What a year it's been for our Canal Winchester schools.

What a year it's been for our Canal Winchester schools.

We've had quite a winter so far and we appreciate the patience and support our parents and community have given us as we continue to deal with Mother Nature. As we are now into the second half of the school year, I would like to share some highlights regarding what the future holds for our schools and community.

First, there are a lot of great things happening in our classrooms, thanks to the hard work of our students and staff.

On a daily basis, we are working as a school system to increase student achievement by exploring innovative programs, adopting instructional best practices and creating environments that maximize student learning by providing them with the tools they need to be ready for career, college and life.

Our schools are definitely on a path of progress and success.

This May, Canal Winchester schools will be on the ballot for a substitute emergency five-year renewal levy that will not increase school taxes.

The board of education approved this option to provide financial stability for our schools, and by extending the levy from three to five years, it keeps us on a path of progress and success. The substitute emergency renewal levy allows the district to receive additional income from new development, both residential and commercial.

As the economy continues to recover, we know many of our residents have adjusted their family budgets to deal with changing economic realities. The Canal Winchester school district has done the same.

Over the past three years, our school district has worked hard to live within its means and secured $3 million in cost savings to our budget. This is in addition to the $3.7 million in reductions made starting with the 2011-12 school year.

We are committed to maintaining a lean and efficient budget for taxpayers, while still protecting the classroom and the high-quality programs our community values. There's no doubt that the upcoming renewal levy plays a vital role in our future.

In the months ahead, you will hear much about this levy. Not only will the district continue to keep you updated, but parent volunteers have stepped forward to organize an informative levy campaign.

Please give the information your careful attention and learn the facts about this important issue for our Canal Winchester schools and community. We look forward to your input.

James Sotlar is superintendent of the Canal Winchester school district.