Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dr. John Marschhausen Named Next Superintendent

The Hilliard City Schools Board of Education will meet during a special meeting on Monday, March 4 to officially vote on the employment of John Marschhausen, Ph.D. as the next superintendent of Hilliard City Schools.

“John has a dynamic personality and his career success has proven him to be a strong leader,” said Hilliard Board of Education President Andy Teater. “We are thrilled to welcome someone with his experience and talent to Hilliard Schools.”

“Hilliard City Schools is a once in a lifetime opportunity for me to lead an exceptional district and to continue to build on the successful traditions established,” explained Marschhausen. “I’m eager to learn about the current practices, build collaborative relationships with the leadership team and staff and engage the community as a whole in conversations about the district.”

Marschhausen is a young yet seasoned superintendent. Prior to serving as the superintendent of Loveland City Schools in Loveland, Ohio since 2010, he was superintendent at East Knox Local Schools in Howard, Ohio for five years. He has an extensive career in education and also served as the principal at the Tri-Village Jr./Sr. High School in New Madison, Ohio for five years and one year as the assistant principal/athletic director at Preble Shawnee High School in Camden, Ohio. He also has six years of experience teaching high school social studies and American History.

Marschhausen has a doctorate degree from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also holds a Master’s of Education degree and his Administrative Certificate from the University of Dayton and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio.

In addition to his extensive experience, Marschhausen has served on the Tri-Rivers Educational Computer Association (TRECA) Board of Directors, the Governor’s Advisory Council for Ohio Core Implementation and the Ohio Leadership Forum. He has been widely published on the use of technology in schools, served on the Ohio Digital Learning Task Force and presented at multiple workshops related to the role of technology in education.

“Hilliard is a great school system,” noted Teater. “We are a strong district that values community input, high academic achievement and innovative teaching strategies. John will build upon the great traditions that have led us to excellence.”

The superintendent search began in early October when Superintendent Dale A. McVey announced his intention to retire after 35 years in education, including 15 years with Hilliard City Schools. In November, the Educational Service Center of Central Ohio (ESCCO) was selected to support the board throughout the search.

The position was posted through various channels and agencies and drew 24 qualified candidates. In early January, the board invited students, staff, parents and residents to provide input regarding the board’s leadership profile and more than 890 people participated in this step of the process. On February 7, the list of 24 was narrowed to five talented leaders who each interviewed with all five board members. On February 24, three finalists met with a cross group of community, parent, student and staff members to address questions and provide feedback to the board. Each candidate then met with the entire board on February 26 for final interviews.

“This has been a very public process and we are grateful for all of the input and feedback that we received,” stated Teater. “We are fortunate that our community values education and we appreciate that continued support.”

The board will formally act upon Marschhausen’s employment at a special meeting on Monday, March 4 at 7 p.m. at the Central Office Annex, 5323 Cemetery Road in Hilliard. He will begin his tenure with Hilliard City Schools on July 1, 2013. Other contract details are still being discussed and a final contract will be available at Monday’s meeting. Joining Marschhausen at the meeting will be his wife Susan and their daughters Jordan, eighth grade, and Emily, fifth grade.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Supplemental Material for Feb 25, 2013 Board Meeting

Here are the supplemental documents for next week's meeting of the Board of Education.  This will be a fairly routine meeting, and likely won't last long. I wish it were otherwise...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Superintendent Search Update

This announcement just released to the community

Dear Parents and Community,

Recently, the Board of Education had the pleasure of meeting with five candidates who were interested in the superintendent’s position in our school district next year. While each candidate had a strong background and presented a unique set of characteristics, we have narrowed this list down to three finalists:
  • Steven Estepp, executive director of K-12 curriculum and instruction, Hilliard City Schools;
  • John Marschhausen, Ph.D., superintendent, Loveland City Schools; and,
  • David Stewart, high school principal, Hilliard City Schools.
On Sunday, February 24 the Board of Education and representatives from a cross section of student, staff, parent and community groups will meet with the three finalists. This meeting will provide another opportunity for various stakeholders to share input as the board makes its decision regarding our next leader. We are still on track to take action to employ the next superintendent at our March 11, 2013 meeting.

The board has been committed to considering the best interest of all stakeholders throughout this very public process. We are seeking someone who can not only meet our challenges, but also be a visionary who will lead our district in developing students to thrive in the 21st century. While this will be a difficult choice, the board is committed to making a decision that will be in the best interest of our students, staff, parents and community.

Thank you for your patience and support as we take the next step in this process.

Andy Teater
Board of Education President

(RC 3313.16)

Notice is hereby given; there will be a SPECIAL meeting of the Board of Education of the Hilliard City School District on SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2013 at 2:00 P.M. located at Memorial Middle School Performing Arts Center, 5600 Scioto Darby Road, Hilliard, Ohio.

The meeting is called by Brian W. Wilson, Treasurer/CFO of the Hilliard City School District Board of Education, at the direction of the President of said Board.

February 20, 2013


Brian W. Wilson, Treasurer/CFO
Hilliard City School District
Board of Education

(RC 3313.16)

Notice is hereby given; there will be a SPECIAL meeting of the Board of Education of the Hilliard City School District on TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2013 at 5:00 P.M. located at Hilliard City Schools Administration Building, 5323 Cemetery Road, Hilliard, Ohio. The meeting will be held in executive session to consider the appointment/employment of a public employee.

The meeting is called by Brian W. Wilson, Treasurer/CFO of the Hilliard City School District Board of Education, at the direction of the President of said Board.

