By Tom Burton
Princeton City Schools
At Princeton City Schools, we live our mission each day of “empowering each student for college, career, and life success.” To fulfill this mission as a public school district, we must rely on state, federal, and local taxpayer support.
Because of a reduction in state funding over the years, we have stretched dollars to maintain, preserve, and protect our programs. Princeton’s last operating levy was in 2012. At that time, the vote included reductions throughout the district to offset losses from the state business tax and reductions in per-pupil funding to our schools. Before the loss of the business tax, the district was seldom on the ballot for operating dollars used for day-to-day expenses, including support services, staffing, utilities, and instructional materials.
As Princeton’s enrollment continues to increase, additional support is needed to serve additional students. Over the past six years, student enrollment has increased by over 925 students as parents recognize that Princeton is an excellent choice for their child’s education.
Princeton City School District works hard to achieve academic excellence for students and families. We are currently the only district in Southwest Ohio that offers international baccalaureate classes, along with advanced placement, honors, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), college prep classes, and the Innovation Center. Princeton offers 13 college classes on our high school campus. In 2018-2019, 101 students earned 770 hours of college credit while studying at Princeton. In the Class of 2019, 60 students earned an honors diploma.
Districtwide, we have 612 students identified and served through our Gifted Services program, and 98% of third-graders passed the benchmark for the State of Ohio’s Third Grade Reading Guarantee. Three Princeton elementary schools have achieved Hall of Fame School status. All Princeton preschools have the highest rating of 5 Stars in the Step Up to Quality Rating.
The Princeton Board of Education voted in favor of a necessary resolution to put an issue on the November 5 ballot. We continue to analyze and make adjustments to our budget and will never stop fighting for students and our communities.
We have advocated with legislators for a new formula to fund district schools equitably. In each conversation, Princeton is highlighted as an innovative district, working collaboratively with local higher education and business communities.
If recent history has taught us anything, public schools cannot count on the state. We have to take care of our schools locally while continually searching for alternative sources of revenue. Regardless of what is happening at the state level, we will continue to direct local dollars to provide the high-quality educational experience that Princeton parents expect and our children deserve.