WEATHERSFIELD School district is removed from fiscal caution list

The district still has to watch its spending carefully, school officials said.
MINERAL RIDGE -- Weathersfield Local School District has been removed from the state Department of Education's fiscal caution list, the school board announced at Wednesday's meeting.
The passage of two levies this school year, including a $4.2 million emergency levy renewal May 3, helped make the removal possible, superintendent Michael Hanshaw said.
The board was informed of the district's removal from the caution list in a letter from the Department of Education dated June 8.
"We have to commend the community for the passage of the two levies, and also our employees who have sacrificed a lot to keep up and maintain what we have," Hanshaw said.
Voters in the school district also passed a $5.5 million operating levy in November.
Prudent spending
Hanshaw and school district treasurer Angela Lewis said that the district had also saved about $1 million through cost-cutting measures such as changes in employee insurance and bus transportation routes, and eliminating positions through attrition.
"We still have to keep our belts tight and be cautious in our spending," Hanshaw said.
He noted that the passage of the two levies, which should generate nearly $1 million a year over the next five years, still doesn't compensate for lost revenue from the re-assessment in 2002 of RMI, a major industrial employer in the school district.
However, the district's financial outlook is the best it has been in two years, according to a fiscal report released at the board's May meeting. And the district has a good five-year financial forecast, board member Fred McCandless said.
Finance reform
In other business, board member Marilyn Besiou asked the board to consider a resolution of support for "Educate Ohio."
It's an initiative which seeks an amendment to the state constitution to reduce school districts' dependence on property taxes as a funding source, and to require the state to adequately fund schools. The state's school finance system has been declared unconstitutional four times by the Supreme Court, according to Educate Ohio's Web site,
"It's some kind of an answer to property taxes and the way school funding is today," Besiou said. The board will consider a resolution at a future meeting.
Other business
Mineral Ridge Middle School was recognized for its commendation as a Governor's Buckeye Best Healthy School.
The middle school and other county schools participate in programs through the Trumbull Student Assistance Consortium, which encourages alcohol-, tobacco- and drug-free schools and good nutrition habits.
The board renewed its agreement Wednesday night with the TSAC, a federally funded program.
The board also renewed its contract with Northeast Ohio Management Information Network of Champion for computer and information technology services for $15,000.
Lewis requested a special board meeting for June 29 to take care of end-of-fiscal-year financial transactions. It will be held at 8:30 a.m. at the middle school library.

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