Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/24/2013 12:00:00 PM
2014-2015 SCHOOL CALENDAR
Administrators have been working on the calendar for the 2014-2015 school year.Using input from various stakeholders, they drafted three calendars for consideration.The district is offering parents an opportunity to provide suggestions and comments on the proposal that garnered the greatest positive input. Students start school a bit earlier than usual in August, enjoy a few long weekends, and get out for summer break at the end of May. Many parents and teachers strongly favor the May summer dismissal. Specific details are listed below.When completing a calendar, administrators must consider several factors including federal holidays, state testing dates, a balance of days in each quarter, graduation date, and testing for AP, mid-terms and final exams.It can be a juggling act to accommodate these considerations and the state-required number of days with the least amount of disruption to the classroom instruction.This is only a proposal.Please review the proposed calendar and provide feedback, positive or negative before June 5th.Comments will be considered before the final draft is presented to the Board of Education for approval.
Tipp City Schools District Calendar (Calendar Subject to Revision)
Thursday, August 14New Staff Orientation
Friday, August 15 New Staff Orientation
Monday, August 18 All Staff In-Service and Open House Tuesday, August 19 All Staff In-service
Wednesday, August 20 First Day of School for Students
Monday, September 1 Labor Day - No School
Friday, October 171st Quarter Ends
Monday, October 20 Teacher In-service - No Classes
Wednesday, November 5 Two-Hour Late Student Arrival - Staff Development
Wednesday, November 26 Teacher Conferences - No School
Thurs-Fri, Nov. 27-28 Thanksgiving Recess - No School
Friday, December 19 Last Day of Classes before Christmas Break
Mon, 12/22 - Fri, 1/2 Christmas Break
Monday, January 5 First Day of Classes in 2015
Friday, January 9 Second Quarter / First Semester Ends
Monday, January 19 Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - No School
Wednesday, February 4 Two-Hour Early Student Dismissal - Staff Development
Monday, February 16 Presidents' Day - No School
Friday, March 13 Third Grading Period Ends
Mon, 3/30 – Fri, 4/3 Spring Break - No School
Thursday, April 15 Two-Hour Early Student Dismissal - Staff Development
Monday, May 25 Memorial Day - No School
Friday, May 29Second Semester / Fourth Quarter Ends - Last Day for Students
Monday, June 1 Teacher Record Day
Mon, 6/1 – Fri, 6/5Calamity Make-Up Days if necessary
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/3/2013 4:00:00 PM
Under federal law, school districts are required to provide a free, appropriate education to all children. That looks differently to each of our students who qualifies for an Individualized Education Plan, more commonly referred to as an IEP.An IEP is a specialized teaching plan based on one’s specific needs and/or disabilities.It is designed to improve a student’s academic performance and education results. Often, a very complex process, involving numerous personnel, is used to determine what is most appropriate to each child. This is one of the fastest growing segments in a school district budget.
Currently Tipp City Exempted Village Schools has 385 students receiving some form of special services.This can be occupational, speech, and/or physical therapy.Some children may have a visual impairment, hearing loss or form of autism.Some children with emotional disorders or ADHD are on IEPs.Students with any impairment that affects learning and performance receive services.
Tipp City Exempted Village Schools is proud of its commitment and programs to provide a quality education to all enrolled students.However, with better identification of special needs available to educators, the number of children requiring services is increasing at unprecedented rates. Likewise, special education costs have increased substantially. More severe needs of children also means the children need more intense, specialized services.If the district cannot provide appropriate services for a student, the student must go elsewhere at the district’s expense.This could include an off-site facility, such as a private residential facility, that can cost more than $30,000 a year.
I write this today to shed some light on yet another reason we need your support on the May 7th levy.There is no such thing as a free education.It is our responsibility to provide a quality education to all students.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 5/1/2013 4:00:00 PM
Levy Committee volunteers are hearing from community members who do not support the upcoming levy for reasons that are retaliatory to our students.Many of the explanations for the no votes are personal agendas against a staff member, coach, board decision or superintendent.Some disagree with the board’s position on retire-rehire practices.Others do not agree with the school redistricting though it is working out better than most expected and saving the district close to one million dollars over five years. Others are unhappy with the district’s decision to build the high school that welcomed its first students in 2003.And, still others say they will vote no for this levy because of the district’s exploration of future facility options to renovate and/or replace deteriorating schools.The BOE and administrators made decisions they believed to be in the best interest of the district.If you are one of these no votes, I ask you to reconsider for the sake of our students. Please do not use the May levy to send a message to the Board of Education or superintendent.It does little to change decisions or the makeup of the board.Instead, I encourage you to engage in dialogue, offer suggestions for improvement and work to effect positive change. Future elections will afford you the chance to elect new leadership or keep the same leadership. The Tipp City School district needs this levy to keep teachers in the classrooms, programs viable and class sizes down.These students are our future doctors, engineers, mechanics, and teachers.Do not jeopardize that because of a single disagreement.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/30/2013 4:00:00 PM
The Tipp City School District is far from alone in asking taxpayers to support a school levy on May 7th.The budget situation has materialized to its current state in part due to unfunded mandates imposed by state and federal governments.
