Facing $7.4 million deficit, Niles schools under fiscal watch - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Facing $7.4 million deficit, Niles schools under fiscal watch

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Facing the prospect of a multi-million dollar deficit, the Niles City School District has been placed on fiscal watch by the state auditor.

Auditor Dave Yost announced on Thursday that the district, which had been under fiscal caution since September 26, was elevated to fiscal watch after the Board of Education failed to agree on a financial recovery plan.

The Ohio Department of Education placed Niles schools under caution to address a mounting budget deficit.

A five-year financial forecast filed by the district in May anticipates a $7.4 million deficit in the fiscal year 2021.

The district’s Board of Education was given 60 days to provide the education department with a financial recovery plan detailing its strategy to erase the deficit. Instead, the board passed a resolution on April 19 declaring its inability to devise a recovery plan.

“The district can’t beat this deepening deficit alone,” Auditor Yost said. “I urge the district’s Board of Education to make full use of the state resources at its disposal to avert the impending financial crisis.”

Under fiscal watch, the district has another 60 days to submit a recovery plan to the department of education. From that point, the education department has 30 days to either approve or make changes to the plan.

The Auditor of State’s Local Government Services Section is available to assist the district with its planning.

The district previously spent more than 13 years in fiscal watch before it temporarily emerged from fiscal distress in June 2016.

Auditor Yost released a performance audit in April containing recommendations that could save the district $3.4 million annually.

A full copy of the fiscal watch declaration is available here.

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