BW’s 2012-13 District Work Plan delivered
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
During Monday evening’s Big Walnut Local School District Board of Education meeting, district superintendent Steve Mazzi teamed up with Director of Academic Achievement Angie Pollock to deliver Big Walnut’s 2012–13 District Work Plan.
Mazzi said the District Work Plan was developed during the annual board retreat, and includes goals and activities for the school year ahead.
“We tried to follow our mission and vision, but our work plan is always a work in progress,” Mazzi said. “We have to be flexible as we move through the year, and adapt the plan as we get more information.”
The current school year work plan has four major components: Improve Academic Achievement; Improve Communications; Plan for Growth; and, Financial Responsibility.
Pollock said the primary goal of Academic Achievement is to provide a smooth transition to the new Common Core Standards and Revised Ohio Academic Content Standards that have to be in place by the beginning of the 2014–15 school year.
“We’ve acquired new literacy materials for the elementary buildings, and we’re exploring digital options, including Bring Your Own Technology,” Pollock said. “The district will also integrate technology education across the district, and improve assessment and subsequent intervention practices for all students.”
Pollock also said that the administration would ask board members to formally adopt the new academic standards in the spring.
Mazzi said Communications is an ongoing issue.
“There are always complaints that the administration and board are not communicating adequately with the community, but we are bound by not being able to hire a full-time communications staff member,” Mazzi said. “We try to do everything we can. It’s a never ending balance to get communications out there and get the community what they want, but we still get negative feedback that we’re not communicating enough.”
Mazzi said the school district communicates with the community it serves in a variety of ways, including interfacing with the local media, all-calls and information sent home with students, postings on the district website, and information disbursed through local school and community groups.
Mazzi said the Plan for Growth component of the work plan is now more commonly referred to as Facilities Planning.
“The administration’s move from the Galena building to the intermediate school in Sunbury is a perfect example of Facilities Planning,” Mazzi said. “Expending money on the Galena building was not in the best long-term interests of the district. I’ve said it before — taking care of a school district is no different than taking care of a house, times 100; if you don’t take care of it today, you end up paying more tomorrow.”
Mazzi said the Plan for Growth objectives are to utilize current facilities effectively, study enrollment projections to plan for future growth, provide quality equipment and materials for students and staff, and hire and retain quality staff.
Pollock added that technology needs falls under the heading of quality equipment.
“We need to continue to make sure our machines are not falling apart,” Pollock said. “And we need to make sure teachers have the curricular materials they need to teach the new standards.”
Mazzi said Financial Responsibility and Communications are closely tied together.
“To be financially responsible we need to be as transparent as possible,” Mazzi said. “This includes monthly financial reports and five-year forecasts on the district website, and a possible quarterly or monthly newsletter.”
Mazzi said the Ohio Department of Education recommends that school districts establish a formal cash balance policy requiring 30 to 60 days cash on hand – for Big Walnut that’s $4.6 million.
The district administration will also analyze any expenditure in excess of $5,000, establish a long-term capital improvements policy for buildings and grounds, review building and district budgets, create a needs-based budget, and be accountable for expenditures compared with benefits.