Home > Community Updates > Parent Update – November 17, 2009

Parent Update – November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009

Busing Reductions
With the potential failure of the recent operating levy (vote count is not official until November 24th), plans are moving forward with implementation of the District’s Educational Reduction Plan.

One component of this Reduction Plan is reducing our bus service to state minimums, which will, in part, entail that bus service will no longer be provided to families who live within two miles of the facility which their child attends school.

I want to make families aware that a letter has been prepared and will be mailed by the end of this week to families affected by this change.

We are also planning written correspondence to those families who will be affected by the elimination of the alternative transportation services previously provided. We expect these letters will be mailed out before Thanksgiving break.

Additionally, with the implementation of the ½ mile walking zones, fewer overall bus stops will be necessary. As such, it is likely that children living outside the two mile zone will have a new bus stop location as of January 4th, 2010. The location of bus stops will be communicated to families in early / mid December.

Finally, it is likely that a public meeting will be held to answer parents’ questions regarding these transportation changes. Once the date and time of this meeting is established, it will be communicated to parents.

Levy Committee Begins Work
This past Sunday, 28 residents of the Olmsted communities began work on the February 2010 operating levy campaign. I would invite you to become a part of this committee.

It has become very clear to many in this community that voting yes is simply not enough.

We need our parents, and our community members, to come together and work together on this campaign if we are to have any expectation of passing this levy.

Again, voting yes in simply not enough to get this levy passed.

The levy committee will be meeting again, this Sunday at 6 PM in the cafeteria at Olmsted Falls High School. I encourage you to come to this meeting, get involved in this campaign, and work to ensure that the quality of our children’s education is not further sacrificed.

Masquers Fall Play
This Friday and Saturday, at 7:30 PM, the OFHS Masquers will be presenting the play: The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon in the OFHS auditorium.

Here is a description of this play:  the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm are turned on their heads in this fast-paced, rollicking ride as two narrators and several actors attempt to combine all 209 stories ranging from classics like Snow White, Cinderella, and Hansel and Gretel to more bizarre, obscure stories like The Devil’s Grandmother and The Girl Without Hands. A wild, free-form comedy with lots of audience participation and madcap fun.

Tickets for this performance are $5 for adults and $3 for students and senior citizens, and can be purchased “at the door” the evening of the performance.

OFIS PTA meeting
A reminder that the Olmsted Falls Intermediate School (OFIS) PTA will be meeting tonight at 7 PM in the Intermediate School Library.

High School Forensic Team
Congratulations to the OFHS Forensic (Speech and Debate) Team on their second straight top ten finish at the Lincoln-West tournament.

Olmsted Falls Early Childhood PTA – Holiday raffle and Casino Night
This Friday, November 20th, the OECPTA will hold their annual Holiday raffle and Casino Night at the West Side Irish American Club on Jennings Road. This event will begin at 6:30 PM. For more information on purchasing tickets for this event, please click here.

National Honor Society Poinsettia Sale
Please consider ordering your holiday poinsettias through the OFHS National Honor Society. Order forms can be found by clicking here.

Polaris to Host First Annual College Night
College bound juniors and seniors, and their parents, are invited to attend the First Annual Polaris College Night on Tuesday, December 8, 2009, from 6:00 to 8:00 PM.

The event will feature representatives from over 30 two- and four-year colleges and universities, the armed forces and numerous local apprenticeships. In addition, there will be two scheduled sessions highlighting financial aid resources that are available to perspective students.

The Polaris Guidance Office will also be available to discuss scholarship opportunities.
Some of the colleges / universities scheduled to participate include:
Baldwin-Wallace College
Bowling Green State University
Cleveland Institute of Art
Cleveland State University
Cuyahoga Community College
DeVry University
Johnson & Wales University
Lorain County Community College
The Ohio State University
Pittsburgh Institute of Aeronautics
The University of Akron
Ursuline College
Virginia Marti College of Art & Design

For additional information, please visit the Polaris JVS website.

