New Albany-Plain Local school board members plan to vet two plans for a board finance committee at their March 8 work session.

New Albany-Plain Local school board members plan to vet two plans for a board finance committee at their March 8 work session.

At the board's business meeting Monday, Feb. 22, members Laura Kohler and Cheri Lehmann, who presented their plan for a six-person finance committee in January, said they had made some revisions after meeting with local financial experts.

Member Mike Klein presented an alternative proposal to his fellow board members via e-mail earlier in the day Monday.

He previously had expressed concerns that a board finance committee would be unnecessary, since treasurer Brian Ramsay already hosts the community financial advisory committee, which meets on a quarterly basis.

The 70-member finance committee, which met on a regular basis prior to the 2008 operating-levy millage decision, also still acts as an ad hoc committee.

According to Kohler and Lehmann's revised plan, the finance review and reporting committee would be made of two school board members appointed by board president Mark Ryan, up to four members of the community, the treasurer and superintendent Steve Castle, who would serve as an ex officio member.

Kohler said the purpose of the group, which would adhere to Ohio open-meeting laws and would meet monthly before each board business meeting, would be to make the district financial information open and transparent.

The group would then make a presentation to the school board about district revenues and expenditures.

"Our objective... with creating the board finance committee was to provide an opportunity to basically invite the public to look at our finances," she said. "We think that the best way to build trust is to open our books and show you we have nothing to hide."

Klein's proposal, which was similar to Kohler and Lehmann's, outlined a group that would be a sub-committee to the larger 70-member finance committee.

"My idea would be to create an eight- to 10-person committee that would include one board member, the treasurer, the superintendent and have the board pick five to seven individuals," Klein said.

He said the group would report its findings on a monthly basis but would not make recommendations to the board.

Kohler responded that she would like to hear any recommendations the proposed committee would have.

Klein continued to express concerns about having too many finance committees.

"I would prefer to see it all come under one committee," he said.

Kohler she did not see a "whole lot of difference" between the two proposals.

"The information you receive is going to be the same information; Brian only has one set of books and one set of financials," she said. "It's just a different set of eyes looking at it with different points of view."

Klein said he would like the public to weigh in on the two ideas before the March 8 work session, which is slated for 6:30 p.m. in Mershad Hall at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts.