June 25, 2018

It is hard to believe we are already in the final week of June. As we conclude the celebration of a fruitful 2017-2018 school year, we simultaneously prepare for a promising 2018-2019 school year. We are excited about another great year ahead of us at St. James R-I Schools! This summer is different from most because of the impending building and renovations projects. As we approach the new year, I look forward to working alongside the Board, staff members, community members, architects and the construction management team as we begin the building process this fall. The Board of Education recently selected a construction management company. The team at BRANCO Enterprises is presently working alongside Dake Wells Architecture in the development phase as determined by the finalized schematic designs. Once they have sufficient time to develop a plan, they will communicate a well-defined construction timeline for us to communicate with the community. Over the next couple of years as the building and renovation projects develop and are completed, we will most assuredly face many known and unknown challenges and I look forward to assisting with the development of solutions for each. In the end, I am excited about celebrating the successes of the building and renovation process and all other district related successes with the students, staff, and community.

School finance continues to be a challenge for school districts across the state. Despite the bedlam created by the governor’s office, our lawmakers made great strides this legislative session by fully funding the foundation formula. It should be noted that our very own Senator Dan Brown, who is the Chair of the Appropriations Committee, played a big part in the fight for public schools. He and several of his fellow lawmakers should be commended for their efforts. There remains some disappointment as the Public Placement Fund did not receive the adequate funding necessary to support the educational needs of students in these statewide facilities. We will continue to advocate in coordination with the leaders at Great Circle for increases to this fund in future years. St. James R-I Schools will continue to fight for every extra dollar generated through the formula that could benefit our students.                    

The 2018-2019 budget will be presented at the June 28 board meeting. This proposed budget will allow the District to maintain present programs and educational opportunities while also being fiscally conservative considering uncertainties with the state foundation formula, legislation impacting state funding, potential withholding of state funds based on overall state budget conditions, and changes in state tax policy impacting education. If the state continues to fully fund the formula we will be able to continue to provide the high level of education and extracurricular activities presently offered to our students. We will continue to make every effort to maintain a balanced budget. We will also continue to leverage expenses as to maximize the benefits of our revenues to provide the very best educational possibilities for our children. There is much anticipation for another great year ahead of us at St. James R-I Schools!  

If you have a particular topic you would like addressed, or if you have any ideas or questions concerning our building and renovation projects, please contact me by email at mj@stjschools.org or by writing me at 122 E. Scioto St.