New Richmond Exempted Village School District
May 2020 Newsletter
Financial highs and lows in age of pandemic
During the May 18 Board of Education meeting, Superintendent Tracey Miller and Board Members expressed their gratitude for the community’s support and passage of the 9.4-mills operating levy in the March primary.
Had the levy vote happened on March 17 as scheduled, Miller said he believes that it would have passed by an even greater margin. The community’s support was that strong.
Then COVID-19 hit, and we saw a decline in jobs and a lot of economic uncertainty arise, he said. Despite the uncertainty, the majority of community members supported the levy.
“We are very, very, very thankful to our community,” Miller said. “I think it’s worthy to note that statewide only 38 percent of new money requests were passed for school systems in Ohio.”
Over the last few months, life as we know it has been transformed. The way we teach and learn has changed, he said. Keeping up with all the changes coming out of Washington DC, the Department of Education, Governor Mike DeWine’s office, and elsewhere, has been a challenge.
New Richmond Schools, for example, recently learned that it will receive $350,000 in CARES act money to help cover costs associated with COVID-19, Miller said. Then earlier this month the state cut school funding to all Ohio schools. The cut resulted in a nearly $500,000 loss in revenue for New Richmond Schools over the next two months.
“While we’re very happy about the levy passing, there are still lots of plates up in the air spinning right now,” he said. “But rest assured, we’ll keep our eyes on the ball and do all that we can to make sure we are in the best situation financially.”
Wrapping up 2019-2020, planning for 2020-2021
Who knew when students and staff left schools on Friday, March 13, it would be the last time they would do so in the 2019-2020 school year, Superintendent Tracey Miller said during the May 18 Board of Education Meeting.
After a quick pivot, students and teachers switched how they learn and teach from an in-person model to remote. New Richmond cafeteria and transportation workers also pivoted. Their focus turned to supporting ongoing learning by preparing and delivering breakfasts and lunches for district students.
As we focus on wrapping up the school year, principals and staff are doing a great job of collecting and returning items from and to students, Miller said. This process is being conducted with social distancing guidelines in place.
“As soon as we get that buttoned down, we will begin working on what next school year is going to look like,” he said. “To be totally transparent, I think the chances of us returning to a normal fall next year are fairly low.”
Over the next few weeks, the district will gather feedback from staff and planning teams will be formed of various stakeholders. The planning teams will focus on developing plans for beginning the 2020-2021 school year under several scenarios including:
An A day and B day school setting where students attend classes on designated days and work remotely on others during the school week.
Continued remote learning.
A complete return to school accompanied by enhanced learning and social distancing.
A combination of the above
“No matter what avenue we go down, we need to look at every aspect of our operation from busing to buildings, and staffing to food service,” Miller said. “Everything will be impacted.”
The focus is on being prepared for whatever guidance the state offers for the 2020-2021 school year, he said.
Before that planning can happen, however, we need to conclude this school year. This will include providing the NRHS Class of 2020 with a blended graduation to be conducted May 22. The drive through ceremony will include students receiving their diplomas one at a time at previously scheduled times surrounded by immediate family members. This will take place Friday evening. The next day, a virtual graduation video will be released that includes pre recorded graduation speeches, music, and pictures of each senior receiving their diploma.
“Mr. Bailey and his staff have done a tremendous job of planning the blended graduation,” Miller said. “We hope to provide closure for our seniors who have had a challenging year, to say the least.”
During its May 18 meeting, the Board of Education accepted the candidates for graduation.
Five-year forecast - balancing funds with pandemic
By law, twice a year public school districts are required to provide the state with five year forecasts, Interim Treasurer James Corbeil said. The first is reported in November and the second by around April or May.
Since last November, this snapshot of district finances has changed drastically for New Richmond Schools as a result of significant events including the pandemic and passage of the district’s 9.4-mills operating levy, he said. The forecast takes into consideration these events along with other factors including nearly $500,000 in recent state funding cuts, anticipated additional cuts from the state, and $350,000 in new dollars from the CARES Act which is funding designed to help offset costs incurred from COVID-19.
With various assumptions in place, the May forecast’s bottomline is much improved over last November’s forecast, Corbeil said. The November five year forecast showed a $10.5 million dollar deficit in 2023. Thanks to levy passage, reductions in spending, and other efficiencies, the district is now looking at an almost $1.7 million dollar surplus in 2023. The numbers are improved, but much work remains to be done to improve the bottomline, he said.
To see the Treasurer’s full report to the Board, you can watch the May 18 Board meeting on the district Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/NREVSD/videos/873941626456554/?v=873941626456554. Corbeil’s presentation is available on BoardDocs which is accessible from the district’s website.
NRHS student wins county art contest
The New Richmond Board of Education recognized NRHS sophomore Ellie Arkus for winning the Clermont County Spring Litter Clean-Up Logo Contest. Because the meeting was virtual, Elllie was not in attendance. This did not stop the celebration of her talent.
For her grand prize winning art, Ellie receives $100 and the privilege of having her artwork featured on event T-shirts, water bottles, and other merchandise. The New Richmond High School art department also receives $100, according to Principal Mark Bailey.
This is the second time art by a NRHS student has been selected as the winning entry in the logo design contest, he said. Both winning artists were students of art teacher Amy Hauserman,
“Ellie has been a real award winner and really come up with some great designs this year,” Mr. Bailey said. “We’re really proud of her.”
The Board recognized Ellie earlier this school year following her grand prize win in the Plein Air Art Show.
Updating Parent/Student Handbooks
During its May 18 meeting, the Board of Education held the first reading of changes to the Parent/Student Handbooks for the elementary, middle and high schools. The Board is expected to vote on the changes during its June 15 meeting.
The focus of proposed changes included updates and the elimination of redundant language.
For example, the middle school and high school handbooks include new disciplinary language addressing vaping and drugs. First-time violators of these guidelines can now expect to spend time with the district’s Safe and Drug-Free Schools Coordinator Jessica McDermott.
Building principals talked about changes during the May 18 Board of Education meeting which was streamed live and can be seen on Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NREVSD/videos/873941626456554/?v=873941626456554
The handbooks are also available for review on the district’s BoardDocs.https://go.boarddocs.com/oh/nrschools/Board.nsf/Public#tab-meetings