Ozark City Schools Reserve Fund Low

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Mold collecting in the ceiling is no surprise to staff at D.A. Middle School. In fact, it’s just one of the problems employees and students deal with daily.

Ozark City School Superintendent Michael Lenhart said, "Our children deserve the very best schools that we can provide for them and our employees deserve to work in healthy beautiful buildings."

Lenhart is going on his second month as superintendent of Ozark City Schools and says there is a laundry list of needs for all campuses.

He says major problems have been assessed, but it caused the schools reserve fund to go below its allotment. "We are required by state law to have right at one and a half million dollars in the bank on reserve for emergency purposes," he says.

Currently, the fund sits at roughly $600,000 dollars, $900,000 dollars below the required amount.

Lenhart says the other portion was used to repair serious problems like an elevator for the handicapped at D.A. Middle School.

He has no doubt there will be enough funds coming back to replenish the pot. "This was not a mismanagement of funds, it was done because we knew that with our new income coming in, which is going to be about a million and a half dollars a year conservatively, that we knew we could pay that money very quickly," he explained.

The new income includes a half cent sales tax going directly to the school and property tax money.

Staff at the school says they are not worried by the low reserve.

D.A. Middle School Principal Sylvia Malone said, "It doesn't really cause me that much trouble because I know that the past superintendent was fiscally responsible and I know Mr. Lenhart will be fiscally responsible as well. So I know we'll get our needs met."

Lenhart says the extra funds will be coming in the beginning of February, putting the schools on track to a safer learning environment. He also says he hopes to have the reserve fund back to normal by September.

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