As we enter the final month of the school year, we are excited for the many celebrations in store for our graduating seniors and the accomplishments of all of our students.
Within the past week, we have recognized 140 juniors and seniors for academic excellence as inductees and members of the Cum Laude Society at Upper Arlington High School. These students represent the top 10 percent of the class as juniors and top 15 percent of the class as seniors.
We also recognized approximately 100 students as inductees to the National Honor Society — in recognition of not only their academic achievements but also service to others, leadership and character. These students are truly a great example of our vision of uniquely accomplished students prepared to serve, lead and succeed.
Nearly 200 seniors were also honored last week at the Senior Honors Assembly at Upper Arlington High School — receiving awards and scholarships in science, math, the arts, athletics, service and more. There is no doubt that the Class of 2022 is a truly extraordinary group of individuals, and we look forward to celebrating our newest graduates as they join the prestigious ranks of Upper Arlington High School alumni at our 98th commencement ceremony on May 29.
Listen Learn Lead process
This month, we are also excited to move into the next phase of our Listen Learn Lead community engagement process. As you may know, the Board of Education launched this process earlier this spring in an effort to help our schools and our community be the best they can be.
We have hosted seven community roundtable discussions plus additional student sessions — with a total of nearly 350 parents, community members, staff members and students engaging in the process.
“The end result of all of these roundtable discussions is that we heard from a wide range of people with different perspectives and interesting ideas on topics like academics, well-being, school finances and communication,” Board of Education President Lori Trent shared, “and all of those viewpoints helped shape the next phase of our engagement process.”
The next step in the process is an online survey based on the themes that emerged from the roundtable discussions, and we hope to hear from as many parents, residents, staff members and students as possible! The survey will close on Wednesday, May 11. You can find a link to the survey at www.uaschools.org/ListenLearnLead.aspx, and paper copies may be requested by calling the district office at 614-487-5000.
This spring, the Board of Education has been reviewing the district’s future financial needs and the anticipated impacts on our finances — historic inflation, enrollment growth, and the decision to delay an operating levy for two years as a result of the pandemic and the economic situation.
Over the past two years, in the absence of new operating funding, we have creatively stretched our financial resources by reducing our budget reserve; seeking out approximately $4.6 million in cost reductions, primarily through a three-year hiring freeze on new positions; and utilizing additional COVID-related funding made available to school districts.
Even with the proactive steps we have taken, our expenditures are already outpacing our revenue. This is a typical levy cycle for a suburban school district, and it’s why suburban school districts like Upper Arlington usually go back to voters every three years to request new operating funding.
At a financial work session in March, the Board of Education asked Treasurer/CFO Andrew Geistfeld to bring forward potential operating levy scenarios for the November 2022 ballot. The Board will consider those scenarios at their regularly scheduled May meeting.
Paul Imhoff, Ed.D., is superintendent of Upper Arlington Schools. You can follow him on Twitter at @imhoffpaul.