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Amherst Schools discusses budget, safety and other plans heading into summer – Morning Journal | #hacking | #aihp


Summer is approaching with many students looking forward to the break, but for Amherst Exempted Village School District, the work is just beginning.

During a special meeting May 24, members of the Board of Education met to discuss business heading into the summer months, including an update to the five-year budget plan as well as upgrades on security across the district.

“For our five-year financial forecast, we have four main goals that we need to achieve,” said Amherst Schools Treasurer Amy Gioffredo. “Our No. 1 goal, as always, is to improve student achievement, followed by ensuring financial stability, promoting and conducting two way communication between families and the schools and keeping facilities in top condition.”

The coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent mini recession has affected the district like many others, namely with inflation, officials said.

As part of an offset to incur costs, the district has continued to increase its revenue from general property taxes, Gioffredo said.

“Last year, we collected around $17.8 million in general property taxes, something we expect to increase this year and the following ones,” she said. “This is especially needed with over 60% of our budget expenditures going toward personnel services.”

Another tackle for the budget includes rising gasoline prices as both gas and diesel hit all-time highs last year, officials said.

In 2022, the average cost of gas per gallon was a whopping $4.57 in Ohio with diesel topping out at an average of $5.37 according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

“While prices have started to level out, the prices for our fuel for our buses is still very high, and is unlikely to ever go back to where we were before the pandemic,” Gioffredo said. “Still, despite these higher expenditures, we are still on track to have a stable, sustainable budget heading into the next five years.”

Board of Education members also discussed upgrades to security measures in the schools, something that has been in the works for the past several months.

“We strive to be the model for other districts on safety and security,” said Superintendent Mike Molnar. “We already lead the way with our active shooter simulation drills, but we want to be able to fill all the spots when it comes to safety.”

Following a study done by Doug Gogdell and Matt Smith from the Tech Department for Amherst Schools, the two came up with several ideas to advance security and safety as well as improve the environment.

“Our plan is to build upon the security plans that we already have in place,” Gogdell said. “One of the first things we are going to do is update our staff training.

“They are, after all, the living breathing part of our protection.”

Advanced training including fake phishing scam exercises as well as multi factor authentication put in place in the schools along with upgrades to scanning in and out of the building.

“Our hope is to eventually be able to have a system in place were we can see all entities in the school,” Molnar said. “This way, if there is an emergency, we can know where our students, staff and visitors are, and how to best protect them.”

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