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Archive for December, 2009

Parent Update – December 14, 2009

Transportation Update

On Saturday morning, approximately 50 parents attended the Transportation Information meeting at Olmsted Falls High School.  If you were not able to attend this meeting, but still have questions pertaining to the new transportation procedures (effective 1-4-10), please call the Bus Garage (427-6350) or the building principal where your child attends school.

A copy of the Power Point presentation that was utilized at Saturday morning’s meeting can be found by clicking here.

Finally, last week, letters were mailed to those parents who will have children riding school buses, effective 1-4-10.  These letters identified the assigned bus, bus stop, and pick up locations for these students.  If you have not received this information, please call the Bus Garage at 427-6350.

Drop-Off and Pick-Up Procedures

Over the past two weeks, letters have been sent home to parents outlining the new drop-off and pick-up procedures, effective 1-4-10, at District facilities.  For a copy of the letter from the Early Childhood Center, please click here.

For a copy of the letter from Falls-Lenox Primary School, please click here.

For a copy of the letter from Olmsted Falls Intermediate School, please click here.

For a copy of the letter from Olmsted Falls Middle School, please click here.

Community Day Cares Offer Transportation

With the upcoming reduction in transportation services, a few local Day Care facilities have arranged for busing for students.  While some local businesses have requested OFCS send promotional fliers home with students about this new service, OFCS policies prevent the District from distributing literature for “For Profit” businesses.  If you are interested in possibly utilizing the services of a Day Care provider for transportation, please call these businesses directly.

Comments submitted to blog

Hopefully, as readers of this blog, you have found the information posted useful.  If you have topics that you would like to have explained further, please email or submit a comment to the blog.

Unfortunately, over the past week, several comments have been submitted that do not ask questions, but attempt simply “trash” other posters or employees of the District. These comments will not be posted and will simply be deleted. Additionally, any submitted comment that contains profanity will be immediately deleted.

The purpose of the this blog’s comment section is for readers to ask questions about District operations.  These types of comments are valuable and after they are reviewed by the moderator, will be posted.  Additionally, respective replies to these types of comments will also be posted.

Did You Know – Cost Per Pupil is 4th Lowest in Cuyahoga County

During any levy campaign, District spending is examined closely by residents.  According to the Ohio Department of Education, of the 31 school districts in Cuyahoga County, the spending per pupil by OFCS is the 4th lowest.  Additionally, did you know that the Olmsted Falls school district spends less than 1/2 of what other Districts spend, per pupil, in a given school year?/  Click here to examine this data set.  The District is proud of these financial facts and works daily to stretch the limited financial resources we have at our disposal.

There are a number of ways in which the District aggressively works to control costs.  One is through the use of volunteers.

As many parents know, at Falls-Lenox, OFIS, OFMS, and OFHS, the number of students in many classrooms approaches 30 students.  With the strategic use of volunteers (both parents and community volunteers) we can assure that students still receive the individual attention they need in order to achieve academic success.  If you would like to volunteer your time, and help the District support our students’ academic needs, please call 427-6000 and express your desire to help out.

Volunteers at Falls-Lenox ensure that our children receive the help they need in order to achieve academic success. Thank you volunteers - You are making a positive difference in the lives of our Olmsted children.

Another way the Olmsted Falls School District stretches financial resources is by leveraging partnerships with other educational entities.  This year, a new Bio-Medical Science class has been introduced as a class option for OFHS students interested in pursuing a career in a medically related field.  Forty-five students are participating in this new course offering.  The operational costs of this class, including the cost of the teacher, are covered by Polaris Joint Vocational School.  This District hopes to continue expanding course offerings through similar partnerships in years to come.  Recently, I visited this new Bio-Medical Science class to observe the students dissect a sheep’s heart.

Students in Bio-Medical Science are obtaining the knowledge and skills they need to be competitive in the 21st Century Global Economy. All costs for the operation of this program are paid for by Polaris Joint Vocational School.

OFHS Academic Team Captures Another Tournament Championship

On Saturday, December 12th, the OFHS Academic Team competed in the Case Western Reserve University “TRASH” Tournament.  A “TRASH” Tournament involves questions about Pop Culture, Trivia, Celebrities, Music, Films, TV, etc.  There were 48 teams that descended upon CWRU for this tournament!

