'Excellent' year for Grandview schools, library
Tre Stroud plays with the wooden clock on the new activity wall at the Grandview Heights Public Library in April. The library received kudos in several forms in 2012, from a top ranking in a trade publication to residents' overwhelming support of its Nov. 6 levy. Buy This Photo
The Grandview Heights City School District earned another "excellent with distinction" rating on the state report card in 2012 while it adopted an 11-year plan for technology upgrades and facility improvements using funds from a levy voters passed in 2010.
The Grandview Heights Public Library also earned accolades this year, as it was named the best library in America in its category for the second consecutive year. The library's financial stability was ensured when voters overwhelmingly approved its replacement levy.
Here's a look back at some of the top stories for the school district and library in 2012.
At the Grandview school board's annual January work session, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly reviewed the district's proposed 11-year permanent improvement plan. He reported the district will receive about $550,000 annually from the continuous permanent improvement levy voters approved in November 2010. The plan included projects to upgrade technology in the schools and building improvements.
The board voted to accept the permanent improvement plan at its Feb. 21 meeting.
New contract twist
The board voted unanimously May 15 to approve a two-year contract agreement with the Grandview Heights Education Association. The teachers union agreed the day before to ratify the contract by a 64-4 vote.
The agreement included no pay increases for the first year of the contract, except for those teachers who earn a higher college degree during that time. Teachers would receive a 2-percent pay increase in fiscal year 2014 if they meet three performance goals that each staff member will develop during the contract's first year, based on criteria set in the contract.
O'Reilly said the performance-based component may serve as a model for other districts in future contract negotiations.
On Aug. 21, the board approved a new two-year contract with the Grandview Heights Educational Support Staff Association, the union representing the district's classified staff. The union had earlier voted to ratify the contract.
The agreement freezes base pay for the 2012-13 school year and union members will receive a 2-percent increase in the second year of the contract.
The agreement includes an increase in employee contributions to premiums for traditional medical insurance, O'Reilly said.
Employees who elect to use the traditional medical insurance plan will have their premium contributions increase by 10 percent. The contract also provides an option to select a consumer-driven plan, which has premiums significantly lower than those of the traditional plan, he said. The district will offer a financial incentive for employees to choose the consumer-driven plan.
Rental fees covered
The school board Sept. 18 voted to eliminate the additional fees members of the swimming, golf and bowling teams must pay to cover the cost of facility rentals.
The district now will pay for the rental fees, which altogether are expected to cost about $11,000 per year, O'Reilly said.
The action completes the process of phasing in the three sports as official school sports, he said.
Columbus Metropolitan Library, Worthington Libraries and Southwest Public Libraries agreed in late September to join the Grandview Heights Public Library as part of the Central Library Consortium in 2013.
The new partnership will include 11 library systems serving 1.4 million residents across six counties with nearly 1.2 million titles, doubling the number of titles all of the libraries now offer their patrons.
Through the partnership, participating libraries share resources, servers, licenses, group purchases and staff while remaining independent library systems.
Libraries currently participating in the 25-year-old consortium include Grandview Heights, Alexandria, Fairfield County, Marysville, Pickaway County, Pickerington, Plain City and Wagnalls Memorial.
Columbus, Worthington and Southwest have participated in their own consortium for more than two decades.
Preliminary results released in October by the Ohio Department of Education showed the school district would maintain its "excellent with distinction" rating on this year's state report card.
Grandview met all 26 state standards according to the data for the 2011-12 school year.
The district's performance index score increase by a full point over the 2010-11 state report card, and Grandview again scored "above" in value-added growth, indicating students achieved more than one year of academic progress in a year.
Good month for library
Grandview-area voters continued to show their strong support for the library, passing the library's 2.5-mill replacement levy by a wide margin Nov. 6.
The levy passed with about 78 percent of the vote.
The measure will generate about $723,000 a year and enable the library to maintain its current level of services.
On the heels of the levy's success, the library was recognized as the nation's best public library in its category for the second consecutive year.
In addition to ranking the library as America's best, The Library Journal Index of Public Library Service also named it as a "five-star" library for the fifth consecutive time.
Grandview is one of only 30 libraries nationwide that have received the five-star rating five years in a row.