Spring 2018 on School Board

Hi everyone! I know it has been a busy few months, including my marriage and graduations in May and early June, so I apologize for being slow to update you. Here are some key items from the past quarter.

Our District is planning to initiate a bond issue for the Fall 2018 Ballot to secure funding for the construction of 4 middle schools, renovation of Jackson Middle, and renovation of East Franklin Elementary. We hosted several community input sessions at the different middle schools to discuss the renovations, as well as redistricting from the reopening of EFES and the planned expansion of Bolton Crossing ES. I was glad to attend some of these to hear community opinions, as well as during the continuation of Take Part Thursdays.

 

 Agenda from Community Input Meetings about School Construction/Renovation Projects.

Agenda from Community Input Meetings about School Construction/Renovation Projects.

In Students, Schools and Community, we have largely approved a number of field trips. One student organization is even going to Iceland next spring to learn about the unique geothermal environment there. I'm always excited to be a part of approving special opportunities for our students to see the world around them, as there are often no greater learning opportunities than those gained firsthand.

I'm very proud that our school board, at my suggestion, made an update to our District's policy language on non-discrimination to include gender identity. I also attended, in an early celebration of Pride Month, Gay-Straight Alliance meetings at Franklin Heights and Central Crossing High Schools. It was a fantastic experience to share my own story, and hear the stories of students who are proud to be who they are. 

 Attending GSA Meeting at CCHS on May 4, 2018

Attending GSA Meeting at CCHS on May 4, 2018

All of this lead up to late May and early June, with the graduations of all four high schools at the Ohio Expo Center, as well as special graduations of the South-Western Career Academy, Project SEARCH, and a number of award ceremonies celebrating student achievement. Just a few photos from these wonderful events are shown below. It gave me such pride to hear what our students plan to do next, from entering the military, to the workforce, to college. The over 1,200 graduates we now send into the world are some of the most prepared in Ohio - of that I have no doubt!

 

February Board Happenings

I've officially completed 4 Board of Education meetings, and it's been a very eye-opening experience - in the best way! Our large, diverse School District is doing fantastic things, and many of our programs are the envy of other districts around the state and country. Several highlights from the past month...

-I attended 2 conferences by the Ohio School Boards Association, including New Board Members 101 and School Finance 101. These were great opportunities for me to interact with other school board members and administrators from across the state. Although it was a ton of information, I found them to be extremely valuable. There are a lot of resources available if you just know where to look!

-My role on the agenda in school board meetings this year is to share the Community/Students/Schools items. These agenda items include partnerships our district has in the community, as well as opportunities for students to participate in programs outside the school, including field trips, athletic conferences, and more. Each of these items receives formal board approval.

-I have been keeping up with Take Part Thursdays every week - I am glad to keep connected to our residents this way, and hear your concerns.

-I've started to attend PTSA (Parent-Teacher-Student Association) meetings on a nearly weekly basis. At those meetings, I am more or less just there to listen, and let parents know at each school that I am there as a resource.

-In mid-February, there was a vote to renew "pay to participate" fees for the 2018-19 school year. I was afforded an opportunity to state my opposition to this policy, but the fees were renewed without any increases. Although I was in the minority on this position, I am one of 5 board members, and we operate as any board would - following majority rules. We have the opportunity to state our opinions on any issue, whether we agree or not, but we stand by the Board's decisions when votes occur. I understand that these fees generate almost half a million dollars in revenue that the District needs to operate, and until we can find a suitable replacement for those monies, it will be very hard to make that much of a cut to our budget. I understand why the Board made the decision it did.

-Finally, I want to share from last night's meeting 2 very interesting links discussing the broad range of services, and some very large statistics, provided by our District's Food Services and Transportation Departments. It's clear why we are the 5th largest District in Ohio! I think you'll find these numbers interesting:

Food Service Update:

 https://www.boarddocs.com/oh/swcsoh/Board.nsf/files/AW9LU356AAE8/$file/2018_Feb26_Food-Service-Update.pdf

Transportation Update:

https://www.boarddocs.com/oh/swcsoh/Board.nsf/files/AW9LXJ571608/$file/2018_Feb26_Transportation-Update.pdf

I'm very much looking to our board retreat this Saturday, where we'll hear from a lot of other departments and discuss more issues for the coming year! Thank you for all of your support so far.

 

First Board Meeting!

On January 8th, in front of family, friends and neighbors, I was sworn into office by the President of the Franklin County Commissioners, my dear friend Kevin Boyce. Commissioner Boyce and I met some 15 years ago, when he was on the Columbus City Council, and I was a teenager in high school joining a new organization he founded, the Columbus Youth Commission. This group was created to advise the Mayor and City Council on youth issues, and I was proud to be one of the founding members for its first 3 years, until I went to college.

In this first meeting, we had an annual approval of the District's budget, followed by the election of Lee Schreiner as President, and Mindy Garverick as Vice President (which I was excited to make as my first official motion). In the formal meeting, of note was the approval of a construction manager for a new pre-K through 4th grade building adjacent to Bolton Crossing Elementary. The funds for this addition are covered by savings during construction of the buildings in the last bond issue voters approved.

I'm very excited to begin serving you. Please reach out to me at any time with your questions or concerns, and I'll do my best to assist you.

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Welcome!

Thanks for stopping by my website. I am absolutely honored to begin serving you as your member of the South-Western City Schools Board of Education on January 1, 2018! 

Our first school board meeting of 2018, including the swearing-in of new members and organization of the leadership, will occur on Monday, January 8 at 6:30pm. The School District's Service Center (DSC) is located at 3805 Marlane Dr., Grove City, OH 43123. Meetings are open to the public - the full schedule is visible by clicking here.

One other item I'd like you to be aware of as I begin is "Take Part Thursdays." Click on this link to learn more about this initiative I created, and let me know your thoughts at any time.

I am so excited for this journey! Connect with me here or using the social media buttons below, and let's build a future that is #SouthWesternStrong. Thanks!

Sincerely, 

David Donofrio