During the morning round-robin rounds, the OFHS “A Team” compiled a 7-0 record and the “B Team” compiled a 5-2 record.

The OFHS “A Team” bested Streetsboro in the quarter-finals and St. Edwards in the semi-finals.  Finally, our Bulldog Academic Team captured the tournament championship with a final round victory over Aurora. 

Competing on the OFHS A Team were:  Emily Nageotte, Natalie Brdar, Michaela Killik, and Mike Coury.  Competing on the OFHS  B Team were:  Chris Traylor, Katie Pinter, Sohan Vartak, Ethan Kocjan, and Pam Keller.

The OFHS Academic team will be off until after the Winter Break.

6th Grade Holds Dare Graduation

Annually, the elected officials for the Olmsted Communities have supported Olmsted Falls Schools by providing a DARE program for our Middle School students.  Recently, our 6th graders “graduated” from DARE.  Thank you to Olmsted Falls police officer, Bob Swope, for his dedication as DARE officer for the Olmsted Falls Schools.

At the recent DARE graduation, 6th grade students spoke of their commitment to live a drug-free life.

Once A Bulldog – Always A Bulldog

Each December, retirees from Olmsted Falls schools return to the District to attend the annual Retired Staff Luncheon.  Last Monday, 52 Bulldogs returned to attend this event and were entertained by our 3rd grade students who sang songs from their Holiday Concert.

Thank you retirees for years of dedication and service to the children of the Olmsted Communities!!!

3rd grade students sang songs from their 2009 Holiday Concert, "The Nutcracker".

Governor Strickland Issues Warnings of Dire Education Cuts

(This article was originally published by Focus Education, which is a daily journal that highlights issues facing public education in Ohio)

On Friday, December 11, Gov. Ted Strickland turned to the Office of Budget and Management (OBM)for the second in a series of warnings on draconian cuts to public education and state universities should the Legislature fail to make whole $851 million in budget deficits by Dec. 31.

Governor Strickland issued the same projections in September after the Ohio Supreme Court held up video lottery terminals (VLT) for next year’s General Election, with Strickland saying school districts could lose a combined $1.7 billion in General Revenue Funds (GRF) and federal State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF) if the state did not make up $851 million expected from VLTs. Those figures were provided by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) at his request. The governor followed on Sept. 30 with recommendations that the state delay the final phase-in of income tax cuts – a position he continues to argue, but which Republicans have so far rejected without further state belt-tightening. (Click here to read Plain Dealer article on this topic)

The Office of Budget and Management said Friday that Ohio’s K-12 and higher education systems risk losing $1.4 billion in SFSF absent a state budget fix, due to federal “maintenance of effort” (MOE) requirements.

“Reducing state support to K-12 by $851 million means that Ohio fails to meet the test for SFSF dollars,” OBM Education Section Chief Tracy Najera said in a memo to Budget Director J. Pari Sabety. “Ohio would not meet the SFSF MOE waiver requirements because the state has to show that it is devoting the same percentage of revenues to education expenditures in both K-12 and higher education in FG10 as in FY09.”

Under this predicament, she said, Ohio would also fail the related “use of funds” test to bring FY10/11 up to FY09 levels. “There is not a federal waiver available for the use of funds test.”

With additional K-12 losses in federal IDEA special needs funding, the total hit to the state, not including the $851 million in GRF, would be $4.2 billion total.

OBM’s section chief said the state shortfall could also jeopardize the federal Race to the Top (RTTT) funds for education.

“Ohio is in an enviable position in that the state is a leader in many of the competitive categories and plans to request funding for innovative statewide and local initiatives….” she said. “Ohio may be deemed ineligible to compete for RTTT if the state is no longer eligible for SFSF dollars, since SFSF participation is a requirement for eligibility to compete for RTTT.”

The Strickland administration offered three different scenarios to deal with the looming $851 million shortfall and threatened federal funding, saying the first two are mostly distinguished by their “time horizon.”

The first scenario assumes SFSF losses would fall in the second half of FY10 through FY11. “Essentially, institutions of higher educational and local school districts will be required to absorb two-year’s worth of budget reductions in 18 months,” Najera said, based on a split of the $851 million into cuts of $285 million in FY10 and $566 million in FY11.

