Monday, October 15, 2007

Superintendent's State of the Schools Address

Superintendent Dale McVey delivered his annual State of the Schools address on October 2, 2007. I regret that I failed to attend, but Mr. McVey was good enough to send me the text of his address, posted here.

Mr. McVey sets a very positive tone with his message, which is appropriate. We have an excellent school system, which is a tribute to all who play a part.

But there is danger on the horizon, and I don't understand why our school leadership avoids ringing the alarm bell. Readers of this blog and the SaveHilliardSchools website know that funding is an immediate and critical issue - the most critical in my opinion. Without adequate funding, the ability to operate our district at current performance levels is jeopardized.

Once again, an important opportunity came and went without our school leadership communicating any real numbers. Saying they're available on the website (see page 107) isn't good enough; these numbers should be front and center every time the topic of school finances come up. Allow me:

Our treasurer forecasts an annual funding shortfall of $37 million by 2011. To raise an additional $40 million/yr with our current tax base requires raising our property tax rate by 16 mills, or 40%.

Mr. McVey focuses the problem on the fact that the State of Ohio has frozen its funding to us. This is indeed an important factor, and we need to be sure we keep our face in front of our legislators and the Governor's office. But we should be prepared if the answer we get from the State is to keep our funding where it is.

Being prepared means making sure the folks of our community understand the basics of funding, and what has changed over the past decade -- an explosion of residential homebuilding without commensurate commercial development. The developers have harvested our community and left us with the bill.

If you don't understand this statement, send an email to me at I'll spend all the time with you that you need to understand.


  1. I can only assume the strategy is that given the weariness produced by the third high school debacle, they're giving the voters a rest before springing another request. I doubt it will work; taxpayers have longer memories than that.

  2. I tend to think it has something to do with the election. It's bad strategy for the incumbants to drop a bomb like this right before voters have to decide whether or not to re-elect.

    It may also be the reason the teachers' contract expires AFTER the election but before any new board members take office. Because the contract requires that all negotiations take place in secrecy, we have no idea what the Board is agreeing to until the election is over.

  3. I agree that we should know the numbers up front and visable. Being just a "mom" and not really understanding all that goes into this, I also wonder what the District is thinking when they only look towards State funding. Being a competent adult, I do not wait for money to come in for my family, I make sure it's there or get out there and raise more money. Anything extra is an added bonus. The school should know about funding and should have already had plans in the works for when they get "flat funded" again. That's just good business. One thing I want to know is what about cutting costs on the frills?
    After receiving a glossy, color, Hilliard school newsletter (passing notes) in the mail this past week, stating that a levy is in the future, I wonder as to why we not cutting costs already in small areas like this? Do we really need to send this stuff out? Is someone being paid to write this? print it? design it? It was FULL color, the font was large and it didn't have much info. There are many things I'm sure that can be cut. I think slower brained individuals like myself who may not understand all that goes into keeping up a school district, wonder about these fancy frills when they step into a voting booth.

  4. MJ:

    I was also disappointed to see yet another issue of Passing Notes get mailed to the community without any real numbers.

    Like you, I'm not sure why Passing Notes exists, especially when the information is so superfluous. I suspect that we can reach people just as effectively via the superintendent's column in the local newspapers. If need be, the district could buy space (or an insert) in the paper. It was the district's own survey which said the local papers are where people look for their school news.