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Schools in Liberty fall into fiscal emergency



Published: Tue, July 12, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.

By LINDA M. LINONIS

linonis@vindy.com

LIBERTY

Liberty schools are in fiscal emergency for failing to come up with a plan that satisfies the state auditor’s office to eliminate a $2.5 million deficit projected for fiscal year 2012.

The district had been placed in fiscal watch on May 26 by state Auditor Dave Yost.

A financial planning and supervision committee will be created to assume all or part of the powers of the board of education. The commission must devise a plan to address the district’s financial crisis.

Diana DeVito, school board president, said the board has taken multiple measures to reduce costs, but these haven’t been enough to stave off a financial crisis.

The situation also is complicated because the district is undergoing an audit to straighten out its records.

DeVito, in her fourth year on the board, said the district has made more than $1 million in cuts. “We’ve cut what we could,” she said. “Cuts alone won’t result in financial stability.”

DeVito said the board will have to look at “much deeper cuts into instructional services.”

Yost’s office deemed that the board “failed to submit an acceptable recovery plan to the superintendent of education,” though it did make certain changes. The auditor’s office also wants the district to have plans for new revenue.

But DeVito said that two school levies on the ballot in the last few years have failed. “The tough economic times didn’t help,” she said.

The district has changed hospitalization to a self-funded program. That alone, she said, was a projected savings of some $400,000. The board also eliminated the 10 percent contribution toward the superintendent’s pension.

DeVito also pointed out Superintendent Stan Watson’s salary is in the $70,000 range, considerably less than other superintendent in Trumbull County. She said Watson and two other administrators are retirees who were rehired at lower salaries.

DeVito cited Ohio’s inadequate funding formula for schools as contributing to the problem. “Consider all strains that Ohio has put on schools, the fact that schools depend on tax revenue and recent levies have failed — and the fact that Education Choice takes money away from public schools.”

Watson, who noted that the district has an excellent academic rating, said it will be a challenge to maintain that ranking if cuts start to affect instruction. He noted that the state mandates certain programs, such as special education, but there is no accompanying funding.

Yost’s office said the Ohio Department of Education placed the district in fiscal caution on Jan. 18, 2010, based on potential deficits in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. The district’s five-year forecast, filed with the Department of Education on Oct. 28, 2010, projected deficits of $293,000 for fiscal year 2011 and $2,565,000 for fiscawl year 2012.

The auditor’s office determined that the district’s financial records were unauditable on Feb. 7 and the district was later placed in fiscal watch. The school board passed a resolution June 14 requesting the state place the district in fiscal emergency. The board meets on July 25.

DeVito said three teams of auditors are studying the district’s financial records and noted there is no sign of criminal activity.

Tracey Obermiyer, the district’s treasurer, resigned April 29; James Wilson is the interim treasurer. He estimated the 2010-11 budget at between $16 million to $18 million.


Comments

1lmar(1 comment)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Saveourcountry may not realize that a republican, governor or not, is AGAINST government monopoly and regulation and all for local control. Calling this governor a czar shows a misunderstanding of both this word and this governor.
If Charter schools "are coming", I am sure they will not force anybody into enrolling. If they become successful, that's because the people make them so. Education choice will only impact public schools negatively if they are not competitive academically.
Financially, a lot of the burden is due to the regulations imposed onto schools by the idiotic political correctness promoted and enforced by liberalism throughout the country, with the same harmful, outrageous results.
Finally, the problem with learning begins and ends IN THE FAMILY and it's a terrible thing that the responsibility for a child's success has shifted from the parent, to the school. Without this shift, there'd be a whole lot more success accomplished withOUT a whole lot of money! I wish LSD the best and I will always pass their levies.

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2DwightK(1304 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Why bring politics into this? The economy is in the crapper so tax revenues are down. People are also delinquent on property taxes. If we didn't have 10% unemployment Liberty wouldn't have this problem.

