TRUMBULL SCHOOLS Education center passes routine audit

Rent and decreasing enrollment loom as concerns.
WARREN -- A routine state audit of the Trumbull County Educational Service Center found no accounting problems but warns of challenges ahead for the county school system.
Independent accountants Trimble, Julian & amp; Grube Inc. of Worthington audited the center, located at 347 North Park Ave., for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2004.
According to the audit, there were no instances of noncompliance or weaknesses involving internal control over financial reporting.
The audit does note, however, that there is uncertainty regarding the center's administrative office space in the former Wean building, which is owned by Trumbull County.
Under state law, county commissioners are no longer required to provide rent-free space to the center. Depending on further negotiations, there may be a need to acquire new space, it notes.
Superintendent Anthony D'Ambrosio explained that the center began paying the county $30,000 in annual rent last year, which he said was a fair amount. The center had already been maintaining its own custodial staff.
Still, rent is another item the center must now budget. "This is another case of the state shifting costs onto the local taxpayer," D'Ambrosio said.
For now, he said, there are no plans to relocate the center.
Enrollment issues
A greater challenge is the continued decline in enrollment in Trumbull County schools. The center receives state funding based on the population of Trumbull County school districts, so as populations decline, so does funding.
There is a need for more services at Trumbull County school districts facing declining state support. "Trumbull County ESC constantly strives to provide more services in the most cost-efficient manner," the audit notes.
According to the audit report, the center's assets were $7,407,735; liabilities were $2,512,897.
Revenues for the fiscal year were $15,632,378 and expenses, $15,253,318.
The center's only major governmental fund is the general fund, which reported $14,945,975 in revenues and $13,910,566 in expenditures. During fiscal year 2004, the general fund's ending balance increased from $1,084,873 to $2,120,282.