By Natasha L. Adams, Superintendent
On behalf of the Board of Education, administration, educators, and, most of all, the students of the West Clermont School District, a huge thank you to our families and community for engaging with us through the changing of the elementary attendance boundaries. With the adjustment of the attendance boundaries, we expect to be able to better accommodate current enrollment and projected growth.
I am proud of our parents and community. Over 1,400 people participated in our online Thoughtexchange to share ideas and concerns of moving the elementary attendance boundaries. In addition, more than 100 people participated in the two in-person community engagement sessions. We were able to meet our deadline for communication before winter break.
In my mind, this process represented something even bigger for our school district and community. It represented a well thought out process that came complete with many avenues along the way for parent and community input. The West Clermont Schools belong to you, the community, and processes like this help ensure that we accurately represent all of you. In fact, we intend to continue to engage you in meaningful ways with the important work and planning that we have ahead.
As we turn our attention to the future, it is clear that we must take a serious look at our district’s educational and financial needs. Our last operating levy passed 10 years ago in 2009 and at one point our schools were on the verge of a serious fiscal crisis. Since that time, we have stretched, cut and reduced costs, programs and services and found alternative funding sources through partnerships throughout our district.
Our schools absorbed deep cuts and reductions throughout the district. Sadly, we also lost programs and services for students including transportation for high school students, librarians/media specialists, full-time school psychologists, gifted programming at the elementary and secondary levels, art, music and PE daily at the elementary level, and so much more.
Now all of the stretching, cutting and reducing is no longer enough. We have done all we can and are facing significant operational needs. We spend far less per pupil than the state average, far less than our peer districts, and we continue to “go without” when our teachers need more materials to teach and students need more programs and services.
So, now you have a sense of the needs facing our schools both fiscally and academically. In the coming months, we will begin talking with our entire community about our district’s finances. I encourage you to take part and be involved in those and to always feel free to talk with me at any time.