Niles Schools hosting community meeting on financial woes - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Niles Schools hosting community meeting on financial woes

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NILES, Ohio -

The Niles City Schools Board of Education is asking community members to attend a meeting tonight on a recent audit suggesting that the school cuts staffing and other expenses to avoid an $11.6 million deficit. 

The Board of Education announced that they will be holding an informational community meeting on Thursday, April 12th at 6:30 p.m. to give parents and community members more information on the results of the audit and a levy on the May 8th ballot. 

The district was declared to be in a state of fiscal caution in September because of projected deficits, one of which includes an anticipated deficit of more than $11 million by 2022. 

Earlier this month, Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost made numerous recommendations that his office says would save the district approximately $3.4 million a year. 

The recommendations outlined in a performance audit include reducing staff and trimming employer costs of health and vision insurance to peer averages, renegotiating collective bargaining agreement provisions and reducing labor costs for food service.

The largest savings – a little more than $2 million – could result from reducing the employer cost of health and vision insurance to the average for other self-insured entities in Trumbull County, according to the report.

Yost says another $1.3 million could be saved by eliminating the equivalent of 18.5 full-time positions, including teachers and other educational staff, nursing and psychologist staff, and clerical help.

The school has previously said that they are already working to adjust employment levels through attrition, reducing positions and movement of the workforce. 

They're also asking voters for support on election day to pass a 10-year 5.85 mill levy that would generate approximately $1,300,000 for the district. 

Last year, a 9.25 mill levy failed at the polls by nearly 70 percent. 

Earlier this year Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen told 21 News, "So we looked at that, we thought maybe we could make some cuts and we knew we would have to go back for a 10-year emergency but unfortunately, we couldn't cut it in half. But we figured cutting two, three, four mills was certainly going to be better, and hopefully this time we can talk to our community, talk to our families and let them understand the reason why this levy is really necessary for us to get in the black and to operate our school district as a business like we need to."
 

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