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The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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The Woodmore school board is offering to meet with representatives of the teachers union to discuss the union’s recent vote of no confidence in district treasurer, Jaime Pearson, but board members have affirmed their support for Pearson.

A March 16 letter from the Woodmore Education Association to the board cites several concerns that teachers have had with the treasurer’s office, including:

• “Past and present issues with payroll, contracts, supplemental contracts, personnel files and sick days.”

• “Issues with purchase orders and fee money.”

• “The flow of information from the treasurer’s office has frequently been inaccurate and contradictory and continues to cause undue stress and time commitments from the membership.”

The vote resulted in almost 88 percent of those attending a recent union meeting supporting the vote of no confidence, according to the letter. The meeting was attended by 80 percent of the members.

“This vote was a result of numerous failed attempts to open dialogue and find a resolution to our concerns,” the letter says.

In its March 22 response to the union, the board states it is reviewing the concerns with Pearson.

However, board members stress that Pearson, who’s been at Woodmore since October 2014, entered an office in disarray.

“As you recall, an auditing firm, Julian and Grube, was employed to balance the financial records up to July 1, 2015. Thanks to the additional efforts of Mrs. Pearson and Mrs. (Cara) Brown (a board member), who have invested considerable attention and priority to this arduous task; we are happy to report that we now have our financial records in balance through December, 2015,” the board’s response says. “According to our current rate of progress, we should have all our district financial records in balance and current by the first April board meeting.”

The treasurer’s office has also had to restore accuracy to the payroll department which was “riddled with errors dating back several years,”

Joe Liszak, board president, said Pearson deserves credit for putting district finances in order.

“As most of our community is aware, the Woodmore district has had a troubled history of fiscal problems and mismanagement, most of which were brought to light last year,” Liszak said. “This includes the overpayment of an invoice to the tune of $280,000, books that didn’t balance and payroll errors that date back to 2007 that the board and treasurer just had to deal with last month.”

Pearson is acting on instructions from the board to require all staff members have necessary approvals prior to a purchase, he said. “This board is committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and utilizing the funds provided to us appropriately. The district will continue to review all requested expenditures for appropriateness.

“It should also be noted the treasurer recently sided with the WEA members regarding supplemental contract language interpretation in favor of providing the additional compensation to the employees involved.”

Woodmore voters earlier this month rejected a renewal request for a levy that generates $600,000 annually.

 

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