August 21, 2014

Elyria
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State rep to request review of Lorain Schools’ finances


LORAIN — State Rep. Matt Lundy wants the Ohio Department of Education to conduct a thorough review of the Lorain Schools’ finances to determine how the district ended up in such dire straits that it had to lay off nearly a third of its teachers.
Lundy, D-Elyria, said he, state Sen. Sue Morano, D-Lorain, and state Board of Education member John Bender, also a former legislator, met Wednesday to discuss what they could do and decided to ask whether the state would conduct the review.
“We want them to say, ‘Here’s where we believe mistakes were made, and here’s steps we can take in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again,’ ” Lundy said.
Bender said there’s been no definite agreement to go forward with the request, although he does plan to ask the Department of Education to consider it.
Karla Carruthers, a spokeswoman for the department, said while the department is aware of the issue and concerned about what’s happening, it doesn’t normally take on that kind of role.
Bender said he would prefer for the Lorain Schools to provide the explanation.
“It’s very clear to me that the local board has a responsibility to sort this out,” Bender said.
Lundy said if the issue of sudden financial problems appearing for school districts is widespread, he might seek to have hearings in the state legislature to consider enacting laws to prevent such problems or punish those who cause them.
“We may have a hearing of the legislature to determine what we can do to stop problems,” he said.
Lorain Schools spokesman Dean Schnurr said the district would welcome any review the state decides to conduct.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.