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Officials voice concerns about governor’s funding plan

Ridgemont Board of Education members were briefed by district officials at their Thursday evening meeting regarding concerns about Gov. John Kasich’s proposed school funding budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

Superintendent Emmy Davis and Treasurer Fred Reinemeyer reported the new funding formula actually has Ridgemont receiving less money than in previous years.

However, the governor has included in the budget a guarantee that each school district will not receive less than fiscal year 2013 state funding. The guarantee amount for Ridgemont is $433,940 in 2014 and $498,339 in 2015.

In previous state budgets, these guarantees were eventually eliminated from the state funding formula, Ridgemont officials said. If that happens, it would have a significant impact on Ridgemont’s local tax base, as the amount of the “guarantee” equates to more than 6 mills of local property taxes.   

“Most rural and small town school districts receive no additional funding and the majority of urban, suburban, and wealthy suburban school districts receive additional revenue,” district officials said in a release.

“We hope the legislature reviews the funding formula before approving the budget. The school funding plan boosts K-12 funding by $1.2 billion for a fraction of the state’s districts over the biennium, but most school districts receive no additional state funding.”

The superintendent, treasurer and Board President Cheryl France will meet with Rep. Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) next month, and they also urge taxpayers to contact their legislators to voice their concern about the proposed formula.

Members also passed several motions relating to the district’s Ohio School Facilities Commission project to build a new grades pre-K through 12 school, which is slated to open in the fall of 2015 on property along State Route 273 just outside Mt. Victory.

Approval was given to the commissioning agent and the consultant to provide construction materials testing and inspection services for their new preK-12 building project, and for Superintendent Davis to serve as their representative to approve field work and change orders.

The building project’s schematic design phase also is wrapping up following the district’s “Envisioning Day” that sought input from community members, alumni, business representatives, staff and administration.

Some of the aspects that will drive the overall design of the facility include customized student learning, using technology as a primary teaching tool, and developing rigorous service and project-based learning, the superintendent reported.

In personnel matters, members accepted the retirement resignation of Karen Simon, biology, physical science and anatomy teacher. She completed 34 of her 35 years in education at Ridgemont.

The board recognized Amaya Cummins, a seventh-grade student who won the Elks-sponsored Americanism Essay Contest. Fifth-graders Nate Arseneau, Sean Bennett, and Gage Furer also demonstrated the robot they designed, built and programmed.

In other action, the board:

• extended continuing contracts to Jennifer Ledley and Rachel Mitchell;

• extended a supplemental contract to Jill Stover, high school track;

• hired Kerry McCullough as a second shift high school custodian, and

• recognized Toshia VanBuskirk and Josh Corbin as January students of the month, and Katelin Furer and Andrew Scharf as February students of the month;

• accepted Quest Federal Credit Union’s $3,670.40 donation to Ridgemont’s Athletic Boosters for new chairs for basketball players during home games;

• approved March 27 as a teacher professional development day, with no school for students; and

• approved the 2013-14 school year calendar, with Friday, Aug. 16 as the first day of school.

The next meeting is 5 p.m. March 28 at the high school library.

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