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January 27. 2013 11:02PM

School, city finance merger proposal panned in Franklin

FRANKLIN - School board members will attend a city council meeting tonight to fulfill the council's request for input on a proposal to merge some of the schools' financial accounting processes with the city's.

Board members will tell the council they are not pleased with the idea, which the council says is simply a cost-saving move that will not affect the district's control of its own budget.

"They want to take over our budget, and they can't manage their own budget," said School Board Chairman Ray Yonaitis. "We don't want them touching our finances."

"I think they want to take over the district's finances," said board member Al Warner. "It's an indication of how the city council approaches the school board. They are rude and inconsiderate. I can't pretend to understand their motives in these matters."

The meeting is at 6 p.m. in the council's chambers.

The council's proposed ordinance would have city finance officials manage the school district's accounts payable and receivables and its payroll process to save money, said City Manager Elizabeth Dragon.

The ordinance reads, "the business operations division of the city shall provide fiscal control and accounting services to the district including but not limited to the collection of accounts receivable, payment of accounts payable, payroll service, routine accounting, reporting services and such other duties as may be assigned by the City Council from time to time."

"Every year we look for ways to save money," Dragon said. "This does not touch the school district's decision-making process."

But school board members, who are urging city residents to attend the meeting to show their support for the city's school system, aren't buying it.

The council showed a lack of consideration and courtesy by scheduling the meeting before the new school board has had time to set up its finance committee, Warner said.

"They scheduled this meeting without even running the date by us," he said. "They wanted it to be a joint meeting with our finance committee, but we don't have the finance committee set up yet."

dseufert@newstote.com

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