Home > Community Updates > Parent Update – November 4, 2009

Parent Update – November 4, 2009

Levy Update

I am writing in regard to the levy results from yesterday’s election.  Presently, the vote count is 4343 “Yes” votes and 4545 “No” votes.  While there are some provisional and absentee ballots still to be counted, it is not likely that there will be enough “yes” votes among those to put us over the top.  The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections has advised us that we should have final election results by sometime this Friday.

Before I outline our next steps, I want to first take a moment to offer my sincerest gratitude and appreciation to the core members of our levy campaign committee.  This small group of community members worked tirelessly over the past two months on behalf of our District’s operating levy.  I also want to thank all of the other community members and employees of the District  who devoted time, energy, and enthusiasm to this campaign effort.  I cannot, in sufficient terms, express my gratitude for all of your efforts.

Looking ahead, the Board of Education has scheduled a meeting for this Thursday, November 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the Board office to discuss the next step in resolving the District’s pressing financial issues.  It will be my recommendation to the Board of Education that another operating levy be placed immediately back on the ballot for the upcoming February 2010 election.  The new millage rate for this next levy has yet to be determined, but because of the lost year of tax collections, will most likely be higher than 6.4 mills.  The Board of Education must pass two resolutions before November 19th in order to place a new operating levy on the February ballot.

Should yesterday’s levy results become final and this levy not be successful, our District will not have any new operating money coming in through the end of calendar year 2010,  which further exacerbates the District’s poor financial position.  It will be critically important that we all work together to further stretch the limited financial resources we have available.

Once levy results have been finalized, and if this 6.4 levy does indeed fail, we will also begin the process of communicating to parents regarding the further reductions that will be put into place.  The most significant reduction will be in K – 8 busing services which would be reduced to State minimum standards effective immediately upon return from winter break this January 4, 2010.  This will require much advance communication to families living within the 2-mile cut-off zones to allow parents ample time to make arrangements for transporting their child(ren) to and from school beginning January 4.  Additionally, our Middle School spring sports program will also be suspended.  As further service reductions are implemented, the District will do its best to clearly communicate these changes to our parents and to our community.

In spite of yesterday’s potentially disappointing results, I would like to end  on a positive note by commending the significant gain in community support that was demonstrated yesterday.  In spite of the fact that many of our community members are still struggling in a very difficult economy, overall support of our District improved significantly from a 2-to-1 margin against the levy to the nearly half-and-half split we see this morning.  This is a positive shift that we can feel good about.

S.O.S. Walk

This past Sunday, somewhere between 150 and 200 students and residents of the Olmsted Community came together for a march that was designed to bring awareness to the financial plight of our school system.  Below, please see two pictures from this student-led initiative.

Approximately 150 students and community members came together on Sunday, November 2nd to bring awareness to the financial plight of our school system.The S.O.S. parade was a student-led initiative, led by several OFHS students.

Flu Update

With the exception of the Early Childhood Center, it appears that the “flu bug” is finally beginning to subside as the number of students absent from school is largely back in the normal range.
On Monday, the number and percentage of students absent at District buildings were:
High School (43 absent) 5.8%
Middle School (44 absent) 5.0%
Intermediate School (34 absent) 6.0%
Falls Lenox (57 absent) 6.5%
Early Childhood Center (48 absent) 15.2%

Thank you parents for all of your help over this past 2 weeks.  Hopefully the flu bug has left Olmsted Falls.

School Data Comparison Tool

Over the past year, as the various levy campaigns have been conducted, residents of the Olmsted Community have often asked how the finances or student data of the Olmsted Falls CSD compare to other school districts in the area. I want to make you aware of an easy-to-use tool, created by the Ohio School Board’s Association.  To find out how Olmsted Falls CSD stacks up against other school districts, please click here.

Columbia Park residents volunteer at Early Childhood Center

Since the move of the District’s Preschool and Kindergarten classes from Falls-Lenox Primary School to the Olmsted Falls Early Childhood Center (Formerly called Fitch School), a new opportunity has presented itself for residents of Columbia Park to become “volunteers” at the ECC.   Presently, six residents have become regular volunteers and we greatly appreciate their time and efforts in assisting with the learning needs of our “little bulldogs.”

If you, or someone you know would like to become a school volunteer at the Early Childhood Center, or at another District building, please call the District office at 427-6000.

ECC halloween 2009

Mary and Bill Kubat, residents of Columbia Park, have become regular volunteers at the ECC. Here, they are shown with our "little bulldogs" at the annual Halloween party.

Categories: Community Updates
  1. Michelle
    November 4, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    It is such a domino effect….when a levy doesn’t pass. The busses, you take away then hours for those bus drivers and hours that could have been worked by parents who much now leave work to pick up their children….productivity is then reduced…..I do find it troublesome that a district has to enforce a two mile cut off but within a city and township who have yet to build sidewalks…where are these children expected to walk, in the street? I live on a main road and already have a teenager that much trudge through ditches and mud to get to school….the gas going back and forth adds insult to injury……I see why home schooling is becoming more popular and one I believe I need to know consider.

  2. Mom of 2
    November 4, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I am so disappointed and sad today. Disappointed in my community, sad for the people who will lose their jobs. My kids will still get bussing but that doesn’t make me worry any less about the kids who won’t.
    Lets hope this levy gets put on the Feb 2010 ballot and finally passes. My bitty Bulldogs deserve the best school they can have.

  3. A Sad Mom
    November 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I regret purchasing our new home in Olmsted Falls, I will be putting the home up for sale as soon as I can. I am astonished that the decision to pull busing for the young children in the middle of winter, in a district without sidewalks…is a better decision then dropping all extra curricular activities in all schools. Isn’t the purpose of school to educate our children first then supplement with the “extras”. How can a parent “plan” for the dropping of busing in less than 2 months…if I quit my job I can’t afford my mortgage. Seems like someone’s sole purpose is to get “even” with the parents, when they were put in their position to make sound decisions with the childrens well being and safety as the first priority.

    • Mad Mom
      November 4, 2009 at 2:45 pm

      I have read all the comments on this page and your comment was the only one that made me “MAD”. Your attitude about the school boards decisions to cut busing is disturbing. Have you ever met Dr. Hoadley or the members of the board? These people are so committed to our kids and gives them NO pleasure in making these cuts. If the board really wanted to “get even” they would have impliminated the 2mi busing at the beginning of the school year but they didn’t do that to the community. Futhermore there are more than just little kids in this district…these extra curricular activities is what helps our high schoolers get into the colleges of their choice and help them become more productive people of our community. You are very narrow minded and I suggest next time you attend a meeting and see the WHOLE picture and not just one piece of the puzzle. This is a sad day for the community but at least I know I did everything I could to help get this levy passed. Did you?

      • voted yes
        November 4, 2009 at 3:11 pm

        They’ve done everything except tell us where the 23 million that they got from the state went. Your talking kids getting into college and we’re talking about life safety. Nice mad mom, talk about priorities.

      • A Sad Mom
        November 4, 2009 at 3:27 pm

        I want my child to be able to GET to school then I will worry about college…sports are important but they are secondary to the actual education…and no amount of time spent at meetings are going to change that!!

      • crosscountrysenior
        November 4, 2009 at 3:37 pm

        I agree with Mad Mom here, not because I am a current student, but because extra curriculars are an important part in one’s education. But there is no point in arguing this, because if the levy passed, we wouldn’t be in this situation, and if the levy fails again, there will be no bussing or extra curriculars.

        We can’t just complain about which things they cut and which they didn’t, we have to campaign to get the levy to pass, because when that happens, there won’t be a need to argue about this.

      • Mad Mom
        November 4, 2009 at 6:04 pm

        I’m sorry you misunderstood me Sad Mom. I didn’t mean to imply that your child safety wasn’t important because it is very important which is one of the many reasons I voted for the levy. But I feel bad for these older kids who are loosing their turn…my kids are still young and they don’t know what their missing. I just want everyone to look at the WHOLE picture and not just how it effects your family. I went to some of these meetings and I was so impressed with our school board. I wish more people would have taken the time to hear what they had to say…we have a great school district and these board members really do care and they aren’t trying to get “even”. If you had attended a meeting maybe you wouldn’t be so angry. This is what happens when operating levies fail, services get cut and it is only going to get worse. We have to get this levy passed!

      • Just a mom
        November 9, 2009 at 8:57 am

        It is my understanding that many districts did not pass levy because of the current economy state. I usually vote for the levy if I can afford it. Like the Sad Mom, I am seriously considering putting my house up for sale for the reason that every year, the tax goes up, but the end benefit of school for the general student body is reduced. Sports are important, but they should not be subsidized by tax payor’s money – you pay to watch the games and if you don’t want to watch the game, you don’t have to pay. When does the safety of kids trenching through less than visible sidewalk takes less priority than sporting curriculum? When do cheerleading and other curriculums that do not add to students’ overall learning become more important than school busing? Do you remember when you were going to schools what you were equipped with? Why then, anyone will want to pond all these “extras” unto our kids and want everyone else to pay for it? I see there’s urgency of needing more money, but what about posting a clear financial statement on the site for us to figure out something? Busing cut should be the last resort, in my humble opinions.