A mandate is a statute or regulation that requires the district to provide certain services or perform specific actions; yet, the government imposing the mandate provides no funding for fulfilling it.The list of mandates is growing and the collective costs are creating a system that is not sustainable or affordable.These expensive requirements are coming at a time when state funding is decreasing and operating costs are increasing. We already cut staff, programs and services to balance the budget.
Each mandate has a significant cost that the state has forced on the local school district. Therefore, local school districts such as ours must turn to the voters for support.
Some mandates include offering Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO).Though a credible, worthwhile program for participants to take college courses, it is costly and takes money out of the district. The district must pay the tuition for students in DYS or other court assigned special facilities.It is the district’s responsibility to monitor the curriculum, test scores, and progress of all home-schooled students.The state requires the district to verify annually each student’s residency.There are hundreds of government-imposed mandates that are unfunded or underfunded.
The state recently unveiled its “third grade reading guarantee,” another unfunded mandate. Beginning in 2014, the district must test all kindergarten to third grade students, identify those reading below grade level, develop specific plans unique to each child, and then report EACH step to the state.The state has not determined the costs to do this nor has the state offered any financial backing.Essentially is falls to the local taxpayers.Without doubt, the ability to read is critical to academic success.However, teachers in the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools already do this well with excellent assessment and remedial tools.
This is just the beginning. A new evaluation system for principals and teachers will cost money for training, implementation and follow up.By 2014, all students will be taking state required tests online.All technology to accomplish this must be compatible with the tests.New Common Core Standards may mean some of our new textbooks do not cover all of the material students will see on these tests. The law requires proper implementation of these and other mandates; meanwhile, the effectiveness of the demands and programs is unproven.
The government created an impossible situation with its one-size- fits-all approach and lack of funding. We need your support to maintain excellence in our schools.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/26/2013 2:00:00 PM
Passing the May levy has huge benefits for the district and home values!The money generated from this levy is NOT for additional programs, new services or technology improvements.The funding is for day-to-day operations.Without passage, additional cuts will occur that will significantly impact academic support and services at all grade levels. The district needs these dollars to continue its tradition of excellence.
Passage of the levy benefits the district’s 2600 students!
·It will allow the district to maintain strong participation in athletics. The athletic department pared down by eliminating some athletic programs and coaches. If the levy fails, the athletic participation fee will double for THS participants; it will increase 75% for TMS students.Asking parents to shoulder more costs means some students will be NOT participate.This year more than 900 students compete in Tipp City Exempted Village Schools athletics. The district feels strong that participation in extra-curricular activities, including athletics, is part of a well-rounded education.What is gained on the basketball court or softball field are lifelong lessons that have lasting benefits.Participation in these quality experiences improves confidence, self-esteem and mental alertness.Many students are more motivated when involved with a team and earn better grades. Students learn leadership, time management, problem solving and social skills.They experience the benefits of practice and perseverance.And, in a small town such as ours, athletic programs are a part of our community!
·It will allow the district to maintain strong participation in extra-curricular activities.
More than 11-hundred high school and junior high students participate in band, choir, drama, clubs and other after school activities.Dozens of more Tipp City students enjoy Lego League, Destination Imagination, and Science Fair.Participation in all of these groups also will cost families more money if the levy does not pass.These activities are part of the students’ education and positively influence their lives.In addition to teaching them valuable skills, they develop and pursue a passion. For many students it truly is their only outlet. Students engaged in meaningful activities do better in school and are less likely to migrate toward trouble. Raising pay to participate fees will have a negative impact on the success of these programs and financially prohibit some students from participating.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/24/2013 5:00:00 PM
Taxpayers in the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools are asking why area school districts removed their levies from the May ballot while our district did not.Vandalia-Butler, Huber Heights and Kettering School Districts opted to pull their levies following the Governor’s release of a new school funding plan.
