Home > Community Updates, District News > Parent Update – December 9, 2009

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.

  1. Jenny Loos
    December 9, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Just a quick question. I read in your update that the State reimburses the school for transportation. Will the state still be reimbursing the school the same amount of money for the remainder of the academic year even though there is less bussing services provided? It sounds great that the school will be saving a little over $1,000 a day but you might want to also provide a CLEAR idea to everyone as to where the saved money will be going!!!!
    Please post an answer to this question on your blog!! It would help to pacify both supporters and non supporters of the school and facilitate the passing of the upcoming levy!!!!

  2. December 9, 2009 at 9:17 pm

    Jenny Loos :

    Just a quick question. I read in your update that the State reimburses the school for transportation. Will the state still be reimbursing the school the same amount of money for the remainder of the academic year even though there is less bussing services provided?

    Yes, state reimbursement for transportation services will remain unchanged for the remainder of the school year.

    The “savings” is actually a reduction of an expenditure and will help push off the impending financial implosion for a little bit longer. Presently, without financial modifications, the District will run out of “cash” sometime in the middle of the 2010-2011 school year. Ohio law does not allow school districts to go bankrupt, it requires that financial cutbacks be continually made so as to stave off the financial implosion.

  3. Nancy
    December 9, 2009 at 10:33 pm

    I’m curious how the district will save money by having my 9 and 12 year old walk 1/2 mile to their bus stop at the end of their street. They go to different schools so they will have to walk alone. In the dark.

    Of course I’m not betting my kids lives on a safe walk in the dark alone. So I’ll be driving them to school and paying a private daycare to pick up my 12 year old.

    I hope all you parents who did not vote for the levy will be stuck in the traffic pileups on Bagley and Fitch as a result of your apathy. Me – I can’t wait to sell this house and find a community that thinks public schools are a valuable resource.

    • December 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm

      Nancy, by having students walk a greater distance to the bus stop, more students can be assigned to each bus stop. Thus fewer overall bus stops.

      Presently, some bus routes have 16-18 stops. With the new routes, there will only be 6-8 stops per route. Again, this will create faster running bus routes which will reduce operational costs by reducing the amount of time the drivers are “on the clock.”

  4. curious
    December 10, 2009 at 5:44 am

    I have a child that will need to be driven to OFIS and one to Falls Lenox. Will the kids be give a grace period so that the child dropped off at FL will not be tardy, if they arrive after 8? I foresee this might be a problem with all the traffic and winter weather. We are not able to attend the meeting on Saturday due to a prior obligation that cannot be changed. I appreciate any thoughts on this.

    • December 10, 2009 at 12:12 pm

      The District understands the hardship that parents will be facing and the traffic congestion that will occur beginning on 1/4/10. The District will be understanding of late arriving students.

      Falls-Lenox is expected to be the worst location for traffic congestion.

      • curious
        December 11, 2009 at 8:53 am

        Thank you!

  5. Arian
    December 10, 2009 at 8:06 am

    I talked to some of the parents and we have this question:
    If a student resides inside 2 mile zone, can the bus pick up or drop off this student if the student lives by the bus route (the bus just needs to make a stop) ? We don’t know how much impact these
    stops are going to have on your savings but surely will help some of us (students and parents) a lot.
    Please post an answer to this question on your blog.

  6. Lillian
    December 10, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Hello again Dr. Hoadley, I just received my letter for the dropping off and picking up of the children at Falls Lenox. Makes sense the way that the process will flow. The only question I have is if you will be having those monitoring the children’s entrance and exit move parents along in a timely fashion? The reason I ask is that it’s almost a daily occurance when I am dropping my child off at Falls Lenox, that the parent in front of me is waiting to move up in line just so that they can drop their child off right in front of the door instead of moving up as far as possible so that there can be more than 3 or 4 cars dropping off at the same time. And the WORST part is when these SAME parents wait until their child is inside the school, down the hall, into the classroom, until they leave! (I am exxagerating of course, but it’s is a while). Can you please address this?

  7. December 10, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    Arian – I am sorry but students who live within the two mile zones will not be able to ride District buses to or from school.

  8. lori
    December 10, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I was wondering how the districts finances will impact the state mandate for all day kindergarten? Has the district applied for a waiver to extend this for a year?

