As we begin the new year, it is a good time for us to reflect on the Tiffin City School District's accomplishments as well as on the challenges we face in 2011. Our district is driven by a mission statement that guarantees all students will achieve success at their full learning potential. Consequently, we are committed to providing a continuum of services, from intervention to enrichment, that would challenge students and meet their needs.
Successful school districts are located in communities where education is a high priority. In Tiffin, taxpayers support their schools and parents stress the importance of a good education to their children. Public involvement in public education, at any level, makes us a better school district.
Achievements in 2010
I am happy to report that in 2010, Clinton, Krout, Lincoln, Noble, Tiffin Middle School and Columbian High School were rated "excellent" schools (the highest designation) by the Ohio Department of Education.
In addition, the district met all state indicators on Ohio's local report card for the first time in its history. We also met the graduation rate standard for the second year in a row, with more than 90 percent of our seniors earning a diploma.
These outstanding test results were recognized by the Department of Education in October when Lincoln, Noble and the middle school each were honored as a School of Promise for high achievement. It is important to note only 161 of 4,237 schools in Ohio earned this award, and three of those schools are in our district.
If you have any questions or comments about Tiffin City School District, contact me at (419) 447-2515 (extension 1303) or at email@example.com. For more information, visit www.tiffin.k12.oh.us.
Our academic, athletic, band and choir students continue to excel, earning many team and individual honors too numerous to mention in this column.
In the area of finance, we reduced our per pupil expenditures for the second year in a row. Our cost to educate a child is the lowest of any school in the Northern Ohio League and $2,370 less than the state average. We were able to keep costs down by proactively reducing administrative, teaching and support staff positions whenever possible. The school board is to be commended for its commitment to provide this community with an excellent and efficient public school system.
Challenges in 2011
Although local property tax revenue is relatively stable, state revenue has been declining at an alarming rate. Tax reductions for business and industry, phased in since 2005, are one major reason for the decline in revenue. For example, in Tiffin City Schools alone, our tax collections from tangible personal property (a tax on business inventory) has declined from $1.7 million in 2006 to $50,000 in 2011.
Another reason for the decline in revenue is Ohio's struggling economy. The lack of dollars in the last two-year budget cycle was softened by the stimulus dollars received from the federal government. Federal stimulus dollars will not be available this year to offset the projected $8 billion deficit in the state's budget.
Based on the above information, all public schools and other government agencies are anticipating a significant decrease in state funding effective July 1. With 46.7 percent of our total revenue coming from Columbus, any decrease in state support will have a huge impact on Tiffin City Schools.
To live within our budget, we will need to reduce expenditures in 2011. As local businesses have had to do, the school district will be cutting numerous positions and programs in the spring effective with the 2011-12 school year. We will be looking for new ways to provide educational services to our students at a reduced cost.
However, these cuts, as significant as they will be, will not overcome our deficit. Voters will have an opportunity in 2011 to approve new operating money to reduce the remaining deficit and protect the investment this community has in the Tiffin City Schools. The amount of the request will depend on the new state budget.
As always, we will address these challenges with our very best effort, keeping the best interests of students as our primary focus. I am confident with your support we will overcome all obstacles and continue to provide the best education possible for your children.