The New Albany-Plain Local School District school board and administration promised better educational outcomes for our students and fiscal responsibility.
We continue to deliver both.
In just two years, our district's standing on the Ohio Department of Education's state report card has increased from No. 64 to No. 19 in Ohio.
Additionally, the increase in academic achievement has been accomplished while spending $6.3 million, or 5.5 percent less than budgeted, in the past two fiscal years.
We've targeted our continuous improvement for this school year to be No. 17 or higher in state rankings for academic achievement, with another 1 percent expense reduction for this school year, as we aspire to become the highest-rated school district in Ohio.
Community members also might recall we committed to implementing the major recommendations from the community task force, and we have done so.
During our most recent negotiations with our labor associations, we reached agreement to eliminate the expensive and out-of-market insurance plan and replace it with high-deductible health-care plans that save taxpayers and employees millions of dollars during our five-year financial forecast.
We successfully negotiated a restructuring of the teachers' salary schedule, which reduced and smoothed the rate of expense growth by nearly 30 percent and made a third of the remaining increase subject to achievement of objective educational outcomes, which have been achieved by employees to date.
In addition to these changes, the school district realigned our building usage to both reduce class sizes and increase instructional time without significantly increasing costs. Each of these achievements represented the major components of the top three community task force recommendations convened at the request of the school board and generously funded by the New Albany Community Foundation.
The result of all of these accomplishments is, first and foremost, improved student outcomes while spending less money. By focusing our resources on students first, we have extended the life of our last operating levy beyond a decade. In fact, we continue to have a positive cash balance through fiscal 2023 and will continue our fiscal diligence as expected by our taxpayers.
Just over one year ago, district voters overwhelmingly supported a five-year levy to partially fund capital improvements and repairs to maintain our school campus facilities and equipment.
With some school buildings more than 20 years old, repairs and equipment replacement will be required during the next five years. This includes roofs, heating-and-cooling systems, technology infrastructure, school buses and security upgrades.
The 1.25-mill, five-year permanent-improvements levy generates approximately $1.17 million annually and is combined with $1.3 million annually from the general-revenue fund to allow the repairs and replacements to occur when required.
Thanks to the support of our community, scheduled repairs and replacements identified continue to be procured competitively to obtain the most responsible pricing possible. The graphic accompanying this column illustrates the scope of work shared with our voters and a project status update for fiscal responsibility.
The school board, administration, faculty and staff are committed to creating a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.
Our school district is thankful for the continued partnership of our entire learning community and its commitment to our students.
Michael Sawyers is superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.