BROOKFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) – The Brookfield Local School District could save nearly $250,000 per year and move closer toward shedding its fiscal emergency status, according to a performance audit released Thursday by Ohio State Auditor David Yost.
“Brookfield Local School District has shown great determination,” Yost said in a news release. “With the combination of increased revenues and spending cuts, the district is on track toward eliminating its fiscal emergency status.”
The Ohio Department of Education required Brookfield Local School District to receive a performance audit after it was placed in fiscal emergency in May 2013. During the same month, the district passed a $4.85 million continuing operating levy. The district also received multiple state solvency assistance advances to offset projected deficits.
If all audit recommendations are implemented, the district’s projected ending fund balance would increase from approximately $304,000 in fiscal year 2014-15 to $1.3 million in fiscal year 2017-18, the release stated.
Support staff, such as teaching aides and attendants, exceeded peer averages by six positions during the audit period. By aligning staff levels with peers, the district could save at least $106,900 annually, the audit states.
While obtaining health insurance through a consortium has allowed the district to leverage purchasing power and acquire lower than average premiums, its financial condition may require the district to consider negotiating higher employee contributions to medical and dental premiums. Negotiating to State Employee Relations Board average contributions could save approximately $86,300 per year, the audit states.
Due to its fiscal emergency status, the district may find it necessary to renegotiate collective bargaining agreement provisions to state minimum requirements. These negotiations could create annual savings of $56,000.
In response to the audit, Brookfield Local School District stated that it has begun implementing recommendations. The district has reduced staff, expanded its use of available technology to increase efficiency and expanded its energy policy to reduce costs.