Fall has arrived and we have reached the end of the first nine week grading period. I am happy to report that the Tri-Valley School District continues to be in excellent shape in terms of academics, finances, and extra-curricular programs. It has been a fantastic start to the school year and I look forward to what lies ahead for the remainder of the school year.
October and November are very important months in terms of education and in terms of student enrollment. There are typically only very minimal interruptions to the calendar in these months, which makes it a great time to zero in on key educational concepts and cover a lot of ground academically in our classrooms. October is also the month in which enrollment numbers are finalized and these numbers are what drive the largest portion of our funding from the State of Ohio. Approximately 66 % of our ADM (Average Daily Membership) funding comes from the State… the remaining roughly 30% is generated locally through real estate taxes. Enrollment and property valuation are the two largest drivers of school funding in Ohio. (The remaining 4% comes from federal funds, grants, etc…)
District-wide enrollment for the entire school district for the current school year is currently 2,951 students. In 2010, total enrollment was 3,194. When examining these numbers it becomes quite clear that district enrollment is declining, just as was projected by the Ohio School Facilities Commission in 2005. However, as is usually the case, there is a lot more to the story. Open enrollment has steadily increased during this same time period from 174 students in 2009, 214 students in 2010, 224 students in 2012, and currently 307 open enrollment students attending Tri-Valley. Over half of the school districts in Ohio have realized significant losses in enrollment during this same time period. Up until the current school year, Tri-Valley has been able to utilize open enrollment to maintain our numbers and our level of funding when they would have otherwise fallen significantly. What has changed… residents might ask? The school district is virtually at capacity for accepting new open enrollment students at the location (Nashport Elementary) where we get the largest number of requests. Nashport (109 OE Students) has more open enrollment students than the rest of the elementary schools combined. Declining enrollment is not necessarily all negative. There will certainly be some advantages for our extra-curricular programs by eventually competing in smaller divisions at tournament time. In terms of finances, it is not necessarily all bad either. As long as the district is right-sized in terms of personnel to serve the needs of our students, there are not really any negative financial side effects to small declines in enrollment.
The second largest driver of school funding, as I stated earlier, is local property taxes. Property taxes have become a volatile issue recently as a result of many property owners who have received large increases in valuation from the most recent appraisals by the Muskingum County Auditor’s Office. I want to make it clear to our residents that these increases are in no way a result of anything the school district has done, nor will they provide additional funding as many residents might expect. These increases will have the net effect of raising the local percentage of school funding and lowering the states portion while leaving school districts funding virtually unchanged.
Congratulations to our Fall Sports teams and the TV Marching Band for their successful seasons. It is hard to believe, but the winter sports season is just around the corner. Season ticket sales for Boys Basketball are scheduled to begin Monday, Nov 5th from noon to 7:00 PM in the high school office for previous ticket holders. Sales to the general public will begin November 7th during normal school hours.