Archive for September, 2009

Parent Update – September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009 3 comments

Congratulations to Bulldog Golf Team
Congratulations to our High School boy’s golf team who yesterday laid claim to the S.W.C. championship. Congratulations to Coach John Holzworth (5th grade teacher at Olmsted Falls Intermediate School) and the team for this fine accomplishment.

Falls Day in the Park
A reminder that Falls Day in the Park, sponsored by the Olmsted Falls Park and Recreation Department will be held this Sunday (October 4th) afternoon at the East River Park (Lewis Road). The Olmsted Falls Marching Band will be making an appearance at this event

Powder Puff Football Game
Just a reminder that our Junior and Senior girls will be squaring off in their annual Powder Puff football game this Saturday, October 3rd at 5 PM at Charles Harding stadium. Proceeds from this event go to the Olmsted Falls After-Prom Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Over the past few weeks, a set of common questions about the District’s 6.4 mill operating levy request have been repeatedly asked.  In an attempt to distribute the answers to these commonly asked questions, the District has put out the following document (click here).

Updated Information on Transportation
Many have recently asked me what the impact on transportation services would be should the community not support the 6.4 mill operating levy in November. As per the Educational Reduction Plan (announced in January 2009 during the February Levy Campaign) and the Levy Choice Points document (click here to view), the District would default to State minimum busing services effective January 2010.

State minimum busing would eliminate bus service for any family whose son or daughter lives within two miles of the building for which the child attends. In order to give perspective of the impact of this change on our community, the District’s transportation department has developed maps to show the two mile cut-off for each of our school facilities. Copies of these maps can be seen by clicking here.

For those families utilizing the Alternative Transportation service, as noted on the bus card you received in August and as noted in the Spring 2009 School Report (click here for copy), this service will be eliminated in January 2010 should the community not support the November operating levy.

Finally, while it certainly is not pleasant for me to deliver this information to you, it is important that our community clearly understands the ramifications of the November levy vote.

Will State funding to Olmsted Falls City Schools be cut?
As you may be aware, about a week ago, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that Governor Strickland’s proposal to install video lottery terminals (VLT) at horseracing tracks was unconstitutional. This was a major blow to Governor Strickland as the State budget, over the next two years, assumed around $851 million would be generated from VLTs.

According to information released yesterday from the Ohio Department of Education, this VLT dilemma has created an even larger issue as the Federal Stimulus programs required a “maintenance of financial effort” from participating state governments. This means that whatever financial amount a state had previously been allocating had to be continued to be allocated in their upcoming biennial budget.

Now that this anticipated $851 million will not be coming from the VLTs, the State is out of compliance with the Federal Stimulus rules and could lose up to $2 billion in Federal Stimulus dollars. (See Plain Dealer article for additional information by clicking here)

As you may be aware, of all the governmental departments around Ohio, public K-12 education was largely spared the axe in HB1. Now with this new loss of anticipated revenue, cuts will be coming to K-12 public education.

Yesterday afternoon, the Ohio Department of Education emailed a simulation to all Ohio public K-12 schools showing what reduced funding could occur if Ohio loses the Federal Stimulus Funding. For Olmsted Falls Schools, our loss in State revenue would be $1,149,034.21 in FY 10 and $1,719,346.74 in FY 11 for a total loss over the biennium of $2,868,380.95.

Now the likelihood that Ohio will lose $2 Billion in Federal stimulus funding is rather unlikely. (From a political standpoint only, Ohio plays a major part in any presidential election campaign). However, it appears to be a certainty that a reduction in state funding for Olmsted Falls City Schools will likely occur sometime in the near future.

Reminder – Community Meetings
As a reminder, members of the Board of Education will be participating in a series of information meetings so as to answer community members’ questions about the operations of the Olmsted Falls City School System. The meetings, which will all be held in the High School Auditorium, will occur on the following dates and times:

Wednesday September 30th 7:15 PM
Thursday October 8th 7:15 PM
Monday October 19th 7:15 PM
Sunday October 25th 4:30 PM

School Board meeting Information
School Board meetings occur on a monthly basis. While attendance is usually light, I want to make you aware that our District’s website contains a written briefing of every monthly meeting. A copy of the briefing from the September 17th meeting can be found by clicking here.