      • Priorities
        November 9, 2009 at 5:10 pm

        The levy failed, but is busing the first service that should be cut? Extra-curricular activities; important as they might be, are still just that – “Extra”, and should not come before a standard service and safety issue such as busing. When you need to cut your household budget, do you cut necessity items first (food, utilities ect..), or do you cut from the entertainment and non-necessity items first? Pretty easy decision, and like it or not the board should realize that.

    • Ready to homeschool
      November 4, 2009 at 6:41 pm

      You are absolutely correct. I’ve been here my entire life and now I am regretting my decision to put my children through the same system.

    • disappointed
      November 4, 2009 at 7:01 pm

      Seriously- two months to plan? Where have you been? I don’t know what more the leaders and committee volunteers can do. All of this was laid out in literature quite awhile ago. My husband and I knew about the possible busing cut back in February by reading the literature that was given out to everyone. We spent hours debating before we had to make alternate plans that would allow for this possibility. We read updates, asked questions when we were unsure, and attended meetings to get educated. Dr. Hoadley and the board are open to any and all questions and have always done their upmost to keep people informed of the facts!

      • Voted For
        November 5, 2009 at 7:27 am

        And where in all this literature and meetings did it say that the busing would be cut this school year. I went to meetings and got the same literature and not once was it brought up that the busing would end in the middle of winter this school year. And yet once again in all of this literature you mention, where does it address the 23 million dollars the school received from the state and where that money went. A little over 7 million went to school we didn’t need in the first place. I’ve asked several times for some explanation of where the remaining 16 million went. No response from anyone within the school board. The response I received from Dr. Hoadley is that he would have to make some tuff decisions as well since he has children in the school system too. Really, you think that your situation is the same as parents who work out of town when your office is less than a ½ mile from any one school in the system. I’m pretty sure his children are going to get a nice sage ride to school every morning. Don’t misunderstand me here, I voted for the levy, knowing that these cuts could happen. I keep hearing most of you defending the school board and all they did to try and avoid this but yet not once have we even considered a “pay to play” option. Don’t misunderstand me here, I’m a former high school All American and the only way I went to college was on a full athletic scholarship. I took advantage of pretty much everything my high school had to offer, from the music department to the drama department. I understand and appreciate the importance of extracurricular activities and don’t want to see them eliminated, however when your talking about the basic safety of kids of ALL AGES having to walk down main roads with no side walks and no cross walks I think we’re missing the bigger picture here. I was told by Dr. Hoadley that by eliminating busing the district will save about $300,000 a year. That seems like a small number when your talking about the safety of our children.

      • MJC
        November 5, 2009 at 12:48 pm

        Voted For, what meeting were you at? What literature did you receive. I personally handed out much of it and it clearly states the time frames on what was being lost and when. If you attended a meeting we discussed it. If you look at the roadmap on the back of the literature it was identified by election what was going to be lost or reinstated. You can find this on the Schools web site. The Oct. 5th backpack flyer, the October 20th Middle School insert, The general October 15th school flyer. Additionally the October 9th football flyer and the September 25th Football flyer stated this as well. I made up the flyer so I have it on my laptop. In all fairness, the final football game handout and Community door hanger simply stated “NO Busing within 2-miles” only.

        Each of the levy meetings were designed for a specific topic, but anyone could have asked any question they cared to. Pay to play was addressed at the second general session I believe. True pay to play would cost each player about $400 – $700 per sport, depending on the event, if not subsidized by the district. At one point Mr. Frank Pedicini reached into his briefcase and pulled out a financial report that showed the cost of sports and total revenue generated. Needless to say, it was a huge burden on the district. Pay to play also discriminates agains those that cannot afford to play. As a coach, would you want a team made up of only those who had the means and not necessarily the talent to play? The decision by the Board was that all students should have an equal opportunity. Do you choose one sport over another?

        I don’t disagree with you at all regarding the safety of our children who may have to walk to school. For that reason we had Ms. Irene, a school bus driver, at our 3rd open session. She discussed the benefits of busing from many angles. I actually recorded it and put the video on YouTube and a link on our Facebook page. Powerful stuff that everyone needed to hear. I think about 12 new faces were in the crowd that day.

        I truly feel your pain since I too have children in the district and I did all that I could to promote this issue along with 6 other co-chairs; one of them being my wife. There were so many others that came out and donated their time. Unfortunately enough was not done and we must continue down the “Path That We Choose” as seen on our handouts and our web page. We have a choice once again in February. I hope the passion everyone has displayed over the past two days can be turned into something positive like a call to action. At this time we are down 202 votes with the provisionals still left to count. We most likely wont get there, but I would like to see if we can’t rally the troops over the next couple of months to overcome this gap. I will be soliciting volunteers and I hope I can call on the faithful parents of this School District.

        Thanks

      • Just a mom
        November 9, 2009 at 9:02 am

        So…where is the $16million?

  4. Bulldog dad
    November 4, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    For many of the naysayers, their monthly tax increase would have been less then the price of a Browns ticket, or their cable bill, or their kids’ cellphone bill … where are our priorities?

  5. Bulldog dad
    November 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Of course, people need to save their money for their 42″ TV purchase.

  6. Denise
    November 4, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    We are also sad and GREATLY disappointed. My heart aches. We moved here for this district, as many others did. An education is not only academia, it involves shaping the child into a well rounded person, partly through the opportunities of extracurriculars. We felt for sure the levy would pass this time. We can’t believe the people who have turned the backs on our greatest assest, OUR CHILDREN. Over 4,000 people believe it is okay for little children to walk across a turnpike and in ditches, as well as fare off the snow plows and inclement weather of Northeast Ohio. There are so many streets in our community without sidewalks. Fourth & fifth graders are so small. Over 4,000 people believe it is okay to have GOOD kids now bored and misdirected. What do you think might be their options ??? Contemplate: Wandering the streets & more video games & more facebook! On the positive note, which is hard to contemplate at this moment. LETS get this levy passed in Feb 2010. Let’s figure out who we need to target & why they are holding out. Let’s get involved, the 4000+ of us, who DO consider our children to be our greatest asset!

    • momof2bulldogs
      November 4, 2009 at 4:50 pm

      Nicely stated, Denise.

    • Ready to homeschool
      November 4, 2009 at 6:51 pm

      You are sadly misdirected. It is not the parents who turned their backs on their children. It is the district who prefers to line their pockets amongst other things rather than protect OUR children. Threats will not deter me. My children come first and I will either figure out a way to get them to school, homeschool, or move to a district who can manage their money. Shame on the zoning for allowing all of these new dwellings ( homes, apartments, etc ) without the funds for educating the students. We were just fine for many years…..Shame on them! This is not our debt.

  7. OFBandMom
    November 4, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    This is a very sad day. I think the committee worked very hard to sway voters and educate them. That is proven by the closeness of the votes. We moved to Olmsted Falls because of the community and it seems to have failed. My kids will still get bused and I am a stay at home Mom, so I can be here for what they need, so I am fortunate. The board has been very upfront on what will be cut and when if the levy passes. So this should not be a surprise for anyone. My child would like to become a music teacher, and without band…I’m not sure that dream will be reached. I really felt that the Olmsted community would pull through. Excellence with Distinction may be a memory.

    • Ready to homeschool
      November 4, 2009 at 6:56 pm

      We are educated by first-hand experience. Unfortunately the residents who were swayed were only swayed by threats not beliefs or support. Your child becoming a music teacher seems to be a very selfish worry considering the fact that some children may have to walk to school on very unsafe streets. I would not sacrifice my child’s safety no matter what the district does. I would homeschool first.

      • j. ryan
        November 4, 2009 at 8:38 pm

        uh, ready to homeschool, we get your point…you’re concerned about your kids’ safety. do you have any solutions to offer? any ideas on how to get the levy passed so that the busing returns? if not, no need to post anymore of your selfish rants against what today is an oustanding school district…without a levy passing those days are sadly dwindling away…

      • well informed mom
        November 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm

        To ready to homeschool:

        The Board of Education is not responsible for there being few sidewalks in this district. The Board of Education is not resopnsible for the large numbers of homes built in the Township. Look to and ask you elected officials why these problems aren’t being solved by them not the school board–call your council people or trustees and rant to them. Townships do not have the strength as a governing body to stop the over building–but the study for a merger was voted down–so you can see this is a part of a much larger problem. If your children aren’t safe walking to school– that’s not a school board issue. Teachers in a classroom come before a bus driver on a bus. It is the school board’s job to educate our children which they have done with Excellence with Distinction.

        The parents in this district need to be commited to work together to pass this levy in February. It is sad that a core group of 6 had to work on behalf of roughly 5,000 parents. 5,000 parents and maybe 20 stepped forward to routinely help the 6. C’mon parents teach your kids how to make a difference and get involved and help spread the facts. This is YOUR community and YOUR school district.
        “Ready to Home School” you need to get involved and informed. Your comments and questions about this district and the school board show your complete lack of knowledge.

        Thank you core group of 6 for ALL the hours and hard work on the behalf of 3800 children.

  8. Bulldog dad
    November 4, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    My wife said she heard a number of people voted against it because of some perceived dishonesty on the part of Dr. Kreiner with respect to the construction of the Middle School. If true, this is ridiculous – this was years ago! Nonetheless, maybe the adminstration should acknowledge and deal with this issue up front.

