Parent Update – November 4, 2009
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.
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.
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.