Commentary by Scott Robison
December and January are months for retrospectives and resolutions.
Voters’ renewal of the 2012 referendum will allow ZCS to sustain programs and class sizes in 2016. Restoration of courses our students have been missing will be possible, too. ZCS still has the state’s lowest-funded schools, but the successful referendum election will prevent program losses and teacher layoffs.
Revenues from the 2012 operating referendum were used entirely for academic programs and to get class sizes into a manageable range. Hiring and retaining great teachers and counselors is our ever-present imperative.
Project Lead the Way (pre-engineering curriculum) will be recommended for the high school and for some expansion at the middle school level in the new year. The restoration of elementary wellness and fitness curriculum, taught by specifically trained teachers, is slated for August 2016.
Timely debt management allowed ZCS to lower the school tax rate by nearly 25 percent across tax years 2015 and 2016. Old (2005) bond proceeds were used to gain some needed classroom and event spaces at the high school without tax increase. Leading the statewide lobbying effort, ZCS helped generate legislator understanding about the broken school funding formula. Zionsville voters’ calls, emails and letters were instrumental in this first of several similar efforts in legislative budget years ahead.
In early 2016, the IU Kelley School of Business will renew the ZCS demographic report. This tool will help ZCS plan for ongoing enrollment growth and plan for new space needs as development continues in Zionsville and Eagle Township portions of Whitestown that are served by ZCS.
ZCS leaders are grateful for community support shown in 2015, excited for what 2016 will bring for students and resolute in commitment to continue their stewardship of taxpayers’ resources.
Dr. Scott Robison is superintendent of Zionsville Community Schools.