“The likely implications will be large-scale layoffs of teachers and other school district employees….” she warned.” The impact will be felt throughout the state, but will be concentrated in those districts where state funding makes up a larger share of the total operating budget, which are the lower wealth districts.”

Combining state and federal dollars, the total loss to public education would be $1.7 billion over the biennium (2 year time frame commencing July 1, 2009 – June 30, 2011), the same figure ODE provided in September, the administration said.

At the district level, the public schools would face their first funding cuts in January 2010.

Parent Update – December 9, 2009

Closing of District Buildings

Due to the failure of 3 operating levies, it is necessary for the District to continue to reduce expenses.  Effective January 4, 2010, District facilities will be closed at an earlier time so as to reduce electrical, heating and custodial costs.  These times will be in effect Monday – Friday, and affected community groups were notified in writing last week.  The new closing times, effective January 4, 2010,  will be:

Early Childhood Center—–5:00 PM

Falls-Lenox Primary School—–5:00 PM

Intermediate School—–6:00 PM

Middle School—–6:00 PM

High School—–9:00 PM

The closing times listed above were developed around the needs of the District’s winter extracurricular activities that occur in January and February.  Should the operating levy fail in February, closing times will be adjusted, effective March 1st to reflect spring after school extracurricular activities. The closing times would then be 5:00 PM for all District buildings, except the High School, which would close at 6:00 PM.

Update on Transportation

Yesterday afternoon, letters were mailed to the parents of Middle School students who will continue to receive bus services on January 4, 2010.  This letter identifies the student’s new bus stop location, as well as the new pick up and drop off time.

This same letter is being prepared for students in grades Kindergarten through Grade 5 who will still receive bus service on January 4, 2010.  Because all of these routes must be hand scheduled, this task is taking quite a bit of time.  The District plans to mail letters to these parents today and Thursday.

Pick Up and Drop Off Patterns

Another letter that has been prepared is the new pick up and drop off procedures for parents who will be transporting their children to school effective January 4th.  These letters will be sent home in students backpacks (except Middle School) on Thursday.

Questions Regarding State Transportation Reimbursement

This week, a reader of this blog posted a series of comments regarding the financial savings of reducing transportation services for busing K – 8 students as well as questions regarding State reimbursement that the District receives for providing transportation services.  There is a belief by this reader that the District will be losing State revenue based upon the upcoming reductions in transportation. Since this question has also been asked by some other residents, I am also answering this question in the main blog commentary so that more readers will have access to this important information.

The quick answer to this question is that the District will lose some amount of state funding due to reducing transportation services.  However, according to information from our Business Department, the loss of state revenue will not occur until next school year.  Additionally, if an operating levy is passed before the end of the school year and transportation services are reactivated by the beginning of next school year, then no loss of state revenue will occur due to the reductions in K-8 busing.

Next year, it is a given that the District will receive a lower amount of state aid due to the elimination of High School busing.  Since the state of Ohio has enacted a new system for funding public schools, any dollar amount estimated would merely be a guess.  According to District Treasurer, Mark Hullman, the Olmsted Falls District receives approximately 55% of its funding from local tax revenue and 43% from state tax revenue.  For a more accurate description of tax revenue sources, please click here

In the December 3rd parent update, it was written that the District estimates the financial savings, due to the reduced transportation services that will go into effect on January 4, 2010, will save the District approximately $1,000 per day.  The following is an explanation from our Business Department on how this savings was calculated:

“Looking at the personnel side of this reduction, the District will layoff 8 current drivers (officially approved by the Olmsted Falls Board of Education on Friday, December 4, 2010) and reduce hours for 12 additional drivers.  Six (6) of those 12 drivers, who will have their work hours reduced, will drop from partial medical benefits to no eligibility status for medical benefits.  Two (2) would drop from full medical benefits to partial medical benefits, one (1) would remain at full medical benefit status and three (3) would remain at partial medical benefit status.  The total estimated personnel savings per day, without medical benefit costs included, will be $781.10 per day.

Furthermore, as a result of reducing the number of buses on the road and the partial combining of several routes with bus routes that are discontinued, it is estimated to save approximately 256 miles per day, based on our T-1 report (State Transportation report) for 2009-2010.  This further translates to approximately $1.00 per mile in savings which represents the mechanical/operational side of the bus only.  Thus, estimated mileage savings per day will be approximately $256.00 per day.

