What I heard yesterday afternoon proved to be true, as Toledo Public School Board member Dr. Cecelia Adams, who chairs the Finance and Business Operations Committee, confirms a performance audit is in the works.
She said TPS Treasurer, Matt Cleland, "has been investigating the most cost-effective way to have a comprehensive Performance Audit done of the district." They were "given a progress report yesterday (Friday) at the committee meeting. We expect to be prepared to make a recommendation soon, possibly later this month."
She also said:
"Please be assured that we are making every effort to be careful stewards of taxpayer dollars and have asked for no more than clearly needed by the most conservative projections calculable."
At their special meeting yesterday at 5 p.m., the board voted unanimously to reduce their levy request. Instead of a permanent 6.9 mill levy that would have raised $18.5 million, voters will see a 10-year 4.9 mill levy that will generate $13.3 million in additional revenue.
So after finding $8.5 million more than expected as carryover from the 2011-12 school year, resulting in a total surplus of $11.22 million, they're reducing the levy request by $5.2 million.
What a bargain.
I don't know if their change will be enough with seven levies on the ballot, most asking for additional funds - with the burden falling primarily on the middle and lower classes.
And we still need to see if they'll turn to the State Auditor for a performance audit - and if they'll exclude nothing from examination.
Sadly, because they've waited so long, I doubt they will be able to complete such an audit before November. That may have been a political calculation on their part, enabling them to say, 'See? We're doing an audit and our levy isn't permanent, so go ahead and vote for it.'
However, if they begin a performance audit and we know they have $11.22 million surplus that they can carry over into the 2012-13 school year, voters can reject their levy in November, await the results of the audit and still give TPS time to place a - hopefully - smaller levy on the ballot in 2013 ... if they need one at all, considering the significant yearly savings performance audits have identified for other Ohio school districts.