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Salem, Brookfield schools under watch

Published: Fri, March 3, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.

The districts have 60 days to come up with new, acceptable recovery plans.
BROOKFIELD -- The Brookfield and Salem school districts have been placed under state fiscal watch.
Betty Montgomery, state auditor, said both districts failed to submit an acceptable written proposal to the Ohio Department of Education to correct anticipated budget deficits.
She placed both under fiscal watch Thursday.
The superintendents of both districts weren't immediately available for comment.
Montgomery said Brookfield was placed in fiscal caution on Dec. 22, 2005, because its five-year forecast predicts a deficit of $967,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, and a deficit of $2,390,000 for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2007.
Salem was placed in fiscal caution on Sept. 30, 2005, based on anticipated deficits of $1,362,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 2006, and $2,070,000 for fiscal year ending June 30, 2007, she said.
What law says
Ohio law requires that the board of education of a district placed in fiscal caution provide a written plan to the state showing how the problem will be corrected. If an acceptable proposal isn't submitted within a reasonable period, the state superintendent of public instruction can request that the state auditor declare the district in fiscal watch in an effort to prevent further fiscal decline.
Under fiscal watch, the district must develop and submit a financial recovery plan to the department of education to eliminate the projected deficit. The state auditor or the department of education can provide cost-free technical assistance to help the district develop that plan.
New plan deadline
The districts have 60 days to come up with the new plan.
Should Brookfield or Salem still fail to submit an acceptable plan, they will be declared in fiscal emergency, Montgomery said.
That would trigger the creation of a state Financial Planning and Supervision Commission that could take over some or all of the board of education's functions and create its own plan to resolve the fiscal crisis.

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