The combination of savings from personnel reductions and mileage reductions would equal approximately $1,037.10 per day.  This number does not represent any reductions from the ODE in transportation reimbursement monies, due to reduced service levels.  From my understanding, this would occur only if this condition would continue into a new school year with the reporting of a 2010-2011 T-1.  Finally, this dollar estimate does not reflect any additional unemployment costs associated with the layoff of the 8 school bus drivers.”

High School Collects Winter Clothing to Help Needy Families

During the month of December, the OFHS National Honor Society, and the senior class, will be taking donations of winter clothing items: hats, gloves, scarves & coats.  Please feel free to donate these items to our holiday tree in the High School cafeteria. All donations will be delivered to the Olmsted Community Church to help families in need.

SWC All-Conference Soccer and Tennis Selections

Congratulations to the following OFHS volleyball players who have received All-SWC honors for their efforts this past fall sports season:

1st Team

Dayna Roberts (11th Grade)

Corinne Manley (12th Grade)

2nd Team

Shannon DeLeur (12th Grade)

Honorable Mention

Kelsey Snider (10th Grade)

Jaclyn Brandt (10th Grade)

Closing School for Inclement Weather

While it is a rare day that Olmsted Falls Schools are closed because of inclement weather, it does occasionally happen.  With the winter months approaching, I want to make you aware of a new service from WKYC that allows veiwers to sign up to recieve a text message when schools are cancelled.  In order to learn more about this new feature, and possibly sign up for this service, please click here.

High School Academic Team Update

On Saturday, the High School Academic Team competed in a tournament at Wright State University in Dayton.  The field of teams came from Ohio, Kentucky, and Michigan.  There were 32 teams competing.  Our A Team finished in a tie for 5th place which qualifies them for the HSNCT National Tournament in Chicago.

OFHS junior Jim Coury was named to the All-Tournament Team by posting the second highest point total from the tournament (he was one question from being the top scorer!).  Our B and C teams also competed in this very competitive tournament because they needed two more teams to round out the field.  Our B Team ended in a tie for 21st and our C Team ended in a tie for 23rd.  This is the equivalent of sending your JV and Freshman teams in versus varsity teams and they held their own and took down some very good teams along the way.

On Tuesday, December 1st the High School Academic Team participated in the Knowledge Master Open.  This is an online competition open to every high school in the US and in the world.  There are 200 questions and 60 seconds a question to answer.   Our team finished #2 in the State of Ohio and #35 in the field of 678 teams.  The results of the Knowledge Master Open can be seen online at http://www.greatauk.com/kmoh.pdf

Yesterday. the Academic Team concluded the Fall Northeast Ohio Academic League (NEOAL) play.  The standings are as follows:

Olmsted Falls  7-0

Garfield Heights  5-2

Twinsburg  4-3

Lutheran West  4-3

Highland 2-5

Fairview 2-5

Columbia 1-6

Olmsted Falls won the fall league and qualified for the OAC Regional Tournament in April.  The spring league tournament will take place on February 17, 2010 at Baldwin Wallace College.

Parent Update: December 3, 2009

Athletic Booster apparel Sale

The Olmsted Falls Athletic Boosters will be conducting a Bulldog apparel sale on Saturday, December 12th in the cafeteria at the High School. This event will run from 9 AM – 1 PM. This merchandise would make great Holiday gifts for your friends and loved ones as well as support the Olmsted Falls Athletic Boosters.

Attention Middle School Parents – New Feature on Progress Book

Many Middle School parents are utilizing the Progress Book website to track the homework / grades of their children. Please be aware that a new feature will allow parents to register for an email alert for missing assignments or an email alert if their child’s grade drops below a pre-selected level.

For directions on setting up this option, please click here.

Attention Parents of 6th Grade Students

Tonight at 6:30 PM, the Middle School staff will be hosting a WEB Movie Night. (Note: WEB stands for Where Everyone Belongs).

All 6th grade students are welcomed to this event. Admission is $1. For additional details, please click here.

Busing Update

As you are aware, as a result of the three failed operating levies, it is necessary to reduce District financial costs by reducing bus transportation services to state minimum requirements. These changes will go into effect on January 4, 2010.