PTA Meetings for October
The Olmsted Falls School district is blessed to have a very supportive PTA. I would highly encourage you to become involved in the PTA for the building your son or daughter attends. Here are the meeting times and dates for the October PTA meetings:
Early Childhood PTA Thursday, October 8th at 7 PM
Falls-Lenox PTA Tuesday, October 27th at 7PM
Olmsted Falls Intermediate School PTA Tuesday, October 20th at 7PM
Olmsted Falls Middle School PTA Tuesday, October 13th at 7 PM
Olmsted Falls High School PTA Monday, October 26th at 7 PM

Kiwanis Homecoming Breakfast
As a part of the Olmsted Falls Homecoming festivities, the Olmsted Kiwanis will be hosting a Free pancake breakfast (donations are accepted) from 8 AM – 1 PM on Sunday, October 11th. The location of this event will be the High School cafeteria.

Parent Update – September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009 4 comments

Dedication Ceremony for Intermediate School
Thank you to all who were able to attend the Dedication ceremony, this past Sunday, for the Olmsted Falls Intermediate School. It was certainly a day in which I will long look back upon with pride for our community and our school system.

Pictures of the Dedication ceremony have been uploaded to our district website. Please click here

Board of Education Announces Community Meetings to Discuss Upcoming Levy
In an effort to continue to answer questions from our residents about the November levy, the members of the Olmsted Falls Board of Education have set up 4 public meetings. These meetings will all be held in the auditorium at Olmsted Falls High School.

The times and dates for these meetings are as follows:
Wednesday September 30 7:15 PM
Thursday October 8 7:15 PM
Monday October 19 7:15 PM
Sunday October 25 4:30 PM

Did You Know
Did you know that for the second year in a row, Polaris Joint Vocational School is providing the financial backing for the Olmsted Falls school district to offer after-school Chinese language instruction to students in grades 1 – 8.

H1N1 Update
Olmsted Falls schools continue to gather information and implement plans in order to do our best to safeguard our students and employees against an outbreak of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus.

Recently, the information below was released by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health:

1. What we know about the H1N1 virus
• The timing, spread and severity of novel H1N1 virus – in addition to our regular seasonal influenza viruses – are uncertain.

• The total number of cases in Cuyahoga County is no longer available due to recent changes in the State of Ohio Infectious Disease Reporting rules.

• Outbreaks of H1N1 have been reported at several colleges in SW Ohio.

• The seasonal flu vaccine does not protect against the novel H1N1 influenza virus.

• H1N1 vaccination will not be mandatory.

• Vaccine will be distributed to approx. 90,000 vaccine receiving sites. Approximately 50% of these sites are part of the VFC (vaccine for children) sites. Provider agreements will need to be in place for the other sites in order to receive vaccine.

• Some people will need THREE vaccinations this fall: one for seasonal flu and two for H1N1. It appears that they may be able to be co-administered.

• Currently, the CDC is recommending the following PRIORITY population to receive the H1N1 vaccination first until vaccine is available for all recommended groups:
o pregnant women
o people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age
o health care and emergency services personnel with direct patient contact
o children 6 months through 4 years of age
o children 5 through 18 years of age who have chronic medical conditions

Once the recommended PRIORITY population is vaccinated or additional vaccine supplies are available, the following groups will be targeted:
o persons between the ages of 5 through 24 years of age
o people from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems

Once demand for the vaccine for the prioritized groups has been met at the local level, programs and providers will begin vaccinating everyone from the ages of 25 through 64 years. Once vaccine demand among younger age groups has been met, programs and providers should offer vaccination to people 65 or older.

• Unless Health Care/Emergency Services Personnel with direct patient contact, staff doing vaccinations will probably not be in the first priority group.

• There may be some type of minimal fee that can be billed to Medicare or private insurance or charged at the time of vaccination. If a person cannot pay, they will be referred to a public health vaccination site. Public health cannot turn anyone away. A financing Q&A document is currently being finalized for distribution.

• Ohio Department of Health is planning to ask the Governor for a “public health emergency” declaration in conjunction with the H1N1 vaccination program.

