This school year we have been given the opportunity to reimagine what our schools can look like in a more flexible learning environment to provide our students with a stronger technology-rich educational foundation.
We never have been more focused and determined to ensure that each child is challenged to learn, prepared to pursue a fulfilling post-high school path and empowered to become a resilient, lifelong learner.
Our students continue to improve each year with the class of 2021 earning the highest graduation rate in the history of the district at 88.41%. Last school year, our students took more than 2,370 college courses and earned more than 7,100 college credits while also working on graduation requirements. The average college credit per hour in Ohio is approximately worth $500, which means our students earned more than $3,550,000 through the College Credit Plus program.
Also, 338 students scored a 3 or higher on advanced placement tests last school year, meaning our students also earned more than $507,000 worth of college credit through AP opportunities.
In addition, 479 career-technical education students earned at least one industry credential with 20% of those students earning a 12-point credential, such as automotive service excellence (ASE), state-tested nurse assistant, FANUC robotics, electrical trades pre-apprenticeship, COMPTIA Security+, American Welding Society (AWS), National Retail Federation Customer Service Credentials, NCCER Carpentry and I-CAR Automotive refinishing, Adobe certified associate and many more.
Next month, the district treasurer will be presenting an updated five-year forecast to the board of education for fiscal year 2021-2022 through fiscal year 2025-2026. The forecast provides detailed information regarding actual and anticipated revenues, expenditures and cash balances for the general fund and is used as a financial roadmap for the district.
The current forecast indicates the district will have a positive cash balance through fiscal year 2024-2025 – 12 years beyond what originally was promised during the 2009 levy campaign. The board of education, administration and employee groups have worked together to manage operating expenditures to allow the district to stretch the levy funds farther than promised.
The district received Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funding in the amount of $45,645,000, which was outlined in a plan presented to and adopted by the board of education Aug. 9. The board-approved plan is available on the district website swcsd.us.
We continue to work closely with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to ensure that our middle school construction projects, even with supply shortages and inflation, are on time and on budget. The replacement middle schools are scheduled to open for the 2022-2023 school year. The additions to Jackson Middle School also will be completed for the start of the next school year.
Our middle schools will have new safety and security systems, air conditioning, technology, science labs and specialized instructional space to help our community to continue to grow and attract families and businesses that value education. An update on our middle school construction project can be found on our YouTube channel at youtube.com/watch?v=3CRLaKG1zeY.
Our students are leaving better prepared with the potential for less debt than ever before. Our financial position may be as strong as any time in the history of the district. Our facilities support our students more effectively and efficiently than at any time in the past and our deferred maintenance continues to decrease. We are committed to continuously improving the positive trends we have demonstrated over the past many years.
Bill Wise is the superintendent of the South-Western City School District.