Official Board Minutes are not yet available. A PDF of the Agenda is available here.
Athens City School District
Summary of Board of Education Meeting, December 10, 2014
Two issues stood out to me in this otherwise brief meeting. First, in the context of discussing a revenue shortfall in the the school lunch program, board member Kim Goldsberry pointed out that not even all the students who qualify for free or reduced-price meals are eating the cafeteria fare. This is not just a problem for the district’s budget; it represents lost opportunities to provide nutrition to young people who often really need it.
I’d love to hear people’s ideas as to why this is happening. I’m aware that in one building, kids who pack lunch and those who buy have to sit in separate groups. I also know that some students really dislike the food (such as my older child), rejecting it on grounds of taste and nutrition. These days, parents no longer have to apply for the free/reduced-price program; qualifying students are directly certified for the program. What else is discouraging our kids from availing themselves of subsidized meals? We know some of them are likely hungry.
A second point of interest from the meeting was a discussion of declining aid from the state. Oddly, Athens is classified by the Ohio Department of Education as a “suburban” district with low poverty. Superintendent Carl Martin agrees that this is a bewildering way to describe our district. This typology is mainly relevant to research conducted on Ohio school districts.
However, ACSD faces a very real problem due to the state reducing the district’s subsidies for serving students in poverty. Ohio has consistently decreased our “economic disadvantaged funding” in recent years, even though – as Treasurer Matt Bunting reports – we are actually educating about 100 more students in poverty than we did in the mid-2000s. For the current school year, Treasurer Bunting reports that ACSD will receive $192,000 in economic disadvantaged funding. In fiscal year 2009, we received $1.4 million in poverty-based aid. These funding cuts are taking a deep bite out of our budget and eroding the district’s cash reserves.
For more on district typologies, see the explanation at the Ohio Department of Education: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Data/Frequently-Requested-Data/Typology-of-Ohio-School-Districts
For the 2009 funding figures (see line 7): http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/htbin/WWW-SF3-HEADER-F2009-test.COM?act=11-Jul-2008&DISTRICT=IRN&irn=043521+Athens+City+SD+%28Athens%29&county=01+Adams&sf3=y&npd=y
For fiscal year 2015 figures (line D): http://odevax.ode.state.oh.us/htbin/F2015-SFPR-WEB-REPORTS.COM?act=11-Jul-2014&DISTRICT=IRN&irn=043521&county=01+Adams&sfprsum=y