  9. December 10, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Lori – Thank you for your question. District finances are playing a large role in the District’s ability to offer an all-day, everyday Kindergarten class next school year. Another complicating factor is the Ohio Legislature’s enactment of House Bill 1 which prevents school districts from implementing a tuition charge for parents who desire to utilize this service.

    Previous to this school year and previous to the July 2009 enactment of HB 1, the Olmsted Falls School District planned to implement all-day, everyday Kindergarten and charge parents tuition for this service beginning in the 2010-2011 school year. Several area school district utilize this financial model and it seems to work well.

    However, if the District cannot legally charge for this service, we will request a waiver from the Ohio Department of Education.

    In order to implement all-day, everyday Kindergarten for all students, the District would need to hire an additional 6 teachers which would cost approximately $300,000 per year. The other alternative would be to reassign teachers from other teaching assignments, however, with class sizes at our elementary schools already approaching 30 children per class, this is not a possible alternative.

    There is pending legislation in Columbus which would repeal the HB1 all-day, everyday Kindergarten requirement. Should that be passed and the District be able to charge tuition to those parents who desire this option, the OF District would be able to implement this next school year.

  10. Concerned parent II
    December 10, 2009 at 2:43 pm

    I read the blogs for the first time in the past couple of weeks. I felt a need to investigate further and hopefully help answer some of the questions that have been posted. I feel that there is a lot of misrepresented information being passed off as facts. I implore anyone that wants an eye opening experience with the REAL facts to access these websites. You can see how our school district compares to others in our area that are comparable in size, tax base, etc. It lists it all including average salaries, etc. If you go to the Ohio.gov website and go under Finances you can see the pupil transportation reimbursements from the state, etc. TONS of great stuff to read – fairly easy to navigate (if you are determined enough to find the info). I will say that some of this info is a year behind, but still VERY pertinent. The State of Ohio made up a new formula for transportation and these were the GOALS – The formula should be UNDERSTANDABLE, REWARD EFFICIENCY, PROMOTE RIDERSHIP (which increases student safety)!!!! You can read it following the bottom address!
    Way to take a tip from Strongsville and go below the belt with decreased busing! It probably will work, but how will you and THE BOARD show me that you can make the decreases in spending that need to be made in order for me to vote yes?????? I will not vote yes this time if I don’t see a concerted effort to control and decrease spending!!!! I still haven’t seen a decrease in class size and won’t because per Dr. Hoadley only 4 positions would be replaced over the next couple of years if it passes. No pay to play? Why not? The only kids that wouldn’t be able to afford it would be the lunch program eligible ones which comprise less that 1% of our student population!
    And I for 1 would be more than willing to fund raise for that group to have funds set aside to help the less fortunate in the community play! By the way how much does the district spend on busing for sports? I’m sure there won’t be a figure available! Like there haven’t been for others questions! So to the gentlemen and ladies that have asked very pertinent questions about financials, busing, etc. (ie:financial statements, Mr. Allman, concerned bulldog parent, etc.) I encourage you to see the URLs below, and more, for a TRUE picture of what we are dealing with here! I mean 14.2 administrators with an average salary of $99,234.93? Of course you want the levy passed – I would too if I were making that amount!!!!!!!!! So, if all the administrators took a 10% pay cut, that would save the district $140,000, about the same as that proclaimed with the busing cuts. That would take salaries down from $99,000 to $91,000, which still is way above the average that Strongsville administrators earn, which is $72,000. I will be saving this email, copying and handing it out with bells on at any and all meetings from here until the levy vote if needed!!!!!!

    http://webapp2.ode.state.oh.us/school_finance/data/policy_research/F2008_district_profile_report.asp
    http://www.ode.state.oh.us/gd/templates/pages/ODE/ODEGoogleSearch.aspx?page=221&query=impacting%20pupil%20transportation&start=0&OriginatingURL=/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?Page=3

    • Dave Lewis
      December 11, 2009 at 1:14 pm

      The 1% data to which you are referring is from FY08. We are currently in FY10. The percent of Olmsted Falls students who qualify for the school lunch program (Free or Reduced) is now over 13%.

      Dave Lewis
      Chief Operating Officer

    • December 11, 2009 at 3:28 pm

      As a former math teacher, I can tell you that “averages” are only useful if you understand the data set the “average” is being created from and compared to.

      The Ohio Department of Education creates categories called “similar districts.” The districts that have been deemed similar to OFCS can be seen here: http://webapp2.ode.state.oh.us/similar_districts/Similar_Districts.asp?strIRN=046573&intSchool_Year=2009&action=Run

      Please note that Olmsted Falls is the only Cuyahoga county school district in this similar district category.

