Columbus – The Portsmouth City School District pays its employees more than comparable districts do, according to a performance audit released today by Auditor of State Dave Yost. Potential cost savings of more than $1.8 million were identified in the audit.
“By stepping in line with their peers, the Portsmouth City Schools could make great strides toward maintaining future financial stability,” Auditor Yost said. “Results like these prove what a difference performance audits can make.”
If the district brings its salary schedules more in-line with its peers, significant savings could be generated. On the current salary schedule, employees in various positions earn more than their regional peers. For example, over a 30-year career, a maintenance worker could earn an additional $133,000; a groundskeeper, $70,000 more than surrounding district employees; and a teacher with a master’s degree, $87,000 more than their peers.
The Portsmouth City School District also has significantly higher health insurance premium costs than its peers: 39.9% higher for a single plan and 49.6% higher for a family plan. During the 2009-10 school year, certificated staff contributed 7% towards their premiums, while classified staff contributed 4%. If the district renegotiates its collective bargaining agreement to include a 15% cost sharing provision for employees, it could save $349,000 annually.
It is recommended that the Portsmouth City Schools redesign bus routes, including the acquisition of electronic routing software. By doing so, the district can increase capacity use on each bus and design more efficient routes, thus reducing the number of buses needed to transport students. Eliminating two active buses from the district’s fleet and making strategic changes to bus routes will save about $75,000 in the first year.
This performance audit was done at the request of the Ohio Department of Education due to the Portsmouth City School District’s ongoing financial problems and projected future year deficits. The district, located in Scioto County, serves approximately 2,938 students (FY 09-10) and has a general fund operating budget of approximately $15.5 million (FY 09-10).
The cost of conducting this performance audit was $40,700, with a potential return on investment of $45.91 for every dollar spent on the analysis. A full copy of this performance audit may be found online at www.auditor.state.oh.us.
The Auditor of State’s office, one of five independently elected statewide offices in Ohio, is responsible for auditing more than 5,600 state and local government agencies. Under the direction of Auditor Dave Yost, the office also provides financial services to local governments, investigates and prevents fraud in public agencies and promotes transparency in government.