Lisbon Morning Journal: School board joins Ohio treasurer’s online checkbook program
Lisbon Morning Journal
By Jo Ann Bobby-Gilbert
December 17, 2016
EAST LIVERPOOL – Joining hundreds of other government entities around the state of Ohio, the city school district on Monday announced it has posted its financial records online at OhioCheckbook.com .
During its regular meeting Monday night, the board heard a presentation on OhioCheckbook.com by Kelly Ilagan, public affairs liaison from the office of state Treasurer Josh Mandel.
Ilagan explained that, in 2014, Ohio was ranked 46 in the nation for transparency of public financial records, saying the state was a “bottom dweller at showing where tax dollars were going.”
In response, Mandel started OhioCheckbook.com in December 2014, setting a new national standard for government transparency, recently resulting in Ohio earning the number one government transparency ranking in the country for the second year.
East Liverpool City School District is the third school district in the county to post its spending on OhioCheckbook.com, and Ilagan reported its online checkbook includes more than 409,000 individual transactions representing more than $555 million of total spending dating to fiscal year 2000.
District Treasurer Kathy Jo Laughlin said her staff went back about 19 years to gather financial information to place on the online site, and said, “(The district) strives to make its finances as accessible and transparent as possible. While we provide detailed financial information on our website, the OhioCheckbook.com allows our district to display it in an easy, interactive format. We look forward to our residents utilizing this information to better understand how ELCS is managing its finances.”
In a slide presentation, Ilagan showed board members the ease with which the public can locate all manner of financial information.
Also noted during the meeting by Ilagan was that the villages of Leetonia and New Waterford also launched OhioCheckbook.com on Monday.
Addressing the public, board President Larry Walton said, “We do believe in transparency. This will give it to you.”
In other financial matters Monday, the board approved a list of recommendations from Laughlin, including:
— The purchase of Chromebooks for grades 2 through 12 at a cost not to exceed $236,225.26, pending Ohio Department of Education approval of the budget, to be funded with grants.
— Permission for employees Kevin Francis and Nate Latshaw to drive school district trucks home on evenings when a snow storm is expected at the buildings and grounds supervisors’ discretion
— The purchase and installation of the automatic gates and remotes for the Westgate bus lot at $13,194.98
— Renewal of licenses with Learning A-Z for $11,879.24 for the elementary schools for one year
— Payment of an outstanding bill from April 2016 of $3,013.72 to Riddell All American Sports for reconditioning football equipment
— Continuance of the OSBA Legal Assistance Fund for $250 for 2017
— Payment of the annual fee for web based service for board policies for 2017 at $1,550
— An agreement with Edmentum for Study Island for 18 months at $37,392.80.
In personnel issues, the board approved the appointment of math teacher Elizabeth Connor, effective Jan. 1. She is an East Liverpool graduate and daughter of a former district teacher, it was noted.
Superintendent Randy Taylor reported the first parental advisory committee meeting was recently held, and he was happy with the feedback about the good things the district is doing as well as about concerns that were voiced. The next meeting is at 6 p.m. Jan. 12, and Taylor emphasized everyone is welcome to attend.