LIMA — In our annual look at school salaries, we take a closer look at the position of school district treasurer. It’s a position holds a lot of responsibility, including looking into the future financial status of the school district over the next five years.
“I think it’s critical. We have to make sure that we use our district dollars in a responsible manner so that we’re providing as many opportunities as we can afford to our students to prepare them and make them on the cutting edge for the future,” said Kathy Fruchey, treasurer of Ottawa-Glandorf Schools.
Treasurers frequently pop up near the top of the top 10 salaries in school districts, The Lima News’ 25th annual review of salaries reveals. It shows the increasing importance of the job.
The five-year plan has to be updated twice a year, and it’s a barometer into when a district might need to go to the taxpayers for a renewal levy or a new levy.
The pay of the treasurer can be one of the highest in the school district, coming in just under the superintendent’s salary.
The title of treasurer may be better reflected in a title many businesses use: Chief Financial Officer.
“It has become more like a Chief Financial Officer position. It’s not just bookkeeping there’s a lot of decisions to be made. You’re having conversations with board members, your superintendent, involved in negotiations with the unions. I mainly prepare background information for salaries, benefits and things like that,” said Wapakoneta Treasurer Angie Sparks.
One surprise about who qualifies to be a treasurer is learning that you don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree to be a treasurer in the state of Ohio; some have no degree at all.
“I think that’s a thing of the past. I think there are people who have been grandfathered in with less [education] and I think the job has changed a lot just in 18 years I’ve been a treasurer. I have no problem with people who have lesser degrees. I think they’re totally capable of doing the job. They’ve grown along with all of the changes that have come along,” said Fruchey, who has a bachelor’s degree.
A look at what area treasurers make includes some surprising results.
Lima City Schools have the largest number of facilities, students and staff in the three-county area, and likewise, Treasurer Shelly Reiff’s salary reflects the rather large responsibility she has to undertake. She makes $98,980, according to the Ohio Treasurer’s website.
“Lima City has nine buildings so we have full staff in all nine buildings. We have several employees because we have a full cafeteria, custodian staff, teachers in every single building. Actually, for our size and the number of kids that we have in our buildings, our administration is actually very low considered to other schools our size in the state of Ohio, so we run a very bare bones administrative staff. We are always looking to see where we can streamline or use advanced technology to not hire somebody if they leave, just to be very frugal with our funds,” said Reiff.
It’s a responsibility she doesn’t take lightly.
“One of the main things I do on a daily basis is balance the accounts. A lot of people don’t balance daily but I do because it’s easier to catch a mistake than wait until the end of the month and then our records are so massive that to find that mistake at the end of the month would be way too hard,” she said.
Working on the five-year plan is something that is always on the forefront.
“It’s adopted by the board in October and then it’s updated in May. At every board meeting I run out reports that compare to the five year forecast and then I alert the board where we are in our spending plan, whether we’re on target or off target and because that’s a very important piece because the five year forecast is something we have to stick to,” Reiff said. “Lima City is almost 90 percent funded by the state so our foundation is pretty much set for us. What will change is at the end of the two year budget when they adopt at new budget for the State of Ohio. That could change drastically [the five year plan] so that’s a very big concern for us.”
Where to find salary information
The State of Ohio has a database that lists the salaries of these treasurers or any staff member in any school district across the state: http://bit.ly/2owd82l
Who can be a treasurer?
According to the Ohio Department of Education, treasurer candidates should have a bachelor’s degree either in business with studies in law and school finance or a non-business degree with classes in accounting, school law and school finance.
Two field experience options are available for candidates, one being a 300-hour internship in a school treasurer’s office, gaining experience in a wide variety of duties, such as basic banking deposits, investments, processing accounts payable and receivable, working with budgets and appropriations and cash and asset management. If a candidate has two years of experience in “significant, global fiscal officer responsibility in an organizational setting,” according to the ODE, that would also be acceptable as field experience.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.