Chardon Schools Building Reconfiguration Saves District $3 Million
November 29, 2021 by Amy Patterson

The 2018 reconfiguration of Chardon Schools buildings saved the district over $3 million, according to a report presented to the Chardon Schools Board of Education Nov. 15.

The 2018 reconfiguration of Chardon Schools buildings saved the district over $3 million, according to a report presented to the Chardon Schools Board of Education Nov. 15.

Superintendent Michael Hanlon told the board through that process — which saw Maple Elementary School convert to a pre-kindergarten and kindergarten building, Chardon Middle School shift to grades four through seven and Chardon High School, to grades eight through 12 — the district was able to reduce staff by 14, saving over $2.4 million over the course of three years in salary alone.

“The district realized a savings of approximately $513,000 in insurance benefit costs during that four-year period. And as I noted, that was a conservative analysis because the assumptions that were made is only 80% of the staff that were reduced would have qualified for fringe benefits, pretty likely it was more than that in actuality,” Hanlon said.

Another $35,000 was saved by eliminating the costs of operating Hambden Elementary School, he added, which was closed by the district in 2018.

“Our five-year forecast in May 2018 projected $2.1 million in savings due to reconfiguration over five years — we’ve already seen, since the implementation of that reconfiguration, savings to our community of closer to $3 million,” Hanlon said. “Additional expenditures from just overall district operations, combined with the savings from district reconfiguration, achieved a total savings of $7.3 million since the May 2018 five-year forecast was presented to the board of education.”

Assistant Superintendent Ed Klein, whose portion of the presentation focused on the academic effects of reconfiguration, reiterated the results of the Ohio Department of Education district report cards issued in October.

The state reported Munson Elementary School achieved a performance index score of 98.731, ranking in the top 6% of school buildings in the state, Klein said, while Park Elementary School achieved a PI of 104.615, ranking in the top 1% of school buildings in the state.

CMS, he reported, achieved a PI of 101.516, ranking in the top 3% of school buildings in the state, and the high school, with a PI of 91.855, increased its ranking to the top 16% of school buildings in the state.

The PI scores, both for individual school buildings and for the district as a whole, increased from the school years prior to reconfiguration, Klein’s report said.

The reorganization of buildings allowed the district to increase gifted services at CMS, he added, with more gifted students served now than through previously self-contained units in the elementary grades.

“On the gifted (ODE) performance indicator, Chardon ranks in the top half a percent of school districts in the state of Ohio,” Klein said.

The district also added three advanced placement classes in addition to the 16 already in place; two college courses in addition to four in place before reconfiguration; and a “circuit of success” program for all eighth-grade students.

“We continue to focus on developing the ‘Four E’s,’” Klein said, referring to the district’s emphasis on graduating students prepared for education, employment, enlistment or entrepreneurship.

The district has also added STEM and computer science classes at both the middle and high school, he said, as well as classes in world languages and career-based coursework. The district also has a new Industry 4.0 certification.

“Students will be able to earn those (industry) credentials here at Chardon and then go on to (Auburn Career Center) to earn additional industry recognized credentials as well,” he said, adding the district has a Lean Six Sigma program.

“We were the second school district in the state of Ohio to offer that and (the district introduced) industry-recognized credentialing in certified production technician,” he said.

The reconfiguration report showed the district’s student population has been declining for about 16 years. In response to a question from board member Guy Wilson, Hanlon said school choice has not impacted enrollment figures, which have more to do with national trends.

In her five-year budget forecast, Treasurer Deb Armbruster said the district ended the 2021 fiscal year in a strong financial position, which is anticipated to continue through FY 2022. According to her report, the COVID-19 pandemic continued to impact finances at a reduced rate from the previous year.

The May 2021 five-year forecast projected an ending cash balance for FY 2022 at just over $19 million, but after reduced expenditures and a favorable tax collection rate, the new projected cash balance for FY 2022 is around $21 million.

A revenue surplus of about $2 million is expected for FY 2022, but at current projections, the district will operate in a $1.4 million deficit by FY 2026, her report said.

The five-year forecast is updated every six months to allow for any changes that may occur. Armbruster’s report is available at www.chardonschools.org/Treasurer.aspx.


Certified results of the Chardon Schools Board of Education results from the Nov. 2 ballot:

CJ Paterniti 2,684
*Todd Albright 2,497
*Madelon Horvath 2,473
Gina Payne 1,356
Alicia Taylor 1,039

*The results of this race are within the recount margin. Geauga County Board of Elections Chair Dennis Pavella said the Ohio Secretary of State has not yet announced the date of a recount.