Audit finds $1.6 million in savings for Poland schools

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POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – The Poland School Board will have a lot to consider over the next several weeks as it goes over a state audit that says the district could save $1.6 million if it implements cost-saving recommendations.

The audit was performed after the school submitted its mandatory five-year forecast that included a budget deficit for 2019 and a $4.8 million deficit in fiscal year 2022.

The recommendations from the Auditor of State office would impact the district’s five-year forecast moving forward.

The audit recommends staff reductions, trimming the subsidies for extracurricular activities, reducing the number of school buildings and adopting an energy management plan.

“Financial difficulties put school district leaders to the test,” said Auditor David Yost. “Tough choices are never pleasant and often are unpopular, but they have to be made for the long-term health of the district.”

The performance audit recommended eliminating the equivalent of 18.5 full-time positions, including administrators, teachers, and library and custodial staff, among others. This would save more than $1.1 million, according to the audit.

Poland School District Superintendent David Janofa said the district needs to evaluate each recommendation.

“These are recommendations. Obviously, the board received the final document today. Right now, there’s been no decisions made, and you know, it’s a pretty extensive report,” he said.

Janofa said the board will analyze and assess the financial gains or reductions and the overall impact of the reductions on students.

“We can’t make a knee-jerk reaction in regards to, ‘Hey here’s how many people. Let’s get rid of them. We’re gonna hit this benchmark,'” he said. “It doesn’t work that way, and we understand that it’s going to take some time to go work the report and the recommendations.”

The audit also recommends closing two elementary school buildings and possibly raising lunch prices, increasing student participation, and reducing food and labor costs.

The state audit and a complete list of recommendations are listed in the full audit.

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