ST. MARYS —Before the St. Marys Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, community members heard from a representative from the Ohio Department of Education.
Mary Lou Holly, who works in the Office of Finance and Program Services, is the Ohio Department of Education Regional Coordinator for District 2. Holly reviewed a presentation she created on a staffing analysis of the St. Marys City Schools.
“I’m here tonight to share with you the data that I have put together using tools that are available through the Ohio Department of Education related to a staffing analysis, and by doing a staff analysis, the purpose is to look at the current staff,” Holly said, noting the majority of the information she used was based on data from fiscal year 2011. “In the purposes of helping the district analyze the current staffing needs, based upon the operating standards for schools in Ohio, and we’re going to base it on the minimum standards.”
Holly noted the district’s regular student population — which didn’t include certain groups of special education students, community school non-special education students and post-secondary students.
“If we do all the calculations, last year your regular student population was 1,833.33 students,” she said.
Holly noted the minimum requirement is to have a 25 students to one teacher ratio districtwide for regular education classes.
“It’s the regular classroom teachers,” she noted of what was considered “regular education teachers.”
Holly also touched on educational service personnel — art, music, phys ed, etc., staff members.
“The minimum standards of ESP personnel are you have to have a minimum of five full-time equivalent educational service personnel employed districtwide per each 1,000 students in the regular student population,” she said.
Holly then compared St. Marys with 10 other districts — the same districts it is compared to on its report card, with Wapakoneta being the closest, followed by Indian Lake.
She noted the comparison districts are chosen based on factors such as the district size, poverty, percent of economically disadvantaged students, the socioeconomic status.
“Another set of information provided by the staffing analysis we look at the benefits as a percentage of the salary, that’s for all of your staff employed by the district, we look at what percent of the district is the salary,” Holly said, noting the comparison districts showed an average of 39.4 percent, compared to St. Marys’ rate of 41.15 percent in 2011, with the state average at 37 percent.
Superintendent Jerry Skiver noted that average has changed because of negotiations in the area.
“That number will be lower,” he said.
Holly then noted expenditure per pupil using the general fund from 2007 to 2011.
“Your district’s expenditure per pupil went from $8,123 per pupil in ’07 to last year $10,399 per student,” she said, noting the district was less than comparable districts from 2007 to 2009, but then the expenditures climbed. “As a district, you need to look at what happened here.”
Holly stressed those numbers are not based on “regular student numbers” but based on all of the students in the district.
“As a district, you need to look at it, analyze your expenditures, enrollment,” she said, noting the number coming in has gone down with a decrease in number of students with an increase in costs.
“You need to look at excess programs and special costs.”
Holly added, although there is a spotlight on education in the state, but there hasn’t been talk of increasing funding.
“What you’ve been faced with is the state’s funding is flat,” she said, noting there has not been an increase in state aid to education in at least five years.
“They want things better, but it’s going to take local effort to generate revenues.”
Skiver added the federal funding has also been flat, and the district’s revenue from the 2004 levy only generates what they needed back in 2004. Holly noted the proportion of the district’s funding — 58 percent of it is state and 38 percent comes from local sources — both of which has stayed stagnant as the district’s costs have risen.