2. What we don’t know
• When we will begin receiving vaccine – likely mid-October.
• How much vaccine we will get and increments we will get it.
• Who else is getting the vaccine – Vaccine For Children (VFC) providers, hospitals, others?
• If school based clinics will be requested for vaccination of school age children.

3. School Guidance
a. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released guidance information for schools on August 7th, 2009.
b. Emphasis is not on school closure.
c. Rather, the focus is on stepping up basic good hygiene practices like hand washing, keeping sick students and staff away from school.
d. Some key points
– Those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, without use of fever-reducing medicines and regardless of whether or not they are using antiviral drugs.
– School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. Special cleaning with bleach and other special cleaners is not necessary.
– Students and staff who appear to have flu-like illness should be sent to a room separate from other students until they can be sent home.

Relay for Life
We are excited to announce that Olmsted Falls will host its first American Cancer Society Relay for Life, set for June 12-13, 2010. Please watch for future information on this event.

Olmsted Chamber of Commerce
Recently, I have been asked about the ways the Olmsted Falls school district promotes business development in the school district. The quick answer to this is that while business development is not the District’s primary focus (educating children in an efficient manner is the District’s primary focus), we do support and advocate the use of local vendors.
The District has also been “at the table” and “provided financial support” to the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD) as well as participate in abatement incentive meetings with business located along Bagley Road in the Berea corridor (which is still in the Olmsted Falls school district).
I have been very surprised that during conversations on this topic of business development, that several members of our community were not aware of the existence of the Olmsted Chamber of Commerce. While the organization does not maintain an office in the community, it does have a web presence and has approximately 90 members.

I would invite you to view the Olmsted Chamber website by clicking here.

Did You Know
Did you know that of the 31 public school districts in Cuyahoga County that the Olmsted Falls School Districts cost per pupil is the 4th lowest in the county (as per the Ohio Department of Education). We are very proud of this fact. While the District’s spending per pupil ranks among the lowest in the county, our academic results continually rank among the best in both the county as well as the state of Ohio.

Ohio Schools Council
In my September 4th update, I wrote to you about the Olmsted Falls school district’s participation in the Energy for Education III program which will allow the District to purchase electricity for our school facilities at 5.1 cents per kilowatt hour. I have been asked how the District was able to secure this great financial savings.

To answer this question, I want to make you aware that the Olmsted Falls school district is a member of a group purchasing consortium. The name of this consortium is the Ohio Schools Council. To learn more about the Ohio Schools Council, please click here.

Did You Know
The Olmsted Falls school district was recently awarded with the rating of Excellent with Distinction by the Ohio Department of Education. This marks the 10th year in a row that the District has received the top possible rating by the ODE.

School Bus Transportation
If you are a parent of a student attending Olmsted Falls High School, you are aware of the discontinuation of busing services that has resulted from the two failed levies. Recently, several parents have asked what transportation reductions will occur should the levy fail this November.

The Olmsted Falls Board of Education has always taken efforts to display transparency, and within that spirit, the Board of Education recently approved a document entitled Levy Choice Points. This document displays the reductions to education programming and services which would occur to maintain the financial solvency of the school system.

A copy of this document can be seen by clicking here.

Many parents have been asking questions pertaining to what transportation changes will occur if the levy fails in November. The quick answer to this is effective 1/1/2010, as per the Levy Choice Points document, no busing services will be offered to students (grades Kindergarten through 8th grade) who live within two miles to the student’s school facility.

Additionally, for students who live outside the two mile distance to their school, expanding walking zones to bus stops will be implemented. Finally, no bus service will be provided within the two mile zone for pick up or drop off for students being transported under the Alternative Transportation (alternative pick up and drop off) services. It is my hope that in the next week, diagrams outlining the two mile zones for each of our school facilities will be uploaded to our District website.

While these transportation changes would be an unfortunate step backward for our District, these changes will allow for additional cost savings which would be necessary should voters choose not to support an operating levy.