Categories: Community Updates
  1. Jennifer Black
    November 17, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    I suppose children safety is simply not important. How can a district expect children to walk in areas that have no sidewalks, some with deep ditches, along narrow roads. We are going from a “no walking policy” to “walking in dangerous areas”. I don’t want to hear about money. Give me an straight answer as to how you plan to protect the children in your district.

    • Kathy
      November 17, 2009 at 1:09 pm

      Jennifer, please don’t think the school district does not care about the safety and well being of our children. Reality of failed levies requires cuts that no one wants to see but have to be made. I feel the safety of our children getting to and from school is a parental resposibility and the safety of our children while in school buildings is a district responsibility. And may I add, one they take very seriously and do a wonderful job at. We have been spoiled in our school district with busing for all students to this point. Drive through North Olmsted when school lets out and see the 6 and 7 yr olds walking. I know people do not want to hear about the money, but that is what it takes to run the buses. Trust me, this is one of many things we are at risk of losing if we don’t put our children first and see this thing pass in Feb.

    • Motivated
      November 17, 2009 at 6:25 pm

      Child safety is indeed important in the Olmsted Falls School District. All district building doors are either locked or have security stationed at them during school hours. As far as transportation is concerned, per state guidelines, if you are within 2 miles of your school, it is not the school distict’s responsibility to get your child to school safely—it is yours, the parents. Is this inconvenient? Try losing your job like the 10 1/2 teachers that are losing theirs. The primary goal of our school district is to educate our children–which they have been doing remarkably for many years. So pull together, car pool, walk your child, figure it out. Sometimes you have to make do with less. Just ask Dr. Hoadley.

      • '97 bulldog grad
        November 18, 2009 at 6:10 am

        VERY well said Motivated! We need to really come together as a COMMUNITY and see this thing through. Safety has always been a top priority in Olmsted Falls schools. These are tough times for everybody and on all different levels,so instead of getting upset, try supporting one another and you will be amazed at the good that will follow!

  2. November 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Please understand that there is a difference between what is legally required for a school district to provide as it comes to transportation, and what is safe when it comes to students (who live within two miles of their school of attendance) getting to and from school.

    State law requires school districts to provide transportation services to students who live more than two miles from the school which they attend.

    Over the years, Olmsted Falls schools has gone over and above this minimum standard and transported all students, regardless of the distance of their home location to their school of attendance. We have been very happy to provide this high level of service to parents and parents have expressed appreciation as well.

    Under the legal umbrella of minimum transportation services, if the student lives within two miles of the school he/she attends, it is now the parent’s responsibility to provide transportation services for their child to and from school.

    For parents who live within this two mile zone, it will be their decision, as parents, as to what is deemed safe or unsafe as per how they, as parents, decide to allow their children to get to and from school.

    Some parents will choose for their children to walk to school (regardless of the presence or absence of sidewalks), some will arrange for carpools, and some will transport their children themselves on a daily basis.

    In this end, for families living within this two mile zone, it will be the parent’s decision as to how their children get to and from school.

    The hard part in all of this is that with the working schedules of many parents, several families will be put into an extremely difficult position as to how they decide to get their children safely to and from school. The District can empathize with this difficult decision.

    Over the past 18 months, the District has been working to attempt to get an operating levy passed. It has also attempted to clearly communicate what the reductions would have to be if a new operating levy is not passed. Already, 10 1/2 teaching positions have been eliminated, a compensation freeze has been enacted, budgets have been frozen, and field trips have been eliminated.

    These have been very difficult decisions as a slow dismantling of this school system is currently underway.

