Our district’s core defining feature is that Forest Hills School District structure provides small neighborhood school opportunities and connections to students and residents while enjoying the benefits of a large community’s resources. This unique equation delivers high-quality student outcomes at a lower cost to taxpayers, and is ultimately what differentiates Forest Hills schools from other similarly rated districts in southwest Ohio.
For three decades, community leaders have explored the costs, risks, opportunities and benefits of the neighborhood-centric school structure in Forest Hills. The district reviewed the situation in 2010, 2014, and again through the passing of a supportive operating levy in 2019 - the community bet that the benefits of our unique structure were not superceded by the alternative.
The residents’ bet on the schools’ current structure continues to pay off … Forest Hills school district quality ranks a top priority for nearly all new home buyers. A home in Forest Hills stays on the market fewer days than nearby competing schools showing demand for our area remains high, and buyers have seen a growing return on their investments in property in FHSD.
Why focus on how we can be more like other neighboring districts when what attracts families to the Forest Hills is the way in which we are different? It’s time to celebrate our unique characteristics and protect the primary reason so many choose to live here. Let’s recognize our neighborhood school structure for the jewel that it is.
Our school district is the number one reason people choose to move in to the community
FHSD neighborhood schools attract families looking for an affordable, top-quality education for their children. According to the Anderson Township housing study, 95% selected this district primarily for the schools, which increased after the 2014 bond issue & $103M investment that many perceived put the consolidation argument to rest.
The choice may also be made easier because home prices here are more affordable than in other nearby areas, and buyers appreciate the opportunity that the neighborhood structure provides them; schools closer to home offer the opportunity for working adults to volunteer and engage more easily. Studies have shown that parent & guardian involvement in their children’s education has been proven to yield higher grades and test scores, and better social skills among many other benefits.
Students and their families develop life-long relationships over the years here in Forest Hills; residents of all ages attend affordable entertainment in school sports and performing arts events, creating a culture that many return after graduation to raise their families here. We also have the added benefit of enticing many of our district’s teachers to benefit from this community as well, nearly 60% of our teachers live, play and earn here in Anderson Township.
Investing in FHSD is a sound decision, and money has historically been well managed
Forest Hills spends less per student than comparable districts while still competing aggressively for high-scoring academic outcomes, and 85% of our expenditures serve classroom instruction and experience. The district paid off the bond for Nagel School’s build three years ahead of schedule.
We spend $400 less per student on facilities than our district peer groups despite the number of buildings, and FHSD ranks 12 out of 23 districts in Hamilton County on spending per pupil. Our leaders have been imperfect, and no private or public board has ever avoided every pitfall, but on the whole - our district finances have been well managed.
Responsible and well-intentioned financial management has earned us state-level accolades for managing a tight budget well without negatively affecting our district’s abilities to compete against schools that spend more.
FHSD is consistently ranked in the top 10% of districts in Ohio for student performance, and our high schools are nationally ranked in the top 50 in US News. (Source) In 2021, Forest Hills School District was once again the recipient of a prestigious recognition from the Ohio PBIS Network. This is the third year in a row that FHSD received district recognition for its work involving Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports.
Comparing the nearest districts’ buyers in similarly located & ranked schools shows FHSD median home values are accessible to new families, and our Township reported an increase in growth in a key demographic, buyers between the ages of 25-34, typically residents of young families or those nearing the time in their lives where they may choose to start a family. Our community’s real estate inventory has the lowest median number of days on the market, representing demand is high for our area comparatively to others.
Forest Hills School District may be part of one of the 5 largest townships in Ohio, but it offers the feel of a small community, and the scholastic experiences for public school students to match. That which differentiates us has defined our community for decades and consistently attracts new residents and families.
FHSD still attracts top talent for teachers and administrators who in turn ensure educational opportunities that prepare our students for successful careers.
Together these features - along with the commitment of so many community organizations, volunteers - have consistently created opportunities that many graduates recall with enough satisfaction that they choose to return with their own children years after they’ve graduated; no better vote of confidence in our community exists than that.
The views and opinions expressed by individuals and entities on this blog are their own and do not reflect the views or positions of AdvocateFHSD.org.
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