Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Guest writer Dr. Andrew Hill on the Waterloo Schools Financial Situation

I am very excited to bring you our Guest Writer, Dr. Andrew Hill, Ed.D.

Dr. Hill is currently in his second year serving as Superintendent at Waterloo Local Schools. He began teaching a variety of subjects to seventh and eighth grade students at Rosemary Cathedral Academy in Toledo, Ohio. Dr. Hill became Principal of St. Francis de Sales High School in Toledo for 3 years before moving to Principal for Crestwood Middle School for another 3 years. Andy Hill holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from the University of Toledo and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, Management and Policy from Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ.

Dear Residents of Atwater and Randolph Townships,
As we continue to struggle through our current financial situation our district is striving to do our best to maintain the quality of education our community has become accustomed to. In addition to the many initiatives you can find detailed in our district five-year plan, we continue to look for outside sources of validation on the preparation our students are receiving. In addition to our second straight year of being rated “Excellent” or higher by the State of Ohio on our state report card, we also found out good news in reviewing two reports released by the Ohio Board of Reagents . Waterloo graduates who move onto college in Ohio fare very well in comparison to their peers on average in the State of Ohio and Portage County when it comes to the percentage of students who have to take remedial coursework in English and/or Math (you can find more information on this on my website at (http://www.viking.portage.k12.oh.us/pow/cgi-bin/file_list_page.pl?id=andy_hill&category=General; click onto the presentation from the November 10, 2011 Board of Education meeting).

There are also a number of opportunities for you and other community members to become involved in district level committees or to attend different meetings to learn more about our district. We continue to find ways and offer opportunities to actively engage you because we believe that the more community involvement we have, the more we can pull on the expertise of our community, and the better we will be as a district. Many of the opportunities are the direct result of ideas shared by you at our public forum meetings last school year.

Upcoming meetings include:
The Waterloo Grant Committee will meet on Monday, December 5th at 6:00 p.m. in my office. The purpose of this committee is to identify areas our district can pursue grants in along with community members with expertise who are able to assist. The Waterloo Volunteer Committee will meet on Tuesday, December 6th at 3:00 p.m. in the high school media center. The purpose of this committee is to help identify areas where our district can responsibly utilize the services of community volunteers. Our second annual "State of our Schools" address is scheduled for Monday, December 12th at 7:00 p.m. in our ES/MS Cafetorium. Please join us for this event or watch it live or as a recording on U-Stream (a link can be found on our district homepage at www.viking.portage.k12.oh.us).

If you are unable to join a committee or attend other meetings, please follow us on the various avenues that we utilize to fill you on happenings within our district; you will find access to these on our district website (they include: Facebook, Twitter, U-Stream, and an e-mail distribution list).

I would like to clarify a few misconceptions that I am hearing in regards to the upcoming levy request our Board of Education has placed on the ballot for March of 2012. The request will be for 7.95 mills, which is larger than the request that recently failed (5.0 mills). This increase in millage amount is due to the loss of one (1) calendar year in collections; if we had passed in November of 2011 collections would have begun in January of 2012, if we pass in March of 2012 collections will not begin until January of 2013. As a result, a larger millage amount is needed to get us through a similar period of time. The reason that our Board of Education passed the first resolution for the March ballot request prior to the November election is because the State of Ohio requires that two (2) resolutions be passed by the Board of Education and the necessary work completed by the County Auditor (between resolution one (1) and two (2)) prior to December 7th. Our Board of Education did not have two (2) regular meetings scheduled between the election in November and December 7th, so a decision was made to pass the first resolution in case it was needed, so a special Board of Education meeting would not have to be held. If we would have been successful on November 8th, the second resolution would have never been recommended to the Board of Education; unfortunately, this second resolution did have to be recommended and was approved on November 10th.

In addition to the $1,000,000 our district reduced from our operating budget this year, we continue to explore areas where we can save more. But, we are at the point where further reductions will take us to state minimum standards, leading to increased class sizes and fewer elective courses, which ultimately will have a negative impact on the quality of education our district can provide our students. Our pledge to you is that we will continue to strive to do our best; we hope that our financial situation will resolve itself soon so our district can remain under local control while continuing to offer a first class education to our students both in and out of the classroom.

Thank you for your continued support of our district. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me at 330-947-2664 or at ahill@viking.portage.k12.oh.us.


Andrew J. Hill, Ed.D.

While I totally understand that in these economic times it is difficult to support more taxes coming out of our incomes, it is vital that we as a community get informed on the situation at hand before it escalates.  Please make time to check out http://www.waterloostimeisnow.com/ and sites listed in Dr. Hill's letter above.

1 comment:

Colleen said...

Hi Hon! Found you on the My Memories FB page. I'm a new Follower...I'm working to build my network of friends and followers and would love to have you Follow me as well! Beautiful blog!! I have an FB page as well...Sweet Home Designs...Thank you in advance :)