Home > Community Updates > Parent Update: December 3, 2009

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
  1. December 3, 2009 at 11:25 am

    I have one thought about the last levy campaign. Why wasn’t the reduced home values taken into consideration and used as an issue for the levy passage? With the drop in home values after the county reassessment last year, and subsequent reduction in property taxes to begin with, the passage of the levy would not have really have raised homeowner taxes much higher then they already were a year ago. I do not know what the effect will be with a higher millage levy, but it might be an issue worth investigating and promoting for the next campaign.
    As for the new busing plan, how can you expect the children to walk up to 2 miles to school in the winter on busy roads with no sidewalks for most of the trek. Don’t get me wrong, when I was in school we all walked to school. It was about three and a half miles from my house to my high school, about a half to three quarters of an hour walk (uphill both ways). Personally I think the kids today are spoiled by busing, but without sidewalks like we had where I grew up, it is going to be a downright dangerous situation during a Northeast Ohio winter.
    I would like to thank you for your time and wish the District the best of luck with the next levy.
    Respectfully,
    Christopher S. DeHart

  2. noelle333
    December 3, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    It is very unfortunate that we all must have to deal with this situation, especially in the dead of winter. For some parents, it will be an inconvenience; for some students who have to walk to school, it could be hazardous and unsafe; for school administrators and teachers it will be frustrating to determine which child goes home with which car or if school is delayed in the morning; for everyone in cars, whether you have children or not, it may be so frustrating that there may be some horn honks and possibly accidents resulting from anger and impatience. But let’s remember the bus drivers who will be laid off and those who will no longer have insurance. They had to make the ultimate sacrifice.

    Is there someone to blame? Maybe we came blame the voters who voted no and didn’t have all the facts before they placed their vote? How about the people who didn’t vote? How about the others who aren’t even registered to vote? I’m sure there could be more added to the blame list. But let’s move forward and pass this thing in February and think what we need to be doing NOW so that we are not in this position 3 years from now.

    While we are all in our cars dropping off and picking up our children in the cold January weather, let’s be like the Who’s in Whoville after the Grinch stole their Christmas. I will be a traveler on the road who will be as patient with this process as I can.

  3. Concerned Bulldog Parent
    December 3, 2009 at 6:57 pm

    In regards to the busing savings of a little over $1,000 per day, I was questioning if that included deducting the state reimbursement for optional busing for under two miles? Many parents may not be aware that the Olmsted Falls School district receives an annual reimbursement from the state for providing transportation to students that fall under the two mile radius. I questioned Dr. Hoadley in the past as to the amount of this reimbursement, but he was unable to provide a figure. The district will lose this reimburesment with the discontinuation of the additional service. In addition, how can our district continue to provide busing to students in private schools in Berea, Fairview Park, etc. that would not be eligible for busing within their own district??

    • December 3, 2009 at 8:55 pm

      As stated previously, Ohio public schools are operating under a new financial model, created by Ohio Legislatures in House Bill 1, which was put into place in July 2009. This financial model is very different than the previous model used to fund Ohio public schools. Honestly, the only similarity is that in both models, schools are not adequately funded and the expectation is placed by the State government on the local citizens to pass levies in order to fund their public schools.

      Presently, the District is being funded for transportation based upon last years ridership statistics. To guestimate (not estimate) how the District will be funded for transportation next school year under this new financial model and with the impending transportation reductions is simply not possible. I would rather be criticized for not providing a figure (that I do not have) rather than simply pulling a number from thin air and passing it off as factual.

      Finally, regarding transportation to private schools, again I would point you to the Ohio Legislature. It is simply Ohio law that public schools provide transportation services for students in grades K – 8 attending either a private schools or a charter school that is within a 30 minute drive. The savings the District is experiencing for eliminating High School busing (over $250K per year) is largely created by not having to bus students to 6 different private high schools outside the District per day.

      • Concerned Bulldog Parent
        December 4, 2009 at 6:48 am

        Can you tell us the figure for funding for this school year? Or the most recent year that we were funded? Is this public record?

  4. Mom of 2
    December 4, 2009 at 6:25 am

    I really wish the bus garage would be able to send out the new bus stops before the transportation meeting on 12/12. My concern now is both my kids transfering at the Middle School. What adults will be there to help them?

    • December 4, 2009 at 10:00 am

      It is the goal of the District’s transportation department to mail letters to parents of students in grades K – 8 who will still have bus service in January 2010 by the middle of next week.

      These letters will have the new bus stop locations, the new pick up and drop off times, as well as a list of students who will be assigned to the bus.

      As far as adults helping at the middle school hub for the transfer of K – 5 students, the District will have teachers, administrators, and teacher’s aides present to supervise and help students find their bus.

      • Mom of 2
        December 4, 2009 at 11:28 am

        Thank you Dr. Hoadley- your personal responses to our questions here is very much appreciated.