February 20, 2013


Brian W. Wilson, Treasurer/CFO
Hilliard City School District
Board of Education

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Hilliard Schools, Columbus Taxes

Each year, Treasurer Brian Wilson and his team publish the "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (or CAFR), which is much like the annual report produced by corporations. It's about as exciting to read as well. Nonetheless, it's a wealth of information for anyone trying to get an understanding of the financial dimension of our school district.

Near the end of the report is a set of tables showing the tax rates which apply to the sixteen tax districts which make up our school district.

That's right - sixteen.  Most folks know that our school district covers an area which is all or part of many municipalities: Hilliard, Columbus, Dublin and several townships. Depending on when a parcel of township land was annexed into a city, that parcel may have fully transferred from the township to the city, or it might have been annexed under more recent laws which allows a parcel to be in both a city and a township. Each of those combinations end up as a separate taxing district to reflect the different combinations and rates of taxes the property owners will pay.

For decades, real estate agents have been fond of the phrase "Hilliard Schools, Columbus taxes" when trying to sell a house that's in the part of our school district which has been annexed by the City of Columbus. While that can be a selling point for such a house, it also troubles folks who live in other parts of the school district, many of whom think they getting stuck paying higher school taxes.

Here's a table of the effective millage rates for the tax districts in our school district, compiled from the CAFR:

Tax DistrictEffective Rate
Franklin Twp99.27
Prairie Twp/City of Columbus97.62
Prairie Twp96.02
City of Columbus/Washington Twp91.75
City of Dublin/Washington Twp91.00
City of Hilliard/Washington Twp90.65
Norwich Twp90.35
Norwich Twp/City of Columbus89.43
City of Hilliard89.33
Washington Twp89.05
City of Hilliard/Brown Twp88.90
Brown Twp/City of Columbus88.90
Brown Twp87.30
City of Columbus82.03
Union County/Washington Twp80.17

So yes indeed, the folks in our school district who live in the City of Columbus, and are not also part of a township, have lower property taxes than those of us who don't. The difference can usually be attributed to which municipality provides the fire/safety services. The fire/safety services in the townships are funded via property taxes, while the City of Columbus funds their fire/safety services via other revenue streams, primarily their income taxes.

It also matters when the various tax levies were enacted, as the voted millage goes down over time as property values go up. So a 10 mill township levy passed 20 years ago might be collecting today at an effective rate of 5 mills, if the value of the properties doubled over those 20 years (keeping the dollars collected constant).

The key thing to understand, relative to school funding at least, is that all of us pay exactly the same effective millage to our school district, which currently is 89.35 voted mills (or 42.03 effective mills). No one gets a discount.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Supplemental Materials for the Feb 11, 2013 Board Meeting

Here are the supplemental materials for the School Board meeting to be held at 7pm on Monday, Feb 11, 2013 at the Central Office Annex.

To this set of documents I've added a copy of a letter from Standard & Poors, notifying us of their rating of the bonds we'll be selling in a few days. They kept our rating at "AA" which means S&P is telling bond investors that we're a safe bet to pay back the principal with interest, as promised. This should cause our bonds to be priced at a very good rate, allowing us to retire other bonds on which we're paying a higher rate, saving all of us taxpayers a fair amount of money.

Well done to Treasurer Brian Wilson for detecting the opportunity, initiating this process, and seeing it through. He could have easily sat on his hands, and I doubt anyone would have known any difference (sounds like a good job for the Audit & Accountability Committee - to make sure we don't miss such opportunities).

Since the meeting is being held in the Annex rather than one of the school buildings, and the agenda is pretty routine, I expect that the public part of the meeting won't last long, and we'll be going quickly into executive session. The selection of our next Superintendent is of course the primary task at hand.

Other than our two internal candidates, Dave Stewart and Steve Estepp, I've not met any of the candidates that were just announced. On the advice of Dr. Bill Reimer from the ESC, who is managing our search and selection process, the Board gave authority to President Andy Teater and Vice-President Lisa Whiting to whittle the substantial list of applicants we received down to a small number who we will interview in depth.

That process begins next week.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Don't Spend It Yet

The Ohio School Boards Association sent a notice to its members today which included this comment:

Today, the state Office of Budget and Management (OBM) released district-by-district spreadsheets simulating the dollars generated under the governor’s school-funding proposal. Please note that the fiscal year (FY) 2013 base excludes funding for transportation as calculated for FY 2011 and the career technical education attributed funds.

I won't claim to understand exactly what that means, but the spreadsheet the OBM sent suggests that Hilliard City Schools is in line to receive $5 million more in funding in FY14 than we received in FY13.

The first thing to say about this is: I DON'T BELIEVE IT

I'd like to believe it. An extra $5 million/yr of funding from the State changes things. If our State funding were to be $5 million/yr more for the next several years, and we were to hold spending to that projected in the Oct 2012 Five Year Forecast, then this could delay the next levy for a year, perhaps to 2015 instead of 2014.

But remember, there are several 'knobs' we can play with. Changing the levy timing is just one of them.

We could still put a levy on the ballot in 2014, but make it much smaller - say 4.4 mills instead of the 7.7 mills I estimated in October.

We could be more generous than we could have otherwise been in the next union negotiations, which will take place later this year.

Or we could plan for some combination of these factors.

More discussion than this is premature at this point, as this $5 million is just a number in the wind right now. The General Assembly still has to consider this proposal, and experience tells us that there will be additional tweaks. I'm not particularly optimistic that increased funding to districts like ours - seen to be among the more affluent in the State - is going to make it through the legislative cycle. The power in the General Assembly belongs to the urban and rural districts, not the suburbs.

Stand by for further developments.