  9. Scott McDonald
    November 4, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    This all breaks my spirit. Life never seems to come easily for any of us. I know we can’t afford more taxes, but we can not let our kids down like this. My kids are all gone from the system, but I am a Bulldog forever. I didn’t grow up here but I am more “Bulldog” than anything else!!! I a lady named BettyJones can go to most events and support the schools where is everyone else? We must get behind this and I mean yesterday. Cut out a dinner out once a month or something else. We need to do this for the future of these kids!!! Febuary levy MUST pass!!!

  10. sad
    November 4, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    My kids will be walking down Sterns Road to go to school and coming home from school starting in January. No sidewalks, just ditches. I really hope these children walk as a group and don’t get hit by cars. I have to leave for work early and can’t quit my job. Dr. Hoadley, is it possible to open up school doors earlier at the middle school so my kids don’t have to wait outside if I drop them off an hour early????

  11. highschoolcrosscountrysenior
    November 4, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I understand that none of these cuts will affect me in any way, but it still bothers me that people don’t support school systems anymore. Like Bulldog Dad said, they care more about their TV’s, Browns tickets, giving their 5th grader a cell phone that they don’t need. I understand that this is not the case for everybody, but it is still out there.

    Education is the key to fixing the economy. If we don’t give kids proper educations, they will not succeed in their post-secondary life, whatever that may be. We will not be able to compete economically with other countries and will never get out of this economic slump. Plus the lack of educated and job-holding people will build up in our communities and we will become more like an inner city suburb.

    I may be exaggerating this a bit, but not paying the extra tax money may be helpful to some people in the short-term, it will ultimately make life worse for everyone.

    Most of the voters have had their chance with an education, why can’t they give the current students the same chance they had? Everybody today is too self-centered to care about other generations. I am grateful to have been given the education that I had, and I want everybody else to have that same chance, because you never know what hidden talent one of our students may have, and without a proper education, that talent would be wasted.

    • Ready to homeschool
      November 4, 2009 at 6:59 pm

      This levy has nothing to do with the education of our children, only the transportation and extra-curricular. It is quite an exaggeration.

      • Bulldog dad
        November 4, 2009 at 8:36 pm

        Um, do you know how funding affects the teacher to student ratio, hence the education of our children? Or about the cancellation of foreign language programs? It sounds like you need to attend some levy meetings.

  12. Charlie
    November 4, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    I have lived in this community for almost 30yrs. and seen alot of changes. Put 4 kids through the school system and it is something to be proud of. This is one thing we don’t need changed and the people of this community need to stand up for & behind our kids and the high quality schools we have always had. Quality education comes with a price and all kids need a quality education. Without fear of what they will not have and the dangers of walking to school in un-safe conditions. Many people have moved to this area because of the school system and they need to keep it that way, You dont get something for nothing.

  13. sad
    November 4, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    Why are the kids closest to the schools (without sidewalks) being asked to walk?
    Let the kids that are farthest away get a ride in from their parents.

    • disappointed
      November 4, 2009 at 7:31 pm

      There are state laws concerning this. Did you come to one of the several meetings that were offered or email one of our school leaders to ask this? All busing would have been cut if it wasn’t a state law to bus students who live more than two miles away. The board and leaders did not want to do this, it was a reality that they had laid out months ago. They did not make threats; this is a reality of failed school levies. It was up to our community then to vote yes or no!

  14. OFBandMom
    November 4, 2009 at 3:28 pm

    We all understand the pain we will feel with the cuts. The school board’s heart and soul are with these kids, many of them have kids themselves in the district.

    It would make no sense to have the kids walk greater than 2 miles. The sad truth is cuts need to be made since the voters did not support the kids. Cuts in transportation for HS was the easiest to absorb.

    If they wanted to get back at the parents, all transportation would be cut.

    If we don’t want to feel these cuts….vote YES. It really is quite simple.

  15. highschoolcrosscountrysenior
    November 4, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Sad: I am sure there is somebody that would be willing to drive your children to school. We need to come together as a community

  16. Denise
    November 4, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    In my rashness & disappointment, I forgot to thank our committee for their efforts. I do want to thank them for their selfless efforts. If they continue in leading this effort, I want to give all I can of the little time I have. I hope MANY others do the same.

  17. Carol T. Ryan
    November 4, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I ask you all to put your words and actions in real time, not just on the web o’sphere. In different ways folks are expressing their frustration with the vote and the resulting consequences. You want a levy to pass. You can’t wish for it. You need to work for it. I suggest less time spent on wondering who voted no, and more time plotting how to get those wavering in support to show up. Forget faulting fixed income community members and spend more time getting yes votes from families of recent graduates. Detach yourself from useless language of getting even, threatening, and pressuring parents and educate yourself on the school’s current dismal economic situation. Take a moment to pause and see some of your administrators not just as budget cutters but parents of OF students. I ask you when my husband’s former job was economized and we canceled our vacation plans, would you say I wanted to punish my children? The state regulates what “has” to happen. Anything else, like our family vacation, is up for being cut. The education reduction plan – which announced the forth coming cuts if the levy failed – was communicated RENTLESSLY. Whether you agree with the choices or not, we must agree the district’s been nothing if not transparent about the consequences. And for whatever educator may be reading, know that at least one voter mourns the loss of tutors/aides, small class sizes, etc., not just cuts in busing (which let’s remember also represents cuts in other families’ livelihoods).

    After you peel your, “I voted” sticker off the bottom one of your kid’s shoes today, learn all the facts you can! Start debunking the still present myths about our levy. Trust me, if levy volunteers had a dime for every so called “fact” a voter assumed then we could pay everyone’s average $1/day increase. Didn’t vote? What?! Be sad. Be frustrated. But do something useful with those feelings, and push this through before more damage is done.

    Respectfully,
    CTR

    • Mom of 2
      November 4, 2009 at 4:17 pm

      Hopefully when the reality of this hits on 1/4/10 people who didn’t vote will see what a big mistake that was.

  18. OFBandMom
    November 4, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    I agree. We all need a moment to be upset, mad, disappointed. Let’s take this and get active. Call the board and see what you can do. Offer to drive a friends child to school. Go to a meeting. Lend a hand. Get educated. Call friends and talk to co-workers and convince them why it’s so important to everyone to vote yes.

  19. OFsince'95
    November 4, 2009 at 5:06 pm

    Oh my, the sky is falling. C’mon Olmsted Falls citizens – too many times this issue has pitted the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s against each other. Yes, the levy failed. So, we will do it again, and again, and again – pass or fail, they will come back like a bad penny. Now it is time to start blaming our neighbors, the “doomsdayers” who have cast our community to hell. The “no” voters only exercised their right to vote – it is not a crime that it was not along the yes lines. But if this were your child sick, would you tell the doctor to fix the symptoms, or fix the cause. The cause is the Unconstitutional Practice of State Government school funding. This is not about what the cell phone bill, the cable bill, the $1 menu at McDonalds costs compared to the out of pocket per family if the levy passed. You are still going to pay those on top of the levy – not give them up. This is not about replacing expenses, but adding them. 10,000 feet people – this is about people saying “I wish I could do more, but I can’t.” People moved to Olmsted Falls for various reasons – we moved here for the small town atmosphere, the bedroom community feel, the individuality of the culture. And, we were made well aware of the tax base when we bought our home – so there are no surprises there. As this community grows, there in lies the risk for these unique characteristics of our great community to dicipate – Therein lies the reason why this levy fails. The converstion around this levy always ends up at dollars and cents, but never real value. Are our home values going to really stay healthy if this levy passes? How many major employers are there in Olmsted Falls that support families who live here? Another cause. Will people actually buy your house in Olmsted Falls when there are no jobs in Cuyahoga County? Employers are leaving Northeast Ohio at an alarming rate – and with them go jobs – jobs that our neighbors once held. No jobs, no income, no money for increased taxes. Why don’t we as a community cut the bull-crap of pointing the finger at each other and come together as neighbors, hand in hand with the schools, churches, local government and business to create a cure. That would put Olmsted Falls back on the map – that would rebuild the atmosphere that we all bought into when we moved here- that would really create “Pride In Olmsted Falls”. Will somebody sit down with the elderly couple who has been here all their lives; the couple that has their children and grand children and possibly great grandchildren still in the community and ask them why? Therein lies the message that will pass this levy. It is about family, tradition, history – feeling like you are part of something very special. The economy has placed several communities in the position we are in – but if we, as Olmsted Falls citizens, really have “Pride In Olmsted Falls”, will step out of the crowd a forge a solution that can make all of us proud. How can we continue to do the same thing and expect different results? Whether you voted “yes” or “no”, I would guess that all of us would want to be a part of changing our corner of the world.

    • MJC
      November 4, 2009 at 5:50 pm

      Please be aware that we can howl at the moon regarding State funding. It should not have been a factor in the results because that is not what was on the ballot. Yes, we all want to change the way schools are funded, especially in Olmsted Falls. So we write letters, there are PTA marches and calls placed to our representatives. But rather than wait until this is officially addressed we have to take ownership of our schools/community now. And if anyone believes that the quick fix is to lure businesses here then you are sadly mistaken. How long have we been waiting on the JED to become fruitful? They have been trying to give land away to companies behind the Fire Station to no avail. It is not happenning so there is one solution and it lies on the shoulders of the community in the form of a levy. I am sorry that it has to be that way, but it is a sad reality.

