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Published: Friday, 5/26/2006

Turnaround ends fiscal emergency

HURON, Ohio - The state has released the Huron City School District from its fiscal emergency status because of its financial turnaround, the auditors' office said yesterday.

A fiscal emergency was declared May 13, 2004, after the Erie County school district forecast deficits of $231,000 and $1,685,000 for the fiscal years ending June 30, 2004, and 2005 respectively.

In 2004, voters approved a five-year emergency levy that generates $2,740,000 annually and renewed an operating levy that brings in $464,000 annually.

Auditor Betty Montgomery said all of the fiscal conditions that led to invoking the fiscal emergency have been corrected or eliminated.

Superintendent Fred Fox could not be reached for comment.

As part of its state assistance, the district received a $430,000 "solvency-assistance fund advance."

The school cut four administrative positions, seven teaching positions, and 10 classified positions to save $1.1 million.

In fiscal year 2005, the district tightened its belt further, reducing another administrative position, nine full and one a half-time teaching posts, and 25 supplemental contracts, saving $557,000.

This year six more positions were eliminated, with savings projected at $275,000.

In addition, the cafeteria supervisor's salary and benefits were charged to the food service fund, saving the general fund $40,000 annually, the auditor's office said.

Before declaring an end to a fiscal emergency, the auditor requires an effective financial accounting and reporting system and a five-year budget forecast that is, in the auditor's opinion, "nonadverse."

Ms. Montgomery's office will continue to monitor the district for two years to insure full implementation of the financial recovery plan.



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