South-Western school district officials are working to initiate two plans in hopes of streamlining future operations. Superintendent Bill Wise said the district has voluntarily chosen to undergo a state performance audit and create a six-member community advisory group during a school board meeting June 29.

South-Western school district officials are working to initiate two plans in hopes of streamlining future operations.

Superintendent Bill Wise said the district has voluntarily chosen to undergo a state performance audit and create a six-member community advisory group during a school board meeting June 29.

As state lawmakers wrestle with an apparent $3.2-billion gap in the next two-year budget, Wise said he has realized the community will need to get creative in devising ideas for the future of the district.

"It's going to be a community responsibility if we're going to move forward," he said. "We need to look at every avenue to improve and continue to be efficient."

The performance audit will require about six months to complete, said Betsy Bashore, assistant chief auditor for the state auditor's performance audit division.

She said auditors plan to study several areas of the school district operations - finances, human resources, facilities, transportation, technology and food service - "to see if there are opportunities to enhance current practices."

Also, the application process opened following the board meeting for members of the community advisory group. Positions are open to any school district residents.

The application window closes July 17.

Wise said the idea for forming the group came from Steven Isaac, a resident who brought the idea for creating the group to school board members during a public meeting after the failure of the May operating levy.

Isaac said he saw a lot of "community energies" during a well-attended public forum in May, at which residents expressed their anger and concern for the district after the failure of the levy.

"My thought is that we can take some of those community energies that were so well-presented that night and harness that," Isaac said. "Let's focus on being creative and move this district forward."