Hilliard students will not be in class on Election Day next November, joining a growing number of Ohio school districts scheduling staff-only days to coincide with large numbers of voters being on school property.
Hilliard school board members made the change Dec. 9 when they approved a revised school calendar for 2014-15.
The revised calendar includes the addition of two waiver days for professional development, negotiated in the latest collective-bargaining agreement.
Those two days are Nov. 4, Election Day, and Feb. 17, 2015, the day after Presidents Day, creating a four-day weekend for students.
Superintendent John Marschhausen, speaking after the meeting, said the selection of Election Day as a waiver day was no accident.
District officials chose it by design for safety and savings, Marschhausen said.
"It's a direction more districts are going," he said.
Marschhausen said the district has employed special-duty police officers in the past to augment security on Election Day and would no longer need to do so.
In other business Dec. 9, the administration and board members received the results of a community survey administered by Fallon Research and Communications.
Company founder Paul Fallon told board members the results were favorable.
"A lot of districts would be envious of these numbers," Fallon said.
The cost of the survey was $12,000.
The district contracted with the same firm last year for $10,000 to conduct a telephone survey of registered voters in the Hilliard school district to gauge residents' satisfaction with the quality of education, fiscal management and other facets of the district.
The reported results were collected from 401 registered voters in the district from Aug. 19-23.
The survey cites an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 4.89 percent.
Respondents were asked about 25 questions, some of which varied for groups of respondents.
When asked whether the district was "going in the right direction" or on "the wrong track," 67 percent replied "right direction" while 19 percent said "wrong track." Others gave alternative answers.
Respondents were provided 14 choices for a "top priority" for the next two years. A plurality of respondents, 26 percent, replied controlling spending. Fifteen percent said the curriculum.
The survey indicated a total positive rating of 86 percent for quality of education, but only 45 percent positive rating concerning spending money effectively and responsibly.
But Fallon said the "marked contrast was nothing to be alarmed about," as similar surveys show such disparity because respondents generally grasp quality of education better than school finances.
Almost 80 percent of respondents indicated they kept abreast of the district via a news medium.
Such results indicate that the community as a whole considers the district "part of the social fabric of the community," Fallon said.
Marschhausen said the results reflected the pride the community has in the district.
"We have many challenges before us and we will work to earn and inspire the confidence of our community," said Marschhausen.
The Dec. 9 session was the last scheduled this year for board members.
In their final act, board members selected Heather Keck to serve as president pro tempore at the board's first meeting of next year.
Board members will meet in a special session at 6:45 p.m. Jan. 13 at Ridgewood Elementary School to select a new president and vice president immediately prior to their regular meeting at 7 p.m.
Board members also moved into a closed executive session at the conclusion of the Dec. 9 meeting for collective bargaining and to discuss the purchase of real estate.