After undergoing a staff analysis by the Ohio Department of Education, Avon Local School District officials appear happy with the results.
In January, the school district asked the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) to conduct the analysis in preparation of placing a 10-year emergency operating levy on the May ballot. Avon residents will be asked to vote on the 5.9-mill levy, which would bring in $4.45 million annually to the district. The annual cost to the owner of a $100,000 home would be $180.71.
During the March 16 Board of Education meeting, Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach shared the results of the analysis.
Of the 613 districts in the state, Reitenbach said the ODE compared Avon with 20 districts of similar demographics, enrollment, property wealth, etc. Some of those comparables include Avon Lake City Schools, Solon City Schools, Westlake City Schools and Rocky River City Schools.
“This report shows that Avon Local School District has less staff than comparable districts in every category except educational aides,” Bill Toney, coordinator, Region 2 and 7 of the ODE Finance Program Services wrote in a March 2 letter attached to the report. “This district is to be commended for having less staff and at the same time having a per pupil expenditure that is $2,285 less than comparable districts for the past fiscal year. It is also noteworthy that Avon Local is very low in the number of central office administrators.”
“That $2,200 is like a 20 percent discount,” Avon resident Mike Trentel commented during the meeting.
According to the report, “The FY09 average expenditure per pupil for the district was $8,001. The figure was below the similar district average by $2,285 and below the state average for Ohio by $2,183.”
“We are (grouped) in there with some pretty high spending districts,” Reitenbach said.
The report also breaks down different categories of staff members in the district.
•While Avon employs 30 special education teachers, the average of special education teachers employed by the comparable districts was 37.27.
•Avon employed a total of 146.34 “regular classroom teachers” in the 2009 school year, while comparable districts employed an average of 178.45.
•For “educational service personnel” (art, music, physical education), the district employed 19.20 in 2009, compared to the 31.09 average for similar school districts.
•For “central office administration,” the district employs one certified administrator, while others employ an average of 1.60. The district only had one support employee, while others employ an average of 3.03. The district did not have a classified coordinator/supervisor, while similar districts employ an average of 1.63.
“The Avon Local School District has been very cost-conscious to certainly not overspend the taxpayers’ dollars,” Reitenbach said at the meeting.
Asked later what residents should take away from the analysis results, Reitenbach said, “That the Board of Education has demonstrated throughout its history that they are good stewards of the taxpayers’ money by not loosely spending dollars, and in return, our students have been getting an excellent education. This report verifies that statement.”
“It’s only asked for money when it needs to be asked,” Reitenbach said of the board. “And we need it now, or else we are going to definitely impact the education and/or services of students.”
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