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Coventry school district emerging from fiscal watch

5/23/2013 - South Side Leader
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By Emily Chesnic

Gable resigns from board, Thompson appointed

COVENTRY — For the first time in 16 years, Coventry Local Schools may no longer be viewed by the state as a financially struggling district.

At the May 21 meeting, the Board of Education agreed to petition Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost to remove Coventry’s fiscal watch designation.

District Treasurer Aaron Butts explained the request could be made because Coventry no longer is facing significant financial problems that threaten the district’s ability to operate. This is due to the recent passage of Issue No. 5 in the May 7 Primary/Special Election.

The 5.99-mill bond issue and permanent improvement levy will provide the district with a new high school and allow school buildings to be renovated. In addition, Butts explained the permanent improvement component will be used to pay down debt associated with extensive maintenance issues.

Butts announced the district now is in a financial position never seen before in Coventry, before presenting a positive five-year forecast to the board.

During his report, Butts discussed the previous battles the district has faced fiscally. He said the district repeatedly had to reduce its expenses in response to a decrease in revenue, primarily due to extensive funding cuts.

“Our revenues are higher than our expenditures for the next five years, maybe even longer,” he said.

Butts explained the district would end fiscal year 2013 with $579,852 and fiscal year 2014 with $763,865, for example.

According to Butts, the combined bond and levy will reduce the district’s expenses and increase revenue through the elimination of $250,000 a year in duress spending and subsidize the General Fund debt payments.

“We are proud of where we are going to go,” said Board President David Andrews.

Also during the meeting, the board accepted the resignation of board member Tina Gable, who’s been a member of the board since 2006.

Andrews explained Gable, who was not present at the meeting, still would be active in the district but in a “new role.” When contacted after the meeting, Gable said she was hired as the new administrative assistant to the superintendent, effective June 10. She said current administrative assistant Vicki Bartlett is retiring, and she is excited to be her replacement.

Board members wished her well in her new endeavor and complimented her time on the board, especially as a past board president.

“She did well on the board and is a great community supporter,” Andrews said. “She made every decision with children in mind.”

Since the board is obligated to fill Gable’s unexpired term, someone was selected at the May 21 meeting to fill her seat.

The board unanimously approved appointing past board member Tom Thompson to the role.

Andrews said Thompson was the “most logical pick,” as he has past experience and a vast knowledge of and love for the district.

“It was the best choice for Coventry Schools,” Andrews said.

After being sworn in, Thompson expressed appreciation for the opportunity.

Andrews said Thompson would serve out the remainder of Gable’s term, which ends Dec. 31. He must run in the November election to retain the seat.

The next Coventry school board meeting will be June 18 at 6 p.m. at Coventry High School, 3089 Manchester Road.

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