O-G Treasurer Kathy Fruchey talked district numbers at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 1. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)
O-G Treasurer Kathy Fruchey talked district numbers at the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon on April 1. (Putnam Sentinel/Anne Coburn-Griffis)

OTTAWA — While local schoolchildren were somewhere in the middle of their sixth period or late lunch, the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon April program was provided by Kathy Fruchey, Kevin Brinkman and Jayson Selgo from Ottawa-Glandorf School District.

Ten-year Superintendent Brinkman, who is retiring after 32 years in public education with 23 of those years served at Ottawa-Glandorf, led the school system update with an announcement of potential funding for all Putnam County schools. He told the Chamber gathering that he had just come from a meeting at the Putnam County Educational Service Center, where he was working with other school districts in the county on an application for an Ohio Department of Education Straight A grant.

“Putnam County would be eligible for a $15 million dollar grant,” he announced. “We presume the entire grant is available. What Putnam County is going to go for is technology.”

Brinkman explained that he has seen education change rapidly within the last few years. He anticipates that it will change even more in the future. “Technology is taking over—online courses, you hear that all the time. The grant that we are going for will provide our students with online courses.”

According to Brinkman, the county is honing in on specific areas for online offerings. Credit recovery will allow junior and senior high school students who have not received enough credits to graduate may earn credits at the high school and through online classes. Course enhancement will allow students to study a subject online, i.e. a foreign language or science, that is not offered at the high school.

“Schools all over the state of Ohio are going to this. In the past, O-G really hasn’t been on the cutting edge. But we really don’t want to be on the bleeding edge, either,” he said.

Brinkman also shared 2013 achievement test results for the O-G school system. As reported by the ODE on O-G’s “Local Grade Card”, O-G students met 24 indicators out of a possible 24, achieved a 100 percent four-year graduation rate and received a 102.8 performance index score. The maximum score that can be received is 120. Areas that still need improvement are gifted student performance and getting students in the lowest 20 percent of achievement, those who are economically disadvantaged and special needs students on individual education plans, to the next level.

“Academically, we’re doing fantastic,” said Brinkman.

Enrollment the O-G school district is down 233 students since the 2001-2002 school year, but the numbers are starting to come back up. Brinkman feels this growth will be a trend as enrollment in the elementary schools are up. Open enrollment is also allowing students who live in other school districts to attend O-G schools.

Demographically, 22.5 percent of O-G students live in poverty. Statewide, that percentage climbs to 44, a statistic that gave Brinkman and the lunch crowd pause.

O-G district treasurer Kathy Fruchey shared where the school system is currently compared to historic financial figures as well as what may happen in the future. She noted that there are three revenue sources for O-G. Property values, or real estate taxes, is at the legal minimum of 20 mils. Estimated income tax collection for 2014 is $1, 121,000, a change of 6.6 percent. The largest contributor, according to Fruchey, is state funding.

“Every governor we’ve had has come up with his own formula for funding, the one that’s really going to work for everybody,” said Fruchey. “In 2005, we had $5.3 million in revenue coming from the state. Today we have $5.24. You might say that’s less, but on a per student basis, we’ve generated an increase of three quarters of a percent per student per year. There’s a lot of fluctuation built into the public formula. I think at this point, it’s just really uncertain with state funding. I think we have to always be aware of that.”