      Comparing salary data in NE Ohio to a school district in another part of the state is risky at best. Cost of living is simply different in different parts of the state. Ask for a quote on car insurance in Cuyahoga county and Medina County and note the financial difference.

      In the end, costs in Cuyahoga county compared to costs in Licking County, or Trumball County, or Mahoning County are simply different. Additionally, are you assuming the quality of education at each of these “similar” districts are equal?/ District residents are aware that Olmsted Falls schools have received the highest rating of the state report card every year for the past 10 years. I can tell you that is not true for the districts this report compares Olmsted Falls school against.

      Comparing spending data of the Olmsted Falls school district to other Cuyahoga county school districts, I feel, is a more accurate comparison. Of the 31 school districts in this county, the spending of Olmsted Falls schools is 4th from the bottom. Here is a link that shows OFCS spending to other Cuyahoga county school districts: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/District%20Expenditures%20Per%20Pupil.pdf

      Finally, in regard to administrator pay, I would offer that average pay does not take into account the workload placed upon each administrator. Data provided by the Ohio Department of Education shows that the ration of administrators per pupil in Olmsted Falls schools is the leanest in Cuyahoga County and of the 611 school districts in Ohio, the administrator / pupil ratio is the 7th leanest in the state. Here is a link to this information: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/Pupils%20Per%20Administrator.pdf

  11. Concerned Bulldog Parent
    December 10, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    To quote Dave Lewis: “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.”

    New question, How much of the $1,000,000 is a direct result of the “optional” transporation of students who live under two miles? I have read that it can be 50-60% of the cost of offering that service. So if you are saving $1000 per day by ending that service, what I am trying to find out is how much funding will we lose? If we lose for example $750 per day, are we really only saving $250 per day?

    To Quote Todd Hoadly: “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 a levy is not passed by the start of the next school year how much state funding will be lost specifically due to the discontinuation of optional busing for students under 2 miles.

    I previously posted this information, but as a reminder, the State of Ohio Department of Education states: “reduction in service without a significant reduction in spending may result 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.”

    So what I am trying to figure out is how much we will ultimately save if we lose funding that we are currently getting from the state.

    Thanks!

    • December 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm

      As has been shared in previous replies back to your posts, the District is presently being funded by the State of Ohio based upon last years ridership numbers.

      Last year, the average annual cost of transporting a student in the Olmsted Falls School District was $486. The state reimbursed the District $283 per student. This equates to approximately 48% of District costs.

      Last year, the average annual cost of transporting a special education student was $3,846. The state reimbursed the District $1,860. This again equates to approximately 48% of District costs.

      As stated in the December 9th post, next year, the District will receive a lower amount of state reimbursement due to the elimination of High School busing. Additionally, as stated above, the District’s amount of transportation reimbursement from the state will not be lowered to the the implementation of the 2 mile no-bus-service zones.

  12. William
    December 11, 2009 at 3:30 am

    If we do not do enough to gain absentee voters, rally our neighbors and friends to support the February Levy, then we will then must live with what we will have… expense reduction.

    Splitting hairs on what pennies saved and how it is to be used is the same as treading water.

    The school administrators has done a great job of keeping parents informed and a open line of communication throuhout this difficult time.

    Many questions have actually been answered by Dr. Hoadley himself. How many of your administrators have been this forthright at your jobs (even worse- politicians)?

    Vote and take your neighbors, friends, and anyone else you know with you. It won’t hurt to turn off the cable, play stations, and other extracurricular activities for a little while.

    Otherwise, please don’t complain about what you’re not willing to help keeping the school district at the top 5% in Ohio.

    Thank you and Happy Holidays.

  13. Concerned parent II
    December 11, 2009 at 8:05 am

    This is my second time blogging – is there a reason my blog is still in moderation? I see the response time on the others is much faster. Do you need me to tone it down a little even though there have been blogs with accusations of different kinds and suggestions of lawsuits?

    • December 11, 2009 at 9:50 am

      The WordPress software requires me to approve all submitted comments. I typically check the blog twice per day and handle comments and approve comments in batches. This causes a delay from the time a comment is submitted to the time a comment is posted.

      Additionally, I do not check the blog as frequently on weekends, so a post submitted on a Friday evening or Saturday may not be approved for posting until I check the site on Monday.