  3. Anonymous
    November 17, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Our family has 1 child currently attending the Olmsted Falls schools so my family is impacted by the reductions taking place. However, we do not support any of the levies that have been placed on the ballot over the past year or so. We are fine with the reductions that have been made and are very concerned about the levy being placed on the ballot this coming spring. I do not understand why the district is trying to push through a levy in a higher dollar amount that would “fix” the financial problem for awhile as well as restore the reductions that have been made already. It seems obvious that the majority of voters do not support a new levy. Therefore, it seems ridiculous that the levy in the spring will work to restore reductions that have been made. The levy amount should not include the funding necessary to restore reductions, but only to keep further reductions from being made. That way voters can accurately voice their opinion perhaps not to have any more reductions, but avoiding restoring reductions already made that have been voted on previously and accepted. It also seems logical that the district would not have to ask for as much money that way and would also demonstrate that they are listening to what the community has already stated in previous elections. That would truly be the best way to show financial responsibility while meeting the current economic situation for many families that are having a hard time making ends meet. I will not be voting for the upcoming levy simply because we do not care to have the reductions restored at the expense of being able to make our mortgage payments.

    • Diane
      November 18, 2009 at 1:42 pm

      Anonymous, So glad you are okay with the reductions but you obviously have not seen the impact of these resuctions yet..That is because none of us have seen the full impact of these reductions yet!! The class sizes are aleady a too large and I see this weekly in my child’s 1st grade class with 28 students.. I can only wonder what kind of scores this class will get in the future and how they will compete with other children in other districts that are getting much more time spent on them in the classroom. Wait til your child fills out their college applications and there applications gets passed right by because they have nothing to show on it because their school did not offer extra curricular activities. Wait til you are on Bagley Road getting your child to school and you are leavng your house 1 hour early to get there. I am sorry that you are okay with the reductions but there are many of us who are not and we will do everything we can to win this next levy and give our children back all that they deserve, You have not thought about what the future holds for your child because if you have you would suppport this levy and do everything possible to give your child every oppurtunity you can to give them the best chance in this world!! I encourage you to come to some of the meetings and see the impact that voting No has not only on the schools but the community and your home also!!

      • Just a mom
        November 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

        I did not read it anywhere in Anonymous post indicating he is “Glad” about the levy not being passed – he is not supporting it because he has to choose paying for the levy and his mortgage – please don’t take it down to the wrong path but this kind of posting is very discouraging. As I had read and read many postings, there are nonsense accusations and attacks on those parents who voted against levy simply because “THEY CANNOT AFFORD” another bill on their household budget. Aside from having the compassion for the community residents here, I want to mention to you that having compassion for those people who simply cannot do is a also a fundamental respect. The reason for voting is the freedom of choice, we need to learn to respect that.

      • Diane
        November 23, 2009 at 12:27 pm

        I never said she was glad it did not pas. It reads that I AM glad she is OKAY with the reductions. No one is attacking her, we are just asking her to evaluate the full impact of a NO vote. I also am going to feel the impact of increase taxes but feel if I need to give up something else for my children then, they are MORE than worth it..We are encouraging her to look at many other options and can give her many ideas on where else she could cut costs and still pay her mortgage! We are encouraging her to see the struggles that the district is facing because of unfunded federal mandates that did not exist when she was a Bulldog. At the end of my comment I encouraged her and did not place any accusations on her to visit the levy meetings so we can give her a chance to speak and she can hear from us, so that we can learn from her and her from us.

      • Just a mom
        November 24, 2009 at 11:59 am

        I apologized for my miss-read of your posting. I think most parents are very much tapped out at this point – I have two children in the school system and I have decided to take them to schools in the morning. Bagley Road, to my surprised, is very well-managed between 7:15 and 8:00am. I see the police force on duty and most vehicles are in orderly and slow motion – I am not impacted by the busing cut but I feel for those families that are impacted.

        With 2 children, I have to pay for lunches if they are to eat at schools, pay for school fees, buy them school supplies (which, by the way, is somewhat rediculous that I managed to scale back this year and told the kids have teachers called me if they are cited for shortage – I will replemish the supplies during school year if necessary). My kids use the text books from previous students, they have to pay for field trips…etc…now I think you can begin to see why paretns are reluctant to pay for more or having any more money to shell out. Public schools are just that, your tax dollar should support whatever is necessary for the student population – I have lived in this town for only 5 years so pardon me for my ignorance to digest as much as information throwing my way.

