HOLGATE - The Holgate Local Schools Board of Education Wednesday previewed preliminary report card data and received a financial update.

HOLGATE - The Holgate Local Schools Board of Education Wednesday previewed preliminary report card data and received a financial update.

Superintendent Kelly Meyers noted there are changes for the annual district report cards issued by the Ohio Department of Education,

The designations such as Excellent and Effective will no longer be used, but districts will be assigned letter grades such as A and B beginning with next school year.

“We’re going to have to explain this to our community because it’s different,” Meyers said. “Our report card’s going to look different.”

From the preliminary results which are currently available, Meyers said the district receives the equivalent of a “B” for the indicators, as well as performance index and Annual Measurable Objectives, previously the Adequate Yearly Progress.

Meyers noted the Ohio Graduation Test scores and elementary scores were great, but the area of the most concern remains in the middle school, especially in math.

“We obviously have not found the right interventions or the right programming to consistency get those kids over that hump,” Meyers said. “That’s going to have to continue to be a focused effort.”

In other matters, the board received a fiscal update.

Treasurer Lisa Shanks said fiscal year 2013 ended with a positive balance of $16,437, which is better than expected as the district was projected to be in deficit spending by the end of the year. However, Shanks noted the fiscal year also ended with 153 days of cash available, which is a decrease of three days from last year.

“Our expenditures per day ... went up so that, divided by the total expenditures, reduces our actual true days cash,” Shanks explained.

Going into the 2013-14 school year, which is fiscal year 2014, Shanks said the district will save $188,000 due to staff restructuring in both certified and classified areas resulting from six retirements and two resignations. It was noted that is the equivalent of more than 3 mills for the district, which generates $54,000 per mill.

Shanks said a portion of those savings comes from health insurance changes, as five out of six of the outgoing employees were on family plans and only one out of six incoming employees will be on a family plan.

“The insurance piece is huge,” Shanks said, adding the difference between a family and single insurance plan is approximately $8,000 per employee for the district.

“That’s definitely very helpful,” said Board President Steve Thomas.

Meyers said those savings are important, especially in light of the fact that funding from the state is not increasing and federal funding is being cut.

“With funding decreasing ... that shifts more of that burden to our local taxpayers,” Meyers said. “I think Lisa’s report becomes even more paramount in terms of being able to save money, especially when we’re looking at two renewal levies on the ballot in November and we don’t want to burden our local taxpayers any more than we have to.

“Stretching those dollars and staying off the ballot for any new dollars is critical for us,” she continued. “I think, locally, we’ve been doing a really job of continuing to be conservative and trying to find any way possible to cut costs. That definitely is a trend that has to continue.”

E-mail comments to jenl@northwestsignal.net .