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School: Some audit suggestions not feasible

Out of 10 recommendations made by the auditor of state to cut costs at Mechanicsburg Exempted Village School District, school officials said they plan to implement some, but not others.

A performance audit released by Auditor of State Dave Yost’s office on Thursday said the district could save more than $767,000 by implementing the changes, including eliminating 10 jobs.

The state said cutting those positions would save the district $524,900 in salaries and benefits annually.

But it had already cut more than 14 positions prior to the audit period, said Assistant Superintendent Danielle Prohaska.

“The cutting of 10 positions is not feasible,” she said. “Our class sizes would be extremely large.”

Suggested transportation changes, including eliminating bus routes, could cause a decrease in instructional time, according to Prohaska, which interferes with student learning.

The state also suggested rebidding the district’s insurance plan, but the district said they’ve made recent changes that are saving money and the process of switching plans could cost additional money.

This week, voters rejected a property tax renewal that would have generated $189,000 for the district.

The state also suggested adjustments to severance pay and the sick leave policy. The severance pay is negotiated with the teachers union, the district said, requiring a new agreement. The leave policy is dictated by Ohio law, Prohaska said, but they will look into incentives to improve staff attendance.

In a letter responding to the audit, the district said they will shift staff positions to different areas.

“These moves will shift 1.9 positions to other areas bringing our units more in line with the recommendations made by the auditors office,” the district said.

Mechanicsburg is not obligated to heed the state’s recommendations.

“They can pick and choose which ones they implement,” said Brittany Halpin, spokeswoman for Yost’s office.

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