After years of cuts and difficult decisions, Piqua City Schools has weather the storm and its financial outlook is bright. Thanks to the support of the community and the strong sense of fiscal responsibility amongst our leadership, Piqua City Schools is being recognized for its award winning financial standards and practices.
All of this good fortune begins with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights. This is a document that was created nearly ten years ago when times were a lot tougher and difficult financial decisions had to be made. It gave the district a set of guiding principles to follow and ensured that taxpayer resources were being used wisely.
Because of that important first step and the many others that followed, Piqua City Schools has just ended its ninth fiscal year in the black. This means that not only is our budget balanced, but also we are living within our means and not spending more than our revenues allow. This is not an easy feat amongst schools today and our entire community should take pride in this great accomplishment.
Our efforts haven’t gone unnoticed by those outside our district borders. Our strong financial practices were recognized by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, who awarded the district with the Auditor of State Award last spring. Yost recognizes local governments and school districts with the award when they are seen to have had a “clean” audit at the completion of a financial audit. This includes filing a timely report, having a report that doesn’t have any significant deficiencies and no other financial concerns.
Our reputation in the financial world took a step forward as Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recently raised the district’s long-term credit rating from A+ to AA-. This is the result of prudent decisions making that lead to a more stable financial outlook for the entire district.
But that isn’t all that we can be proud of as a district. The Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) recently recognized Piqua Schools with its Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for the fiscal year ending in 2015. It means we met or exceeded ASBO International’s high standards for financial reporting and accountability.
All this helps acknowledge that our methods are working. We continue to operate in a lean manner and strengthen our fiscal position. We continuously enact strict financial standards and have increased our communication about our finances with our community. We are living up to the ideals that are part of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights while still focusing on providing an excellent quality education for our students. Thank you for your continued support!
Jeremie Hittle is treasurer and chief financial officer for Piqua City Schools.