Rossford school board seeks audit of operations, buildings
Written by DAVID DUPONT Sentinel Staff Writer
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 09:54
ROSSFORD - The Board of Education Monday continued to struggle to get a handle on the school district's condition and future.
In a two and a half hour session, the board voted to ask the administration to work with the state auditor's Performance Audit Section to determine the scope of a study of the district.
That audit can cover the entirety of the district's operations, staffing, facilities and finances, or just a portion, the board was told by Derek Merrin, a state performance analyst. He said that typically an entity will save $23 for every $1 they spend on an audit. The price of the audit would depend on the scope, he said. His office charges $41 an hour, and the average cost is about $65,000.
The board also gave the steering committee looking into the district's facilities need the go-ahead to issue requests for qualifications. Those two proposals would seek firms that could assess the state of district facilities, and study what the district's future needs would be.
Robert Densic, a member of the committee, said the RFQ would be for gathering information only. The steering committee could end up contacting with one firm or two, he said.
But Board President Dawn Burks said she was uncertain how the steering committee's efforts would jibe with a state performance audit. "How do we know what we need until we hear from them?"
John Appt, steering committee chairman, said the committee could proceed without the results of the state audit.
Board member Bev Koch agreed, saying the two processes were "completely separate."
Burks also said that the RFQ item only came to board members a few hours before the meeting. She ended up voting against the request with board member Doug Miller, abstaining.
Appt expressed concern at Merrin's statement that while the state audit is being conducted, the information being gathered would only be shared with the board.
"Either you work directly with us or it won't happen," he said.
Merrin said it was up to the Board of Education how information was shared.
Merrin said that the auditors would only make recommendations, and implementing those would be up to the board.
The auditors will look at Rossford's staffing compared to similar districts. Those would be determined by size of district - Rossford has about 2,000 studentsm - demographics and state ranking.
Merrin said the district would only be compared to other districts deemed excellent by the state. "We're not trying to cut expenses by cutting quality," he said.
While the board pushed those items though, it failed to approve all the policy revisions on the agenda.
Two related to internet use were passed because there was a deadline, but others including drug testing guidelines, evaluation of administrators, suspension of administrative contracts, selecting interns, reduction in staff, diploma deferral, personal information systems, student records, environmental health and safety issues, bullying and student abuse and neglect were tabled until July.
Burks said some board members had questions about the policies. Board members did not say which policies they had questions about, or what those issues were.
Superintendent Bill McFarland said that the policies were put on the agenda last month so board members could study them, and address any concerns they had before the meeting.
All the items had already been discussed in the policy committee.
But Board member Jackie Brown said that's not how it always works.
During the public comment section, Densic encouraged the board to pursue energy improvements. Even if the buildings improved are replaced or torn down when the district launches a new building program, that work won't start for at least four years. That leaves plenty of time to realize savings from improvements, especially if the district uses House Bill 264, which allows districts to pay back the cost of energy-saving improvements after those savings have been realized.
The board agreed to look into it.