Tag Archives: Dr. John H. Kelly

Board Update

Good Afternoon:

Hope everyone is enjoying their summer. Not too much going on in the school district or school board over the summer break. But, I do want to give you an update on some various issues, events, and upcoming meetings.

Also if you have any friends or neighbors who would like to receive my e-mail updates please let me know and I will be sure to add them to my e-mail list. They can also click on this link on my website to sign up at: http://www.danlangshaw.com/contact/e-mail-newsletter-sign-up/

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School Board President Dr. John H. Kelly Letter on Upcoming Bond Issue:

Below is a letter written by North Royalton School Board President Dr. John H. Kelly Letter on Upcoming Bond Issue:

The facilities issues of the North Royalton School District have been discussed for over a decade. The North Royalton School Board commissioned two major analyses of district facilities; one in 2003-2004 by Hayes Large and a second review and re-assessment in 2008 by MKC architects. In 2009, the Ohio School Boards Commission also delivered their assessment; a rating of our facilities based on state standards. These were major analytical projects and all aspects of district facilities were evaluated and assessed. From those studies several recommendations were made. Focus groups met, residents were surveyed, options were evaluated but no proposal was given to the public for a decision. Initial plans ranged in the $150 million range and involved various possibilities which included the new construction of at least one building. The 2008 review led to a decision to comprehensively repair and expand existing facilities without new construction and pared the plan down to proposals in the $100 million range. Still, no proposal was taken to the public given the cost and the uncertain economic forecasts at the time.

The Strategic Plan process which concluded in 2010 confirmed that the facilities issue was a major concern to the public and that something needed to be done to address the needs that had been pointed out for the preceding six years. A feasible plan was needed to position the district for sweeping curricular changes coming in 2014, technological instructional opportunities and growth. It needed to be complete; but free of any frills or extras. Over the last 16 months The Shape Our Schools’ Future Committee toured all the facilities, reviewed every document produced and came forward with a proposal that was presented to the community on March 27. The board would like to commend this dedicated group of residents for their volunteer effort. Parents, former parents, construction experts, architects and engineers were all part of the group that looked at our facilities’ needs.

The charge to this committee was to develop a plan that would be comprehensive; thorough but not ostentatious, so that it would provide long-term solutions that would last for many years to come. It just did not make sense to be incomplete now and have to go back to the public again in five to 10 years to finish the job. The years since the first studies have been filled with “reactive repairs.” That is, each year a “wish list” of needed repairs would be presented and the board at the recommendation of the administration would repair as much as possible within each year’s budget. Every year the list would grow larger as the worst items from the current year would take precedence over carry-over needs.

This brings us to 2012 and the plan that has been developed and presented by the Shape Our Schools’ Future Committee. The committee has looked at all aspects of previous proposals and reduced their recommendation down to the most critical needs. Their plan reduces many items included in the 2008 recommendation:

* Expansion plans have been minimized to address current needs and moremodest growth trends of recent years.
* Window replacements have been reduced to the most critical only, with plans for future replacements a few at a time each year
* Technology and electrical upgrades have been reduced significantly with emphasis given to critical technological needs and projects that pay for themselves with energy savings within a few years.
* Internal finishes and trims have been drastically cut to keep the project focused on what is necessary.
That said, the board also walked through the buildings and held meetings with the committee to evaluate all aspects of the proposal. At the May meeting the board unanimously made its recommendation to proceed; and now the plan will be presented to the public for a vote in November. Ultimately these are your facilities and it is up to you to decide if you want to maintain them for the long term.

Our district has demonstrated tremendous accountability over the years, always ranking as one of the lowest in cost per pupil and one of the highest in academic performance in Cuyahoga County. Recently, North Royalton High School was selected by Newsweek Magazine as one of only 12 schools in Northeast Ohio to be ranked in the top 1,000 nationally. The district’s long term debt is at a minimum with the middle school bond issue to be retired in 2019. The 1.8-mills currently being levied will end at that time. The stadium project, necessitated by an OCR complaint, was accomplished without a tax increase. The community stepped up to raise $1.3 million for the turf and track while the remaining $3.35 million for the renovation project was raised via cell phone tower revenue and a COPS issue by leveraging a portion of our annual Permanent Improvement Fund. The district came up with a creative way to address an immediate problem and need; with a solution that will last for decades to come, without raising taxes.

Without question, the board is sensitive to the fact that the economy is not robust nor do we deny that many residents are faced with difficult budgetary issues on a daily basis. However, we also feel our obligation to make you aware that your facilities are in need of rehabilitation for immediate and long term stability. The cost of money is at all-time lows and construction costs are also low and very competitive. Every community must decide what type of educational program they wish to support. Our facilities are at a stage where they are hindering the education of our children. It is time for us as a community to decide whether to protect the investment we have made in our facilities and provide our children with a level playing surface as they compete in a global environment.