I am pleased to announce that the Ross Local School District has once again earned high ratings on the 2013 Ohio Department of Education District Report Card. The report card has been modified so that each individual area of performance is now given a letter grade. Our district received all A and B grades on the main components of the report card. These ratings are a testament not only to the outstanding individuals who work with our children each day, but also to the parents and other community members who support our schools in many ways. The Ross School District is blessed to have hard working students, committed staff members, exemplary administrators, and a supportive community. It takes everyone working together to achieve this high level of recognition. Let’s continue the trend in the 2013 – 2014 school year.
Renovation work at Morgan Elementary will begin in the fall of 2013. It will involve additions to the building for spaces that do not currently meet Ohio school square footage guidelines. This will include enlarging the cafeteria and kitchen, new music and art rooms, and a larger office area. New life/safety systems (sprinklers, fire alarm, security cameras, and secure entries) will be installed to meet current building codes. All doors and windows will be replaced and a new energy efficient HVAC system will be installed. All finishes will be replaced including ceilings, flooring, casework, and paint. The sewage treatment plan twill be replaced and new furniture will be purchased for the building as needed. The Morgan completion date is currently scheduled for December, 2014. We are working with our contractor to try to move that date up to August, 2014. All Morgan students will attend classes in the District Office Building (old middle school) during the renovations. Two-thirds of the work at Morgan is being funded by the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission through matching dollars. The district earned the matching dollars as a result of a local bond issue passed in the fall of 2002 to build the new high school building. One third of the funds are being provided locally through our permanent improvement fund and the refinancing of our 2002 bonds. No local tax operating dollars will be used for the Morgan Elementary project.
Our staff is working diligently to prepare for the new Ohio assessments that will be put in place in 2014. Those assessments will be based on new national and state standards in language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies. Our staff has developed new courses of study in language arts, mathematics, and social studies over the past two years. We will be working on a new course of study in science during the 2013 - 2014 school year. The district will also implement a new state-mandated teacher evaluation system this coming school year.
Over the past four years our district has lost a total of 2.6 million dollars in funding due to a reduction in state and federal funding and less dollars being collected locally. Recognizing the difficult economic times that we are all facing, the district has made over 2.4 million dollars in cuts to our operating expenses over that time period. Our staff has also had no increase in base salary since 2009. The district teachers also agreed to no step increases in salary for the past two school years. In addition, the staff has agreed to health care concessions to help control our health care costs. With these cost saving measures, the district has been able to overcome the revenue losses and avoid going to the taxpayers of our district for additional funds. Unfortunately, the new state two-year budget does not contain any increase in state revenue for our district. In addition, due to the sequestration of the federal budget, our federal funding has been reduced by $70,061. This puts us in a position where we will be forced to ask for additional local revenue in the next two years.
The time has come for the district to establish a new District Improvement Plan. I plan to set up a series of meetings to receive input from our parents and community members regarding the performance of the district to help establish our new three year goals. If you would be willing to host such a meeting for a few friends and/or neighbors in your home, please contact me.
As always, if you have any questions or concerns regarding any aspect of the operation of the Ross Local School District, do not hesitate to contact me. I pledge to return your call or email within 24 hours. I wish you and your children a very successful 2013 – 2014 school year. I look forward to seeing each of you at building and district events.
Superintendent of Schools
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The Ross Local School District has consistently achieved excellent ratings due to the dedication of staff and students and support of the community.