Posted: 5:20 p.m.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Middletown school board president:
Focus on future not past
Michael D. Clark
MIDDLETOWN — The leader of Middletown’s
school board says don’t focus at where the district has been at the expense of
seeing where it’s going.
Schools are about to launch major and historic initiatives, including next
week’s ground breaking for a new school, public outreach for a new strategic
plan, bolstered school security and refinancing of district bonds that could
save taxpayers $1 million.
aggressive plans were delivered this week by first-year Middletown Board of
Education President Chris Urso during the city’s “ http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/local/middletowns-4-biggest-challenges-outlined-by-mayor/nqt5M/" rel="nofollow - “The
center of a community is its schools, and it is our schools that can lead the way
to a more optimistic Middletown,”
said Urso, who was invited by Middletown Mayor Larry Mulligan Jr. to speak at
Schools have been buffeted in recent months with the latest rounds of low
scores on the state’s annual report card and a http://www.journal-news.com/news/news/local-education/state-audit-calls-for-changes-at-middletown-school/nqnPH/" rel="nofollow - earlier this month that criticized a
handful of the school district’s finance procedures but found no missing money.
Urso, who is one of four recently elected members of the five-person school
board, said residents of the Butler
County city have much to
be optimistic about but they also share in creating a better future for their
are fighting against a history of people being pessimistic, but I’m really
optimistic as along as the community is involved,” Urso said Wednesday.
major key will be a new strategic plan to be developed after a public outreach
campaign starting in April - dates have yet to be scheduled - with a series of
opinion-gathering meetings, he said.
have to have the community buy in. We want to find out what people are thinking
(about the schools) and gauge the community,” said Urso.
Monday, Urso and other school officials will join local business and community
leaders at a ground-breaking ceremony for the district’s new middle school and
extensive renovation of Middletown
school construction stems from residents in 2014 barely approving a tax
increase of $95 million for the projects.
said the recent state audit aside, in which most of the district’s procedural
mistakes have already been corrected, Middletown Schools’ “general fund
revenues have exceeded expenditures for each of the last two years and are
expected to do the same this current year and upcoming years as well.”
we are exploring an opportunity to refinance the district’s 2007 construction
bonds that will substantially save our taxpayers future interest costs for
these refinanced bonds,” he said, adding the district could save $1 million or
more “if the markets continue to work in our favor.”
district’s annual operating budget is $85 million.
Superintendent Sam Ison said, “This is an exciting time for the schools.”
are in the beginning stages of the renovation and construction of our last two
educational facilities. This means, that by the fall of 2018, all 10 of our
district buildings will be new, or newly renovated within a span of 12 years,
from 2006 to 2018.
the new buildings,” said Ison, “I believe our district is standing on the
precipice of hope.”