        I want the community to come up with solutions, other than the levy, this pressure of asking more $$ is angering parents who really don’t have the fund – so what’s the alternative? Ok, we can car pool, we can swap schedules among neighbors, we can watch out for each other, that’s what we have to do here in our neighborhood. For pete’s sake, we are Americans, we bear the “CAN-DO” spirits –
        We also need to look into the expenditures of schools. Savings is not just on parents part, I’d like to see the ledger of P&L posting somewhere.
        Schools officials need to be held accountable just like every community household – I don’t think Dr. Hoadley is not doing enough but sometimes hard sell and cold calls through our children just turn me right off.

        So how about a link for parents who need Car Pool?

        So how about a link for parents who can swap schedules?

        You are asking a levy to be passed for 2012 and 2013 – help me understand the rush when people are having a hard time finding jobs. There’s a bigger picture out there other than the levy – again, I feel for those families that are struggling financially as much with the school levy issues.

    • November 18, 2009 at 3:50 pm

      While I am disappointed to hear your position on this levy, I do respect your opinion.

      I do, however, need to respond to ensure that correct facts are made known to all. 10 1/2 teaching positions have been reduced over this past year as a result of the previously two failed levies.

      When this levy is finally passed, the chosen millage rate will only allow 4 teaching positions to be restored (2 in 2010, 1 in 2011, and 1 in 2012).

      Several HS academic programs have been discontinued. This includes Business, German, Family consumer science (Home Economics) as well as a music position and several elementary teaching positions.

      I do not know the age of your children, but the loss of these programs decreases academic opportunities for our students, and for this, I am greatly saddened.

      While I understand the frustration by some in the community that this levy is repeatedly placed on the ballot, I do not agree with your premise “that the majority of voters do not support a new levy.”

      While provisional ballots still have not been counted, it is possible that the November operating levy, which over 9,000 residents cast votes, will fail by less than 100 total votes.

      I do understand the financial pressures that exist in many households, as the same financial pressures exist at Olmsted Falls schools. The District is simply a microcosm of the community.

      However, as the Superintendent, and as a parent of 4 children attending this school system, I simply cannot standby and allow for the dismantling of this great school system, without giving my best effort to stop it from happening. Moreover, I know that I am not alone in this effort as 4343 persons “Chose Excellence” by voting YES on November 3rd.

  4. no drama
    November 17, 2009 at 5:23 pm

    I’m guessing that our moms & dads will rise up & figure out how to help eachother out. Its not that difficult. We all take turns. Pick 1 day of the week & drive a few other children too. Funny, the “dorky, unstylish mini-van” moms will be the ones saving everyone elses butts! I can hold 6 people besides myself in my vehicle…But there has to be 1 rule about all of this…no making fun of the pajama wearing moms who will be carting all of these children around, o.k.?

  5. Michele Gilbride
    November 17, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    I am also upset that the safety of both the children and drivers in our area will be impacted dramatically by this decision. I would like to know how the inevitable traffic issue will be addressed. There is often a gridlock on Bagley Rd. as things stand. Obviously, this is only going to get worse come January 4, 2010. I will be driving my two school age children to both Falls-Lenox and the ECC. I’m guessing I’m either going to have to leave at an obscenely early time with a baby in tow or choose which child is going to be late should we get stuck in traffic.

    • November 25, 2009 at 6:14 pm

      Michele – next week, you will begin receiving information from Mr. Roseberry and Ms. Sanfilippo as to the new traffic patterns and pick-up and drop-off procedures for Falls-Lenox and the ECC.

      Please contact the principals should you need clarification on these issues.

      We do expect quite a bit of traffic and it will most likely take some time before everything “settles in”. We will all work together to make the best of this trying situation.

      Thanks, in advance, for your patience and understanding.