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3jimbob(7 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Well, here it is! The end result of open enrollment! The more welfare recipients that move in, the harder working blue and white collar people move out. Hence the property value going down so that more welfare recipients can move in. Why don't the school board put together a volunteer task force, like Champion Schools, and follow these kids to verify addresses. I'll bet that you find that there are dozens, if not more, that use their "cousins" address in Liberty and live in Youngstown. The more welfare recipients that move in, the less you are going to get funding passed. Liberty Police and Fire! You're next. You will see less people voting for those levies and the crime is going to run out of control. Less cops, the more the welfare recipients can run amuck! I used to be proud to say I lived in Liberty. Now I find myself making excuses why I still live here. We are taxed to the max. We cannot afford another wasteful school tax.
Instead of taxing us and threatening the "pay to play", cutting bus transport, and any other scare tactic..... why doesn't the school board cut their own wages and give back to the students so that the students can enjoy a school experience that we had back in the day. There was no "pay to play"! Come on people, I recognize that Gov. K-SUCK is cutting funding because he's not getting his way..... but Liberty Schools’ issues started way before the drop in the economy and Gov. K-SUCK. Liberty has just become a suburban/intercity social nightmare! I think we need to clean house for both, the township Trustee's and School Board Members, get them all out and start new! I would be embarrassed to call myself either one at this time.

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4Askmeificare(711 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

@ carlstaatz:

You are 100% correct, yet I have to ask-

-is Anthony "DO NOTHING" Catale living in Liberty and involved in this?

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5USNBOY(76 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

Jimbob, I love your use of "welfare recipients"! Liberty has become a North Side annex. They ran out of homes on the north side to screw up so they moved into Liberty. They are a plague! They have ruined Youngstown and Warren and they are destroying all points in between. We need to band together and eradicate these low life bottom feeding pond scum.

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6zthafuture(6 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

nothing like seeing so many closet racists and cowards who stand behind glass screen curtains and spew ignorant rhetoric. if any who said so are so very much against 'Youngstown', then why don't you move to another city? this is about the issue with the Liberty school financial situation, not about how you're afraid of black people except when you're hiding online. figures...

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7jimbob(7 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I've said nothing about black, white, or anyother race. I'm talking about the lazy worthless low life individuals that feed off the welfare systems that create the community that has Liberty looking like it does! I've seen two news stories within a week, showing people on welfare gettting brand new housing. It pisses me off that people are out selling drugs committing crimes and they can come home to a wonderfully decorated home. I bust my ass, and have since I was 14 years old, I can't afford a brand new home. So to ZTHAFUTURE, you are assumming that I am a racist..... well I guess I am. I'm tired of seeing lazy ass people (white black or otherwise) getting s**t for free! AND YES..... IT IS THESE TYPES OF PEOPLE, AND THOSE WHO SUPPORT THEM, WHO ARE KILLING LIBERTY'S TAX INCOME! PROVE ME WRONG!

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8USNBOY(76 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

I'm with jimbob on this one. jimbob, you are 1,000,000% right.

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9TB(1167 comments)posted 3 years, 5 months ago

the assumption that everyone on welfare is lazy makes you as ignorant as the people you rant and rave against.

it makes me mad that some people game the system, but it makes me matter that it's the only thing you see because it's more immediate. when we look at corporate welfare and greed that results in a loss of tax revenues and foreclosures, that does MUCH more damage financially to the country than the entire welfare system.

Open your eyes to the real lazy people.

"People are out of work, loss of health-insurance, bankruptcies and home foreclosures. Putting more tax on the beaten down middleclass is not the route to take."
I don't know why teachers are to blame for this. They aren't the ones putting anyone out of work. The overwhelming number of people who lost homes and wages had NOTHING to do with taxes. It had to do with the mortgage and housing bubble and their willingness to expand their debt and sign mortgages for homes they couldn't afford.

Instead of attacking teachers and public employees, who are in the same financial boat, maybe you should look at where all that money went. Start with the new mansions being built in the Hamptons.

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