Categories: Community Updates

Parent Update – September 4, 2009

September 4, 2009 2 comments

Hello everyone,

President Obama’s Speech to America’s School Children

On Wednesday afternoon, we received notification from the Ohio Department of Education that President Obama will be speaking, via the Internet, to American’s School Children on Tuesday, September 8, at noon.  According to the Ohio Department of Education, the President is expected to challenge students to work hard, set educational goals and take responsibility for their learning.

Unfortunately, the time that has been chosen (noon) falls directly into the time slot when a large number of our students are either eating lunch or at recess.  As such, it is our plan to record the President’s message.  By taping the President’s message, our teachers and building principals will then have the ability to review the message and determine the appropriate grade levels and curriculum areas for later viewing of this Presidential address.

Additionally, approximately 40 parents have telephoned or emailed the District and expressed concern about having their children listen to the President’s message.

Should any parent desire that their child not view this recording of the President’s address, we ask that you contact your child’s building principal in order to make your desires known.

Energy for Education III

The Olmsted Falls School District is continually looking for ways to stretch our financial resources.  As such, I want to make you aware that on August 26th, the Board of Education approved a resolution allowing the school system to become part of a program called Energy for Education III.

Energy for Education III is a program developed by the Ohio Schools Council, which will create a consortium of over 200 school districts who together will “bulk purchase” electricity.  This consortium rate of 5.1 cents per kilowatt hour is almost 2 cents cheaper (per kilowatt hour) than the market rate for residential purchase.

Previously, the Olmsted Falls School District was a participant in the Energy for Education I and II programs.  Additionally, the District also participates in group purchasing for natural gas and gasoline.

Rumor Mill –  5th Grade Band and Field Trips

Recently, I have been asked by about a half dozen different parents if 5th grade band was a casualty of the District’s Educational Reduction Plan.  There is a belief that 5th grade band will not be offered this year due to the District reducing our overall music staff by one teacher.  The answer to that question is no.  Presently, no changes have been made to the 5th grade band program and the program will make its normal appearance in late fall.

Another rumor mill topic that I would like to address is Field Trips.  It is true that field trips were eliminated due to the failure of the past two levies.  However, due to the generosity and hard work of our various PTA units, one field trip per grade level (K-8) has been funded.  Thank You Olmsted Falls PTA.

Did You Know #1

As you know, the District recently opened its new Intermediate School (on time and slightly under budget).  Did you know that even though we now have 80,000 additional sq. feet, that no additional personnel have been hired.  Rather, in order to ensure the new Intermediate School is kept clean and sanitary, the District utilized financial proceeds from the construction fund to purchase new maintenance equipment that allows both the Intermediate School and Middle School to be cleaned with fewer overall employees.

Did You Know #2

Now that the Intermediate School construction project is wrapping up, work is beginning on the addition to Olmsted Falls Middle School.  As a reminder, this project will be financed with the $7.7 million dollars the District obtained a year ago from the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

Levy Meeting overview

I want to thank those who attended the Levy Information meeting on Wednesday evening.  Approximately 85 persons were in attendance.

I want to make you aware that the PowerPoint presentation, which provides important facts about the District’s financial operation, can be viewed by clicking here.

Did You Know #3

Did you know that according to the Ohio Department of Education that the Olmsted Falls School District’s expenditure per student is the 4th lowest in Cuyahoga County?  It should be noted that the amount our district spent per pupil was less than half of what other District’s in the county spent per student.  Finally, even with this fact, our District still managed to achieve a perfect report card rating.  We, as a community, should all be very proud of this accomplishment.

Have a great and relaxing holiday weekend,

Dr. Todd T. Hoadley, Superintendent

Categories: Community Updates

Parent Update – September 2nd, 2009

September 2, 2009 8 comments

Hello everyone,

Blog created to communicate with community
Keeping our community informed of school events and important information is very important. As such, last year the District began collecting parent email addresses and a series of parent updates were periodically sent out.

While this has worked relatively well, we have continually looked for a more efficient manner in which to communicate to our community on a real-time basis. Using a blog enables the District to reach a wider audience with our message. As such, we are attempting to make the switch from parent emails to a Blog.

Going forward, we will periodically (hopefully a couple of times per week) place information onto the Blog. Readers then may submit comments which hopefully will promote additional discussion and understanding of important school events. When a large update, containing important information, is developed, an email will be sent to you alerting you to check the Blog.