      Thanks, in advance for your patience and understanding.

  14. Dave Lewis
    December 11, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Concerned parent II :
    I mean 14.2 administrators with an average salary of $99,234.93? Of course you want the levy passed – I would too if I were making that amount!!!!!!!!!

    14.2 administrators with an average salary of $99,324.93 is almost $100,000 less of an expenditure than the similar district average of 23.75 administrators with an average salary of $63,447.37.

    The district has committed to having less administrators but expecting more from them. That is why we were able to open a new building without adding administration. In fact, several administrators had days added to their contracts without a corresponding increase in salary. All administrators have had their pay frozen since August 1, 2008.

    Dave Lewis
    Chief Operating Officer

  15. Dave Lewis
    December 11, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Concerned Bulldog Parent :
    So what I am trying to figure out is how much we will ultimately save if we lose funding that we are currently getting from the state.
    Thanks!

    The remainder of this year we will save $1000 per day beginning January 4, 2010 when the district goes to state minimum standards. Since our transportation funding for this year has already been calculated, these changes are not expected to affect our funding this year.

    We will not know our transportation funding for next year until our transportation reports are submitted to the state sometime in the fall.

  16. Concerned parent II
    December 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    As I stated in my blog a lot of the info is a year behind. But the state doesn’t update the info as quickly as you are able to get numbers (or not) as I and others have found out! So I guess you Dave would be the one to contact concerning up to date numbers? I appreciate your feedback. Care to correct (give updated) info on the administrators average salaries or the reimbursement statement numbers for busing? Cost per pupil, miles and what the state reimbursed because those are from 2008 also and this year’s reimbursement would be be based on those numbers which according to Dr. Hoadley he wouldn’t want to guess on. Also when did the compensation freeze agreement start? Thanks again for your feedback.

  17. Concerned parent II
    December 11, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Considering we are in FY10 as Mr. Lewis pointed out, what will the 2.5% adjustment for busing grades 1-8 who live 1 mile from school get the district out of the $447,183,689 available from the state (up from 428,192,018 in FY2009)? Oh wait, our district doesn’t supply busing for 1 mile and under or for that matter 10,560 feet and under. So the answer is NOTHING!!!! Did you at least keep the efficiency rating up with your revamping?

  18. concerned parent also
    December 11, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    I have been reading all of the blogs and I thought I would comment… I know this is a hard time FOR EVERYONE…including our schools..I think William’s comment says it all. I do see alot of funds being waisted (like the late start days we had last year)_ those buses were driving around empty just incase a parent forgot the kids went in later..how dumb is that?? then why doesn’t the buses run on Saturday’s or on Martin Luther King day…hey they might forget then too…I know taking busing away does not effect the child’s education, but there are other ways to save money… but than again, it wouldn’t get the parents to vote “yes” would it?? I also heard a rumor that you are discussing NOT bringing High School busing back in the fall, in fact, not bringing back high school busing back at ALL???

    • Dave Lewis
      December 13, 2009 at 10:17 am

      concerned parent also :
      I do see alot of funds being waisted (like the late start days we had last year)_ those buses were driving around empty just incase a parent forgot the kids went in later..how dumb is that??

      There are no district-wide late start days this school year. The buses you observed last year were not driving around in case a parent forgot. They were most likely buses returning to Olmsted Falls after transporting private school students. Even when the district has a schedule change, we still have a legal obligation to transport those students.

      I would also be interested to hear the areas you see funds being wasted. A big part of my job is to try to eliminate inefficiencies.

      Dave Lewis
      Chief Operating Officer

    • Linda Parkowski
      December 14, 2009 at 9:40 am

      Concerned parent also: I would also like to hear from you what other funds you see being wasted and what your ideas are to get the budget into balance. You seem to have all the answers here!
      And why do people hide behind the names like yours? If you truly believe in something and want to stand for something than say it, with your name attached. Seems a little cowardly to me to hide behind a made up name.

  19. Concerned parent II
    December 11, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    As I stated it is all there for people to see to be educated before the upcoming levy vote. It is up to them to read the CUPP report detailing what all the titles and numbers mean. I don’t begrudge many of you your pay, however with the poverty level increasing in the community to almost 12% in 2009 (and that is just the families that have children) a pay CUT would be putting YOUR money where your mouth is! Especially considering that the increase in the mills will affect these families even more! Many people have had to accept pay cuts and increased workloads during these tough economic times. But at least they have a job.

