COLUMBUS — The first of five members of a financial planning and supervision commission for Cloverleaf Schools was appointed Friday.
Patrick Hewit, of Westfield Center, received a phone call Friday from the Gov. John R. Kasich’s office asking if he would accept the appointed position.
“My first thought was anything I could do to help the district seemed like the right thing to do,” Hewit said.
The committee is being formed as a result of the state auditor’s declaration last week putting Cloverleaf Schools in fiscal emergency.
The designation came at the request of the school district, which will be placed under the supervision of a state commission, according to a statement from Yost’s office.
School Superintendant Daryl Kubilus said though he does know Hewit well, he is excited to work with him.
“He has long been a supporter and advocate of Cloverleaf Schools,” Kubilus said. “He is someone who is just very dedicated to our schools.”
The five-person committee will assume all or part of the powers of the board of education and will be in charge of financial decisions.
Two of the people will be the state superintendant of public instruction or a designee, and the director of the office of budget or a designee, Kubilus said.
Hewit claims the first of three positions that will be filled by local people. One will be a parent with a child enrolled in the district and will be appointed by the superintendant of public instruction, and the other will be a business person who resides in or has his or her primary business in the district and will be appointed by Medina County Auditor Michael Kovack.
Three members of this commission must be appointed within 15 days of the declaration of fiscal emergency. A financial plan must be developed by the commission within 120 days of the first meeting of the commission to address the district’s financial crisis.
The Ohio Department of Education placed Cloverleaf in fiscal caution Dec. 31, 2003, based on anticipated deficits for fiscal years 2004 and 2005. The district was placed in fiscal watch by the auditor’s office on March 30, 2004, due to the district’s failure to submit a written proposal for eliminating the anticipated deficits, the statement said.
Hewit is no stranger to the school district — he, his wife and their two sons are all Cloverleaf High School graduates, he said.
Hewit also served on the school board for six years in the 1990s, and he served as president for two of the years.
“The keyword is experience,” Hewit said. “I’ve experienced the relatively recent history of the district, so hopefully that will be helpful,”
For the last 22 years, Hewit has owned Wayside Market, a convenience store in Seville, in the Cloverleaf district.
“Because we own a home and business in the district, we have an interest in the success of the school system,” Hewit said.
Hewit said that not only did he want to help the district, but he felt that as a resident, he has an obligation to help.
“Obviously there are financial issues in the district and we need to figure out how we’re going to get it fixed,” Hewit said. “I hope that this is a very short tenure and whatever problems we’re faced with, we resolve in a very short period of time and go back to business as normal.”
Contact Michelle Sprehe at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.