XENIA — In an impromptu state of the school board message Thursday, Xenia superintendent Denny Morrison couldn’t contain his excitement.
While admitting that not everything is perfect, he still thinks the Xenia Community School District is the best-kept secret in the state.
“We do have a lot to be proud of,” Morrison said.
Pick an aspect of XCS and he will gush about it.
The district’s finances are fantastic condition, According to Morrison. During the last three years, revenues exceed expenditures by $14 million. A key for that is that “every single purchase order” is reviewed and approved by either Morrison, District Treasurer Tracy Jarvis or Assistant Superintendent Christy Fielding.
Fielding also helped the transportation and maintenance departments save $1.4 million annually. And through Medicaid reimbursements, the district received more than $300,000.
“Because we are being fiscally prudent, our district is an excellent financial shape,” Morrison said.
Enrollment continues to rise. The State of Ohio projected 4,301 students for the current school year. As of Jan. 26, there were 4,511 students enrolled. The additional 210 students means more money for the district in the form of state funding.
Students who were previously home schooled, taking classes online or have gone to private schools are returning to XCS.
“We’re bringing those kids back to the district,” Morrison said. “We have something for everyone.”
And through the Virtual Academy, former students have a chance to earn a degree, which is helping the district’s five-year graduation rate. It went from 82.9 percent to 90.7 percent in one year.
Enrollment figures are also spiking because of new residents. Morrison said a local Realtor indicated people are moving to Xenia for the schools.
“This is music to my ears,” he said.
Some of that uptick can be attributed to student performance. Most recent data — from the 2014-15 school year — has XCS earning an A on the “value added” portion of state report cards. That means that students are showing two years growth during one school year.
“The scores are going up,” Morrison said. “Teachers are teaching how (students) learn best. Our curriculum department is offering top notch professional development to better meet the needs of our students.”
The Xenia Preschool again earned a 5 Star Rating and is the only one in Xenia with such a rating, Morrison said. Five years ago the preschool had 85 students. This year there are 229.
“When you are surrounded by good people, good things happen and that is what is happening throughout our entire school district,” Morrison said.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.