      As to the faction who tries to downplay the value of the schools in relation to home values, I suggest you start studying or consult a knowledgable realator. It has everything to do with it. Maybe you are one of the few that moved here for the small town feel, but the vast majority moved in due to the schools or the value the community has in relation to the excellent school system. And for those who say they are not planning on ever moving, well you better factor in your neighbors moving away and selling out at a bargain because there is not much here in the way of a sales pitch. I would also suggest that you do some historical research on local communities that continued to fail their levies and see what the home values are now. I can assure you they had the same situation with members of the community saying they were not going to move. Then when it all went to hell they complain about their safety and how the neighborhood isn’t what it should be. Check back here and I will find the data if you don’t get to it before me.

      Wake up OF. Take ownership of your most valuable assets: Children and home. Don’t just sit back and say you voted YES. Get out and help the NO voter understand what is at stake. The next time there is a meeting on the upcoming levy I would hope that there are butts in seats instead of the pathetic showings each night. So ask yourself if you did everything that you could have in order to pass this levy for your child’s safety, education and social development. You don’t have to answer in this forum, but you do have to answer to the “man/woman in the glass.”

      • Bulldog dad
        November 4, 2009 at 8:33 pm

        Right on, MJC. We can vote “no” based on some lofty(?) rationale like “state funding is unconstitutional” (not even knowing if the “fixed” funding would allocate more $$ to Olmsted Falls). And then we can sit back and watch our innocent kids get caught in the crossfire, victims of our abstract “principles”. Or we can do the right thing and make some small sacrifices because we’re adults, and that’s what adults do, or at least did at one time, before the lines blurred between childhood and adulthood.

  20. Ready to homeschool
    November 4, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    READ BETWEEN THE LINES.

    It will be my recommendation to the Board of Education that another operating levy be placed immediately back on the ballot for the upcoming February 2010 election.
    (
    I think we may have scared (bullied) them enough that they very well may vote YES now.)

    The new millage rate for this next levy has yet to be determined, but because of the lost year of tax collections, will most likely be higher than 6.4 mills.

    (Take that residents of the district! Dig deeper!))

    Our District will not have any new operating money coming in through the end of calendar year 2010, which further exacerbates the District’s poor financial position.

    ( I guess we should have planned better…..oops did I say that outloud? I meant to say….The parents of Olmsted Falls should steer clear of Bay Village

    If this 6.4 levy does indeed fail, we will also begin the process of communicating to parents regarding the further reductions that will be put into place.

    (We can’t wait to communicate more threats!)

    The most significant reduction will be in K – 8 busing services which would be reduced to State minimum standards effective immediately upon return from winter break this January 4, 2010.

    (This will get their attention- no doubt!)

    This will require much advance communication to families living within the 2-mile cut-off zones to allow parents ample time to make arrangements for transporting their child(ren) to and from school beginning January 4.

    (This is why we like to threaten…I mean remind them frequently.)

    In spite of yesterday’s potentially disappointing results, I would like to end on a positive note

    ( We are positive our threats are working since the residents are obviously reacting just as we knew they would to our threats.)

    by commending the significant gain in community support that was demonstrated yesterday. (We know these parents would rather walk in support for 1 day rather than have their children walk to school ON the streets in the freezing cold, with no sidewalks. Some of the students even walking uphill both ways in 3 foot of snow…..Yes we know how to take advantage of their weakness

    (their children of course.)

    In spite of the fact that many of our community members are still struggling in a very difficult economy, overall support of our District improved significantly from a 2-to-1 margin against the levy to the nearly half-and-half split we see this morning.

    (We acknowledge most parents would sacrifice anything to keep their kids safe. The parents on Bagley, Schady, Sharp, Sprague, and Usher are all too familiar with the speeding vehicles and no sidewalks on their streets. They are putty in our hands.)

    This is a positive shift that we can feel good about.

    (Because these parents have no choice but to vote YES if they love their children….Do you love your child enough to vote YES?)

    — Todd Hoadley… The Superintendent who has enough time to post blogs but not return a call, e-mail, or letter to a concerned parent, Yet expects us to vote YES …………for what? TRANSPORTATION? Well congrats you did get our attention.

    Time to move to a better district who cares about all students and not just those in sports and those that support the district! (Heaven forbid you have a child with a disability. This would make you more of a nuisance.) This district needs to get its head out of the clouds. You are not above the rest.

    • Ray
      November 5, 2009 at 7:48 am

      Oh yeah, I can read between the lines. Here is what I am getting from your post:

      1. Bitter person
      2. Didn’t get involved and now you are feeling bad
      3. Never offered a suggestion to the school board
      4. Misinformed and didn’t attend a single meeting to understand “WHY”
      5. Think you’re comments are not obnoxious, but actually think they are cute.
      6. Provide no value in your posts.
      7. Don’t understand time constraints on a Superintendent

      Unfortunately you are wrong about not being above the rest. There is a State of Ohio report card that shows it. It is the dedication that our teachers and children have each day to achieve these results. So if you didn’t see the value then save the taxpayer the money and home school your children. We would welcome the smaller class sizes.

      Regarding Dr. Hoadley, your call is one of hundreds of emails and phone calls each day that have to be answered in between his daily duties. I am sure there is a triage process that prioritizes what can realistically be returned in a day. I would prefer he attend to educational issues rather than call back someone who wants to lodge a complaint.

      On our City’s developement, I am reminded of something said by Mike Cleary at a Levy Meeting: “This School District didn’t ask developers to build 4 bedroom homes that attracted more kids.” Who fought the developers? Who had the pockets deep enough? The School Board didn’t zone these areas, but you are angry at them. In comes 28% more kids that the new property taxes don’t come close to paying for their education. Add in State of Ohio imposed regulations, throw in the No Child Left Behind standards that cost money and State funding that is unconstitutional. Geez School District, how could you be so irresponsible!

      Lastly, the issues and the cuts are a function of the hand that we have been dealt as a community with no tax base other than residents footing the bill. So when everyone says they needed to tighten their belts, they did. But now people don’t like where the tightening occurred. Busing? Sports? They don’t educate kids. Was it a power play? I am sure that factored into it, but you will note that the surrounding districts have implemented the State minimums quite a while ago. We carried it this long as a convenience that we can no longer afford.

      By the way, I know a good realator if you really want to help out your community. You probably wont get as much for your home now, but we have to get used to reduced home values sometime.

    • Bulldog dad
      November 5, 2009 at 8:05 am

      Your sarcasm and negative assumptions don’t help anyone. Your posts are also too long; you seem to be a person who likes to hear themselves talk. I’m still not sure what your point is either.

    • November 5, 2009 at 8:32 am

      Myth: We spend too much/have too many adminstrators.
      Fact: We have more students per adminstrator than any other school district in our county.

      Myth: The school district was asleep at the switch when all these homes were built.
      Fact: The school district has no power over zoning. Still, the district fought to improve density so less homes might be squeezed into district.

      Myth: We need a levy because the school wasted its money.
      Fact: The school has not received an operational increase in 10 years. Inflation for all goods and services is a fact.

      Myth: There are better school districts on the westside.
      Fact: Olmsted Falls maintains the highest state rating for almost the lowest per pupil cost of those so rated. More business in a district means less burden on tax payers. But that doesn’t equate to a better district, just cheaper.

      Myth: The school only cares about busing and sports not education.
      Fact: Sacrifices made in these areas protects resources/payroll needed in the classroom. Additionally, state madandates limit what the school can or cannot cut from the budget.

      Myth: Signing onto a website without using your name makes ad hominem attacks acceptable.
      Fact: The district and board of education have to stand behind their words, we should be willing to do the same. Whether you agree or disgree with another’s point of view.

    • bulldog mom
      November 6, 2009 at 6:10 am

      Well even though ready to home schools post seems a bit harsh.I am sorry to say i have gotten the same thoughts from many people.Too many threats no empathy!!!Calling it an “education reduction plan”.The teachers,staff,principles all get ample money.I am sure the poor bus drivers amd janitors get paaid peanuts!Get rid of the “Aids”.And what about all these supposed “special needs” kids?And i in no way am referring to any mentally or physically handicapped children.What i mean is i bet you 1 in 3 kids here is “special needs” on an IEP.They get free preschool and busing no matter what.Thats totally rediculous when there is nothing wrong with the kids-maybe they read a little slower..or need a little more math help…let the parents handle this no need to fund and pay for these rediculous instances that make a kids “special needs”I cant tell you how many people i know whos kids are on an iep and they are perfectly normal children.Give me a break they just want free!WHy will the bus pick up the neighbor another iep who is totally normal but pass up the rest.WHen i grew up there were special schools for these people maybe if they had to pay something there would not be all thse iep people and we would not need to pay one person to follow arounf 1 kids and whipe his nose all day!

      • Sitting here with my mouth open
        November 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

        WOW, obviously YOU don’t have a “special needs” child, nor compassion for people who do. Your the lady in the grocery store who stares at these children, and thank you’re lucky stars that YOU’RE children are NORMAL. You know what you are lucky, because it is difficult to raise a child is behind or is SPECIAL NEEDS, and I”m lucky that OMFS has a WONDERFUL program for children like him. Shame on you! My child is “Special needs” and every child that he has been with him in resource room at OFMS has been also, no FAKERS as you insinuate. My son also has an aide, but she doesn’t wipe his nose or his ass for that matter. I think you need a dose of reality and compassion, lady, because you’ve totally pushed my button on this. I’m just aghast. I’m not a holy roller, but you’ll be judged at heavens door for sure.

