Dear Upper Arlington community member,
Upper Arlington’s schools are at the heart of our community, and, as your Board of Education, we truly value residents’ commitment to our schools and the children of Upper Arlington. We want to take this opportunity to provide everyone with an update on our district’s finances and our financial plans for the future.
Last November, the district announced that it would return to voters in the fall of 2020 with an operating levy. As you know, much has changed in our schools over the past few months, and people here and across the country are facing financial challenges.
In May, our district received word of a funding cut from the state of Ohio for the 2019-2020 school year. Additional cuts in state funding for our schools are possible in the future.
We have been working alongside the district to develop a sensible and sound financial plan that works for our community members and for the future of our schools. After thoughtful consideration, we have made the decision to postpone our plans for an operating levy until November of 2021. With this postponement of the levy, we must take several necessary and difficult steps to be responsible stewards of our residents’ investment in our schools.
In order to maintain district operations over the next year and continue providing a high-quality education to the students of Upper Arlington, we will decrease forecasted expenditures and dip into the district’s budget reserve fund. This will enable us to cover for one year the revenue gap that was created by the decrease in state funds and the lack of a 2020 ballot issue.
We are grateful for the district’s history of sound financial planning and the long-standing practice of maintaining a conservative budget reserve in case of a future crisis. We feel the economic challenges presented by the pandemic certainly meet the standards for tapping into this reserve.
We are already taking steps to decrease expenditures, most notably by implementing a three-year staffing freeze. While we will fill necessary vacated positions, we will not be expanding our staff despite our significant and continued enrollment growth.
There will be two exceptions to this: our planned implementation of districtwide all-day kindergarten beginning in the fall of 2021 and the hiring of an executive director for diversity, equity and inclusion for the fall of 2020. We are committed to moving forward with this vital work so that we ensure every student is welcomed, respected, supported and celebrated.
Please know that we continue to be committed to providing the highest quality of education for every child in Upper Arlington. We will move forward with a keen eye for savings that preserve the overall student experience, but there will likely be impacts on our classrooms and our academic programs. We feel confident these measures can carry us through 2021, but the ballot issue in November of that year will be among the most critical in the district’s history.
In conclusion, we would like to thank our entire community for all you have done to support our students and our staff over the past few months. While we face many uncertainties, we truly believe we can pull through this challenging time together as a community.
Nancy Drees, President [email protected]
Scott McKenzie, Vice President[email protected]
Jenny McKenna, Member [email protected]