  6. William
    November 18, 2009 at 1:37 am

    I moved to this community over a choice of a Parma education system that appear too similar to Cleveland School system. In brief, rudeness, a child that was spending too much time helping too many other children struggling in the same grade. My child has grown significantly while being here for two years which I do not believe would have been achievable in Parma. My other choice was Solon who too has a outstanding school District. But, because of difficulty of driving to work into Cleveland, it would have been grossly trying.

    Speaking of Cleveland where I work, grew up in, know well of poor support/ management by many has led to continous failure to have a greater than 55% high school graduating rate and at a signicant cost greater than Olmsted School District per pupil.

    Rest assured I left/ abandoned the Cleveland School District a long time ago and only abandoned the Parma School District only two years ago.

    Lastly, a note of this writer- I work 80 hrs a week, 7 days a week, haven’t been on a vacation in years (or have cable), just to have a very decent school education. I’m free of drug traffickers on corners throughout, breaking and entering into my home, robberies, unemployable produced children, abandoned properties, and thousand’s of of sexual offenders per square mile.

    I too would abandon Olmsted as well if it too begin to become not competitive with other top school Districts.

    I apologize for the frankness, but some at least needs to be cognizant of why people move here and their life experience that had made education a tremendous priority for their children. To hope my children do not also have to work 80 hrs a week, 7 days a week, and work around the clock for more than 15 years.

    Best Wishes to all.

  7. Joe Ventimiglia
    November 18, 2009 at 9:38 am

    In response to “anonymous” with 1 child in the district who won’t be voting for the levy I would ask a few questions. Do you care about your property value? Do you feel a good school system is important for the well being of a community? The value of your home and the desirability of the Olmsted community is based on our excellent schools and dedicated teachers. While no one wants to pay higher property taxes it’s the reality we as homeowners in the Olmsted community will need to take on to insure the continued excellence of our district. Even if you don’t have children in the district I would hope you realize passage of the levy is about more than transportation, class sizes, and extra curriculars, it’s about the viability of our community.

  8. 30 yr resident
    November 18, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    I’ve lived in this community for 30 yrs. We raised our children here, my husband grew up here also. I have a news flash for some of you new residence. You are going to end up paying for this levy in the long run. Changing schedules for work to take children to school,no more convenience of the bus taking your child to the babysitters, some parents having to buy their High Schooler a car with ins. to get themselves to school, and car pooling, not to mention that this community will no longer be a Blue Ribbon school district and your property values are going to go down. I always weighed those things out before I ever voted for the levies, and found that adding a few hundred extra dollars a year to my taxes took a lot of burden off of me and gave me piece of mind, knowing that my children were safe and well educated in the City of Olmsted Falls. So keep a running tab of your expenses come Jan. 4, 2010 until the next year and you’ll see that I’m right. Isn’t it just more logical to check the yes box on your ballot form?

    • Linda Parkowski
      November 20, 2009 at 9:30 am

      Right on 30 Yr resident! Just the plain stress alone of figuring out who is carpooling what day and what if someone in the carpool forgets my child or I forget their child, or your job schedules you an early meeting or an afternoon meeting, etc. should be more than enough to have parents who have lost their busing (as we did) vote YES! Busing from door to door? Priceless!

  9. Anonymous
    November 20, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    In response to some of the items posted, I am actually a graduate of the Olmsted Falls Schools. I went here when classes such as German were not offered and we were still a Blue Ribbon school. Our class size was somewhere around 28 students per classroom, and you know what, it was fine. The teachers did a wonderful job then, I am sure they will continue to do a wonderful job now. I feel the quality of the teachers and the curricula has more to do with the success of the students in the future rather than the size of the classroom or some of the additional offerings that have been implemented since my time in the classrooms here. The property values may fall for awhile, but our community is not alone in this struggle. This is a hard time for many areas, across many communities. I strongly believe when there is a financial upturn sometime in the future, then levies will begin to pass again as they become more affordable for a greater number of people. Then communities will see a rise in the property values once again. Olmsted Falls has a great reputation and a few years of hardship and necessary cuts will not tarnish the reputation of the Olmsted Falls community or its schools, especially when other communities are facing the same challenges. Compassion, patience and a reality check about time tested trends about the ups and downs in an economy go a long way towards understanding and acceptance of where we are at now.

