Hard decisions ahead for Niles City Schools to get district out of debt

Local News

After it was announced the district was placed under fiscal emergency, Niles City Schools held the first open meeting with an appointed commission. That group, the Financial Planning and Supervision Commission, consists of five people who work with the district to get it out of the red.

The Financial Planning and Supervision Commission has 120 days to figure out a plan to get the Niles City School District out of fiscal emergency and into the black.

“The commission’s established, basically, to remedy that situation, to put in place a recovery plan that will give the direction needed,” said Commission Chairperson Bob Foss.

The Ohio Department of Education set the rules and guidelines for what the commission and district can and cannot do.

A current forecast of the district’s spending for the next five years was explained as being in the red.

“The deficits that exist on the forecast currently are the result of just spending more than was coming in for some time,” Foss said.

The role of the commission is to figure out where to save money in order to get out of debt.

“Hard decisions have to be made sometimes in a district but in the end, it’s to restore the fiscal integrity of the district so that they can continue doing what they do best and continue to educate kids,” Foss said.

Those hard decisions may include tightening some areas of spending — areas the auditor of state identified through a performance audit.

“Identified the area of benefits, like insurance, etc., as an area of potential savings,” Foss said.

The district is already being proactive with finding ways to save and get money.

“In our district, we have been afforded the last few years some pretty substantial grant money that is taking our curriculum forward,” Superintendent Ann Marie Thigpen said.

The next meeting to check on the progress is scheduled for Monday, May 6 at 5 p.m.

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