Questions and answers from November 5, 2019 Community Meeting:


Rightsizing, Reorganizing & Repurposing PDF



Question:  Does the district shop around for the best prices?

Answer:   Yes. We are constantly working to minimize costs. We are in many large purchasing consortiums that help us realize great cost savings.


Question:  What is the national class size average?

Answer:  The national and state class averages are 25 students.


Question:  What is the draw to BioMed?

Answer:  Not sure.  If parents do their research, they will discover that it is not great.  Information on the Biomed Report card can be found at:

Ohio Department of Education, click:  Ohio School Report Cards, Type in: Bio-Med Science Academy STEM School     


Question:  Do we need to reduce the number of teachers?

Answer:  Yes. We have not replaced over a dozen teachers in the last eight years through attrition, retirement and teachers leaving the district.  However, should we consolidate buildings, we may be overstaffed at the elementary schools by 3-6 teachers. We also believe we may be overstaffed at the high school and middle school next year by 2-4 teachers in each building.  We will continue to monitor student numbers, class sizes and the declining enrollment.


Question:  How are we going to meet the needs of students?

Answer:  There is continuous Professional Development in place that all of our staff participates in.  Elementary grade level buildings would give students an additional variety of opportunities. Especially with the gifted and S.T.E.M. offerings that currently exist.



Question:  Are the extra services for special education students included in the financials?

Answer:  Yes. Our district’s special education average is around 24%.  The state average is around 14%. Special education is very expensive.


Question:  Where is the money savings coming from?

Answer:  Most of the savings would be in personnel because we would not be actually closing a building, simply repurposing the building.


Question:  Will transportation change? 

Answer:  Yes. A few buildings will likely change start times.  We are sensitive to early and late starts (working parents) as well as making sure that students are not on busses for long periods of time.

 

Question:  How many classrooms/teachers will need to be moved?

Answer:  We are not sure at this point as no final decision has been made.  Our custodial and maintenance staff can do the move over the summer. 


Question:  What would after school transportation look like?

Answer:  Similar to the morning bus runs with different times.  It will be a challenge, but we will make it work.   


Question:  Is Tappan school available?

Answer:  Tappan is currently being leased and is not available.  It would not help our situation because it is the same size as Carlin.


Question:  What types of changes do you anticipate for BMS and RHS?

Answer:  Possible reductions in staffing.  We will continue to look at BMS and RHS student numbers and class sizes.



Question:  What have we been doing to highlight our bright spots?

Answer:  We are working continuously to highlight all of the great happenings throughout the district.  Our most visited sites are the district Facebook page and district website. We also have the “They Started Here Campaign” which is continuously advertised throughout the district.


Question:  Are we tracking the birth rate of this area? How do we compare to Ohio, Northeast Ohio, and nationwide?

Answer:  Birth Rates overall in the United States are down.  Ohio and Northeast Ohio are especially losing populations.  Only Aurora, Kent and Streetsboro are increasing in population.


Question:  How are you going to choose which teachers will go?

Answer:  The School Board has a collective bargaining agreement with all employees.  The language in the agreement is specific to which people will be reduced. However, we are reducing positions.  So, we will not replace teachers who retire, go to another district or may be on leave.


Question:  There is a concern about having a 5th grade student with 8th graders on the bus.

Answer:  We understand this concern.  We will always be proactive with student interactions and adult supervision.  We have always had 1st graders ride with 5th graders on the bus as well as 9th graders and 12th graders.


Question:  Where are the special needs classes going to be located?

Answer:  The goal is to place students in their Least Restrictive Environment.  We will do everything in our power to follow all best practices.


  

Question:  Are there incentives for families to stay in Ravenna?

Answer:  College Credit Plus from Kent State University gives students the opportunity to earn numerous college credits without leaving Ravenna High School.  Students can still have social interactions with friends, participate in school activities and not have to leave the building.


Question:  When would a teacher know if they are getting cut? 

Answer: The collective bargaining agreement outlines specific dates for this.  We will work with the union and staff to insure we follow timelines and remain sensitive to all of our employees. 


Question:  Would specials teachers be considered in the cuts?

Answer:  We will not cut any student specials.  If the number of students is decreasing, it is possible that we may not need the same number of specials teachers that we have for this year.  We will continue to monitor student class sizes and numbers and staff accordingly.


Question:  What is Tappan being used for now?

Answer:  We are leasing it out to Educational Alternatives.

 

Question:  What is the RISE Program

Answer:  RISE services students with severe special needs.  Our goal with RISE is to bring students back from Educational Alternatives and LEAP at a significant cost savings to the school district.  


Question:  What is the future of the Rausch building? 

Answer:  It is a 1912 building.  It would be too costly to bring back online for significant district use.  There is no practical future use for the building. It is currently used for storage, professional development, RISE and a few other groups utilize space.


Question:  Will communication about transportation be sent out in January?

Answer:  We will send out transportation communication and answer questions as soon as decisions are made.  We are always available and understand how important transportation is to students and families.


Question:  Are there still any options on the table?

Answer:  Yes. We are looking at what makes the most sense for Ravenna now and for the next several years.  We have researched and spoken with several districts that utilize grade level buildings. To date, the model and configuration which we have spoken most about makes the most sense right now.  However, we are still meeting and planning to make sure we get this right.


In Portage County and in our Metro Athletic Conference, only Ravenna and Kent still have neighborhood elementary schools.  However, we want to make sure this is the right move and fit for the students, parents, staff and community of Ravenna.   


Question:  Have things changed since 08-09 when the last switch was made?

Answer:  Yes. the district enrollment has decreased by over 500 students.  We cannot predict the future, but we must be responsible and continue to adjust to our changing 21st century.  And, conditions may change in the next five years as well. We need to position ourselves to be flexible and adapt to change.


Question:  Do you have projections with anticipated reductions?

Answer:  Nothing on paper at this point.  We are still and will continue to monitor all variables.


Question:  Is the deficit district wide or just in the elementaries?

Answer:  Across the district.  This is why it is important for us to make a responsible decision that will protect the district for years to come. 

Question:  Are you concerned with the number of transitions students and parents will make?

Answer:  Yes. However, it is only one more than students already make in the Ravenna Schools.  Most school districts around Ohio have grade level buildings and also make several transitions.  


Question:  When would the discussion of an operating levy begin?

Answer: There is no discussion currently.  The intent of the school board is to make the operating monies last as long as possible.  The school district asked for additional operating money in 2014-15 and the community said “NO!” three times. 


Question:  What can parents do to help in the process? 

Answer:  Be patient, loyal, understanding and supportive.  Change is difficult for everyone.   


Question:  What would we do to house the 5th grade students?

Answer:  What seems to make the most sense now is to move the Preschool, central registration and auxiliary offices to Carlin Elementary.  This would free up several classrooms in the current preschool wing and free up enough space to accomodate a totally separate 5th grade wing in Brown Middle School.  


Question:  Would we have another community meeting?

Answer:  If needed, a meeting would be held. 


Question:  Is a later start needed?

Answer:  There will be some adjustments to start times across the district.  Maybe not at every building. 


Question:  How old is the bussing fleet?

Answer:  Due to the permanent improvement levy passing in May, 2017, we have been able to lease/purchase newer buses.  Our busses could handle any additional miles or wear and tear.