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Board aims to get some benefit out of ’13 audit

President: Not all $90M savings likely realized

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While a performance audit of Toledo Public Schools gained prominence last year, its implementation has been much quieter.

The Toledo Board of Education will meet today at the Main Library downtown for a board retreat.

The board plans to discuss broad issues, including strategic planning, board governance, and elements of the audit.

Consulting group Evergreen Solutions presented the final draft of its performance audit to the Toledo school board in June.

The audit included more than 160 recommendations that Evergreen said could save the district more than $90 million over five years.

District leaders have said since they received the report that it may not be feasible or appropriate to implement all recommendations, and that $90 million may not be a reachable goal.

But board President Cecelia Adams is still confident the district can save a significant sum.

“I’m the world’s eternal optimist,” Ms. Adams said. “And in a perfect world, I’d love to see us reach that amount, and to the best of our ability I think we will try.”

Matt Cleland, the district’s treasurer, said his goal is to capture the savings from the performance audit so that the money isn’t respent at the department level.

How much ultimately will be saved by implementing the audit’s recommendations won’t be known until the five-year process concludes, Mr. Cleland said, while cautioning that not all the savings would go into the operating fund.

“It’s not all going to hit your bottom line,” he said.

Ms. Adams said board members will focus on recommendations dealing with the board.

Those recommendations won’t save money, but it’s important for the board to hold itself as accountable as it holds district staff, she said.

For instance, a recommendation to improve trust and understanding among board members and district staff may be important, but likely won’t create any direct savings.

And while some of the biggest, most controversial recommendations haven’t been implemented, Ms. Adams said the district has made progress.

A community advisory group has met three times to follow progress of the audit’s implementation; a fourth meeting that had been slated for this week was rescheduled because of the weather.

Audit updates are included in every committee meeting the board holds.

The biggest savings so far has been a reduction in contributions to the district’s health-care fund.

The district expects to save about $8.5 million because of the reduction, while still maintaining a healthy balance in the fund.

The district implemented a textbook-inventory system that should save hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

The district now shares bus-garage space at Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority headquarters on Central Avenue, cutting miles out of bus routes to save money.

Several unused lots have been leased, sold, or transferred off the district’s books, reducing maintenance costs. District leaders also decided to install new electrical transformers at several schools, reducing energy costs.

Today’s board retreat is to begin at 9:30 a.m. and will likely go until at least 2 p.m.

Contact Nolan Rosenkrans at: or 419-724-6086, or on Twitter @NolanRosenkrans.

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