Niles Schools considers cutbacks

NILES – The Niles Board of Education will hold a special meeting today to discuss potential actions in response to a recent audit.

State Auditor Dave Yost released a performance audit of the district in late February identifying more than $1.3 million in potential savings. Recommendations included the elimination of nine staff positions, as well as six jobs in groundskeeping and custodial staff.

The cuts would save the district around $497,000 and $216,000 each.

The report also suggested an increase in employee health care contributions to 15 percent, which would save the district around $520,000 per year. Employees currently contribute 6.9 percent of the cost of family health insurance and 8 percent for single health insurance.

Interim Superintendent Frank Danso has said the district has taken steps to reduce costs, such as a reduction in force with staff as well as per-pupil expenditures that have decreased by around $135 per student.

He also said per-pupil expenditures for fiscal year 2012 was $8,414 per student – a figure that is $1,193 less than similar Ohio districts.

Board members today also will discuss an upcoming levy, negotiations plan, busing and an open house for the new elementary buildings.

Two levies that the district requested – a 4.65-mill emergency operating levy and 1-mill general improvement levy – were voted down in May. Danso had said the general improvement levy was needed for permanent improvements to the district, while the operating levy would have been utilized for day-to-day operations.