    One last thing EVERY student has a right to an education, but education doesn’t equate to all the extracurricular activities no matter how enriching an experience they may be. Any comment from the administrators on the fact that although we may not have to use the trailers anymore we still have overcrowded classrooms?

    • December 13, 2009 at 10:49 am

      Here is information from the Ohio Department of Education report that displays the efficient operation of the Olmsted Falls School District.

      1. Cost per pupil places OFCS 4th lowest in Cuyahoga County. Additionally, our District spends less that 1/2 of what some other Districts in this county spend per pupil on an annual basis. Here is the data set showing this information: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/District%20Expenditures%20Per%20Pupil.pdf

      2. Olmsted Falls schools run the leanest administration in Cuyahoga County. Additionally, of the 600+ school districts in the State of Ohio, OFCS has the 7th leanest administration in Ohio. Here is the data set showing this information: http://www.ofcs.net/docs/Pupils%20Per%20Administrator.pdf

      These two points also must be viewed against the academic success of the school district. For 10 straight years, the Olmsted Falls School District has received the top academic rating possible from the Ohio Department of Education. Only 15 school districts in the state of Ohio can make this claim to success. Again, I stress, this accomplishment has been achieved with the 4th lowest cost per pupil in Cuyahoga County.

      In the end, tax levies are difficult (especially in this economy) and divisive for the community. I hope you will see that this is not simply a “spending issue” by the school district, but rather see that it is a revenue issue that has been created by unconstitutional way in which school districts are funded in the state of Ohio.

      Because the OFCS district has such a limited business community, a disproportionate amount of taxation must fall upon the resident. Until laws are changed to spread business taxation across all school districts, or the overall business sector in this school districts grows, this issue will always be the Achilles Heal of our community.

    • Bill Clark
      December 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm

      Consider this. The superintendent is the CEO of a multi-million dollar entity responsible for the development of the next generation of Americans. The principal is a facility director with near to 100 direct reports that is responsible for the direct instruction and safety of over 300 children. Based upon private industry correlations – I would say that they are drastically underpaid. We all know the funding issue is atrocious, but we continue to send legislators to Columbus that do not fix the problem; therefore, our only option is to bear the financing as responsible citizens. Is there waste? Sure – but it certainly isn’t excessive.

  20. Sally
    December 13, 2009 at 8:06 am

    Dr. Hoadley,
    I understand with the levy not passing, that there had to be cuts. What I do not understand is why was the basktball program even offered when in fact the registration was sent out the following Monday after the levy failed. Why was it even offered? Also, it was cancelled the week the program was to start. According to the letter that was returned with my check, it said that it was cancelled due to the levy failure (again, the registration was sent out AFTER the levy had already failed.) I gave my son a choice between basketball and the wrestling program that was being offered. He chose basketball. Please address my concerns.

    • December 13, 2009 at 10:38 am

      Sally,

      Thank you for your email. The decision to cancel the basketball program was not made by the school, but rather by the persons who run the program.

      The school is simply the venue that is used for practices and games and the distributor of flyers.

      As part of the District’s cost savings plan, a failed levy in November resulted in reduced building hours. Effective 1-4-10, Falls-Lenox and the ECC are closing at 5 PM, OFIS and the Middle School will close at 6 PM, and the High School will close at 9 PM.

      The option was given by the District to the organizers of the 3rd grade basketball program to attempt to run the program within the confines of these reduced hours. Obviously, it would be a difficult task for them to operate the program under these limited hours, but the District wanted to give them the opportunity to at least try to function under these new hours or attempt to find alternative locations for practices and games.

      Ultimately, after exploring options, the decision was made by the organizers to drop the program for this year.

      Please understand that the persons who operate this 3rd grade basketball program are dedicated volunteers who really wanted to see the program run this Winter. However, after spending time considering options, they determined it simply was not feasible to operate this program.

      In the end, the loss of this program saddens me as it is simply another lost opportunity for the children of the Olmsted Community.

      Thanks again for your question.

    • OFparent
      December 14, 2009 at 6:27 am

      Thanks for asking this question, Sally, because it concerned me too that it was offered after the levy failed. My son is very very bummed.

  21. December 13, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    It was stated above: “No pay to play? Why not? The only kids that wouldn’t be able to afford it would be the lunch program eligible ones which comprise less that 1% (sic)of our student population!”

