Audit suggests wage adjustment for Brookfield School employees - News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Audit suggests wage adjustment for Brookfield School employees

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An audit conducted by the state is suggesting changes for the Brookfield Local School District that could save nearly $250,000 per year and move it closer toward shedding its fiscal emergency status.

A performance audit released Thursday by Auditor of State Dave Yost found that if all recommendations are implemented, the district's projected ending fund balance would increase from approximately $304,000 in fiscal year 2014-15 to $1.3 million in fiscal year 2017-18.

The report found that support staff, such as teaching aides and attendants, exceeded peer averages by six positions during the audit period. By aligning staff levels with peers, the district could save at least $106,900 annually.

Due to its fiscal emergency status, the audit suggests that the district may find it necessary to renegotiate collective bargaining agreement provisions to state minimum requirements. These renegotiations could create annual savings of $56,000.

While obtaining health insurance through a consortium has allowed the district to leverage purchasing power and acquire lower than average premiums, its financial condition may require the district to consider negotiating higher employee contributions to medical and dental premiums. Negotiating to State Employee Relations Board average contributions could save approximately $86,300 per year.

The Ohio Department of Education required Brookfield Local School District to receive a performance audit after it was placed in fiscal emergency in May 2013. During the same month, the district passed a $4.85 million continuing operating levy. The district also received multiple state solvency assistance advances to offset projected deficits.

In response to the audit, Brookfield Local School District stated that it has begun implementing recommendations. The district has reduced staff, expanded its use of available technology to increase efficiency and expanded its energy policy to reduce costs.

A full copy of this performance audit is available online.

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