Girard City Schools Treasurer Mark Bello has officially resigned following an investigation into a change in contract language causing him to get paid nearly half a million dollars in one year.

During a special meeting with the school board Friday morning, the Board accepted Bello's resignation from his position as treasurer. Bello had submitted a letter of resignation about an hour prior to the meeting.

The Board appointed Stacy Foster as the interim treasurer.

"At the Trumbull County Educational Service Center, we provide a range of services to support our aligned districts. As such, my role as treasurer for the Girard City School District will be on a short-term basis as the district initiates its search for a full-time treasurer," Foster told 21 News in a statement. 

Board President Diane Alejars said she does not know how long Foster will serve, nor are they sure about the process to find a new treasurer. Alejars said the Board will have another executive session on Tuesday, June 25 to figure out that process.

"It's not something we're jumping for joy about because we're concerned about our school system obviously," Alejars said. "Moving forward and everything, it's something we are going to deal with as a team."

In a recent Watchdog Report, 21 News found that an audit showed that Bello got a pay bump of almost $326,000 for the fiscal year of 2023 as part of a retire / rehire agreement.

The Ohio Auditor's Office called this an "excessive and extravagant use of District Resources" and behavior a prudent person would not consider reasonable and necessary business practices."

Bello's total pay went from under $189 thousand to over $460 thousand from 2022 to 2023.

That's because Bello received a base salary plus 2.5% of any grants he brought to the district under his previous contract. In the new contract that number is changed to one percent of the entire budget for the district.

According to the Auditor's Office, the Board voted in favor this change unanimously, but did not realize it would be a pay increase.

Alejars told 21 News they hired a lawyer in January when the board was "informed of information" but she would not expand on what that information was. Board member Joseph Datchuk said "we'll have more answers probably in a couple weeks." 

The next board meeting where public comment will be accepted is on Thursday, June 27 at 4:30 p.m.. Anyone who wishes to speak must sign up with the board before the agenda is finalized. 

You can read our full Watchdog Report in our related coverage below.