It is hard to believe that we have only been in the new building for one school year. The students and staff adapted to all of the change so quickly and effortlessly, it seems as if they have been in there for many years. It was great fit for everyone in the Versailles’ School community and has become one of the highlights for our district. We feel privileged and please to be able to provide our students and staff with such a top-notch facility. They are certainly worthy of being given the best as they have proven year after year, in academics, athletics, agriculture, and the arts, that they are the best this area, if not the state of Ohio, has to offer. It is a great place to showcase the many talents of our students.
In case anyone missed the newspaper article, the Versailles Exempted Village School District was cited for its efficiency and effectiveness in other areas. The article stated that VEVSD “ranks among the most efficient school districts in the state in providing non-instructional services, outpacing other similar districts in maintenance costs, Ohio Education Matters announced today.” The article went on to say, “Versailles Local has shown it can deliver quality services at a lower cost than most other districts in the state,” said Andrew Benson, Executive Director of Ohio Education Matters. “The taxpayers and residents of this community should be proud that its school district takes seriously the best use of resources to benefit children.” It feels wonderful to be recognized for the effort and hard work that our Board of Education and staff put in to make sure that we are being financially responsible with our taxpayers’ money, especially during these difficult economic times. We have always been proud of the fact that we are always in the lowest 15% or so when it comes to per pupil expenditure and this recognition simply confirms that fact. Janet Mendenhall, the district food service director, Ken Moorman, the district facility manager, and Jeanne Osterfeld, Versailles Middle School Principal and Transportation Supervisor, really streamlined their operations and made the necessary changes to see dramatic savings in all of these areas. The article summarized it all by saying, “By spending less in these non-instructional areas and yet still meeting minimal quality standards, Versailles Local ensures that more dollars are getting into its classrooms to help support students. We think it is reasonable to assume that if this best-in-class district can achieve these kinds of efficiencies, so can other districts that are similar.” We are proud of this distinction and proud to serve as a role model for other districts in the state.
As we move into the upcoming school year, we will continue to to make the environment one of the safest and most comfortable places for everyone who works or attends Versailles Schools. We have instituted a Safety Committee to assure the health and well-being of our school community. We continue to learn more about the heating and cooling of the new building as we become more knowledgeable of the system. We were able to realize a savings of approximately $50,000 on our utility costs during the first year compared to the costs from the other four buildings in previous years. We are hoping to be even more efficient in the coming year, as well as years to come, as we learn all of the ins and outs of the system. Going into the 2010-2011 school year, we eliminated some positions, either through retirement, attrition, or lack of necessity. We were able to save approximately $250,000 by assuming and redistributing some of the workload. Next year will not be any different as we had four people decide to retire at the end of this year. Once again, we have chosen to assume those positions within our current staff to help hold down our costs. We expect to be saving somewhere in the neighborhood of $250,000 to $300,000 on expenses by not filling these positions. Another area in which personnel plays a factor in our financial picture is in the Master Agreement between the VEA, Versailles Education Association, and the Board of Education. We recently completed negotiations, and although it has been ratified by the VEA, it has not been formally approved by the BOE, something we hope to do at the June BOE meeting. It can be shared that it will be a two year contract that will see a reduction in salary for all employees, as well as an increased percentage paid for insurance premiums. It is just another example of the willingness of our staff to work together to make our school district one of which we can all be proud.
Dr. David Vail is the superintendent for the Versailles Exempted Village School District. He can be reached at David_Vail@darke.k12.oh.us. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.