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Lakota’s treasurer chosen as best in Ohio

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lakota Schools Treasurer Jenni Logan has won top honors as Ohio's best school treasurer.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Lakota Schools Treasurer Jenni Logan is a rarity in how she handles the district’s $156-million budget: she is a second-generation school district treasurer.

Logan’s mother was a long-time treasurer for school districts in Ohio’s Pike County.

Lakota’s Logan is one of more than 613 school district treasurers statewide and has just been named Ohio’s top financial officer by the Ohio Association of School Business Officials.

It all adds up when you look at the job Logan has done since being hired in 2010 to handle the finances of Southwest Ohio’s largest suburban district and the eighth largest school system in Ohio.

“When Jenni was hired … our district was in the midst of some of the hardest financial times we have ever experienced,” said Lakota Schools’ Chief Operating Officer Chris Passarge.

“Not only was the district growing at an extraordinary rate, we were also dealing with flat funding from the state and a local community that had lost confidence in our ability to successfully manage our finances. Even though the district was in difficult times, Jenni did not shy away from the challenge,” said Passarge.

Righting Lakota’s annual operating budget of $150 million was no easy task.

The district has more than 16,500 students attending 22 schools. It serves two of Ohio’s largest and fastest growing townships – West Chester and Liberty.

Lakota Board of Education President Lynda O’Connor was among the district officials to nominate Logan and wrote to association officials: “Ms. Logan is a first-class example of financial leadership and innovative progress. The financial health of our school district today stands in stark contrast to the financial crisis we faced at the time of Ms. Logan’s arrival.”

O’Connor credited Logan as a “visionary leader” who helped Lakota shave more than $20 million from its operating budget through personnel and program cuts from 2011 to 2013.

Most recently the district – and taxpayers – were able to save an additional $6 million through Logan's efforts in recent years in re-financing school bonds and debt repayment. And student activity fees were also reduced through other cost-cutting measures.

Logan is a 19-year veteran of Ohio school finances. She is modest about the statewide honor, deflecting praise toward Lakota’s other leaders and crediting her mother Joyce Leeth and her early influence on Logan’s career.

“I’m a second-generation treasurer. My Mom was school treasurer and retired from the profession so I’m happy to be carrying on that tradition,” said of her mother who died in August.

“I’m just very honored and I know this sounds really corny but it felt good just to be nominated for the award,” she said.

VIDEO: Meet Ohio's best school treasurer: Lakota's Jenni Logan talks about being a second generation school treasurer