Delphos schools placed on ‘Fiscal Caution’

By Sam Shriver -

DELPHOS — Delphos schools has been placed under “Fiscal Caution” by the Ohio Department of Education.

The designation was implemented on March 3 as a response to the school district’s deficit situation.

The district is going to voters next Tuesday for a .50% traditional income tax.

Kim Richards with the Ohio Department of Education and Dorothy Pietrykowski met with the school board Monday night to discuss what the designation will mean to the district and what needs to be done to get back into fiscal solvency.

“They’ve been working with us since December because of our financial situation,” said Doug Westrick, superintendent of Delphos schools.

In Ohio, Delphos schools is the only district with a deficit this year. Six districts in Ohio expect to operate at a fiscal deficit in two years and 33 districts expect to operate at a deficit in three years.

The Ohio Department of Education projects a continued decline of district finances and say significant expenditure reductions are needed to break even in fiscal year 21, even if the income tax passes on Tuesday. If things get worse the district could be placed under fiscal “Watch” or “Emergency.”

“We decided that it was appropriate to declare the district to be in ‘Fiscal Caution,’” said Kim Richards, assistant director of financial analysis and commission in the office of school finance. “That’s effective March 3, with a written plan a financial recovery plan due on May 4. A caution is declared when conditions or practices exist that could lead to ‘Fiscal Watch’ or ‘Fiscal Emergency.’”

One thing the school district has done to cut costs is to become a member of Vantage Career Center. Their board approved that last week.

“We anticipate to save $700,000 in the future, with the taxpayers taking on that responsibility,” Westrick said. “The way it worked before was the state foundation dollars follow the student to Vantage and then there’s also a contract amount on top of that and that’s continuing to grow as they continue to expand, offer new courses, such things such as that, and then we’re on the hook to pay for that. Now it doesn’t matter if we have 10 kids or 45 kids attend. The amount stays the same.”

The board Monday night also decided to sell its former administrative building at 234 N. Jefferson St. to Westwood Behavioral Health Center for $100,000. According to its website, the health agency that focuses on mental health and drug/alcohol addictions has three locations — Van Wert, Paulding and 150 N. Jefferson St., Suite 2, Delphos.

By Sam Shriver

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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