, board members will meet with the commission as early as next month to outline what other steps are needed to dissolve the commission.

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