Hubbard and Liberty sharing a treasurer
By danny restivo
The Hubbard school district has agreed to a temporary sharing of its treasurer with Liberty schools.
The neighboring districts came to an arrangement after James Wilson, Liberty’s former treasurer, stepped down Nov. 30.
With Wilson’s exit, the two districts agreed to a joint treasurer.
“We’re getting the same quality of service, but it’s shared,” said Liberty Superintendent Stan Watson.
Rhonda Baldwin- Amorganos, Hubbard treasurer, will serve as Liberty’s interim treasurer.
She will replace Wilson, who made slightly more than $65,000 a year including benefits.
Baldwin-Amorganos said her financial compensation from Liberty schools has not been finalized.
With the help of assistants in Hubbard and Liberty, she doesn’t believe her new duties will take away from her services at either district.
“I have people there that can help as well as here,” she said.
The shared venture is an effort to help Liberty with its cash-strapped budget.
The Ohio Department of Education assigned a financial oversight commission to the Liberty district after it was placed in fiscal emergency in July 2011.
The commission is asking the school to make an additional $1.3 million in budget cuts by the end of the school year.
Baldwin-Amorganos said a permanent arrangement has to be approved by the oversight commission, but she doesn’t plan on doing anything drastic while serving as the neighboring district’s treasurer.
“Right now, we’re just maintaining the status quo,” she said.
Paul Marshall, chairman of Liberty’s oversight commission, said school districts facing financial recovery have to look at sharing services with other schools.
“You have to at least look at this as an option,” said Marshall
Baldwin-Amorganos points to the shared services model supported by the Ohio Association of School Business officials as a plan to follow.
According to its website, the organization is a not-for-profit professional association that provides support to public-school- district treasurers, business managers, food-service and transportation supervisors and staff.
Its model supports any areas, including financial services, where costs can be reduced while maintaining the same quality of service.
She believes shared services such as the treasurer’s position, can improve a school district’s operational efficiency and lessen the financial burden on the community.
“My job is to save money, so why not look at my position first?” she said.
Watson said Liberty also has shared-services arrangements with the Mahoning County Educational Service Center.
The Liberty school board will meet with the state-appointed finance committee Monday at 5:30 p.m. at Liberty High School.
The two bodies will decide on permanently hiring Baldwin-Amorganos as the Liberty treasurer.