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Olentangy Schools

May 25 Meeting Summary

May 25, 2023 Meeting

The board collectively congratulated and thanked Mr. Raiff for his service to the Olentangy community at his final Board of Education meeting as Superintendent. Mr. Raiff will transition into an advisor role through July 31, as Mr. Meyer assumes the role of Superintendent beginning June 1. 

The Board of Education recognized students and staff for outstanding achievements in academics, athletics, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities this spring. 

In his final Superintendent Report, Mark T. Raiff reflected on highlights from the past eight years that the district has accomplished: 

  • Identifying the need to address non-academic barriers, the district created a department of Student Well-Being, which includes 18 social workers, administrative staff, and a contract with OSU Wexner Medical Center to have certified mental health counselors at all high schools. 
  • ​Continuing to address non-academic barriers, a Director of Safety, Security and Preparedness position was added along with additional School Resource Officers through the partnership with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office. All building entrances were redesigned to be more secure and improved safety protocols. 
  • ​Prioritizing the strategic plan goal to promote a culture of inclusive excellence, administrative positions were created to lead the Equity and Inclusion team to better support Diversity Liaisons, students and staff. 
  • Olentangy passed two ballot issues to fund the building of four buildings (Berlin High School, Berlin Middle School, Shale Meadows Elementary and Elementary 17) as well as new ADA compliant playgrounds, new elementary libraries, enhanced secure building entrances, broadcast journalism classrooms, re-designed collaboration spaces at high schools and additional district improvements. 
  • Growth has continued to remain a priority and over-crowding at the elementary and preschool levels was addressed by adding new classrooms to three elementary buildings, moved the administrative offices to free up classroom space and build new buildings. 
  • ​New district and school brand identities enhanced the district’s image in the state and nation while creating new revenue opportunities. 
  • Adopting a digital conversion plan and a comprehensive technology plan that included a reliable and redundant network with greatly improved access and network speed. This plan also added thousands of devices to improve accessibility for all students. 
  • The pilot program of BridgED: Olentangy has already provided numerous opportunities for students and staff to explore career pathways and opportunities. 
  • Integrating the Portrait of a Learner dispositions of being resilient, purposeful, curious and kind into student learning and staff alike allows individuals to flourish in their lives and work. 
  • With the support of the Board of Education, the District strategically built a staffing plan targeted at areas to better serve our students and staff, including 12 Elementary Assistant Principals, six Middle School Assistant Principals, 21 math specialists, and re-designing the special education and EL staff structure. 
  • Navigating a global pandemic by never cancelling a school day, a bus route or an extra-curricular event and creating a 5,000 student Committed Distance Learning program. 
  • ​Grew to the fourth largest district in the state while achieving the highest possible designation on the state report card. 

Treasurer Ryan Jenkins gave an update on House Bill 33, which is the state’s biennium budget for school funding. The formula is currently utilizing fiscal year 2022 cost sets for determining district funding, which is a positive development for Olentangy. The bill will continue to be amended and reviewed by the Senate Finance Committee and others through the month of June. 

Mr. Jenkins also informed the community that a complete property valuation reappraisal is taking place in Delaware County later this year. Property valuations take place on a three-year cycle, with the auditor utilizing outside firms for complete property reappraisals every six years. The auditor’s goal of evaluating properties is to accurately assess the values of real property equally and properly, not to increase taxes. 

Mr. Jenkins clarified a few misconceptions regarding the property valuations. First, when property values increase, taxes do not commensurately increase. The District is forecasting that residents can expect property values to increase by an average of 25%; however, taxes will not directly increase by 25% as state law equalizes the tax burden when property values increase. He also explained that property values and the resulting taxes are not directly tied to inflation. 

Mr. Jenkins will continue to educate the community on the impact of property value reassessments at board meetings throughout the summer and plans to demonstrate that if/when taxes increase, school districts do not automatically receive large increases in local tax dollars.  

Delaware County will be in the path of a total eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024. Delaware County Emergency Services has requested that no Delaware County schools hold school that day. Therefore, the 2023-2024 District Calendar will be updated to move a conference exchange day from Friday, April 26, 2024 to Monday, April 8, 2024. The updated 2023-2024 District Calendar and the 2023-2024 Kindergarten Calendar are available on the district website. 

The Finance and Audit Committee, in conjunction with association leadership and district management serving on an Insurance Committee, have evaluated Olentangy’s self-insured health insurance loss fund, and recommended board policy 6210.02: Self Insurance Fund Balance or Premium Holidays. This policy was passed by the board last month to develop a systematic way to analyze the self-insured loss fund reserves and how to plan for future premium rates. 

Assets in the self-insurance fund currently are projected to exceed 60% of the projected annual costs of the plan for the 2023 calendar year. Because the reserves are higher than the target of 35% in policy 6210.02, the Insurance Committee is recommending that the Board of Education approve a premium holiday in November 2023.  Staff members on the insurance plan will not be charged a monthly premium in November of 2023, resulting in savings for covered members ranging from $80 to $535 depending on which plans and coverage levels an employee has chosen. Because the Board of Education also contributes an employer’s share of the employee’s insurance premiums each month, the premium holiday will create over $3 million in general fund savings for the district.  

The livestream of the Olentangy Schools Board of Education meeting on May 25, 2023 is available on the Board Meeting livestream web page. The Board of Education 2023 meeting schedule has been added to the district website and the next regular meeting will be at the Olentangy Administrative Offices on Thursday, June 8 at 6:30pm. All meeting information and records are posted to the Board Meeting Records web page