Preschool plan not new

Why did we make the decision to move our preschool to Lincoln? The idea to run our own preschool has been on the drawing board for years. When we moved from our neighborhood schools to grade-level primary schools, Lincoln was not sold because it was the board’s plan to someday use it for a preschool.

Previous to July 2013, early intervention preschool funding was in the form of units. The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center owned these units and the Tiffin district could not apply for a new unit. Also, previous to July 2013, the state deducted its portion of the cost of an early intervention preschool student from our foundation money and they sent this money directly to NCOESC. After June 2013, the state went to individual funding instead of unit funding and these funds became unrestricted funds for Tiffin City Schools. Basically, our legislature could report the Tiffin system received more money in the 2013-2014 school year, but in reality it was a pass-through, not an increase in funding.

Mike Klepper and I served on the finance committee for the Tiffin Board of Education and we saw a savings of a couple hundred thousand dollars to the school district after a two-year investment in the Lincoln building. This savings would be used to improve the education for all students in Tiffin City Schools. In order to realize this estimated $200,000 savings in the 2016-17 school year, we needed to open our preschool in the 2014-15 school year. For this reason, after a change in our superintendents, we acted very quickly in January 2014 in order to make this a reality.

We moved other services from NCOESC. This past year, under the direction of Don Coletta, we moved our occupational therapy services and we are projecting a savings of about $40,000 for the 2013-14 school year. Two years ago, we bused our multiply disabled/multiply handicapped students to Old Fort. The Tiffin City Schools system had a majority of students in this class. We were able to save $25,000 by moving this class to Tiffin.

In all, NCOESC has 67 services available to our school system. We now use 13 of its services and our largest expense is for the preschool program. Because our long-term plan included the preschool at Lincoln, we have never really closed the building. We have used it for PTA functions, kindergarten enrollment and evaluation, and the Tiffin Fire Department and Tiffin Police Department use it to provide safety programs for our K-1 and 2-3 students. The electric, heat, water and sewer never were turned off; therefore, occupying the building will not be an additional cost to the district. As board members, managing educational excellence with limited resources is an ever going responsibility that we are elected to do.

Roland Zimmerman,

Tiffin City Board of Education