Liberty Schools Board upbeat about future

Member: A new ‘unified’ district has emerged

By Robert Guttersohn


Township school board members are optimistic about the future despite its uncertainty and the fiscal mess the district finds itself in.

“We are very excited about the new young talent [available to the district],” said Diana DeVito, the board’s president, after Monday’s board meeting.

“Operationally, we’re on better ground than we’ve ever been.”

It was the board’s first meeting since the state placed Liberty schools under fiscal emergency earlier in July.

DeVito and board member Jeff Grinstein described years of foggy communication between the board and the former administration.

“Based on the financial information we had, we thought we had another year before we’d be placed on financial emergency,” Grinstein said.

DeVito said with the resignation of Tracey Obermiyer, the district’s former treasurer, and the closing of the Learn and Lead charter school, which drew young talented teachers back into the district, a new “unified” district has emerged.

But tough fiscal decisions lie ahead as the state and county put together a fiscal commission that will recommend and enforce cuts.

Forecasts project a $2.5 million deficit in Liberty for fiscal year 2012, a figure that could go up or down once accountants complete two-years worth of auditing. The district has cut more than $1 million in costs, DeVito said. And they’ve seemingly run out of places to look for revenue.

“We believe that our community will not support a levy,” Grinstein said.