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OSPI names committee members to monitor Marysville School District finances

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(The Center Square) – An oversight committee charged with reviewing the Marysville School District’s finances now has official members.

Superintendent Chris Reykdal, head of Washington’s Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction, gave MSD officials a list of members in a letter Tuesday.

As previously reported by The Center Square, MSD has undergone months of financial difficulties, which has prompted a whistleblower investigation and administrative resignations in recent weeks.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal’s letter to the district set an Aug. 16 deadline for the committee to make recommendations on what to do about the district’s bleak financial picture.

The committee members are:

T.J. Kelly, the superintendent’s chief financial officer;Ramon Alvarez, the superintendent’s head of Human Resources;Kassidy Probert, assistant superintendent of the Northeast Washington Educational Service District; andLisa Matthews, assistant superintendent of the Northwest Educational Service District, which includes Marysville.

An earlier letter from Reykdal said, “I am tasking the Financial Oversight Committee with reviewing the financial condition of MSD and providing me with recommendations. This review may involve members of the Committee meeting with MSD leadership to go over financial records, asking questions about what led to the district’s financial situation, and discussing possible solutions that would lead to financial stability.”

The letter says there will be multiple public hearings to receive comment and discuss financial plans.

OSPI says the Financial Oversight Committee will make a recommendation on next steps, which may include corrective actions, placing the district under enhanced financial oversight, and/or dissolution of the district.

Since August, the district has been in so-called “binding conditions,” meaning it must work with the state to solve its budget crisis. Marysville is the largest school district in Washington to ever enter into binding conditions.

In April, the state agency warned school district leaders it would convene the committee if major issues with the district’s financial plan weren’t fixed.

Reykdal’s office later approved a revised plan, though still noted concern with district leadership’s actions.

In his letter Tuesday, Reykdal wrote the bulk of the committee’s review will focus on a budget the district “must make publicly available by July 10, 2024.”

Committee members will meet with district leaders at least four times this month to further investigate MSD’s finances, Reykdal wrote.

“The committee will provide MSD with informed feedback on their financial plans,” he continued, “and make recommendations to the district on how best to proceed in a way that is in compliance with binding conditions and leads to a path of financial stability.”

OSPI previously told The Center Square the financial oversight is not an investigation, but rather “the next step in the process of supporting the district in returning to financial solvency.”

OSPI recently published a new webpage with information about the process, as well as copies of OSPI’s letters to Marysville and the other four school districts on binding conditions.

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