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Eagle Eye on Education: Community partnerships truly connect us

This Week New Albany News Column January 2023

Community Partnerships Truly Connect Us

The New Albany-Plain Local Schools are ever grateful for a community that believes, embraces, and supports the core purpose of our schools - “To create a culture of accountability that achieves the best academic and developmental outcomes for each student.”  This focused purpose enables everyone in our school district to put students first and implement measurable outcomes for continuous improvement that enhance student achievement, student growth, and student well-being as our community expects. 

Successful communities support student achievement in a number of ways and New Albany is no exception. Our school district is the center of our community and our success directly impacts our quality of life and the economic impact of attracting and retaining businesses as well as residents. The more than 5,000 students in our care are championed by parents, The City of New Albany, Plain Township, the New Albany Company, the New Albany Community Foundation, our civic leaders, the Chamber and its business partners, resident taxpayers, and others.  Life-changing developmental and educational opportunities for our students are possible because of the strength of our community.  

All schools, including ours, have a fiduciary responsibility to operate efficiently and effectively.  School funding in Ohio remains unconstitutional and includes an overreliance on property taxes.  Based upon sound fiscal management practices and focused direction, the financial forecast of our school district has been strong.  It has been over a decade since new operational dollars were successfully levied, yet academic achievement results continue to improve.  The 1.75 mil permanent improvement renewal levy that passed this past November, combined with general revenue funds will allow us to continue to repair, and, when necessary, replace capital assets throughout our school campus during the next five years without any net tax increase to our taxpayers.

The arrival of 2023 requires our due diligence to continue to plan for the future.  The school district is partnering with the City of New Albany and the New Albany Company to contract with Cooperative Strategies, a firm with national expertise located in Dublin, Ohio, to complete a “student potential” analysis and “capacity and space utilization” analysis to inform our future. Cooperative Strategies will review available data, information and documents at the local and state level, electronically map our existing student population, create subdivision analyses, analyze future land use, develop a student yield sliding scale, and create growth scenarios for future developable land.  Simultaneously, other professionals from Cooperative Strategies will also complete a capacity analysis of existing school facilities to confirm if our existing school district space is maximized to operate as efficiently as possible.  Both analyses are targeted to  be published in a comprehensive report to share publicly with the Board of Education, City Council, our partners and the community at large prior to the end of this school year.  

The school district remains grateful to the City of New Albany, its elected officials and staff and the New Albany Company for their willingness to partner with us to incorporate their future planning to forecast the future possibilities and needs for our school district. This is critical to our commitment to successfully meet the academic and developmental needs of our students.  Community partnerships truly connect us!

Michael Sawyers is Superintendent of the New Albany-Plain Local School District.