PS holds first Community Advisory Team meeting

By Kelsey Kimbler -

CAMDEN — The Preble Shawnee Local School District is actively working with members of the community to develop a building solution which works for all the communities included in the district. District officials held the first community advisory team meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4.

School officials opened the meeting by reviewing discussion held during a Community Forum held on Aug. 27.

They began with district highlights, including: two new teachers, reduced class size, an Intervention Specialist, increased Chromebooks, iPads, and technology, improvement on test scores, and three new School Resource Officers.

Next, they tackled district finances. In 2016, total revenue was $15,402,781, total expenditures were $13,754,424, with a cash balance of $13,411,264. In 2017, total revenue was $15,723,558, total expenditures were $14,470,792, with a cash balance of $14,536,732.

Forecasted, in 2018 total revenue will be $15,268,963, total expenditures will be $15,136,355, with a cash balance of $14,519,340. In 2019, total revenue will be $14,619,476, total expenditures will be $15,848,673, with a cash balance of $13,140,143.

This downward trend will continue throughout the five year forecast, according to the presentation. By 2022, total revenue will be $14,819,487 and total expenditures will be $17,414,346, with a cash balance of $6,547,971.

Next, the structure of the community engagement process was reviewed. There will be three community forums held throughout the year. These are open to the entire community and meant to be informational.

The community advisory team will be meeting several times between each forum. This team is made up of representative stakeholders, including community members, government officials, business, students, and staff. They will advise on the facility master plan options.

There is also a Facility Steering Team, which is made up of Shawnee board of education and administrative representation. This group will communicate with the OFCC.

Finally, scientific polling will be held at the end of the process to test which option is best supported by the entire community.

It was explained, all options are open to the Advisory Team to discuss. Nothing, at this point, is off the table.

OFCC guidelines note the agency:

•For operational efficiency, will co-fund no schools smaller than 350 student capacity/approximately 43,000 square feet.

•Recommend replacement if renovation cost exceeds 66 percent of new; but will co-fund renovation up to 100 percent.

•Will co-fund portions of facility master plans to allow plan to be implemented in segments over time.

•Will only co-fund a single building solution — renovation/addition or new construction. Cost beyond that is Locally Funded Initiative (LFI).

To begin this process, the previous building plan was the focus. The different team members were asked to work at their tables to develop a “pro” and “con” list for this plan.

Some of the pros included: the state share, addresses all maintenance needs, security, new auditorium, 21st Century learning environment, community pride, air conditioning, lower tax related to other districts, attracts new residents and keeps current teachers.

Some of the cons included: separated community, tearing down “new” buildings, ways to cut costs within the plan and reduce costs, LFI, concerns about split campuses, multiple locations, higher taxes, long term debt, and the need for an operational levy.

Next, the groups were asked to develop a list of four to six personal values for successful schools.

Some of the values noted included: provide best education, sense of community pride in district, safety, comfortable learning environment (air conditioning), positive relationships with all stakeholders, update technology, fiscally responsible, sense of community, attract teachers, share only factual information, and a quality constructed building.

The groups’ next task was to discuss what options or solutions should be considered, but no time remained to complete this portion of the meeting. This will be discussed during a meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9.

The next Community Outreach Forum will be held on Monday, Nov. 5.

By Kelsey Kimbler

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH

Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH