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Despite financial hardships, Ross Schools earn high report card rating

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Posted at 12:08 PM, Sep 15, 2023

HAMILTON, Ohio — Despite suffering financial hardships and cuts over the last two years, Ross Local Schools earned high marks from the state in Ohio's annual district report card, which was released Thursday afternoon.

Ross Local Schools was awarded a five-star review by the state for the 2022-2023 school year, which declared the district "significantly exceeds state standards." The district scored high in the ratings subcategories as well, earning four stars for Achievement, four stars in Progress and five stars in Gap Closing, Graduation rates and Early Literacy rates.

Ross schools were the only district in all of Butler County to earn a five-star rating from the state.

"In the Ross Local School District, we've historically performed very well on the State Report Card, but financial difficulties over the last two years have threatened that tradition," said Dr. Chad Konkle, superintendent of the district, in a press release. "The report card ratings released today confirm that our standard of excellence remains unchanged, which is a testament to the tremendous students, staff and families of the Ross Local School District."

Ross Local Schools have struggled financially after repeated attempts to pass levies have failed. Twice in 2022, voters rejected a levy to support the district, both times by a wide margin. Then again, a third effort to pass a levy that would have provided the district with much-needed funds to avoid future cuts failed in the May 2 primary election.

In an April 13 letter to parents, Konkle wrote the district was "experiencing a substantial financial crisis," with officials already preparing to make around $756,500 in cuts — including to school staff positions — regardless of the levy.

Konkle said failing to pass the May 2 levy meant he'd have to ask the school board for additional cuts to staffing and teaching positions, extracurricular programs and key activities. Konkle said before the election that a third failure would "tear into the fabric of our district."

The failure of that levy immediately plunged Ross schools into a spending deficit.

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