By Kevin Kelley
Fairview Park City Schools Superintendent Brion Deitsch described Treasurer Ryan Ghizzoni as “by far the best treasurer I’ve ever worked with in my 32 years, 20 years in (education) administration.”
Last week, Ghizzoni announced his resignation as the district’s treasurer, effective Sept. 1. He has accepted the same post at the Berea City Schools.
In Berea, Ghizzoni succeeds interim Treasurer Gerald Zelenka. Zelenka was hired to replace Randy Scherf, who was placed on administrative leave after he allegedly received unauthorized medical reimbursements from the district. Scherf filed a lawsuit against the district related to medical benefit payments. In April, Scherf pleaded not guilty in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court after being indicted on several charges, including theft in office. Scherf’s contract with the district expired June 30.
Ghizzoni told West Life he was not looking for a new position but was approached about applying for the Berea treasurer’s post.
“It was a tough decision,” he said.
The Berea district intends to improve its business efficiency through the use of technology, Ghizzoni said. “That’s what I consider one of my specialties,” he said.
The Berea City Schools has an enrollment of around 6,900; Fairview Park City Schools has about 1,850 students.
While treasurer for the Fairview Park district, Ghizzoni’s office discovered that former Fairview High School Principal Kevin Liptrap embezzled more than $63,000 in school funds. Liptrap pleaded guilty to a charge of theft in office and was sentenced to time in a halfway house, community service and probation in addition to paying restitution.
Deitsch said several initiatives implemented by Ghizzoni during his tenure have saved the district considerable amounts of money.
“We have reduced paper and copier costs by going electronic with all our purchasing and record keeping,” the Fairview superintendent said. “Our paper and copier costs have been reduced by tens of thousands of dollars annually.”
Ghizzoni was also instrumental in launching the district’s “one-to-one computer initiative,” in which each high school student receives a netbook computer.
“His ideas and foresight allowed us to implement this program and reduce our technology budget by $90,000,” Deitsch said. The superintendent also noted Ghizzoni worked out a financing program that allowed the district to replace its aging school bus fleet.
Ghizzoni has been the Fairview district’s treasurer since 2007.
The Fairview Park Board of Education is expected to conduct a search with the Ohio Association of School Business Officials to fill the treasurer position.