Poland community packs auditorium to find out about school audit - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Poland community packs auditorium to find out about school audit

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POLAND, Ohio -

The community packed the Poland Seminary High School Auditorium to hear the results of a state performance audit for themselves.

Poland's superintendent laid the school district's financial future on the table so that stakeholders could know exactly what they're facing.

Two auditors from the state presented their findings in detail and including more than one dozen recommendations where the school district could cut costs.

The state has projected a deficit of $4.8 million by 2022.

However, they praised the district compared to other school systems for how Poland excelled in academics and its transportation system.

Among the recommendations that released last week;  auditors suggested that Poland Schools cut 18.5 staff members and close the last of two elementary schools. 

That would mean by closing Union and Dobbins, they could turn McKinley into a K-8 grade building.

That seemed to be a proposal many in the audience questioned when it comes to the safety of the older building.

Poland Superintendent David Janofa himself doesn't think it's a good idea for a different reason.

"By putting two elementary schools, which would be Union and Dobbins into the McKinley Middle School, we would be well over 1,100 students at that facility, and as I said last Monday, that would be a very difficult thing to do even though in the eyes of the auditor you have the space to do it," said Janofa.

The superintendent seemed to infer at one point, toward the end of the meeting, that closing only Dobbins in the fall to start may be a good idea.

One thing the auditor made clear is that Poland, like most districts in Ohio, has a decreasing enrollment. 

The public forum was for informational purposes only, so no decisions were made. But according to the superintendent, the district has some big decisions ahead if they want to avoid that $4.8 million dollar deficit by 2022.

One man in the audience told the superintendent and the Poland Board of Education, "My solution is implement the state audit.  That gets you out of deficit spending in 2022 and that gives you four years to work on a plan to build new schools."

But making these decisions are something no one is taking lightly because cutting costs when it comes to education will always come with a price.

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