District goes over strategic plan


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — Troy City Schools Superintendent Chris Piper went over the district’s progress in its strategic plan during the Troy Board of Education’s meeting this week.

“We’re currently in year three of that five-year plan,” Piper said on Monday. He explained the administrative team gets together at the end of each school year to review where the district is and if the district accomplished its goals for that year.

The strategic plan includes five different goal areas, each with a number of objectives under those goal areas.

Piper began with discussing the district’s facilities and maintenance goals, including building a new pre-kindergarten through sixth grade building. In March 2020, the district failed to pass a bond issue for its neighborhood school plan, and the district also failed to pass an additional 0.25% earned income tax in November 2020 for general operating costs. The previous neighborhood school plan would have built three pre-kindergarten to fourth grade schools and a fifth and sixth grade middle school.

“We’ve kind of remained in a holding pattern since that point until about now. We’re starting to re-engage with that question. We still know it’s one of the greatest needs of our district,” Piper said about building a new school. “Later this week, we’re going to have a discussion with the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission to find out what information they can provide us. That information might include what the state’s share would currently be in that plan.”

Troy City Schools currently have seven elementary buildings with the average age of 77 years old, with the Concord and Van Cleve buildings more than 100 years old.

“I’m hopeful we can get some kind of timeline for when state funding would be available,” Piper said.

Piper also discussed the district’s five-year capital improvement plan, including the need to install air conditioning at the high school. He said the funding for the air conditioning project would likely be tied to a bond issue or building project, so that project is currently on hold. The athletic and support buildings are also a point of concern, but addressing those units would come after the new building project.

Under the goal area of student success on the district’s strategic plan, Piper said the district “probably got a little off track due to COVID” in regard to its Readers Workshop program. The district also plans to refresh and refocus on promoting student self-awareness.

Piper also highlighted the district’s focus on promoting 21st century skills through partnerships with the Troy Area Chamber of Commerce and the career center for mentorships and internships for students.

Under fiscal responsibility, the first objective is to present the board with a balanced budget every year and update the five-year forecast, as well as making sure the district has a clean annual audit, Piper said.

“This was a very challenging year,” Piper said, adding that “with all of the doom and gloom projections that COVID brought,” the district had to adapt and make some tough decisions, such as reducing some positions.

In reference to those same projections and the concerns the district had in how the pandemic might impact the local income tax base and state funding, Piper said those projections “didn’t materialize like everyone thought it would, so we ended the year in a much better position than we thought we would.”

Under the district’s goal for hiring and retaining high-quality staff, Piper discussed a training process for incoming candidates for the upcoming school year. The district is also planning on holding monthly orientation meetings for new staff.

The district also plans to keep well-trained staff through its new evaluation system it plans to implement this year so the district can provide good coaching opportunities. Piper said they also plan to develop and implement effective retention policies.

Under communication and engagement, Piper said the district plans to hold monthly staff meetings and release a monthly staff newsletter to promote internal communication. With regard to external communication, the district plans to continue engaging with the public through methods like newsletters, social media, and an annual “State of the Schools” meeting.

The district also plans to work on effective communication channels with students such as providing avenues for students’ voices to be heard at the school and district levels, providing timely feedback to students, and having meetings with students to go over their goals and progress.

For more information, visit the district’s website at www.troy.k12.oh.us.

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