      • Sitting here with my mouth open
        November 9, 2009 at 1:46 pm

        I’d also like to add that I’m sure the few kids that are on IEPs for maybe having trouble with reading or math, are for one not getting a FREE bus ride or that it’s setting the school funding so far back that they had to have this Levy just because there are too many kids with IEPs. Also, you can’t sit there and tell me, that you are begrudging these parents for wanting the best for their children and you wouldn’t do the same for yours???? OH-yes, that’s right, we just want FREE. Well I’ll tell you what, I’m within the 2 mile zone, and we will be driving our child to school. I maybe wrong, but I don’t think UNLESS your child is severely mentally or physically handi-cap that they are getting the bus. And if they are, we will NOT utilize this, because it wouldn’t be fair. My son is mentally handicap, but not so much that I’m going to take a FREE bus ride as you put it. My child has been at OMFS since he was 3-1/2 years old in the PRESCHOOL and I did pay something, but I believe that he wouldn’t be where he is today without the help and wonderful teachers and aides. Thank you OMFS for that. You have no idea what your talking about because you don’t have a child that’s developmentally delayed or autistic or has downs syndrome. I don’t care if you are not referring to the kids that are mentally or physically handicap, mine is in-between, the kids that need help in math and reading, they DON”T get an aide. So what if they get an IEP for that? Don’t they deserve the best education we have to offer? Don’t put it on the parents for not taking extra time with them. Or they can’t. Sometimes it takes more than a parent, c’mon…
        And they are not labeled “special needs” if their only a little behind in some subjects, yes they maybe “perfectly normal”, but how do you know, really? Ok, I think I’ve said my peace, and I still think you’re a snob.

      • Special Needs Parent
        November 9, 2009 at 2:55 pm

        Bulldog Mom’s post concerning IEP students and Special Needs Students, just one response IGNORANCE!!!

      • Diane
        November 12, 2009 at 10:42 am

        Well said Special Needs Parent!Bulldog Mom,how can you call yourself a Bulldog mom talking like this!!! Thank goodness I don’t know any Bulldog parents that feel that way!The one’s I know believe every child has a right to a quality education no matter what stage they are at learning!You obviously have spent no time in the schools to see what is done in the classrooms for your children and the “special needs” children..I am in the schools at least twice a week in the classrooms helping teachers out..Some of these “special needs” kids do need help with an Aide. These Aides are wonderful resources for that child and other children in the classroom ..The aides in my son’s class know every other child’s name also and to your suprise may be helping your child out also!!If not, much more time would be spent by the teacher with a class of 26-28kids on that child and that means less time for your child!!! So open up your eyes and become a little more knowledgable about what you are saying before you hide your comments in a section of comments made on November 4th!!!!

  21. disappointed
    November 4, 2009 at 7:11 pm

    I too had a pit in my stomach when I heard the final results. I want to thank all of those people who poured their hearts and endless time into this levy. We were so close! I think people were much more educated and passionate this time. We need to keep it up, and somehow continue to get people to learn the facts about school finance and our district. The data about our school’s continual excellent peformances, yet extreme fiscal responsibility speaks for itself.

  22. RKWEBB
    November 4, 2009 at 8:00 pm

    As with the last levy campaign, I see Dr. Hoadley working “day and night” to get the word out about the urgency of passing the levy. E-mails, rallies, even “home meetings”. It’s impressive that we have him as our superintendent and I want to thank him for that.
    How about the board members? With the last two elections, I do not recall any of them calling my phone or ringing my doorbell asking for my support.
    Golly, if there was one person that filed for a board seat to oppose the incumbency, you would have had the members that were up for re-election “spanning the globe” to get your vote. Did they do it for the levy? If so, they are masters of transparency.

    My message to the board, in February, campaign as if it was for your job!

  23. Denise
    November 4, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    I understand the school cannot enforce a 2 mile cut off, unless there are sidewalks on one side of the street. Fitch Rd needs to have sidewalks put in, in order to enforce this. Also, we, as parents, need to understand how you plan on arranging all the Falls-Lennox students for drop off and pick up, as it is already an absolute ZOO trying to drop off or pick up your child now, even with the buses. There is not enough parking to accommodate everyone, how do you plan on arranging this, so it works? How can you ensure our childrens’ safety? We deserve answers to these questions.

    • MJC
      November 5, 2009 at 7:11 am

      Section 3327.01 of the Ohio revised code has no provision regarding sidewalks. I have heard this rumored for quite some time. Here is the exact language:

      In all city, local, and exempted village school districts where resident school pupils in grades kindergarten through eight live more than two miles from the school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards pursuant to division (D) of section 3301.07 of the Revised Code and to which they are assigned by the board of education of the district of residence or to and from the nonpublic or community school which they attend the board of education shall provide transportation for such pupils to and from such school except as provided in section 3327.02 of the Revised Code.

      Rather than look up 3327.02, it basically addresses impractical circumstances for providing transportation (i.e. one child 20 minutes away from their school). We actually have this situation in OF and we are obligated by law to pay for a child to have private transportation to their special school.

      So now you want a plan on all of this? I am sure it will be a work in progress. But let me remind everyone how good we had it. We are one of the districts that had not implemented the State minimums. Take a look at the communities around us. So our new busing arrangement basically puts us in the “me too” category. One last point on busing that we are missing is the alternate arrangements. Where they are picked up is where they are dropped off. So if you had a sitter on another bus route then you need to figure out how to get them from “here” to “there”.

      I am willing to bet there are at least 202 people that either didn’t vote or cast a “NO” ballot that are upset at their new inconvenience starting the first of the year. Maybe it is a different story when they vote in February. Do I feel bad for them? No. But I do feel bad for their children.

  24. busing question
    November 5, 2009 at 7:53 am

    how will busing effect parochial schools outside of olmsted falls school district?

  25. November 5, 2009 at 7:57 am

    To restate after what is well put above, the information below is from the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) website. I encourage folks to get answers from qualified scores (as I’m sure you have nice neighbors but please get all the facts). You can call or email ODE, ODE staff will take time to answer your questions. I’ve personally found our own OF transportation department extremely responsive. Their contact information is on the school website. The school hosted a transporation mtg in May that covered many of your questions, you may find a copy of that presentation. I’m not advocating censorship here but get educated on the facts.

    Ohio Department of Education states:
    “Pupil transportation service must be provided in Ohio for students in grades K-8 who live more than two miles from their school. Many school districts also transport students in high school, as well as students who live closer than two miles from their school, but these services are optional at the discretion of the district and are not required by state law.”

    “When school systems face financial shortages they are required to identify areas where expenses can be reduced, since they cannot operate on a deficit budget. With an average annual cost of $400 to transport a student to school, a significant savings in expenses can potentially be realized through a reduction in transportation.”

    SPECIFIC to WALK ZONES from ODE:
    “Determination of ‘safe walk zones’ is a local district decision. There is no guidance or standard established in administrative code or revised code.”

  26. OFBandMom
    November 5, 2009 at 9:14 am

    ReadytoHomeSchool….How did you vote? Did you help organize anything to support a yes vote for Issue 107? Did you offer to host a in-home meeting of your neighbors? Did you even have a sign on your yard supporting the levy?

    The school board does not threaten…there is a difference between threats and informing. They had no choice but inform the families in the district what the cuts would be if the levy failed. They also informed everyone what would be given back IF the levy passed and a very detailed timeline. This was information to make an informed vote, never a threat.

  27. November 5, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Answering Questioning Pay-to-Play programs/Where the information Was:

    “What school districts hope to avoid is what happened in Fairfield, Ohio, where when rising school budgets put too much pressure on taxpayers, fees of more than $600 per sport were implemented. Participation in scholastic sports fell 30 percent in the district and the teams’ performances reflected that.” USA Today

    The most conservative averages for high school pay to play programs are $175 per play/per sport with additional transportation costs of $30-$70.

    I’ve been to all the mtgs. And I for one appreciated Dr. Hoadley’s comment at a Sept. levy mtg when this question was asked. He responded that in a district where 1 in 6 students qualify for subsidized lunch we cannot provide such important opportunities only to those who can/or chose to afford participation.

    By the way, I’m pretty sure the timeline for all these cuts were communicated last February. I know for fact they’ve been communicated restlessly the past two months. The facts/impacts were hung on doors, sent home with students (again and again), in the school report along with a letter from all our coaches, distributed at a half dozen public mtgs, volunteers knocked on many of your doors, they are on the website, on facebook, and was that enough to get the facts to everyone. Guess not. But not for a lack of trying. Some out there could stand to meet the information halfway.

    By the way, $300,000 isn’t a small number when it will pay for the 6+ new teachers the district will have to hire because of the unfunded state mandate to provide all-day kindergarten. And I’m sure the district will attempt to provide that with Excellence with Distinction as well. Which is not defined as a bus safely dumping you in a holding zone to simply return you safely home again. You can drive, carpool, etc.

    I’m not defending the board or the administrators. I don’t need to… I just know the facts. Don’t listen to me but find the facts yourself. I will stop hoarding the board. 🙂

  28. Heidi N
    November 5, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Everyone is upset, and I hear lots of frustration on both sides. I myself am very sad for my children. All these issues with money and levies are not something that they should have to worry about. I don’t mind paying the extra every month if the levy would have passed. I understand the schools need money and I need them to be their very best. My children deserve it. All our children do. The issues that have happened with houses being built, zoning, blah blah. It happened and we have to deal with it. No answers will make everyone happy. I value my children and their future. We all need to stop the petty bickering and find our priorities.

