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Superintendent Talks Levies, Changing State Standards During 'State Of The Schools'

Superintendent Matt Miller also highlighted several high points from the last year for Mentor Schools

Mentor Schools Superintendent Matt Miller did not talk about many new issues when he gave his State of the Schools address Tuesday to the Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce.

Instead, he used it as an opportunity to highlight the district's year.

He noted that Mentor Schools received the grade "excellent with distinction" -- the highest possible ranking -- from the Ohio Department of Education.

Mentor Public Schools students also exceeded the state standard for proficiency in all subjects at every grade level tested and exceeded the attendance and graduation rates required. The district also increased its performance index score for the fifth consecutive year, going to 104.5 from 103.8 last year

However, Miller noted that the ODE will change its report card next year. Instead of having statuses like "excellent" or "fair," it will have a traditional report card with grades A through E.

And the change isn't just cosmetic, Miller explained. The standards will change with the new system.

About 350 Ohio school districts were ranked excellent or better last year.

"Only 17 of those districts would have earned an 'A' in 2013," Miller said, adding that Mentor Schools probably would have received a B.

He said the school is trying to adjust to the new standards as quickly as possible.

"The curriculum department is working on that," he said. "We're trying to stay ahead of the curve."

Also in the State of the School address:

  • Miller mentioned the district's upcoming renewal levies on the May ballot.

The renewals, which would not raise taxes if passed, are for an operating levy that brings in about $15 million per year and a 1-mill permanent improvement levy that brings in about $1 million per year.

The permanent improvement levy is set to expire at the end of this year. The operating levy would expire at the end of 2014.

The Mentor Public Schools district has previously said that, according to the its 5-year financial projection, it needs to pass three levies in the next three years -- two renewals and a new one -- or it will face a $30 million deficit by the 2015-2016 school year.

  • Miller talked about how and why the district is incorporating new technology.

"In two years, our kids won't be taking state tests with paper and pencil. They'll be taking them online. We're working toward getting them used to that," he said.

Miller noted how one middle school class is already using Google Chromebooks as part of a pilot program. He added that the district has meetings coming up with Apple and Dell to see if their technology makes sense for Mentor Schools.

  • Miller mentioned many of the district's exemplary students including spelling bee champion Vishnu Nistala, National Merit Semifinalist Avinash Danda, All-Around Gymnastics State Champion Kayla Kosmerl, Mr. Basketball Justin Fritts, Mr. Football Mitch Trubisky, the cast and crew of Titanic and .

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