XENIA — To say Superintendent Danny Morrison is happy about where the Xenia Community Schools are heading is like calling Godzilla a little lizard.
It’s a huge understatement.
Morrison loves to talk about the district.
“I can go on four hours,” he said.
And while a superintendent is supposed to be the district’s biggest cheerleader, Morrison and everyone associated with XCS have every right to be giddy in 2017.
Consider just a few tidbits Morrison offered”
— Student enrollment is up more than 200 students this year over the state’s projections.
— For the last five years, district revenues have exceeded expenditures, meaning the district is being fiscally prudent.
— More than 73 percent of revenues are being spent on what Morrison said is most important — what goes on inside the classroom. This is the highest percentage in Greene County.
That’s just the start.
“We have the only Five Star Preschool in the area,” Morrison said. “We have integrated technology into the classroom and have enough devices for every student in the school district. We are professionally developing our staff to provide positive behavioral support. We are focusing on intervention strategies so that every student can succeed.”
The district is also getting a major assist from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base with several programs.
Robotics in the Classroom are age-appropriate curriculum units introducing students to robotics and building on that knowledge by allowing students to progress from theory to real robot design and programming.
Students visit WPAFB laboratories to use a $1 million Scanning Electron Microscope as part of SEMEDS, and discover some of the mysteries of the insect world and materials science.
STARBASE provides local students a variety of exciting, hands-on learning experiences designed to increase interest in and knowledge of math, science and technology as part of the nationwide Department of Defense Program.
And Wizards of Wright include demonstrations of science concepts through fun and often amazing hands-on projects.
“We have so many great things happening in our district for kids,” Morrison said. “I am so proud of this district and what we are doing for kids.”
One negative can be turned into a positive in May. Voters in November 2016 turned down a bond issue that would have allowed the district to build a new high school/middle school complex. The bond issue would have generated generate around $2.4 million annually for 37 years to pay for construction where US Route 42 and US Route 35 meet.
The total cost of the project is approximately $64 million.
The bond issue and construction are necessary because the current buildings are old and need many repairs to bring them up to code and to hold the projected student population, which is growing yearly. The Ohio School Facilities Commission, which is giving the district nearly $29 million to help fund the project, recommends replacement over renovation because the cost to renovate is at least 66 percent of the cost to construct new.
The state money is available for one year so if the levy fails, the money will likely go away.