A projected shortfall isn’t the same as a real, live shortfall

A projected shortfall isn’t the same as a real, live shortfall

I feel I must respond to the Dec. 18 editorial, “Once step forward, two back for Youngstown schools.” I took umbrage at the tone of the opinion piece, and also with the factual content. Last Thursday the Academic Distress Commission met at P. Ross Berry armed with two resolutions prepared, one of which directed the superintendent of schools to formulate a plan to deal with a projected shortfall. A second resolution directed the fiscal monitor, Mark Paprocki, a person hired by the commission, to take control of all fiscal matters over $5,000.

You say our “Cadillac health-care plan” is otherworldly. Our contract was negotiated over three years ago, in 2009, and yes, that was a very different world.

With all due respect, this is a projected shortfall, not an actual real live existing shortfall. It seems to me that the commission is overstepping. It’s kind of like building another house because the one you have might burn down.

Your editorial states that our health plan has been underfunded since 2008, yet the fiscal commission returned financial control to the elected board of education around April 2010. So, was the fiscal commission incompetent? Could their projections have been wrong? Could the academic distress commission’s projected deficit be wrong?

This is something that needs to be sorted out in court, by a judge. But the funny thing is the academic distress commission, as it stands now, would have to OK the expenditure for the legal representation to represent the district in any action against the commission.

What do you think the chance is of that?

Janis Pentz, Youngstown

The writer is an executive board member of the Youngstown Education Association.