New Albany-Plain Local School District leaders are ever grateful for a community that believes, embraces and supports the core purpose of our schools: "to create a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student."
This focused purpose enables everyone in our school district to put students first and implement measurable outcomes for continuous improvement that enhance students' achievement, growth and well-being, as our community expects.
Successful communities support student achievement in a number of ways, and New Albany is no exception. Our school district is the center of our community, and our success directly impacts our quality of life and the economic impact of attracting and retaining businesses, as well as residents.
The more than 5,000 students in our care are championed by parents, the New Albany Community Foundation, civic leaders, the New Albany Chamber of Commerce and its business partners, resident taxpayers and others. Life-changing developmental and educational opportunities for our students are possible because of the strength of our community.
All school districts, including ours, have a fiduciary responsibility to operate efficiently and effectively.
School funding in Ohio remains unconstitutional and includes an overreliance on property taxes. Based upon sound fiscal-management practices and focused direction during the past four years, the financial forecast of our school district is strong. It has been more than a decade since new operational dollars were levied successfully, yet academic achievement results continue to improve. The 1.25-mill permanent-improvements levy approved two years ago, when combined with general revenue funds, has allowed us to begin to replace original roofs, boilers and more on portions of our aging school campus.
The arrival of 2020 brings new opportunities for our district to generate additional revenue resources that will not further burden our generous taxpayers.
Last spring, for the second time, we successfully advocated with the Ohio General Assembly to create statutory language requiring all public schools in Ohio, including ours, to minimally receive the same amount of school funding as private nonchartered schools. Presently, we receive $783 per student from the state, and private nonchartered schools receive $1,300.
Our success to obtain a change in Ohio law was vetoed again by Gov. Mike DeWine. Both Gov. DeWine and former Gov. John Kasich cited that high-wealth districts, such as New Albany, do not need additional school funding from the state when their residents have the capacity to pay more locally. The school board and our administration adamantly disagree and will continue to advocate for equitable funding to benefit our students and taxpayers.
We thank the parents and residents who have and who will continue to support an equitable solution for school funding that benefits our district.
Partnerships provide unique learning opportunities for our students but sometimes also result in funding to support specific student programs to enhance learning or well-being. Again, we are grateful for the many partnerships that exist and look forward to expanding them throughout 2020.
As a district, we have researched comparable school districts across Ohio and the country to identify additional strategies for alternative revenue streams to reduce long-term funding for our taxpayers.
We are seeking new revenue by selling expanded advertising rights for school assets (stadium, fields, scoreboards, gymnasiums, playgrounds, etc.) to generate resources for future replacements. For example, advertising rights to the stadium scoreboard may be purchased for $25,000 annually for 10 years to generate the estimated $250,000 necessary to replace the scoreboard in 2029.
If successful in increasing our advertising rights, the burden of replacing select capital assets on our school district will not be the sole responsibility of our taxpayers for the future. For more information regarding program sponsorships and advertising rights, please contact the school district directly.
We are and will continue to be fiscally responsible as a school district. We will remain good stewards for our taxpayers and continue to seek local, state and federal resources.
We remain grateful for the continued support of our entire community and will remain vigilant in maximizing resources while seeking new and creative funding that will continue to permit us to achieve the best academic and developmental outcomes for our students.
Michael Sawyers is superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.