    • Bulldog dad
      November 5, 2009 at 10:51 am

      That’s right, Heidi. Sure, we can question and debate the root causes : zoning decisions, the state legislature, … Maybe some of us will fight the long battle to address the root causes, and perhaps even succeed, years or decades down the road.

      In the meantime, in the here and now, there are problems to address and the only way to address them, in the here and now, is to vote for a levy. Should we have to do this, when there are potentially other forces to blame? Maybe, maybe not. But this is a debate for another day. This is not the time to “play the blame game” and withhold our support for the schools in protest over the *potential* root causes.

      Life isn’t fair, and in this case we, and only we, have the power to solve this problem here and now rather than hope for a solution 10-20 years from now. Let’s not let our kids become pawns in a game where we try to manipulate the adminstration/legistlature/____ into doing our will.

  29. Glenn
    November 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    The biggest problem is with the School Board and Superintendent. They need to wake up and put their ego aside. A 9.9 mill levy failed at a 2 to 1 ratio, a 6.4 levy failed by only 200 votes. What this tells me is lower it by 1 mill and see what happens. Its always better to have a little then none at all. By reducing it may find the 200 no voters and make them yes voters. If the levy in February is at 8 mill or better get ready for another failed attempt.

    • MJC
      November 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm

      Glenn, this is not a matter of building a war chest. This is a zero sum game. The estimated expenditures will need X amount of dollars in a balanced budget. By lowering the millage we will be forced to eliminate something else to pay for the fixed costs. The community was told to pass it based on the 6.4 so it would not be as large a burden. Hope that helps.

    • madmom
      November 5, 2009 at 3:45 pm

      Also, the reason the mill’s dropped from February was the schools received Title 1 money from the government that allowed the board to lower the millege. The board could have kept it the same and have the levy last longer but decided to lower the millage to help lessen the burden on the community.

      • Glenn
        November 6, 2009 at 6:52 am

        What does this tell you. If you raise the millage, it will not pass. I understand what is needed. With no passage of a levy we get nothing. With a passage of a smaller levy we get somthing. A start in which the board and super can work with.

    • Bulldog Realist
      November 10, 2009 at 5:16 pm

      Very valid point … smaller millage means a better chance of passing.
      People vote their wallet … 10%+ unemployment in Cuyahoga county means people are hurting & can’t afford additional taxes.
      I still believe that pay-2-play is the way to go … I’ve paid in the past for my kids to play multiple years of OFSA soccer, CYO football & basketball, Hot Stove baseball & have them attend summer sports camps … what’s the difference?
      In addition, why don’t the teachers & administrators take a 10% pay cut to show their unconditional commitment to the school district. Why don’t they put THEIR money where their mouth is? It’s hard to be sympathetic to the district’s financial problems when the public sees a luxurious new Intermediate school & a sizable addition going onto the Middle school. Trailers may not be the most appealing alternative, but they’re flexible, cost-effective & can be returned once the need subsides … unlike large, brick & mortar buildings that will continue to cost the taxpayers ongoing maintenance & upkeep dollars for many decades to come. The district needs to curtail their champagne tastes & empire-building in the face of this RESET economy.

      • Mark Allman
        November 11, 2009 at 7:35 am

        I think you’re getting a little carried away. Where are the “champagne tastes” and “empire building” here?

        Is it luxurious to be spending close to the bottom of the list in expenditures/student in the county (and roughly average in the state)? Is that excessive? (And, BTW, if you take a look at the five year plan you’ll find that increases in expenditures—roughly 2.5%/year—are basically to keep up with inflation and not dramatically increase spending.)

        OK, so we built a new school. Well, first, given the growth in the district in number of houses it is not at all clear to me the need is in fact going to subside. It may well fall off to some degree and the growth seems to be flattening. But, this is a bigger place than it has been in the past. But, all that aside, the school *explicitly* asked the community if they wanted to build a new school and the community said “yes” and provided the money to do so. That money was matched to some degree. And, seemingly that money was well managed such that there was some extra (that cannot be used for operations) and so additional rooms are being added to the middle school.

        Don’t get me wrong here….the situation has not been well articulated by the district. We see too much “will cut busing” sorts of bullet points and not enough holistic information about the real state of affairs. But, if one takes the time to dig a little and think a little I don’t think they are ultimately seeking to do anything but maintain what has been built.

  30. Rebecca
    November 5, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    We voted “yes”. I thought that was good enough. I thought, why get a bbsitter & attend a meeting when we were voting yes for our levy?… Well, it is slowly beginning to hit me how very wrong I was. I am sorry that I did not do more. So starting now, I will come to a few meetings. I will learn. & I will be my kids hero, even if they don’t know it. I can’t wait! Bring it on Feb. ’10…(The only good thing to come out of this is that now I’m ticked off, that’s when I’m the most productive. I’ve got the cleanest home in O.F. right now.)

    • Christine
      November 5, 2009 at 2:19 pm

      Rebecca, I’d have to say I am right there with you on everything you said sister!! I bet my house is even cleaner … as I am produtive when I am mad too! I will do more too…thought my YES vote was good enough. I will attend meetings too!

  31. Lisa
    November 5, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    OK. So we have a bunch of people who are finally ticked about this situation. So do something about it. Get mad but GET INVOLVED. Readytohomeschool and many others posting need to understand and believe the commitment that Dr. Hoadley, the Board and the entire faculty have towards our children. This IS NOT the first time that we have tried to pass this levy. It’s really sad that when no more can be done (the faculty agreed to wage freezes, there were layoffs, high school busing cut, lower levy mil than last vote) and the Board is FORCED to make the cuts coming in January, that’s when you get mad and come out. Well, I have volunteered regularly in the schools. I have subbed working with most faculty members and I have three young children in the district. I have never been more proud of where I live and even with this latest bump, I have the utmost trust and faith in our community and our District employees. Children are revered in these schools. Some of you worry so much about the busing. There are some districts that don’t have busing. Buckeye hasn’t had it for years and they are really country. It is time to stop making threats about selling homes and getting mad about cuts that you would have known were coming if you educated yourself. Let’s get more yes votes and pass this thing. It is completely doable. Look at the headway made since the last vote, which was pretty much a blow out. The registered “yeses” need to get out there and vote and talk to the “no’s”. We are so close. Rather than blaming the Board, who along with the campaign workers have worked tirelessly since February, help. Stop arguing about what should have been cut. Our kids deserve all the services they receive and we need to “win” them back and not let our community down. Make people understand the “trickle down effect” of not passing this levy. Yes, our children need to be safe and well-rounded. But people without children in the district don’t have the same concerns. An example is someone I recently debated with that home schools. He doesn’t want to spend his $30 a month on a school he doesn’t use. He, along with other naysayers, need to be educated about home values, crime, economy, safety and other issues that directly affect each person in the community when schools begin to falter. Our education system is the cornerstone of our community. It is the bottom of a pyramid and if we yank it out, everything else begins to fall. I am mad too. I am sad and my children are disappointed. I will do whatever I can to make sure I help get this passed in February. Will you?

    • Glenn
      November 6, 2009 at 7:38 am

      Once again the millage is the factor. Raise it and it will fail in another “blow out” lower it and it may pass. Why is this so hard for people to see. 9.9 mill when down big, 6.4 came close. The 200 voters that is needed may always vote no, and thier really isn’t anything we can do to change that. Come back at 8 mill or more and get ready for yet another disappointment. Make the millage under 6.4 and we may be celabrating a passage. It may not be a complete victory for the Board and Superintendent, but it will be something to work with.

      • Kathy
        November 6, 2009 at 1:47 pm

        Glenn, there are legal issues in regards to levies. It is not like the schools are asking for a $20 dollar loan, so you tell them I will give you $5 now and the rest next week. We have lost a whole year of collecting any money on the levy. We must ask for at least enough to cover the next 3 yrs. Please do some research and realize the financial aspect of the school district

  32. A senior at OFHS
    November 5, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    WEll, thanks parents who voted YES! 🙂

    As a senior at the high school, I have heard every side of this story whether it be from a debate in Economics class, or just conversation in the hallways among fellow peers. We as students are expensive to support sometimes, but we NEED your support! Most of you CHOSE to live in Olmsted Falls because of the top rated school system. Now don’t go bail out on us and threaten to sell your houses because there were cuts. Every parent is entitled to their opinion on our Board of Education and the choices they make, but they were not the ones who voted no on tuesday. It was parents who are strapped on money, and some others in the community who do not share such a passion in the school system because they don’t have children attending. The cut busing for the younger kids is a BIG deal. Many of you will have to perhaps go to work later, etc. I have a feeling that I will take my 7 year old sister to school a few times when January begins on my way to the high school. But is complaining about it what everyone should be doing? I’m a senior at the high school this year, and I felt the cuts of MANY classes and WONDERFUL teachers we lost last year. Although I won’t feel the cuts if it fails again in february, most of your children very well might. The schools are funded in a way that is unconstitutional, but the Ohio Supreme Court cannot discipline. There has been no BETTER way proposed in Ohio. But Ohio is not in the dark either, numerous states still fund their schools this way. It’s just how it is. No matter if you voted yes, or no, or not at all. But bickering on a blog, and at meetings, and over money won’t do us students ANY good! We have alot of BIG things going on in Olmsted Falls. Just because there were some cuts, don’t let it get us down. Cutting bussing is on the small end of the spectrum of what could come if it continues to fail. These are YOUR kids, and this is MY top rated education that will help me get into good colleges one step ahead of all the other districts who WERN’T top rated. WE NEED ALL OF YOUR SUPPORT!

