As David Knisley looks back at his 22 years as Grandview Heights City School District treasurer, he can point to a number of aspects of the job that have changed.

As David Knisley looks back at his 22 years as Grandview Heights City School District treasurer, he can point to a number of aspects of the job that have changed.

And, he acknowledges, those changes are things he won't miss.

Knisley will retire effective Dec. 31. His last day on the job will be Dec. 30.

"It's basically the same job, although with exponential increases in challenges," he said. "The things that have been challenging for me that may not be as nearly as challenging for younger employees has been the whole growth in technology."

The treasurer's office has been doing an ever increasing amount of its work online, Knisley said.

"I was used to talking face to face and shaking hands," he said. "You just don't do that as much anymore."

Another challenge has been "the continuous lack of 'fixing' school funding in Ohio," Knisley said.

"Ever since I've been here people have said that they want to fix school funding in Ohio," he said. "It's never happened and it's likely not to happen."

The broken system of school funding means districts are forced into an over-reliance on local property taxes, Knisley said.

"And of course, those taxes are concentrated in urban areas and more scarce in rural areas," he said.

If there is a lack of addressing school funding issues, there has also been "a huge increase in bureaucratic minutiae" levied on school districts, Knisley said.

"It's been imposed by state government and imposed by federal government," he said.

"The level of detail in financial reporting by the state for all school districts, thousands of bits of data, seems unnecessary to me," Knisley said. "I'm not sure how that benefits the teachers in the classroom, which is what it's all about."

School districts also have to jump through a lot of hoops to get "their meager amount of federal funding," he said.

But being a school treasurer has also provided him with the satisfaction of serving the public, Knisley said.

"For me, the most rewarding or satisfying aspect is the possibility that I helped educate residents and staff members about school funding, particularly as it applies to the Grandview school district," he said.

While the loss of Big Bear and other major taxpayers several years ago was perhaps the biggest financial challenge the district faced during his tenure, the district actually suffered its biggest financial hit in the mid-1970s, when the city of Columbus annexed a large portion of property along U.S. Route 33, Knisley said.

The annexation resulted in the loss of about one-fourth of the district's property tax revenue.

"That happened all at once," he said. "When Big Bear left, it was phased out over three or four years and even after Big Bear as a company was gone the real estate still existed."

The biggest challenge to Grandview regarding funding is yet to come, Knisley said, as the lawmakers address the state's $8-billion budget shortfall.

"The Grandview school district's financial fate might hinge on what happens at the corner of Broad and High over the next six months," he said.

Knisley said he has had one over-riding rule for how to serve as treasurer.

"Always tell the truth as best as you know the truth, even if the truth is distasteful at times," he said. "If you're only telling one story, it's easy to remember."

Knisley said he presented financial information as best as he understood it at the time, while understanding that "everything you're talking about will change. Nothing stays the same."

He also believed it was better to provide more information to the school board and public than he thought they could use.

"If you provide lots of information, then everybody should be able to pick out something they will find useful," Knisley said.

School board president Kathy Lithgow called Knisley "a man of integrity" who is "quietly effective.

"He has always been very transparent with the district's finances, sharing a lot of information with the board and community at meetings, on the website, and whenever anyone asks him a question," Lithgow said. "His help has been invaluable during numerous levy campaigns and contract negotiations."

Knisley's thoroughness in presenting financial information has been invaluable to the board and administration, Superintendent Ed O'Reilly said.

"It helped the board make the best decisions possible," he said.

It was Knisley's proposal that the assistant treasurer position be filled three years ago with the intention that person would assume the treasurer's job on his retirement, O'Reilly said.

That indicates the care and concern Knisley has always shown regarding the district and its financial stability, he said.

Having Tammy McCune in place for the past three years will allow for a seamless transition, Knisley said.

"She's familiar with the district and she's familiar with school funding," he said. "She's ready to hit the ground running."

Knisley will be hitting the water after he leaves Grandview. He will be working as a scuba instructor at Aquatic Adventures, a Hilliard scuba diving center.

"It will be different," Knisley said. "I really enjoy scuba diving, so I'm looking forward to it.

"The only numbers I'll be dealing with will be depth and feet," he said. "Fun numbers."

The truth is, Knisley said, "I've never been a numbers person."

He said he leaves with gratitude to the members of administration and school board, especially the five board members who hired him as Grandview's treasurer 22 years ago.

"I also want to thank the community for the opportunity to serve them all these years," he said.