The school year just started and already South-Western City School board members are talking report cards.
At the Aug. 27 district work session, Roby Schottke, the executive director of instructional support from the district, was on hand to give his assessment on the annual report card that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) released in mid-August.
"I would say we are doing a very good job academically," Schottke said, "But we do need to improve in areas."
The ODE doled out the passing grade of Continuous Improvement for SWCS, the same as the previous report card, but there are a few areas of concern.
"The testing areas we need to improve upon are the new science and social studies tests in grades fifth and eighth, and decrease the non-proficient scores for the Ohio Graduation Test (OGT)," Schottke said.
There are five levels of achievement on the OGT, also known as the performance level descriptors and they are Advanced, Accelerated, Proficient, Basic and Below Basic Levels. Schottke said the non-proficient or limited/basic scores, increased by 3.4 percent.
"We had a little increase from last year and of course we want it to decrease," he said.
SWCS Board President Jim Lester said they would go back and evaluate how they approach those subjects that need improvement to get it back to acceptable standards.
Schottke also said one reason for the Continuous Improvement they received, instead of an Effective or Excellent, is because SWCS needs to meet the Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) measurements in the following areas: the Individualized Education Program (IEP) students, the ESL/LEP students and the Economically Disadvantaged students.
"Not meeting AYP demonstrates a gap in student achievement," he said. "By not meeting AYP for three consecutive years (which SWCS has not), a district or building cannot be rated higher than Continuous Improvement. We want all of our students to advance and excel."
At the regular SWCS meeting on Aug. 13., board member Cathy Johnson discussed the homestead tax and encouraged those who are 65 years and older to apply to get relief on property tax.
At the latest meeting, she added that the Web site she gave was not the correct one, and to fill out the forms to get property tax relief go to www.tax.ohio.gov.
In order to receive those benefits, you have to download and file the forms by Oct. 1.
The discussion on the homestead tax, funding and finance is scheduled for Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. The funding forum will be held at the District Service Center on Marlane Drive.