WEST MILTON — “In each building, classroom, and department, the Milton-Union Exempted Village School District expects students and staff members to model habits of success and make the most of programmatic opportunities, said Brad Ritchey, Ph.D., superintendent. “The combination of academics, operations, facilities, finances, arts, athletics, and other activities function in combination to make the student experience unique.”
His report continues:
Academically, Milton-Union continues to focus on literacy — the impact reading comprehension and fluent writing has on student readiness. Students receive multiple dual enrollment credits in collaboration with Edison State Community College, and partnership with Miami Valley CTC results in students’ credentialing and immediate workforce readiness. Each student is on a journey, and upon receiving diplomas, Milton-Union graduates are equipped with knowledge and skill to succeed on their personal paths.
As a member of the Three Rivers Conference, Milton-Union has experienced its share of athletic successes including, but not limited to, winning the 2022 All-Sports Trophy. In the last calendar year, varsity football and boys basketball experienced historic successes, and across a variety of sports, Milton-Union student athletes experienced team and individual successes including both state and regional competitions. With supportive coaches and families, Milton-Union student athletes enjoy friendly, geographic rivalries making interscholastic sports a great experience.
In addition, Milton-Union has well-developed instrumental and vocal music programs, and students have been able to sing and play at The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, solo and ensemble competitions, and even the Magic Kingdom! Marching Band, Show Choir, concert band and choir, theatre, etc. are led by engaging faculty members who connect with students and families while imparting their love of music. Athletics, music education, and other creative arts provide a comprehensive package of opportunities for students.
Beginning fall 2022, school staff and community members were invited to analyze the district’s mission, vision, core commitments, and beliefs. To better understand community needs, Milton-Union expects to participate in this process every three-to-five years. Currently, the work is ongoing, and the stakeholder group is now reviewing feedback collected from parents, families, community members, and most importantly, students. This work will become a driver for goal setting and action steps in 2023 and beyond.
However, inflationary factors have made circumstances difficult. District revenues are fixed, yet expenditures have risen significantly. Every facet of the organization is impacted by rising costs – salaries, benefits, food costs, and gas prices, etc. Federal relief has allowed Milton-Union to maintain and, at times, improve student services — particularly, in the areas of special education, intervention, and enrichment. As federal dollars become scarce, Milton-Union will be forced to consider major budgetary decisions, and in a service industry, these decisions involve human capital, programs, resources, and opportunities for students and families.
Operationally, district employees have painstakingly maintained facilities, and our partners frequently comment on building conditions and efficiencies. Milton-Union has one of the lowest energy costs per square foot in the state, and school employees, often graduates and residents themselves, take pride in preserving and sustaining facilities for generations to follow. Facility needs were formally assessed recently, and information was immediately used for capital and financial planning. The Milton-Union EVSD Board of Education has established a culture of financial conservatism, and in doing so, the district has been able to forego the need for frequent new money ballot initiatives.
Finally, the district receives extraordinary support from its stakeholders. Milton-Union is a community hub, and the public often looks to the school district first for resources and possibilities that further the greater good. Milton-Union will always have improvement areas, but the district consistently works to engage stakeholders and collaborate with families to improve the student experience and support children on their personal paths.