    • December 8, 2009 at 5:30 pm

      Update- Letters were mailed to the parents of Middle School students today with new bus stop locations as well as new pick up and drop off times.

      Transportation personnel are working diligently to finalize the letters for elementary parents. These letters will begin to go out in tomorrows mail with the goal being all letters mailed by the end of the day on Thursday.

  5. December 4, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Concerned Bulldog Parent :

    Can you tell us the figure for funding for this school year? Or the most recent year that we were funded? Is this public record?

    A copy of this information is posted on our district website. Here is the link: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/OFCS%20Revenue-Expenditures%20-%206-30-09-0.pdf

    Additionally, the District is also required by law to create a 5 year financial forecast that also displays the previous three fiscal years revenue and expenses. This information is also posted on our district website. Here is a link: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/Electronic5YearForecast-Approved%2010-22-09.pdf

  6. Concerned Bulldog Parent
    December 6, 2009 at 5:48 pm

    I am not an accountant, but maybe I need to clarify my question. I have done some reasearch and from the State of Ohio Department of Education I have discovered the following:

    1. “school districts may provide transportation for resident students…who live less than two miles from school.” “Funding is provided for all eligible students transported over 1 mile from school” “Pupil transtportaion funding is provided to school districts (by the state of OHIO)” “reduction in service levels by a district will result in reduction in funding levels.” “reduction in service without a significant reduction in spending may resule in a net loss of funds to the district” “savings in expenses can potentially be realized through a reduction in transportation. However, this savings must be balanced with the fact that each school district in the state also receives state funding assistance for pupil transportation…while the amount of funding that each district receives varies…the average percentage of state funding (was) approximately 60 percent of local cost”.
    If anyone would like to read the entire document (2 pages) do a Google search of State of Ohio Department of Education Pupil Transportation Service Levels, it is quite interesting.

    So to clarify my question, how much funding did our district get from the state specifically for transporting students above the state minimum? If you could please provide a dollar figure or a percentage of the 43% you referenced on the chart you linked. A dollar figure would be easiest to understand since you have already releyed a savings of $1000 per day.

    Since we will be losing state funding, and if it is 60% of the cost, does that mean that of the $1000 per day savings we are really only saving $400 per day or $72,000 per year. Can you please clarify.

    • December 8, 2009 at 5:17 pm

      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.

      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.”

  7. Concerned Bulldog Parent
    December 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    From USA Today 7-10-2008:

    In Ohio, more schools are cutting back to the minimum requirement, which means buses only for kindergartners through eighth-graders who live more than 2 miles from school, according to Pete Japikse, the state’s director of pupil transportation. The number of students on daily buses is down from 1.1 million to 1 million.

    Busing advocates say cutting basic bus service jeopardizes safety. About 800 students die each year going to and from school, but only about 20 deaths are bus-related, according to the National Academies of Sciences.

    “Every time you make more kids get off the bus and go some other way, you’re increasing the risks that those kids are not going to get to school alive,” Leeds says.

    Drastic cuts also threaten attendance, says Mike Martin of the American School Bus Council.

    “When you start to cut transportation, you eliminate the ability to participate in a lot of things that most kids take to be the most enjoyable parts of school,” Martin says. Some students forced to find their own way to school may not go at all, he says.

    • December 8, 2009 at 5:39 pm

      No one from the District feels good about the reductions being made to transportation. Please understand that these cuts are the result of three failed operating levies. Approximately 200 more yes votes in November and this would all be mute.

      Please remember that before ANY reductions were made to K-8 transportation, High School busing was eliminated, 10 1/2 teaching positions were eliminated, 3 part time administrative positions were eliminated, a compensation freeze was agreed to by District employees, purchasing budgets were reduced, library extended time was eliminated, custodial overtime was reduced , a vacancy for the District Transportation attendant was left unfilled, reductions were made to the number of 2009 summer cleaners, and the High School Business, German, and Home Economics programs were eliminated.

      The bottom line is that it has been 10 years since an operating levy was approved by the voters of the Olmsted Communities. This District is quickly running out of money and expenditures (services) must be reduced in order to balance the budget.

  8. Concerned Bulldog Parent
    December 7, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    Dr. Hoadley,

    To quote from your post of November 17, 2009 at 12:42 pm, you state:

    “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.”

    I am curious, it is my understanding that the school district is provided funding for going over and above the minimum standard. Is this true? In the most recent fiscal year, what was the total dollar figure we were funded? I realize that state funding is changing, but to give us all a figure would help provide historical perspective. It is also my understanding that we will lose this funding once you stop going over and above the minimum. Was this taken into consideration when computing the $1000 savings per day?

    Sorry if this is a repeat post. I have submitted three other posts with this same question, but none of them seem to appear in the blog?