  33. Diane
    November 6, 2009 at 6:42 am

    Very well said.This senior is an example of what OF has helped created.An intelligent soon to be adult..This senior summed it up very well and said it much better then the 50 blogs before him that were written by adults!! All that matters right now is the KIDS. Every kid deserves the chance to thrive in what ever talent they have!!! I too voted YES and thought that was enough but have learned that more help is needed and I will be at the levy meetings to turn those NO voters into YES voters.. Let’s BRING THIS LEVY DOWN and keep OF pirde going!!!

  34. Mark Allman
    November 6, 2009 at 7:16 am

    The next step here should be to figure out why people who voted “no” voted “no”. I have seen much blathering (here and elsewhere) from people who think they know who voted “no” and why they did so. But, there should be a real effort to engage “no” voters (without trying to “sell” them) and understand why people did not approve this levy. (Myself, I voted “yes”, but believe there are rational reasons to vote “no”.)

    I have said this before—in an informational meeting and elsewhere—but I’ll say it again… The “facts” that are being trotted around are by no means the full story. In particular, the district (campaign committee, etc.) have done a poor job of showing the need for new money, why 6.4 mills is the right amount, why this is the right time, etc. The fact that a levy failure means busing cuts is true, but that is a consequence not a need. Many people are willing to trust the people they elected for the BOE and the people the BOE hired to tell them that now is the time the district needs more money. That’s fine. That is not irrational. But, neither is it irrational for voters to want to understand the high level fiscal situation the district is in so they can judge the needs for themselves. I spent a bunch of time and dug up a bunch of numbers (some provided after too much prodding by the district) and in my view these numbers do in fact show a need. But, the literature that ends up on my door looks like “6.4 mills or else …” and people have to be cognizant that such things *can* come across as threats because there is no substance being provided to show there is a need and not a want behind those consequence. Basically, the strong levy proponents need to try to better understand the thought process of others and how things might be perceived by voters with a different viewpoint and how that perception will in turn influence their vote.

    Finally, the district has to be careful in what they say and how they try to “spin” things. I was at an informational meeting where a board member held his arm parallel to the floor and left the audience with the impression that district income has been flat since the last levy passage in 1999. I also received a similar dissertation from one of the core campaign folk (“how would you like to live on 1999 money?”). The problem here is that this sort of thing is “spin” at best and lying at worst. It is true that income *from property taxes* has been stagnant since 1999. But, it is absolutely not true that overall income to the district has been stagnant since 1999. The district has to be careful when it tries to spin things. I believe there is a case, but the people trying hard to make that case should stick to the facts because people don’t like to be lied to and will not support entrusting more of their money to folks who are not being upfront.

    Just a few observations …

    • Financial Statements
      November 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

      Mark, it is encouraging to read your comment. It is the only one I’ve seen on this message board that recognizes that there is a need by some voters to understand the financial position of the district.
      Reading the School District’s annual financial statements is a good place to start. For those interested in the financial facts, the Olmsted Falls City School District’s audited financial statement for the year ending June 30, 2008 is located at http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/auditsearch/detail.aspx?ReportID=75088. This is the Ohio Auditor of State website and it also contains audited statements going back several years.
      I am quite perplexed after reading Page 34 of the 2008 Audit and finding that the School District has $14 million in investments ($13.5 million in maturities less than one year, and $500 thousand in maturities between one and two years). This is an $8.2 million increase in investments from the $5.8 million amount reported for the year 2006. The $14 million investment position is 65% of the total amount of property taxes received in 2008. Mark, since you mentioned that you have obtained financial data from the District (sorry to hear it took so much prodding), can you help me understand why they need these levels of investments that are far in excess of short term cash flow needs? I for one will not stand for any more cuts in services, allow busing to be cut within 2 miles, or property taxes raised on homeowners with fixed incomes, when the School District is sitting on $14 million in investments on Wall Street.
      Mark, I turn once again to the 2008 Audit to address your observation about a board member leaving the audience with the impression that School District income has been flat since 1999. On Page 11 in the Management’s Discussion and Analysis section it is stated: “Due to economic growth, the School District has not had to ask for an operation levy since 1999.” The 2008 financial data support this comment as Property Tax Revenues grew 11.9% from $19.4 million in 2007 to $21.7 million in 2008, far more than the rate of inflation. This trend holds true for prior years as well. I suggest that that board member read their own financial report.
      There is no room for “spin” by board members or campaign advocates for property tax increases. Audited financial statements exist and the best truth is contained in those statements. I encourage everyone to focus their energy in obtaining financial facts from board members and not accept platitudes and threats without hard financial justification; obtain the whole financial picture including balance sheets and income statements in addition to just the budget numbers. Finally, I challenge the School District and its officers to find an answer to the winter busing cuts by reevaluating the need for $14 million in investments.

      • Mark Allman
        November 8, 2009 at 9:56 pm

        I cannot exactly explain the numbers from the auditor’s page and I have not even looked at that document. I got a bunch of numbers from the dept. of education and the district’s own reports. But, three things …

        First, in my discussions with Hoadley he mentioned several times that the big cheese bean counter (don’t remember his exact title) would be happy to explain any of the numbers I didn’t understand. His name is Mark Hullman. You might just ask him. And, in particular, I am not any sort of authoritative source here. I found some numbers and applied some second grade math. That’s about all my pea brain can handle. So, while (per the note below) you’re welcome to what I have found you should understand that I have no special insight here and you do get what you pay for.

        Second, without looking at the report the first thing that jumps to mind is that perhaps the investments include the new building money the community voted on a couple years ago. That would explain the particular impulse. That building money cannot be used (by law I believe) for operations. That said, at the end of 2008 the district’s 5 year plan indicates a reserve of $7.9 million. But, that is quickly being depleted by deficit spending (which does not represent a spending increase, but maintaining the spending levels). I don’t think this situation is unexpected. I.e., that it is common for the first part of a “cycle” to generate a surplus that then carries the district through the back side of the cycle.

        Third, I am happy to share what I have collected. Ping me via email. I was pretty unimaginative with my nickname and Google is pretty smart. 🙂

      • MJC
        November 9, 2009 at 7:10 am

        These are very good points, but I would suggest that part of the evaluation looks at the 5 year forecast that they must submit to the State of Ohio. The picture becomes a bit more clear as to the need for additional dollars and when we will begin to run out. While the property tax revenues may have increased over the years, you will notice on the 5 year forecast that these will face a decline as home values are now where they were 10 years ago. Unfortunately the student population is not where it was in 1999 either. So revenue has not remained flat, but neither has enrollment, cost of living, utilities, etc. Additionally there are costs that did not exist in the past that cannot be avoided. Federal and State mandates have required additional educators related to “No Child Left Behind”. There is also a mandate for All Day, Every Day kindergarten that is proposed for next year. The Govenor isn’t giving the District the money to hire the staff needed, but it has to come from somewhere.

        Regarding investments, I will have a more accurate picture on the structure, purpose and plan by end of week that I, or a member of the district, will post. I would also suggest that members of the community ask their questions to our District personnel in order to go deeper into the explanation than the auditor’s spreadsheet. They have been quite helpful in the past. Please be aware that they do have daily duties that require their time and answers don’t show up within the hour. Thank you.

  35. OFBandMom
    November 6, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Just got an update from the Pride Committee….There are 240 provisional ballots that the BOE needs to count. It is possible we could still win this thing. Slim chance, but a chance. They have 10 days to count them and certify the results.

    Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

  36. MMV
    November 7, 2009 at 10:12 pm

    I would be interested in finding out how our district voted for the Tri-C levy which involved a tax increase. Just curious if our district was willing to pay more taxes for Tri-C as opposed to its own school disctrict.

  37. New Ideas Needed
    November 9, 2009 at 9:56 am

    Has any though been given to pay to ride busing by the BOE? Perhaps outsourcing some of the busing activites that are being curtailed to a private company and giving the parents an option other than finding alternate tranportation on their own or having their children walk to school? I know this would only be a drop in the bucket in solving the financial problems being faced, but it might allow the BOE to lower the millage and get a few more votes?