  10. Steven
    November 20, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    With respect to all involved, the anonymous post above raises some good points that should be addressed and openly discussed. This is a voter who voted no and stated the reasons. Simply telling voters that they are wrong is not going to change any minds. Hopefully there is an effort to figure out what it would take to change a few no votes into yes votes.

    The statement “the majority of voters do not support a new levy” is not really up for debate. The facts are clear on that matter even if many of us hope the facts change in 2010.

    The question of why the millage has to increase from the November levy is a good one. I have read the previous posts (and the referenced web articles), and I know that the district is aiming for a small cash reserve at the end of 2013. However, the posted numbers must assume a particular operating budget. And that choice of operating budget is, I believe, the concern of the anonymous post.

    I personally do not understand why 2011 costs more when a levy passes in 2010 than it would have for a levy passed in 2009. I know that the failed levy means no increment in tax collection in 2010, but the schools cannot operate at a deficit whether they collect tax or not. So the revenue shortage must be met with cuts. I think the anonymous poster was mostly wondering why all of the 2009/2010 cuts cannot be made permanent such that the schools operate at that level going forward. I see that some of the cuts will not be restored . . . but not make all of the cuts permanent? It’s a perfectly reasonable question to discuss given that at least one voter opposes the levy for exactly this reason.

    • November 24, 2009 at 12:45 pm

      The District is asking for a millage amount that will sustain its finances through the 2012-2013 school year.

      Passage of the November operating levy would have brought in approximately $3.5 million per year. Now, with the failure of this levy, no additional local revenue will be coming to the District in calendar year 2010.

      Therefore, with the same goal of keeping the District solvent until 2013, but with one less year of tax collection, a higher millage rate, which would bring in a higher amount of $$ per year is necessary.

      A similar question has been asked about why the District is attempting to be solvent 3 years out, rather than just two years out as this would allow for a lower millage rate.

      The rationale is simply that a school district must begin a campaign a year before it runs out of money. If a levy would pass that only sustains the District for two years (2011-2012) school year, another operating campaign would need to occur during the 2010-2011 school year – which is next school year.

      The likelihood of passing an operating levy this year, and then passing another operating next year would be extremely difficult and also very divisive for the community.

  11. 30 yr resident
    November 24, 2009 at 11:33 am

    Anomymous, you talk so casual about this city and the schools, but times have changed, and once the schools start going down hill it’s hard to recover. It’s a slippery slope that will cost the tax payers more even if there is a “financiel upturn” This is an operating levy. Lose teachers, bus drivers, support staff, you’re talking about re-training new. What do you think: when we lose our jobs, do you think any of us can wait around to get our jobs back when you’re financial upturn happens. This is our lively hood. Now we’ve been pushed out. It’s time to move.

  12. Just a mom
    November 24, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    I read Anonymous’ posting as holding schools accountable and asking questions. I consider that being the sucess of education.

    My daughter has French class still – Why? They are still planning on a DC trip but parents have to come up with $400+, well, guess what, she is not going. I cannot afford it.

    The bottomline is, there are many, many families are financially struggling now, not just teachers and bus drivers- asking for them to pay for more is just not possible. We hope the market is going to pick up more (but at this point, if Healthcare Bill and Climate Bill pass by the Senates in 2010, we won’t see any more dime coming) then people have more disposable income to or can prioritize their dollar for education. If certain classes (non core classes such as American history and English)become a financial burden, sorry, schools have to make tough decision to cut them. We have to do it at work, at home, we are asking schools to look into the education piece – this is tough time for everyone, the true leaders need to also make tough decisions.

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