Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Hat tip to Jamie Stabl: Olentangy State Standard Analysis report

Thank you Jamie Stabl for the reference to this blog in the Olentangy Valley News.

-- Jim Fedako

In honor of that call-out, I am revisiting the series of posts I did on the Olentangy State Standard Analysis report - now one year old and two months old.

If the proposed state funding formula passes both Ohio houses, the Olentangy School District gains more than $4 million in state aid over the projections contained in the district's October Five Year Forecast. That means the district needs to find only $10 million in expenses over the next 27 months - a 4% reduction - in order to go another year before asking for another operating levy. If the district holds the line on salary and benefits in the upcoming teachers contract negotiations, the $10 million deficit is almost zero.

The Olentangy State Standard Analysis report identified well over $10 million in yearly savings, savings that could have been applied starting last year. But, for some reason - there are many reasons I can think of - neither the board nor the administration want to discuss this report in public. I imagine that time flies when you're spending someone else's money.

This report should be serving as the basis for understanding rising costs and requisite soon-to-be-proposed property tax increases. But the report is obviously being kept from the sunshine of public debate. The reason? I guess you will have to ask your board members why the public should not be given the opportunity to hear debate on this important report; a report funded by local tax dollars.

You'd think that with possible levies on the horizon, the board would want to get a handle on costs ... you'd think anyway ...

note: click to read installments one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mr. Fedako, for daring to look at our school district with a critical eye, when all we hear from the school board and administration are baseless or meaningless accolades and self aggrandizement.

Sadly, the average Olentangy resident believes our kids are receiving "maximum education" (as OLSD's jingle goes) and a fine return on our tax dollars, when we know that both are not true. When commonsense, results-based metrics are applied to District performance and spend data the results are eye-popping. When I edify my neighbors on what is REALLY going on in the District their eyes open wide and jaws drop. This is usually followed by a "Whaaaat???"

The Ohio Board of Regents 2006 high school stats will be released in a week or two, according to William Wagner when I spoke with him the other day (there was a delay in their receiving ACT scores). While I believe the 10% jump in English and Math remediation between 2004 and 2005 was a statistical anomaly, 2004's 27% is not acceptable--much less the 37% of 2005. Administration officials believe this number will be significantly lower in 2006. We all hope so.

And to answer Ms. Stabl's meaningless accolade of the District's status as a "great" education system, we both know how flawed the calculus was of how Olentangy wound up as one of the "Top 1,000 Schools in America". And one could argue the dozen, or so, Merit Scholars from our District would have achieved the same no matter what district they the lived in. The bottom line is that nearly 2-in-5 of our graduating high school seniors--approaching half--are severely and demonstrably underprepared for college, which is the core mission of any high school.

The simple fact remains that an alarmingly high rate of our kids are not prepared for ENTRY LEVEL college English and Math. This measurement has to be treated as the Gold Standard by which the effectiveness of our schools is measured--not the sophist-statistical nonsense of Dr. Davis's "Continuous Improvement" initiative.

Until college remediation rates are reduced to single digits OLSD schools are failing our kids. This is indisputable.

So, please continue to speak out about the inefficiency and nonsense that is so deeply embedded in our school system and school board. If a few feathers are being ruffled and some egos are being bruised you'll continue know you're having a positive effect on OLSD.

And thank you, Ms. Stabl to indicating to we concerned parents and taxpayers that our voices are being heard and rattling the cages of the status quo.

Jim Fedako said...


Thanks for the comments. I have heard that the district is expecting better remediation scores this year. I don't see how that is possible. The district does look good since -- to-date -- Columbus State CC has not reported their results.

But, if you simply compare the past two years for the reported categories -- state main, and state branch campuses -- the district is almost the same between the years. A little better on main, but worse on branch. They do wash in the aggregate.

I expect little improvement from last year's scores -- a couple of percent or so. Certainly nothing that would be considered "significant."

Anonymous said...

Why are these remediation rates not reported to us (staff)? I didn't know that type of information is public. Where did you find this information?

Next week staff meet to hear about upcoming changes as a result of the study. I wonder already if my tax dollars just funded the next has-been program for education.

I hope we'll be told in exact terms what improvements we can expect to gain from these changes.

Jim Fedako said...


But, they are reported to you.

Not only is this info available on the Ohio Board of Regents website, it's also reported in the district's Annual Report of Achievement (

I fought for this measure over much administrator resistance. I think it took me three years for the district to finally track this measure.

Read the result for yourself.

Jim Fedako said...

The url gets cut off. Here is is in two parts:


Just combine the two in your browser.

Anonymous said...

Just curious, but do the % of students requiring remedial coursework only come form Ohio colleges reporting? What if a student goes to IU or MS, do their remedial courses count toward the 37% for OLS or could it be higher?

Jim Fedako said...


The Ohio Board of Regents only track students going to Ohio colleges and universities.