School board approves new contract for treasurer

By Dedra Cordle
Staff Writer

The South-Western City Schools Board of Education has reached an agreement to retain the current district treasurer through the summer of 2028.

At its regular meeting on Dec. 11, the board unanimously approved a new four-and-a-half year contract for Treasurer Hugh Garside, which is slated to begin Jan. 1, 2024. Under the terms of the agreement, Garside will receive a base salary of $194,535 with an increase each year of the contract pending a satisfactory performance during an annual evaluation.

The contract will also provide Garside with administrator liability insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, life insurance, vision insurance, employees Medicare and local, state, and national professional dues. The board has also agreed to pay 90 percent of the premium for family or single health insurance.

Board president Anthony Caldwell said they are “thrilled” to have Garside return as the treasurer, calling him a “fiscally responsible public servant” who is a true resource for the students, the community and the district as a whole.

“On behalf of our community, we are thrilled to have such a fiscally responsible public servant in Mr. Hugh Garside return to us as our district treasurer,” said Caldwell in a written statement. “Since going to the ballot for a levy in 2009, the district has not been back to our taxpayers for additional funding thanks to Mr. Garside’s foresight, planning and fiscal stewardship on behalf of taxpayers. During his tenure, he has leveraged state funding and sought out the procurement of grant dollars to maximize our impact to our student’s benefit and the district is projected to be in the black for the next five years. I could not be more proud to have Mr. Garside as a resource for our district, community, and the future of the South-Western City School District moving forward.”

Garside has been with the district for more than 20 years, serving as treasurer from January 1999 to December 2004 and then from September 2007 to the present. The longest serving treasurer in the history of the district said after his new contract expires on July 31, 2028, he would like to add a few more years onto the books.

“I like working and I love working here at the South-Western City School District,” said Garside. “I find my job to be very rewarding and I want to continue to make a positive impact on our students’ lives for as long as possible.”

Under his tenure, the district has seen multiple construction projects take place. In his first term, he oversaw a project that built Central Crossing High School, the South-Western Career Academy, and a new district service center. In his second term, he oversaw phase one of the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission project that featured 13 replacement elementary schools, the renovation of two elementary schools and a new Franklin Heights High School. And in his last term, he oversaw phase two of the OFCC project which replaced the oldest four middle schools and provided additions to Jackson Middle School and renovations to East Franklin Elementary School, along with needed asphalt and roofing projects across the district.

Garside said being involved in those projects were a “true bright spot” in his long career at the district.

“When I first started out here, we had some buildings that were in pretty bad shape,” he said. “So to be a part of that effort to build new school buildings here and to see that we have been able to provide some truly wonderful spaces for our students to learn has been a joy to see and one of the true bright spots of my career here.”

He said he looks forward to maintaining the “strong financial standing” of the district and watching the continued growth of the district and the communities within its boundary area.

“When I got here, Hoover Road was just a skinny little road, Buckeye Parkway was not there, the (Hollywood) casino wasn’t here but now I just see so many new developments happening in Grove City and on the westside,” he said. “I think it is an exciting time to be here in the district and I believe these developments could have a real positive impact on the financial future of the district.”

In other news, the board of education will hold a budget hearing and organizational meeting at 6:45 p.m. on Jan. 8, 2024. The regular meeting will follow. The public meeting will be held at the District Service Center, 3805 Marlane Drive in Grove City.

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