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State Board of Education candidates

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

On October 24, the Olentangy School Advocacy Committee held its first ever Candidate Forum. Candidates for Ohio House Districts 67 and 68 as well as candidates for the Ohio State Board of Education District 6 were invited. Because there is a lot of information available on the Ohio House candidates and not a lot about the candidates for the state board, we are focusing this article on the state board candidates.
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School board president thanks community

Written by Dave King, member of the Olentangy Board of Education on .

I extend my gratitude to the Olentangy Schools community for the support of the crucial levy and bond request. I am very fortunate to be a resident of a community that places a high value on education. 
 
The outstanding support and effort of so many grass-roots individuals and groups was such an important component to the successful outcome. I am thankful to them for providing essential information that so well told the Olentangy story.
 
I appreciate the trust and confidence in Olentangy Schools and we will continue to efficiently manage growth and finances, seek fairness in funding from the state of Ohio and provide excellence in academics and opportunities for all of our students.
 
Dave King
Olentangy Schools board member
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ONE Olentangy encourages voters to support school levy

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

ONE Olentangy’s goal is to inform the community in a proactive way about local issues that affect our school district. Based on our editorial board’s research on the facts, ONE Olentangy endorses Olentangy’s March 15 ballot issue and recommends voter approval.
 
The consequences of the district’s ballot issue failing are far reaching. The direct need is a fourth high school. The need for this school is projected to continue for at least the next half century. Our review of Facilities Committee reports and enrollment projections show us that the district has done its due diligence in assessing this building need now and in the future. Our anecdotal research causes us concern about student opportunities and safety. Without voter approval, the district will have to consider options to manage the high school enrollment growth in ways that minimize the negative impact on educational experiences as well as safety concerns.
 
A March 15 levy failure is expected to negatively impact the educational experience beyond the high schools, reaching all levels of education. Superintendent Mark Raiff has stated that a levy failure will result in choices needing to be made with regard to programs and services that exceed state mandates. Our research on the district’s cost-reduction measures, including staff reductions, energy cost savings and their self-insured workers’ compensation plan, show strong effort and success. And we applaud the administration, school board, teachers and staff for working together to rein in personnel costs, including costs associated with insurance benefits. 
 
Olentangy provides a great value, with a comparatively low cost per pupil (see cost per pupil article here) and now the highest Performance Index and state report card in Central Ohio (see our Performance article here). 
 
ONE Olentangy encourages voters to do their own research to learn exactly what their “Yes” vote would mean and a potential “No” vote would mean in terms of consequences to the educational value provided by our school district.
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2014-15 Performance Index

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has released Performance Index data for the 2014-15 school year. Olentangy is ranked first in Central Ohio and is ranked eleventh in the state for Performance Index overall from twenty-sixth last year.

ODE officials have stated that they are required to include all student test scores in the Performance Index score, including students who opted out of the test. This means that those students who opted out are counted as zeroes. Due to concerns about reflecting accurate achievement, ODE has released a second Performance Index this year that is modified to include only those students who actually took the tests.
 
In addition, Olentangy is ranked first in the state for highest value-added  gain index for all students, gifted students and students with disabilities.
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What's on Olentangy's ballot issue?

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

On Wednesday, November 11, 2015, the Olentangy school board voted to put a combined funding issue on the March 2016 ballot. The combined issue includes an operating levy, bond issue and permanent improvement levy, and puts the decision about whether or not Olentangy will continue to provide the same level of performance and opportunities for students into voters’ hands.
 
If passed, the estimated cost to taxpayers for the 6.9-mill ballot issue is $241.50 per $100,000 of home valuation.  The one-vote combined ballot issue will consist of three components.
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2015 Olentangy school board candidates

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

Olentangy voters will elect three individuals to the Board of Education. There are six candidates running for those three seats on the Olentangy School Board on Nov. 3. Here is a brief summary of the candidates based on information they provided to ONE Olentangy. (Responses were edited in some cases in an attempt to provide equal space to all candidates.) Candidates are profiled alphabetically.  
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Facilities Committee provides options to school board

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

Enrollment growth was a major point of discussion for Olentangy school board members at last evening’s board retreat. There is continuing overcrowding at several buildings, and significant overcrowding at Olentangy Meadows Elementary, Shanahan Middle School, and Liberty High School.  According to district administrators, there are some short-term fixes that may be enacted, but the larger issue that must be addressed is the current and anticipated enrollment growth at all three Olentangy high schools.

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Cost per pupil - FY14

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) recently released district profile reports, also known as Cupp reports, for fiscal year 2014 (FY14), which is the 2013-14 school year. These reports include cost per pupil data. Olentangy’s cost per pupil has increased by $195, from $9,403 in FY13 (the 2012-13 school year) to $9,598 in FY14. Also, average teacher salary in the district has increased from $62,777 to $63,307, an increase of $530, during that same time period.
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State funding proposal keeps burden on Olentangy taxpayers

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

According to Gov. John Kasich’s recently released school funding proposal, Olentangy taxpayers will continue to bear the lion’s share of the increased costs stemming from the district's explosive, unprecedented, and continued growth.

Olentangy currently receives $9,106,935 in basic core state aid out of its total budget of $173 million. Under Kasich’s proposed plan, Olentangy would receive $10,017,628 in FY16 (July 1, 2015 - June 30, 2016), a 10 percent increase. (Kasich’s budget proposal limits funding increases to 10 percent. According to Kasich’s calculations, Olentangy should be entitled to $37,236,165. Because of the funding caps, the district is receiving less than one-third of this amount).  

Using projected enrollment figures from the district’s five-year forecast, which readers can find here, Kasich’s budget proposal equates to Olentangy receiving $519 from the state if calculated on a per-pupil basis. State funding for public schools does not use per-pupil funding in its calculations, so as Olentangy’s enrollment increases, the amount of per-pupil funding it receives from the state effectively decreases. The state does, however, currently provide a specified per-pupil amount of $1,149 to all non-public chartered schools in Ohio. (According to school board member Julie Feasel, non-public chartered schools include many private schools, such as Village Academy, Bishop Watterson, and Worthington Christian). 

In other words, non-public chartered schools in Ohio could continue to receive twice the amount of per-pupil state funding than Olentangy. Non-public chartered schools are rewarded for growth, because they receive more money from the state for each student enrolled. Olentangy is penalized for growth, because no matter how many new students enroll in the district, the state does not increase funding to Olentangy on a per-pupil basis.  

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