David Chambers has worked with a variety of public school superintendents as a financial officer and treasurer since 1994.
He said with a smile that an old saying from President Ronald Reagan on dealing with the former Soviet Union might be appropriate to describe the relationship between the two offices in the field of education:
“Trust, but verify.”
Chambers learned in late February that the Medina Board of Education plans to offer him a new three-year contract to stay with the district where he has worked since April 2014. Chambers’ annual salary is $100,918.
His three-year contract expires this year and under Ohio law, the board had to notify him before March 1 if it planned to offer a new contract. Details of his new contract are expected from the board this month.
Chambers, 52, who lives in Montville Township, said he has enjoyed working with the Medina administration, first under Superintendent Dave Knight and now Aaron Sable.
Sable came from Copley-Fairlawn Schools to succeed Knight last summer heading into the 2016-17 school year.
Chambers said while the Medina district has been “conservative” in its financial approach in the last three years, the new superintendent “wants to be in a position to bring in programming” for growth and development.
Sable has talked about the possibility of a school tax levy that would need voter approval.
Chambers said educational requirements such as the federal Every Student Succeeds Act bring a variety of responsibilities to his desk.
Other areas he deals with are insurance, finance and facilities.
He has seen changes in the big-picture economic landscape that have affected his job, too. He said he remembered when interest rates were 5.5 percent to 7 percent in the “soaring” 1990s and a district could earn $50,000 to $75,000 a year in investment income.
Interest rates are much lower.
Changes in general have made the job more of a year-round challenge.
“There used to be some ‘down time’ in June and July until mid-August,” he said. “You don’t have that anymore.”
In general, Chambers said, his goal is always “that the superintendent and I support each other.”
Chambers, a native of Euclid and graduate of the University of Dayton, is married and has three daughters ages 25, 21 and 17.
He was working in the Cuyahoga County Auditor’s Office when approached about a possible position with Shaker Heights Schools.
After five years, that led to a job with Parma Schools from 1999 to 2003, then one year at Sheffield-Sheffield Lake, and then three years with the Fairview Park district.
Then he accepted a job with the Fremont Schools for seven years. For four of those years, he commuted 78.8 miles a day from Medina to work.
“I ended up with 243,000 miles on the car,” he said with a laugh.
Thinking about working with small or big school districts, Chambers said he always remembers a conversation from early in his career with a respected mentor in his field:
“ ‘With the bigger districts, you just add another zero to everything on the sheet. It’s the same concept — tax rates, budgets, forecasts.
“ ‘You work with the administration and the board, and you try to move the district forward.’ ”
Contact Managing Editor Lawrence Pantages at (330) 721-4065 or firstname.lastname@example.org.