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DOLA — There was good news all around at Wednesday night’s Hardin Northern Board of Education meeting.
The five-year forecast indicates the district is solid and the results of the Ohio Graduation Test released this week show Hardin Northern students are on track scholastically.
There was more revenue from property and income taxes by about four percent over what the district had anticipated in the October forecast, said Treasurer Wes Potter. State assistance and expenses remained on target for the year, he reported.
The mild winter, combined with an energy credit of $22,299, resulted in lower heating costs to the district. In addition, said Potter, Hardin Northern is seeing savings of 12 to 15 percent in its switch from AEP to First Energy.
But perhaps the biggest financial surprise came from the cafeteria report. For the first time in ten years, said Potter, the general fund would not need to subsidize the cafeteria fund at the end of the year. Over the past ten years, said Potter, the general fund has provided a total of $167,300 to the cafeteria coffers. This year, he said, the cafeteria finished in the black.
“I never thought we would see the cafeteria in the black,” said board member Mike Purdy. “This is really unbelievable … This says a lot for the management of our district.”
The board thanked Food Director Patty Morris and her staff for turning the cafeteria costs around.
Potter said the district realized significant financial benefit from the two unions agreeing to a wage freeze for the 2012 fiscal year.
The fiscal future of the district remains solid, said Potter, but Hardin Northern, like most districts, relies on state foundation payments. The future Ohio budget could have a negative impact on the extended budget forecast, said Potter.
“We need to keep reminding our state leaders that our community has continued to step up when asked … They need to do the same,” said Potter.
Academically, Hardin Northern made strides in the Ohio Graduation Test scores. All but one senior has passed the OGT, reported guidance counselor Andy Wilson and 85 percent of the juniors have passed all five sections of the OGT.
The sophomores had a 56 percent passage rate for all five subjects, said Wilson. The class had a passing rate of 91 percent in writing; 84 percent in reading; 88 percent in math; 91 percent in social studies and 66 percent in science.
“All in all, the scores are up this year,” said Wilson.
“I am thrilled with the efforts of the teachers and the efforts of the students,” said Superintendent Doug Roberts.
Wilson also reported on the success of the dual enrollment classes offered at Hardin Northern through the University of Findlay, Urbana University and Rhodes State College. Students have earned a total of 244 college credit hours this year, which results into as much as $280,000 in college savings to the students.
“This is one of the things we do really, really well,” said Roberts. “We challenge our top level kids and get some rewards for them.”
The student success went beyond the classroom. FFA Advisor Anna Creswell told the board Hardin Northern again has been named one of the top ten chapters in Ohio. The school’s chapter also participated in the national soil judging contest in Oklahoma and performed well. Despite retraining for the change of soil types in the host state, said Creswell, the local team finished 26th of 54 teams. Austin Douglas was third at the state FFA convention with his SAE research project and Lauren Hoffman came in second place in state competition with her mum entries.
In other business, the board:
– Accepted the resignation of Brady Mast as assistant varsity girls basketball coach and approved him to become the head coach of the girls team.
– Approved supplemental contracts for Gail Hoffman and Shannon DeCooman as sixth grade camp counselors.
– Agreed to offer extended program contracts to Creswell and Don Paulin.
– Approved a contract with Rhodes State College to provide dual credit and post-secondary enrollment courses for the coming year.
– Agreed to enter into an agreement with the Hardin County Educational Service Center at an estimated cost of $70,883.
– Approved Jostens, Inc. to provide yearbook services.
– Agreed to continue as members of the Ohio Athletic Association.
By DAN ROBINSON
Times staff writer