Parents who live within two miles of their child’s school have already received written correspondence making them aware of the loss of bus service. Additionally, on Monday, the principals at Falls-Lenox and the Early Childhood Center sent letters home with students asking for information from parents as to their transportation plans in January. This information is for planning purposes as the principals need to develop new pick-up and drop-off procedures so that safety of the children can be assured.  For a copy of the letter sent to parents of Falls-Lenox students, please click here.  For a copy of the letter sent to parents of students attending the Early Childhood Center, please click here.

Today, letters will be mailed out to parents who are presently utilizing the Alternative Transportation option as this service is also being eliminated in January.  A copy of this letter has also been posted to the District’s website.  For a copy of this letter, please click here.

Over the last 3 weeks, personnel in our Transportation Department have been working diligently to develop new bus routes that incorporate State minimum busing standards. The process of developing bus routes usually takes a good part of the summer and I want to personally thank our Transportation staff for their hard work over the past several weeks.

Several questions have been repeatedly asked on the topic of these transportation changes. Here are some of these questions, and their answers:

Question: How many bus drivers will lose their jobs?

Answer: 8. Additionally, several other bus drivers, while not losing their jobs, will experience a reduction in work hours which will both lower their pay, as well as make some ineligible for insurance benefits.

Question: How much money will the District save by changing to State minimum busing service?

Answer: Just over $1,000 per day.

Question: Why won’t the District accept Alternate Transportation Requests?

Answer: As stated above, it normally takes most of the summer to “build” the bus routes (including identification of bus stops). With the abbreviated time schedule, the District simply does not have the personnel, nor the availability of time, to accommodate these requests when “building” these new bus routes in the middle of the school year. The inability to accommodate Alternative Requests was anticipated by the District as an issue as far back as last spring and was communicated to residents in the spring of 2009  School Report as well as on the personalized bus cards mailed to each family at the beginning of this school year.

Question: If they levy is passed in February, how soon will “normal transportation” return?

Answer: The District would be able to “switch back” to its present transportation system within a matter of a few weeks after the passage of an election. Note: please remember that it often takes the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections 2 – 3 weeks to certify a close election. Additionally, please note that since no routes have been developed for High School busing, that service will not return during the 2009-2010 school year.

Should you have additional questions pertaining to transportation, please submit a comment to this blog or attend the Transportation Information meeting on Saturday, December 12th at 10 AM in the Auditorium at Olmsted Falls High School.

News Articles on Olmsted Falls Schools

Recently, several news articles have appeared regarding important events at Olmsted Falls Schools.  Here are those articles:

1.  News-Sun article  regarding the Olmsted Falls School District’s upcoming school levy.  To read a copy of this article, please click here.

2.  Sun-Post Herald – article regarding Olmsted Falls High School Girls Soccer awards.  To read a copy of this article, please click here.

3.  Sun-Post Herald – article on OF graduate Lauren Whyte – volleyball success at George Washington University.  To read a copy of this article, please click here.

SWC All-Conference Soccer and Tennis Selections

Congratulations to the following OFHS athletes who have received All-SWC honors for their efforts this past fall sports season:

Boys Soccer:

2nd Team

Zachary Schultz (11th Grade)

Honorable Mention

Tim McClaren (10th Grade)

Michael Corey (11th Grade)

Girls Soccer

1st Team

Sarah Underhill (12th Grade)

2nd Team

Taylor Ballard (12th Grade)

Honorable Mention

Jillian Mesaros (10th Grade)

Lauren Payne (11th Grade)

Girls Tennis

Honorable Mention

Alyssa Bacik (12th Grade)

OFHS Swim Boosters Honey Baked Ham Sale

Presently underway is the OFHS Swim Boosters annual Honey Baked Ham Sale. This event lasts until December 12th. For more information on how you can purchase a Honey Baked Ham and support our Swim Boosters, please click here.  Additionally, please note that the OFHS Swim Boosters will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, December 9th at 7 PM in the OFHS cafeteria.

OFIS Student Newspaper

Recently, our Olmsted Falls Intermediate School students published their first edition of the 2009-2010 school newspaper. To see a copy of this fine publication, please click here.

Attention Parents of 4th and 5th Graders

Did you know that OFIS principal, Don Svec published a monthly newsletter for parents and posts it on our Intermediate School website? Please click here to see a copy of his December 2009 Principal’s Bulletin

Categories: Community Updates