    Mr. Lewis already addressed the correction to 4%. But let’s be sure, again, that readers have facts. The Ohio average on pay-for-play is now breaking around $250 per-sport-per-child. Look to Medina that will charge their student athletes $600 since the failure of their levy and some $400 to participate in the beyond school time music programs. My children aren’t eligible for so much as free napkin at lunch but under Medina’s standard – with three kids, given one could be in sports and band someday – that’s $2,200 – and that money doesn’t get you busing or more teachers in Medina. Again, I think beyond the eligible lunch programs families – a number of families may choose not to allow their children to participate.

    But more importantly, a child is not a statistic. A school is not a day care. The financial officer and other top administrators serving our community’s largest employer are not low wage hires. And a classroom should not need to come with theater styled seating.

    Is this district perfect? Heck no. And frankly there are some other district tax increases out there who I don’t blame voters for turning away. But 10 YEARS. 10 YEARS. When the last levy passed in 1999, minimum wage was $5.15. Ten years later it is $7.25. 10 YEARS. The state is a mess. This is not your teacher’s fault. The township’s finances have been a mess. This is not your bus driver’s fault. The cuts that have to happen to keep the state from coming in and taking over our district are arguable and messy. This is NOT a child’s fault.

    Participate in the process. Keep asking questions. Know the real facts. Vote. But be sure whichever way you choose to vote – that you are comfortable explaining your logic to a child. A child is not likely going to care that on compensation tables we pay fairly for the education levels and experience demanded to work in our district. They are not likely to care that so much went well that the school received excellence with distinction ratings for years but that “some” choices could have been more efficient.

    Get your questions answered. But be open to the idea – maybe after 10 years of increased costs in energy, insurance, salary, and supplies, and 28% student population increase, and now heading into a downward slide for state funding – that under reasonable but fair scrutiny – 10 years is just too long to go without furthering our support.

    • Just a mom
      December 15, 2009 at 12:16 pm

      Hi Carol
      Help me understand about the sports and other curriculum activities that are sponsored by schools
      1. aren’t they paid by residents’ property tax?
      2. aren they funded by other means?

      I am trying to understand your post here as I am a little slow on the uptake of the sports and other extra activities that are offered by schools.

      If #1 holds true – obviously, people voted the levy down for one reason of another – whatever it may be, I think ultimately most home owners, such as myself, will not want to kick in any more tax dollars if I can help it.
      Please don’t think that I am selfish in this, I have 3 children and none of them is in sports – my work time schedule cannot allow me taking them or picking them up – therefore, when my son wants to swim (and viola, we don’t have the community pool here in the Falls), I have to pay for him to either NO Rec or Strongsville Rec. That’s $4.5 – $8.00 per trip not to mention the food part. Ok, with that being said, I am not sure if I will want to pay more taxes for other people’s kids who want to be in sports, bands, etc…. I think that’s my logic and perhaps it’s not a very popular one, but for now, I see it as how it fits my own financial picture. After all, I don’t want people end up taking care of me and my 3 children in the long run.

      If #2 also true – what other funding paths do we have for these extra activities?

      I see many parents scaled back on many things – I want to know what options we can come up with in this group. Many thanks.

    • A net G
      December 18, 2009 at 12:42 pm

      Where exactly do you find there to be imperfections? I agree it is not the teacher’s fault and nobody that I see has insinuated that they are at fault. Unfortunately there should have been a built in amount passed on to the builders for the newer communities being built to accommodate the influx of families moving into the community (not blaming the families) for new or additions on buildings. The building levy could have been avoided and operational could have been passed already and classes would actually be smaller (which will NOT happen with this levy) and all could have lived happily ever after! But the reality is the township really screwed up and here we are. Again no fault of the buyers of the homes.

  22. North Olmsted Resident...OFCS taxpayer
    December 14, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Correct me if I am wrong, but by eliminating busing for high school and reducing busing for others during the school year—claiming that the funds are not there, but then stating that if the Levy passes…then all will return to normal… (Except of course for high school, since a schedule was never created —ooops—)—How is it that by passing a levy during the school year, allows the funds to be available in that current school year? How is it that the operating levy for a future school year can be used for the current school year???? Magic? Or will you request another operating levy next school year?

    How can a school district operate currently on future mils and levies? And with the large quantity of homes for sale in addition to the foreclosures…what will you do next year?

