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A message from Superintendent Charles Smialek, Ph.D.

March 2, 2020

 

The 2020‭ ‬portion of this school year has begun on an extremely positive note as the Ohio Department of Education‭ (‬ODE‭) ‬recently‭ ‬informed us that we no longer require their oversight and are now released from Fiscal Caution status‭. ‬We must continue to be very diligent in reinforcing the importance of fiscal responsibility throughout our district‭, ‬but we are also excited that ODE has‭ ‬a renewed sense of confidence in our ability to manage our finances‭.‬

We owe gratitude to many parties for this accomplishment‭. ‬First‭, ‬our Board of Education set a clear tone that lingering in Fiscal Caution was not acceptable‭; ‬their strong leadership set a better direction for us all‭.‬

Second‭, ‬PCSD Treasurer Sean Nuccio and his department have implemented stringent policies and procedures to ensure accurate reporting of revenue and expenses and better guidelines to regulate spending‭.‬

Finally‭, ‬our union leaders have collaborated with us to reach collective bargaining agreements which recognize the financial parameters within which we must continue to operate‭. ‬Our employees are largely paid lower than their similarly qualified and experienced peers in neighboring districts‭. ‬However‭, ‬our labor leaders consistently operate with a‭ ‬“best for the district”‭ ‬mentality‭, ‬even when this perspective means personal and professional sacrifices on behalf of our dedicated staff members‭.‬

While we are excited to emerge from‭ ‬“Fiscal Caution”‭ ‬status‭, ‬we must maintain our revenue levels at their current state‭. ‬To this end‭, ‬we will ask our community to consider Issue 31‭ ‬on March 17‭, ‬the last‭ ‬“new money”‭ ‬operating levy that we passed‭.‬

This renewal is not a new tax‭; ‬it simply maintains collection rates as they currently stand‭. ‬This 7.2‭ ‬mill operating levy costs‭ ‬the owner of a‭ $‬100,000‭ ‬home about‭ $‬21‭ ‬per month‭. ‬

The revenue we collect from this specific levy comprises approximately 10%‭ ‬of our general fund‭. ‬Failure to pass the renewal will‭ ‬lead us to reduce programming and opportunities for our students‭.‬

Importantly‭, ‬the operating levy renewal on March 17’s ballot is separate from the facilities Master Plan that our Board of Education recently adopted‭. ‬Your vote on the operating renewal will not lead to closing current schools or building new ones‭. ‬

Later this spring‭, ‬we will provide more information about our efforts to consolidate our district’s current 15‭ ‬schools into 10‭ ‬new facilities‭, ‬taking advantage of a 34%‭ ‬contribution from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission‭.‬