  38. Just a mom
    November 9, 2009 at 10:02 am

    After reading all the comments here, I want to share my 2 cents
    1. Please note that just because someone does not agree doesn’t mean he/she doesn’t care – we all have a household budget to maintain, and if a person cannot afford additional tax levy, please, don’t frame the person for not loving schools or their children.
    2. I will encourage all to view the financial statement posted – we need to ask intelligent questions so you can help educate those words and message coming down from the school board including Dr. Hodley’s message. If you just blindly getting simple messages from the schools, neighbors, without facts, you are just as bad as having a blind faith
    3. I see all the postings here are derived from loving the community and loving our children. And I can see the resistence of why people oppose the levy – believe me, with all the corruption played out in the county and everywhere else, I can’t help being cynical as to why more moeny has to be poured into schools when cutting is not making any difference??
    4. Layoff on people who buy their game tickets and flat screen TVs – those people can very weel resent the fact that your children want to hike a free ride to college on sports – but at least they didn’t ask you to help pay for the tvs or game tickets.
    5. Layoff more on personal attacks – we all have concerns – I believe some ranting is due but you know as I know, to make the community better and school education better, we need all the facts.
    6. Something we really need to start asking ourselves:
    – are foreign language classes necessary right now? Do you remember what you learned when you went to hgih school (Spanish, French), if your answer is no, then why are we having it now?
    – are sports necessary? How many of parents need to subsidise other sports kids to do this when they have to choose sports and school busing?
    – extra curriculums – what exactly are they? Can they be put on hold until economy shades a better light?
    – I believe schools are campaiging heavily for levy to be passed – my kids came home with sad news such as “mom, we can’t go to Washington DC, we have to cut sports..bands, chior….” I will react to all these ‘nudges’ for votes with much indifference. However, my kids come home and tell me that the schools will stop teaching consitution and English, I will be the first to make call – I wasn’t born in this country but I sure like to see my kids are educated with American history and its constitutions.
    – Undestand the facts and understand the directions we need to take. I think we can make a difference.

  39. Motivated
    November 9, 2009 at 2:00 pm

    I, too, am embarrassed that I did not do enough to help pass this levy, and that I thought my “yes” vote was enough, but I will not dwell on regrets. My wake up call came last Wednesday. I will not stand by again and watch others work tirelessly for my children’s future. I have listened to community members spout about financial irresponsibility in our school district, and then watched them leave the debate to go drop a couple hundred dollars at a Browns game…..Helloooo!!!When is the first levy committee meeting?

  40. Motivated
    November 9, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I, too, am embarrassed that I did not do enough to pass this levy, and that I thought my “yes” vote was enough, but I will not dwell on regrets. My wake up call came last Wednesday. I will not stand by again and watch others work tirelessly for my children’s future. I have listened to community members spout about financial irresponsibility in our school district and then watch them leave the debate to go drop a couple hundred dollars at a Browns game…. Helloooo!!! When is the first levy committee meeting??!?

  41. November 9, 2009 at 8:56 pm

    I know there is still a chance, but the levy most likely has failed. I have just spent the better part of the last hour reading through all the blogs. The failed levy and blogs are the past. It’s time to look ahead and deal with what we have… or don’t have. Busing seems to be at the top of the list. A lot was written about the busing we are about to lose – and the consequences. Little, if anything, was written about what we can do about it. A suggestion (if possible) would be to include a carpool link on the OFCSD website. The link would let parents sign-up as to whether their child needs a ride, or if they might be available to carpool on certain days and how many kids they could carry. Just maybe some sort of an organized carpool schedule could be established. I’m sure this would not work for everyone, but it might help, and certainly would help to ease a potential traffic headache around the schools. When I was growing up and in school (a long time ago) the only kids that were bused lived out in the country. Everyone in the city had to find their own way to school. I know most of you reading this probably grew up riding a school bus, but believe me, there was a time when that wasn’t the case.

  42. Cynthia
    November 10, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I would like to know if a plan is being made to provide before and after care for the young children who will no longer have transportation to and from school. I know that many districts have cut back to State Minimum busing, but they provide affordable care for the children. For instance, the Berea School district has before and after school care available at $3.00 per hour until 6:30 pm. We have a 4th grader and live right at a two mile cut-off. My husband and I both work and there is no possible way our 10 year old can walk 2 miles in the snow with no sidewalks. I’m really afraid that a young child is going to be seriously injured trying to walk in this district.

    • Just a mom
      November 12, 2009 at 1:25 pm

      Good question, should post this to the school teachers who are willing to stay – I don’t mind paying extra couple hours at $3/hr rate although I don’t really need to. Someone should email Dr. Hoadley directly for such suggestion. Even with the car pool information – listing the proximity of your home and get people connected.

  43. Worried
    November 10, 2009 at 11:28 am

    I, also, am very disappointed that our levy didn’t pass. I am concerned about bussing issues. Has anyone also considered the fact that when you get rid of the extracuricular activities is when communities see a rise in crime, graffiti, etc? My kids don’t play sports, will end up having to walk to school as we are right on the 2 mile border. However, all of our home values has deminished enough, with the levies not passing. Do we really want our kids to have nothing to do after school, and risk seeing the crime rate go up, graffiti, amongst other things, so we can lose even more home value? EVEN with those issues, the most important to me is, our grandparents, and parents felt their children were the future and deserved the best education possible. They voted for their levies. It wasn’t easy for them, either, but they did it! If you’re not voting for the levies, why don’t you feel these kids deserve the best education possible? Why are you short changing them? It’s not easy for me to pay these taxes, but I’m willing to. I have friends in the school district, that have no kids, neices/nephews, grandkids,etc, but still vote for the levies, because they realize the impact. Why can’t you?

  44. JCrane
    November 10, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    I voted yes, but I feel like I voted a “blind” yes. Here is what I can’t figure out; how much of my tax dollars are allocated to the school district based on inside millage and how much is outside millage? The outside millage is what the community votes to accept. What levies have already been passed that are currently built into my tax bill as outside millage? I can’t find that information anywhere, but feel it is essential to actually make an informed decision about how effective the school district is managing money and how affordable a new operating levy is as an overall tax percentage.

  45. November 11, 2009 at 11:40 am

    I worked on ten levies in an nearby school system for many years. There was constant community turmoil and cutbacks everytime the levy failed because THE STATE GENERAL ASSEMBLY gave the school board NO OTHER CHOICE. The FALLS school board has no other choice. The ONLY choice is to pass additional taxes upon the local community. When the levy failed four times in a row, that school system became a shell of what it once was.(and it never rivaled the excellence that this school system has shown in academics and athletics) When additional monies were finally incurred, the system, once excelling in many areas never has fully recovered. Olmsted Falls is pretty close to that point NOW. You THINK things are tough now… just wait. NO THREAT, just reality. Seize the moment people and SAVE YOUR SCHOOL SYSTEM. IF you don’t care… then who will? Vote until it passes. By doing so you shall speak for our future, our children.

  46. Just a mom
    November 12, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Please consider some suggestions offered by the parrents to have after-school care right in the schools if possible. Some parents will be willing to pay for this after-hour school care in order to work. This is something schools can offer to help out.

    Please also consider establishing a car-pool link – since most parents know how to come to your board for updates, your blog site has been a great information filtering center.

    It’s time we find ways to help each out. Many thanks.

  47. turnip
    November 12, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    I put my two children through Olmsted Falls city schools and I am putting my grandchildren through the same system. They go out of their way to help slow and troubled children. They offer extra help, tutoring, speech therapy and homework labs. The teachers and administration go out of their way to keep tabs on EACH students special needs and often help them with funds from their own pockets.
    I will continue to take advantage of this excellent district.

    The problem is, we are asking them to maintain the same level of service based on income that was decided 10 years ago or more. This means they are paying the same price increases we are for health care, wages, gasoline, electricity, food and more, as the rest of us.

    Now, could you run your house, at todays prices, on wages you were earning 10 years ago? No.

    A big drain on the system is the influx of new residents who have moved into all of the new developements. Our system was based on a tax base for “x” amount of children and homes. Well, the number of homes, and children has increased dramatically. More children, more meals, more books, paperwork, computers, bus stops etc. = a need for more funds.

    It is unrealistic to expect our administrators to maintain new government standards and rules, and address new safety measures such as a guard at falls-lenox and special locks at the middle school without “paying” for it. To fall back on an old cliche, you “can’t squeeze blood from a rock.”

    As parents, we expect our school to supply good computers, healthy lunches, counceling for bullies and troubled children. We want security for the buildings, privacy for our records, help with our children who may have learning disabilities or physical defects. We expect it, yet many do not want to pay for it.

    I am upset over the lack of busing. I am partially disabled with little money and a 17 year old car that runs when it feels like it. I drag myself out no matter the weather to insure the kids education. But I can’t help feel that the school is not at fault for the lack of transportation, the voters carry this responsibilty on their shoulders.

    Our school system is a form of “paying it forward.” When my kids first entered school 25 odd years ago, they attended a school that was built and furnished by the tax paying parents before me. My kids reaped the benefits of their hard work. Now it is my turn to pay, to insure the school stands, and thrives for the next generation. This whole situation is bigger than my personal wants and needs, it will impact those who come after me.

    Jane

    • Mark Allman
      November 13, 2009 at 5:53 am

      I agree with much of this, but things like “could you run your house, at todays prices, on wages you were earning 10 years ago? no” might be true, but has no bearing on the levy question. The built in assumption in that question is that the schools *are* running on 10 year old wages. They are not. The data (from the district and the department of education) does not support this contention at all. And, even when taking into account the fairly dramatic increase in number of students this still does not hold. I list the revenue per student for OFSC by year below. It harms the pro-levy case when people are running around spreading misinformation. Let’s deal in facts, OK?

      2007 $9976
      2006 $10051
      2005 $9887
      2004 $9874
      2003 $9601
      2002 $9524
      2001 $9208
      2000 $8797
      1999 $8079
      1998 $6874
      1997 $6284
      1996 $5863
      1995 $5413
      1994 $5163

  1. November 9, 2009 at 8:16 am
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