Belpre school district joins state online finance program

BELPRE — Belpre City Schools has joined a state initiative to place its financial records online.

Officials with the Ohio State Treasurer’s Office announced the school system had joined the OhioCheckbook.com which places city, township and school system financial records online in an easy-to-access and searchable form.

Dan Risko, deputy director of public affairs for the State Treasurer’s Office, made the announcement at Monday’s Belpre Board of Education meeting. Risko said the program helps residents better understand where their money goes while giving agencies more transparency.

“This initiative is provided at no cost to the local government,” Risko said.

The checkbook works with the district’s existing financial software to allow forms, including issued checks, to be updated to the state’s servers each month.

Risko said information can be accessed by any member of the public without having to log in or sign up for an account. Belpre City Schools’ information can be found at http://belprecityschools.ohiocheckbook.com.

Users can search the district’s finances via different categories, such as transportation, or by searching for specific keywords, such as “supplies.” The program shows graphs depicting the amount of the budget each item represents, and users can even look at checks on separate transactions with vendors.

“In a couple of clicks, you can find all of that without having to call anyone,” Risko said.

If there are questions, the program allows users to directly email questions to Belpre City Schools Treasurer Lance Erlwein.

The City of Belpre joined the program shortly after it opened in 2015.

Officials with Belpre City Schools are working to provide the public with more financial information. A five-year forecast shows the school system running out of money before the end of the 2018-19 school year due to rising costs and declining revenue.

Erlwein and Superintendent Tony Dunn have said they will seek an emergency operating levy for the school system, but want to make sure all areas of savings are explored before going to voters. Erlwein has requested a state financial audit of the school system to help identify any areas of potential savings.

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