The much-anticipated blueprint for Ohio schools included double-digit increases for these districts while leaving many others flat funded.Tipp City is one of those districts getting no additional money from the state.In fact, the very real possibility exists that Tipp City Exempted Village Schools could receive even less money.It is difficult to balance a budget and plan for the education of our 2600 students when the Board of Education faces such a financial unknown.
Ironically, the plan presented by the Governor in February, is just a proposal.The bill is not finished and must go through the legislative process that includes debate, public hearings, and rewrites. It is the subject of much argument before a final version is put before lawmakers for a vote.
There is too much uncertainty with the funding formula, the amount the district can expect to receive and the date for determination. We cannot depend on increases in state funding and must consider that the state could make further cuts.
Administrators with neighboring Vandalia-Butler City Schools are making difficult decisions in response to a $7 million deficit resulting from state funding cuts, three failed levies, and property devaluations.Forty-seven positions were cut including 33 teachers. Many of these teachers are talented, long-term educators.The district also cut art, music, and physical education for middle school students.
Huber Heights City Schools also is grappling with financial dilemmas.Its Board of Education approved $6.4 million in cuts and eliminated more than one hundred positions.Additional cuts and significant increases in pay to participate fees are also possible.
We do not want a similar scenario to play out in Tipp City Exempted Village Schools. The possibility of staff layoffs, increased class sizes, and decreased programming is a real threat without additional funding.Without this levy, the Board of Education may choose to further reduce services and other opportunities that keep excellence in our schools.This is not something that only happens in other school districts.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/22/2013 5:00:00 PM
During its annual dinner theatre event on Saturday evening, the Tippecanoe Educational Endowment introduced seven nominees for its annual Teacher of the Year. Though there can be only one winner, each teacher introduced is an example of what makes the Tipp City School District one of the strongest in the area.These teachers typify the standard of excellence that is synonymous with our district and a reason families choose to settle in our community.
These teachers inspire, engage and empower students. They instill in them a desire to learn and achieve.They are passionate, enthusiastic and creative educators who recognize individual abilities of students, encourage their talents, and foster their self-esteem. They have high expectations for all of them despite students’ position on the learning curve. The Board of Education strives to keep this level of teacher in our classrooms in order to maintain the excellent educational opportunities our students deserve.
It could, however, become increasingly difficult to attract and retain top quality, award-winning teachers.Unless we provide them the tools and support to educate students, the district will confront difficult decisions on how to maintain excellence without these dedicated teachers.Many may opt out of the profession because of inadequate resources, lack of support, wage freezes andburnout. We simply cannot afford to lose them.
Class sizes are larger, more students have learning disabilities, and social issues that did not exist only a few years ago are migrating into the classroom.Teachers are expected to keep pace with these changing environments while raising students’ academic performance as outlined in the new Common Core.Ourteachersare doing more with less(and doing it well) and have been for quite some time.Yet, there comes a point when we just can’t continue operating that model without consequences.We are at that point now.
One of the most important factors in influencing the quality of education a child receives is the quality of his/her teacher. A parent of a soon-to-be high school graduate told me recently she credits much of her child’s success with the outstanding teachers her child had for 12 years in classrooms with fewer than 20 students. “My son truly had the best Tipp Schools have to offer.They recognized his strengths and challenged him while nurturing his weaknesses. They set him on the path to success.”Many of our graduates are on a path to success.Please help Tipp City Exempted Village Schools continue this tradition of excellence and support the levy on May 7th.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/11/2013 12:00:00 PM
The failure of the August 2012 levy brought adjustments to our schools and classrooms due to necessary budget cuts. It is never easy when finances force the Board of Education to make such changes. One area impacted significantly is in elementary arts where some classes are 25 to 30 percent larger with instruction time dramatically shortened. The combination does not allow the district to optimize these important learning experiences for our students.
For example, in the Kindergarten Visual Art Classes, there are 30 students needing instruction, guidance and attention. Art history, exposure to artists, and use of varied mediums replaced the art classes of yesteryear, when construction paper, crayons and scissors were the norm. These manipulative projects take place in a 25-minute class. Traditional class time is 47 minutes. The diminished time also means less time for instruction, because cleanup has to be built into the period.