    • December 8, 2009 at 5:43 pm

      Please see my post above to your previous question on this same topic.

  9. December 8, 2009 at 9:04 am

    You know that nobody wanted it to come to “this”. Each parent, each community member, could research and find support for the cut that causes them the most concern. The child who improved in school just to play middle school sports. The family whose Christmas is at best uncertain without their bus driving job. The student who connected with the business or foreign language program all ready cut. All of us who worry about what teens will do with all the free time they will have if/when all extra programs are cut. The boy scout, PSR, and other community program leaders wondering if they’ll find a new space for their character building programs. And yes busing. You say safety. Yes. I say the same for programs that keep kids focused and away from sex and drugs. I say the same for the educational opportunities availed to a child when their teacher isn’t sandwiched in a room with 32 students.

    I don’t think anyone argues with the case – is busing better, safer, etc. Sure. But if my pockets are empty, I still can’t buy new shoes even if they are on sale. Every family sees a dollar amount and sees a way to cut someone else’s “never cut that” school program.

    I don’t belittle your concerns. The risks are real. The fear is valid. And I for one, seriously hope parents view this as meaning they need to drive their kids not let them walk. But I encourage you and everyone out there reading to take their passion and channel it into passing the levy.

    Cut the small talk 44138! Don’t say, what about this weather? Or are you ready for the holidays? Say, I’m supporting the school levy are you? Let me tell you why passing the school’s first operational levy in 10 years matters. Let me tell you why as a member of this community I feel responsible for the handful of bus drivers who learned they are being laid-off, for the teachers we continue to expect more and more from, for the coaches who nobody will see will cry like their players when their team disappears, and for the quiet student in the back of a full room who doesn’t understand why supporting their school is up for debate. Stop talking about the weather. It is grey and cold. Start talking about why if we dismantle our school district program by program will take a decade or more to rebuild.

    Pass the levy. Be a registered voter. And don’t risk it, vote absentee. Pass the levy.

    • Diane
      December 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm

      Carol, BRAVO!!!!! Well said….That is ALL we should care about right now, the Future of the schools and PASSING THIS LEVY!!!!

  10. Jim Baldwin
    December 9, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Touché!!!!

  11. Stephanie Sullivan
    December 9, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Well put Carol. I have to agree putting all the small talk aside the bottom line is our children’s education is in jeopardy, there should be no question.

  12. Dave Lewis
    December 10, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    Concerned Bulldog Parent :
    Can you tell us the figure for funding for this school year? Or the most recent year that we were funded? Is this public record?

    State funding information for public schools can be accessed at: http://education.ohio.gov/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=990&ContentID=10849&Content=75698

    State funding for Ohio public school districts is calculated using an evidence-based model called PAthway to Student Success (PASS). According to the PASS form the Olmsted Falls School District is scheduled to receive a little over $1,000,000 for transportation this year. This information can be accessed via the link above. Click the link and then click PASS Reports. Select the December 4, 2009 report and choose Olmsted Falls as the school district.

    As Chief Operating Officer of the Olmsted Falls District, I spend a lot of time reviewing the information on the Ohio Department of Education web site. The amount of funding we are scheduled to receive changes almost monthly which makes budgeting very difficult.

    The formulas used to determine funding are very complex as well. For example, click the link above and then click “PAthway to Student Success (PASS) Worksheet, Line-by-Line”. Go to Appendix A of the Manual and take a look at the transportation formula.

    Please let me know if you have any other questions.

    • Concerned Bulldog Parent
      December 10, 2009 at 4:16 pm

      How much of the $1,000,000 is for the “optional” transporation of students less than one mile?

      To Quote Todd Hoadley “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.”

      If we do not pass the levy, how much will we lose in the fall due to the reduction in K-8 busing?

      Thanks!

  13. Dave Lewis
    December 11, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    If we do not pass the levy, how much will we lose in the fall due to the reduction in K-8 busing?
    Thanks!

    We will not know that answer to that until we submit transportation reports in the fall.

  14. Michele Gilbride
    December 14, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I was wondering if there was a way to find out if my children’s bus drivers were part of the infamous 8. Having just been notified this month, I’m sure their families are in turmoil during this holiday season. I’d love to be able to help them out.

    • December 15, 2009 at 8:19 am

      Michele,
      I do not feel comfortable posting the names on a public blog. However, please feel free to call the bus garage (427-6350) and they can provide you with this information.

  15. Upset Annoyed
    December 15, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    This is the most pathetic attempt at taking more money away from parents. Dr Hoadley, maybe you should give up some of your massive amount of paycheck and give back to the community. Or how about phase out some of the very unneeded faculty. Like the children that need someone to come in and interpret things into the English language? I mean, if you’re going to school in AMERICA, at least you should speak ENGLISH! Stop allowing these people to be more important than the other students. Make their parents pay for them!!

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