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.
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.
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.
Olentangy Schools board member
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.
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.
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.