Art and music classes are not luxuries in a school district. They are integral parts of the core curriculum. When integrated into standard academic curriculum, results are powerful testimonials to the programs’ benefits. National and state studies conclude that districts with strong arts see improved academic performances. Music is associated with math functions such as fractions, patterns, and time. Art stimulates the brain and is associated with reading progression and verbal skills acquisition. Students regularly exposed to art and music education also develop critical thinking and communication skills, two essential attributes in higher learning.
Our teachers see that engaging students in art and music fosters creativity, improves motivation and enhances concentration. For many students, art and music are the highlights of the school week and they easily recollect their experiences with detail and pride. Children naturally have vivid imaginations and seek outlets to express themselves. These classes provide the students the arenas to do this.
These classes also could be the impetus that ignites a passion for professional goals. Our young students could be the leaders in architecture, fashion design, or Broadway theatre production. Tipp City Schools could very well be the district that produces the next Frank Lloyd Wright, Ralph Lauren, and Andrew Lloyd Webber. We have a responsibility to educate the whole child. Support of the levy on May 7thwill allow the district to restore art and music instruction to its previous levels and provide students the well-rounded education they deserve and Tipp families expect.
Posted by John P. Kronour, Ph.D. at 4/5/2013 12:00:00 PM
Paying more taxes is painful and it is never easy for a Board of Education to ask for your support especially during these uncertain economic times.Yet, these uncertain economic times are making local backing imperative not only for the health of our schools but also for the health of our community.
After years of significantly reduced state support for school operations, current levels remain stagnant despite the high rate of inflation and escalating costs associated with education. Simultaneously, unfunded, costly mandates continue to rise at unprecedented levels. In fact, Tipp City Exempted Village Schools gets zero federal dollars for operating expenditures.State funding accounts for 43% of that total.
The Board of Education regularly scrutinizes the district’s budget to evaluate costs and potential savings to adopt a responsible fiscal plan.The BOE responded to your requests by significantly reducing administrative and operational spending and implementing numerous efficiencies.In two years, it has cut the district’s operating budget by almost $1.7 million.That equates to 10 percent of the operating budget.
Cuts are in place. Three-year pay freezes remain.Employees contribute more toward health insurance premiums. We have laid off teachers and staff, increased pay-to-participate fees, decreased busing availability, and lessened class time for the arts. We have made every effort to protect the excellence in education in our schools through these cost saving measures and budget reductions.However, we have reached the point where the district is at a serious impasse and we cannot wait for the state to better fund us.
On May 7th, voters of the Tipp City Exempted Village Schools will be asked to support a much-needed operating levy.The requested 4.93 mills emergency tax levy will generate nearly $2 million a year for four years.A homeowner with property assessed, not valued, at $100,000 will see an increase of approximately $150 annually, or roughly 41 cents a day.
The money generated from this levy is NOT for additional programs, new services or technology improvements.The funding is for day-to-day operations including maintaining teacher levels, resources and services and implementing safety enhancements. The levy pays for a strong educational system that is synonymous with our community and a key driver in bringing people to Tipp City. We have an obligation to our students.
We feel this is a small price to pay considering the alternatives. Without passage, additional, more dramatic cuts will occur that will significantly affect academic support and services, class sizes, and electives at all grade levels. If you have any questions or comments please contact me via the blog or by phone at 667-8444.
As I have stated before in the Horizons, we continue to move forward, look ahead and plan for the future. Part of planning for the future is determining what the District has to work with right now and what kind of school district our community wants.
As a District we heard you when you said, “make cuts.” The District has made a variety of cuts, the largest being freezing wages and benefits for our teachers and staff; we have found ways to generate revenue with Open Enrollment and are cutting our energy costs with the HB 264 plan.
As we move forward and plan for the future I would like you to give me some feedback. I would like for you to tell me, “What do you feel makes a good school district?”Please provide your input and don’t forget the blogging comments policy below.
We agree that it takes a community working with a shared vision – a vision to be the very best we can be each and every day. Our job is to keep the schools a vibrant, safe, educational place for kids.Your job is to provide us with input and support. As always, we are keeping an eye out for improvement and to our future.
Blogging Comments Policy
All comments are moderated and will only be posted if the following criteria have been met.
- No Profanity
- No Personal Attacks
- Comments must be relevant to the original posting
- Please include your name and address.
Anyone who violates this Comments Policy may be blocked from commenting on this blog.