Focus 6: Operational Efficiency
When Dr. Durant became Superintendent, he promised the community that the district would not ask for more resources. Over the last ten years, the district has worked tirelessly on efficiency and continuous improvement. Operational efficiency is important to TPS as it can help to improve student outcomes, reduce costs, and increase transparency. When public school districts are more efficient, they can use resources more effectively to support student learning. With a focus on efficiency, TPS continually looks to streamline processes, reduce waiting time, increase customer experience, and negotiate better contracts. TPS understands that when resources are used wisely, students and the community win.
See below for some highlights related to operational efficiency from the 2022-23 school year.
Built for Greatness: TPS Board Committee Structure
TPS has specifically designed the school board operating model for management and transparency through policy. The TPS Board uses a policy model that allows it to implement policies to express its priorities, and then make decisions that align with those policies. They are highly productive under this model as they function as a unit. This model also creates transparency between the district and the community, paving the way for real change.
The school boards utilize committees that oversee different aspects of board activities. Each committee is empowered to make decisions about its area of oversight, which streamlines decision-making and allows for the Board to be responsive. Currently, the TPS board committee structure includes:
Arts, Athletics, and Student Activities
Early Childhood Education
Family and Community Engagement
Finance and Business Operations
Technology, Improvements, and Process
Under Ohio law, the Board of Education serves as the taxing authority, contracting body, and policy maker for the school District, and ensures that all other general laws of the State of Ohio are followed in the administration of the District. The Board Member Handbook contains some of the most salient laws, rules, regulations and policies applicable to the Board and to the School District. The Handbook is intended to serve as a quick and easy-to-use reference guide for Members of the Toledo Board of Education as they discharge their duties governing the Toledo Public School District.
The Board desires citizens of the district to attend its sessions to hear the ideas and wishes of the public. At each meeting, the agenda will set aside time when spokespersons for school-related and non-school related groups and individuals. The Board requires that an individual or community group desiring to make a presentation on a particular topic submit a request in writing, by fax, or by a phone call, to the district no later than noon the day of the meeting.
Treasurer and Financial Excellence
The Association of School Business Officials International (ASBO) awarded TPS a plaque for the Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting.
This award is for the district's Annual Comprehensive Financial Report for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2022.
ASBO is the leading international membership organization for school business officials like Treasurers, Operating Officers, and more.
New Strategic Plan
District's focus on strategy ensures work, spending, and investments are purpose-driven and future-focused.
The district spent the 2022-2023 school year gathering feedback and involving students, families, staff, community organizations, and members of the public in the design of the new strategic plan. The plan was officially acted upon by the Board August 2023.
Increased Credit Rating
Moody’s increased TPS’ credit rating to an A1 from an A2 rating, noting the district’s positive operations, resulting in strong fund balances and reserves.
Moody's also mentioned "improved academic performance which has enhanced student retention and increased the district's market
share of students that reside within its borders" as a part of the reasoning for the rating increase.
Head Start Operational Funding
Head Start programs prepare America’s most vulnerable young children to succeed in school and in life beyond school. To achieve this, Head Start programs deliver services to children and families in core areas of early learning, health, and family well-being while engaging parents as partners every step of the way. In 2022-2023, TPS received more than $15 million in grant funding from the Federal government for Head Start operations, personnel, facility maintenance, and other needed supplies.
Chief of Student Supports, Dr. Amy Allen, shared that "Toledo Public Early Childhood Programs employ highly skilled teachers and staff who do an amazing job of getting children started on their educational paths." TPS is excited to be able to provide educational opportunities to preschool-aged children in Lucas County with the support of operating funds from the Federal government.
Smart Spending of Federal Fundings Spurs District Investments
As states and districts navigated the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the federal government allocated Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Programs (ESSER) funds to support districts' response to emergent needs in schools and communities. With the funds that TPS received, the district has invested in strategies supporting five priorities:
1) Learning Recovery and Support for Schools ($124M investment),
2) Infrastructure Improvements ($14M investment),
3) Technology ($15M investment),
4) Development and Professional Learning ($9M investment), and
5) Safe Operation of Schools and COVID Costs ($30M investment).
TPS is happy to report that relief funding has effectively covered all expenses related to the pandemic and will result in an estimated savings to the District’s General Fund of $78M through Fiscal Year 2024.
TPS Board of Education member to become Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) President
Chris Varwig, TPS alum from E.L. Bowsher High School and current TPS Board Member, was officially named as the 2023 President of OSBA.
For the past eight years, Varwig has been an active member of the TPS board and is known both locally and at the state level for her advocacy for public education.
Varwig will become the second member of the TPS Board of Education to serve as president, the first being Edward Stainford Foster in 1975.
TPS Director of Treasury Management Receives Award
Our director of treasury management, Paul Overman, Jr., was selected as a recipient of the 2023 Londa Schwierking Treasurer Support Staff Award from the Ohio Association of School Business Officials (OASBO).
OASBO gives this award annually "to a school business official demonstrating exemplary service to the treasurer’s office and school district operations." Mr. Overman was selected as the recipient from a competitive pool of applicants and was honored at the OASBO Statewide Conference.
Mr. Overman received a plaque and a $500 scholarship to be given to an organization of his choosing. He decided that a graduating senior from TPS should be the recipient.
Congratulations Paul Overman, Jr. on your honor. Thank you for selecting TPS and bestowing a graduating senior with a $500 scholarship!
Common Space Center for Creativity
The Common Space was awarded $1.25 million grant for renovation and energy upgrades to the community arts building. The funding was part of the more than $14 million that came to the Toledo area as part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion 2022 fiscal year appropriations bill.
The Common Space provides a venue for countless international, faith-based, and support- oriented community groups and provided children and adults in Toledo and northwest Ohio with quality arts and cultural classes and international programs.
TPS Educational Technology Department
The TPS Educational Technology Department responded to the pandemic by creating an online learning environment for 3,000+ staff members and 23,000 students; the department adopted 15,000 new Chromebook devices into the TPS system, and supported over 5,000 employees, working remotely through District applications.
Since the pandemic, Educational Technoogy has continued to expand their online presence and support structures.