AURORA -- Although he's now officially retired -- as of July 1 -- after serving 18 1/2 years in the Aurora school district, Treasurer Bill Volosin will continue in that capacity until at least July 31, 2022.

At last week's Board of Education meeting, members unanimously accepted Volosin's resignation, then voted to rehire him from Aug. 1, 2017 to July 31, 2022. Volosin said the move will save the schools about $47,000 a year.

"This is the same thing we did with [former superintendent] Russ Bennett," explained School Board President Gerald Kohanski. "It will save the district more than $200,000 over the five-year period."

Volosin said he's grateful to the Board for supporting the deal. "The retirement part will be beneficial to me, and the deal will be beneficial to the district. It's a great place to work, so I'm fortunate to continue doing what I've been doing for many years."

"This is just one of the measures the Board has undertaken to reduce expenses," said Kohanski. "We made it clear during the campaign for the 5.9-mill levy in May that we are doing our best to do that."

Kohanski said the Board wouldn't offer such a deal to just anyone. "This is a way to hang onto really capable people, and yet save the district some money," he noted. "Bill has done an excellent job, and we didn't want to lose him."

Volosin said his annual salary before the retirement was $133,000, and the Board contributed another $35,000 toward his benefits. His salary now will be $120,000, and since he will pay more for his health care coverage, the total savings for the district will be about $47,000 per year.

Volosin will draw retirement benefits from the School Employees Retirement System of Ohio.

Kohanski said the finance department in the Aurora schools is one of the leanest in terms of personnel and total salaries among school districts in Northeast Ohio. In addition to Volosin, the district has two other finance department employees.

"Bill is recognized as one of the outstanding school treasurers in Ohio," said Kohanski. "His 18 years in Aurora have provided him with an intimate understanding of the financial operations of our schools.

"His past experience in industry and with the Youngstown schools, combined with his professional CPA and MBA credentials, make him a valuable asset.

"He's overseen perfect audits by the state auditor's office for many years and received awards for his professional performance. He serves as an expert financial adviser to the Board and superintendent."

At its June 26 meeting, the Board also accepted retirement notifications from three other longtime employees.

Harmon School teacher Alicia Jimenez is leaving after 40 years, Leighton interventionist Nancy Shepard after 37 years and Aurora High guidance counselor John Calcei after 18 years.

Kohanski explained although the trio's retirements were effective June 1, they still will be employed for the coming school year. However, their salaries will be cut in half, thus saving the district an additional $150,000-plus.

Kohanski said the Board presented the Aurora Education Association with a one-time offer allowing teachers who were eligible to retire and then work for one year at a reduced salary of $50,000. At the end of that year, the teachers would leave the district.

"The three teachers would then be replaced by new employees at a significantly lower rate of pay," he said. "That offer was accepted by the three teachers and is no longer available to any other employee."

The Board plans to approve the rehiring of the three employees for the 2017-18 school year at a future meeting.

"The estimated annual savings from this action is $150,000 and $750,000 over a five year period," Kohanski stated.

"Although we will miss these three excellent educators, reduced funding from state government and possible future cuts at the state an federal level necessitate that we continuously look for ways to reduce the 85 percent of our budget that is comprised of salary and benefits for both union and non-union employees.

"In addition, we are in discussions with officials of other government agencies to try to find ways to find new sources of tax revenue that would lessen the burden currently being borne by private homeowners.

"As with any operating business, the only way to balance your budget is to increase your revenue and lower your expenses. The Board is committed, however, to maintaining our operating excellence in spite of these financial challenges."

Email: klahmers@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9400 ext. 4189