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Community discusses district
When South-Western City School District resident Steve Isaac attended a community meeting after the failure of the spring tax levy, he thought something had to be done.
He suggested the district form a community advisory group. The board of education announced its plans to take Isaac up on the idea at a special June 29 meeting.
"The notion for a community advisory group came out of my concern for the future of the district and its students," said Isaac. "A fresh look from a different perspective can only help the district continue to improve."
The advisory group would help the district increase community awareness and understanding of the district's goals. It would also give recommendations to the board on ways to recruit quality educators, identify funding options and improve overall educational quality for the students.
In a press release, Board President Cathy Johnson stated, "We have listened to our community. They have told us we need to utilize the shared knowledge and innovative ideas our community members have to offer. A community advisory group will be able to help us look at proven ideas and concepts that can benefit all stakeholders of the district."
Superintendent Dr. Bill Wise said the group would also review the district's five-year forecast. He said this differs from other advisory groups in that it would give the board a "broader scope" of solutions on multiple levels. Many other groups focus on one main topic.
"It takes creativity and change to move forward," said Wise.
The group would present its reports to the board of education twice per year.
The community advisory group will include six members chosen by a selection team of four community leaders, including Isaac and Grove City Council President Ted Berry. As originator of the idea, Isaac will serve on the advisory group for one year.
The application process is open to all members of the district community. Members will serve two or three-year terms. Applications are available on the district's Web site, www.swcs.us, or those interested can contact the superintendent's office at 801-3000. Applications should be returned to the district office, 3805 Marlane Dr., by July 17.
The board of education and administration requested a voluntary performance audit by the Ohio Auditor of State's office.
The audit will cost the district $68,000.
Betsy Bashore, assistant chief auditor, said the last time the district went through a performance audit was in 1999. The auditor will compare the district to other districts of similar size in areas such as financing, staffing, facilities, transportation, food service and technology.
"We are generally going to look at how resources are being spent," said Bashore.
According to the district, the independent audit will help the district identify additional strategies for reaching organizational goals, priorities for resource allocation, effective use of staff and opportunities to improve services.
"This audit should provide an independent review of our operations so that we can continue to meet student needs while ensuring the best use of community resources," said Johnson.
The audit team will collect information, observe activities, reviews and tests, and then evaluate the results.
"This is a very vigorous process," said Wise. "We think we've worked hard, but this is a chance to see if areas exist where we can improve."
Wise said the hope is that the audit will determine areas where they can save money.
Bashore said it would take approximately six months to gather the information needed. Then they would prepare and present a report for the board.
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