At the regular meeting of the Monroe Local Schools Board of Education on Monday, October 28, 2013 Roger Hardin, Chair of the Ohio Department of Education Fiscal Commission informed the Board of Education that they have completed most of the steps to move the district out of Fiscal Emergency and could release the district as early as June of 2014. Hardin and Anna Mary Thomas, from the Auditor of States office, have been working with the district for the last two years to help guide the district out of Fiscal Emergency. Hardin pointed out that the Fiscal Commission will start backing off and giving the Board of Education broader control and authority. Hardin also stated, “Anytime a Board of Education and Administration takes ownership of the problem, then the commission becomes a support group. Of the 22 commissions I have chaired, this Board has done the best in this regard and they are to be commended for that.” Since the district was placed in fiscal emergency they have worked with the commission to implement the Financial Recovery Plan that was adopted a little over a year ago. The commission will continue in existence until the state auditor or the commission itself, determines that:
- An effective financial accounting and reporting system is in the process of being implemented, and is expected to be completed within two years;
- All of the fiscal emergency conditions have been corrected or eliminated, and no new emergency conditions have occurred;
- The objectives of the financial recovery plan are being met; and,
- The School District Board has prepared a financial forecast for a five-year period and such forecast is, in the Auditor of State’s opinion, “nonadverse”.
Hardin pointed out that the district had met three of the four conditions. Thomas reviewed a draft of the report on financial and reporting accounting systems (the only condition the district is still working on). She pointed out that many of the improvement recommendations in the report have already been met.
In January, both the Board of Education and the Fiscal Commission will petition the Department of Education and the State Auditor’s office to release the district from fiscal emergency. Once granted, complete control of the district will revert back to the local Board of Education solely. School Board Member Brett Guido thanked Hardin and Thomas for the professionalism the Commission and Auditor’s staff have shown as the district worked through a tough time. Holly Cahall, the district’s chief financial officer, was hired two years ago to put together a new financial plan and help the district recover from its’ fiscal emergency. Cahall stated, “I am very proud of our community, school family and the entire team that helped us work through this tough time. I am looking forward to putting this behind us and returning our focus to learning.”