State commission to manage Little Miami Schools sworn in

By Tiffany Teasley – bio | email
MORROW, OH (FOX19) - A state appointed commission now has four months to create a recovery plan for the  Little Miami School district to eliminate a nearly $5.8 million deficit and avoid future deficits.
" I'm just waiting to hear the recommendations, I would like everything to be how it was before," said Ron Thornbury, a parent in the district.
Little Miami parents were all ears as a five member commission was sworn in Tuesday, to manage the district's dwindling finances.
Although the term state takeover may sound a bit intimidating, state education leaders say the school board will still maintain their authority;  the commission just has to approve their actions.
"They just assist the board, with their financial planning and then, supervise, hold them to the plan that they develop and that is approved by the state superintendent," said Roger Hardin of the Ohio Department of Education.
Hardin will manage the commission and says three of the members are local, and familiar with the community, the commission can recommend levys, cuts and even remove the superintendent or treasurer from office for failing to comply with recommendations -- though minimal, Hardin says students could see some changes come fall.
"A few less teacher, or a few less staff members, fewer bus drivers, there may be fewer supplies, they may be asked to pay  a little bit more for supplies," Hardin said.
Education leaders echoed the state's longstanding school funding system as the core of the districts problem, but parents say after 5 failed levies, they've heard that rationale before.
" I'm concerned that, we've been saying that from the get go, and I'm wondering how the public is going to hear that come from the commission any different  then they've been hearing it come from our board already," Thornbury said.
State education leader say the average length of time a district is under fiscal emergency is three years. The commission will hold its first meeting in August, the meetings are open to the public.
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