Please understand that the Blog we have chosen to utilize “Wordpress” is a free service and did not require any expenditure of district funds.

We hope you find this a beneficial manner in which to keep up with important school news and information.

Reminder – Levy meeting this evening
Just a quick reminder that tonight, at 7PM at the Middle School cafeteria, a levy information meeting will be held. All are invited. Babysitting is provided.

The meeting will begin with a District financial presentation by Olmsted Falls School Board Member, Mr. Frank Pedicini. This presentation will last approximately 30 minutes. This presentation will be followed by our community levy chairpersons outlining their ideas for the campaign.

Please note that child care will be available as we are encouraging both parents to attend.

Voter Registration
Several people have asked how to get registered to vote in time for the November 3, 2009 election. The deadline for voter registration is 30 days prior to the election date. In order to be eligible to vote in the November 3rd election, individuals must be registered to vote by October 5, 2009.
In addition to registration for new voters, we are also encouraging anyone who has changed residence during the last 12 months or who has had a name change in the last 12 months to re-register to vote so as to avoid voting with a provisional ballot.

For additional information and to download a Voter Registration Card, you may visit the Cuyahoga county Board of Elections website.  Additionally, voter registration forms are available from the building secretary in each of our District’s school facilities.

School Board approves Education Reduction Plan II: The Path We Choose
At the August 26th School Board meeting, the Board of Education officially approved a document that outlines the reductions that will be made to the District’s Educational program should operating levies continue to fail. Details about the options and the rationale about the levy will be explained at the Pride in Olmsted Schools Committee meeting tonight at 7pm at the middle school. To see a copy of this document, please click here.

Bus Routes
As you know, major changes were made to our bus routes for the 9/10 school year. These changes included: elimination of High School bussing, reduction in the utilization of the Alternative Transportation process, and the spreading out of the spacing between bus stops.

Like every year, it takes roughly 2 weeks for the routes to “iron out” and for pick-up and drop-off times to become consistent. I ask for your patience during this time of transition.  Should you have specific transportation questions, please call our bus garage at 427-6350.

Bio-Medical Science
I am pleased to share with you that a new program has been introduced this year for our High School students. A Bio-Medical Science program, fully funded by Polaris JVS, is a new course offering for students in grades 9 through 12.

The Bio-Medical Science program is a 4 year course which focuses upon a project and problem-based curriculum. For more information on this program, please click here.

H1N1 Virus

The H1N1 virus, often referred to as the Swine Flu, has been getting a lot of media attention over the past few weeks.  Please note that the District has received important information from both the CDC as well as the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.

Recently, a website was created to give parents information regarding the H1N1 Virus.  To view this website, please click here.

New Intermediate School opens
I am very pleased that our new Intermediate school was completed on time (and just below budget) for the first day of school. This was a very exciting day for our 4th and 5th grade students. To see the excitement of our students, please see 1st day pictures click here. (Please be patient as this link takes about 30 seconds to load)

I want to thank the parents who volunteered at the school on the first day to ensure that our students quickly acclimated to the new facility. Your volunteerism is greatly appreciated.

Middle School Addition
Now that the Intermediate School project is wrapping up, construction is now beginning on the additions to Olmsted Falls Middle School. As a reminder, this project is being funded through a $7.7 million dollar allotment from the Ohio School Facility Commission.

This construction project will entail the creation of 18 new classrooms on the east end of Olmsted Falls Middle School, as well as expansion to the current band room, expansion of the locker room facilities, expansion of the Middle school fitness center (weight room) and the construction of a new vocal music room onto the connector hallway between the new Intermediate School and the Middle school.

The approximate completion date for the project is October 1, 2010.

Reminder – Dedication Ceremony for New Intermediate School
A special building dedication event has been scheduled for Sunday, September 20th from 2-5 p.m. I hope you will all mark your calendars and join us for this exciting District milestone – another example of the great things that can happen when our community comes together to support a high quality education for our students!

Funds from the May 2007 2 mill Bond Issue made this new facility possible. Thank You Olmsted voters!!!

Yours in Education,

Todd F. Hoadley, Ph. D.

Categories: Community Updates