By Rick Palsgrove
While Groveport Madison Schools are currently on solid financial ground, the district’s aging and overcrowded buildings are a concern for Superintendent Garilee Ogden and the school board.
On March 5 at Groveport Madison High School, Ogden and district treasurer Felicia Drummey presented the annual State of the Schools address to a large crowd.
Drummey noted the district receives about 49 percent of its funding from the state, 38 percent from local taxes, 8 percent from federal sources, and 5 percent from other sources.
She said classroom instruction accounts for 62 percent of the district’s expenses while 28 percent of expenses go toward operations, 7 percent for supplies, 2 percent for facilities, and 1 percent for extracurricular.
“With the renewal of the November 2019 five-year operating levy and assuming state funding remains consistent with our projections, I expect the district to be in a good financial position through at least 2024,” said Drummey.
Buildings and enrollment
Ogden said district enrollment has climbed from 5,569 in 2015-16 to 6,010 this school year.
“We are over capacity by more than 500 students across the school district. We’re outgrowing our schools. We have to address our need for space,” said Ogden. “Our buildings are old and worn out, with maintenance costs eating more and more of our operational budget.”
She said, because of overcrowding, students are being bused beyond their neighborhoods to get access to needed programs.
“We will continue to work with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission on a future plan and solution to bring to our community,” said Ogden. “We know we need new schools and we’ll continue to communicate to the community to keep everyone informed of the process.”
Groveport Madison’s elementary and middle schools (the high school has already been replaced):
•Asbury Elementary – Built in 1963 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 461. Functional capacity, 425.
•Dunloe Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 391. Functional capacity, 425.
•Glendening Elementary – Built in 1968 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 451. Functional capacity, 425.
•Groveport Elementary – Built in 1923. Enrollment, 432. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
•Madison Elementary – Built in 1967 with additions in 1968 and 1969. Enrollment, 332. Functional capacity, 425.
•Sedalia Elementary – Built in 1969 with addition in 1974. Enrollment, 672. Functional capacity, 446.
•Middle School North – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 497. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School South – Built in 1975. Enrollment, 465. Functional capacity, 425.
•Middle School Central – Built in stages as a high school between 1952-56. Enrollment, 451. Functional capacity, 425. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.
(Functional capacity is 85 percent of original design capacity and reflects modern requirements for classroom space and programming. Source: Groveport Madison Schools.)
“We are committed to the success of every student who comes through our doors, from the pre-school years through that final day at graduation when they walk across the stage with diploma in hand,” said Ogden.
Ogden said Groveport Madison improved in three critical state testing indicators including closing the learning gap between students of various socio-economic statuses and ethnicities, K-3 literacy, and student progress. She said the district received more than $6.2 million in grant funding for instructional practices, literacy, and math instruction, and expanding high school pathway and advanced placement courses.
Ogden said the pathway to student success comes through “offering rigorous standard-based instruction, being intentional to support each individual and their unique needs, and doing this with a mindset that all of our Cruisers are valuable and have the power to get the results they want.”
“Student and staff safety are our number one priority,” said Ogden.
She noted the district has a full time director of safety, a close relationship with area police departments, security staff at the secondary schools, a district safety committee, each building has state approved safety plans, comprehensive training is given for threat assessments and crisis prevention and response, safety drills are routinely practiced, and a Safe Schools Hotline is available on the district’s website at gocruisers.org and it is also posted in all buildings.
By the numbers
Some Groveport Madison facts and figures: total enrollment is 6,010; the district geographically covers 40 square miles; breakfasts served annually, 420,131; lunches served annually, 592,378; bus routes, 131 with 5,110 bused daily; 63.7 percent of the students are economically disadvantaged; 31 languages are spoken; 10 percent of students qualify for gifted services; 81 students are taking 40 college credit plus classes at no cost to the students; and 141 advanced placement students are taking 189 exams this spring which will result in college credit.
The Cruiser spirit
“Being a Cruiser is special,” said Ogden. “The Cruiser spirit defines us as a school district and a community. It’s illustrated in our resolve to keep pushing forward, to do more than what we thought possible,, and to hold our heads high in spite of anything else or what anyone else may perceive or believe.”