    I live in North Olmsted, but, because of my address I have been allocated to pay Olmsted Falls School District Taxes. I could easily send my child to North Olmsted City Schools, but since I am paying for Olmsted Falls—why would I?

    Administrators are quick to state they have had “their pay frozen since August 1, 2008”. I can really empathize because as a Catholic School teacher I make approximately 1/3 of what OFCS teachers make, and my salary has been frozen since 2005!

    As educators, administrators do not want to cut teachers. And, heaven forbid anything to do with sports be placed on the chopping block… but cutting busing in a rural district is ludicrous. I do not understand how the bus schedule was determined, and I cannot figure out or understand the methodology applied to bus schedules of previous years. Because I wonder if there a state law that forbids High School students to ride with Middle School students, Intermediate School students, or even Elementary School students? Wouldn’t this limit the amount of buses needed, especially if start times are within 15-20 minutes of each other?

  23. Just a mom
    December 15, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Did anyone look into the school calendar? The average workforce work apprx. 252days a year, teachers, and possibly administrators, work apprx. 155 days per year based on school caldendar. I am certain some of school staff stay the extra hours and come in an extra hours (but I have not been able to get a live voice before 7:30am and after 3:30pm) – you have all the national holidays off, district conference days, winter break, summer break… and each time these breaks and off days happen, for working parents, we will either have to take off without pay or use our vacation time that are allocated for other priority such as when children are sick. I know, I know, some will say I am just complaining, I am more like throwing out the compairson of the staffing structure between school and other working parents (for those of us who are still working, of course).

    I want to support the schools and have always been – but when I see that my house value has decreased but my tax stays the same, I just want to mention that well can run dry very quickly.

    • December 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm

      Ohio law requires that students attend school a minimum of 180 days per year. While some employees are on a 182 day work year, several employees (maintenance, secretaries, financial, and administrators) are on a 12 month contract.

    • Bill Clark
      December 16, 2009 at 3:10 pm

      I will also attest as the spouse of an educator that the workday does not end when they leave the building. Work is brought home every night. Summertime is often spent in mandatory educational programs and family vacations can only be scheduled at “peak” times.

  24. Nancy
    December 15, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    I saw an earlier post about an increased tolerance of tardiness due to driving between schools and am glad to see it! My question relates to OFIS and the Middle School – it seems silly to make two trips because the start times are very different. So would it be acceptable to drop off the OFIS student around 7:50am and let the Middle School student go to Homework Lab until they start at 8:30am? She could certainly use the extra study time anyway! Thank-you.

  25. December 16, 2009 at 8:36 am

    Just a mom – please note I do not work for the school district. I’m a happy, playdough sniffing, at-home, home owner who just doesn’t want my home’s value to slide to nothing.

    The previous post of mine which you reference – addresses an assumption that still exists in pockets of our community – which is – if the levy fails then the school will offer pay-for-play programs. In the past, our district offered services and programs above and beyond what is required by the state. The levy keeps failing. Services not mandated by the state keep getting cut. Busing obviously being one. But if this levy in Feb fails – more sports and activities will be cut (with middle school sports already cut). In some districts, the school allows families to “pay-to-play”. Our district has remained committed to not availing such valuable programs to only those who have the resources. So yes, in the past your tax dollars helped fund those programs. But (1) if the levy fails our district will no longer offer sports/activities to students. And (2) in direct response to someone suggesting pay-to-play I offered a reality check using Medina as an example of what such programs actually cost.

    So while like you we’ve cut back on some of our out-of-pocket activities for our kids, I am hoping when they are old enough that if they wanted to be in marching band, or participate in a sport, that they would be able to via the school.

    Even if none of my three kids participate in an activity/sport, I would want my community of kids to enjoy the sense of community that such programs promote. I want teens to have something constructive to do so I don’t see them finding trouble. More important to my specific family, we may not live in 44138 for life. Our home will be next to worthless in a district without full busing, no football, no marching band, and not to mention the continued impact on pure educational value the district is able to provide. The properties in this community are primarily purchased by families looking for a quality school district. Even if you plan to never leave your home – what happens to your neighborhood, our community, when others do. What will they sell their home for – when first programs like business, and some foreign languages are cut, then busing, then activities/sports, and more teachers… and if we keep failing to pass a levy and the state comes in and takes over… who buys the houses that are up for sale – at such discounted prices?

    As for your home value, I’m NO expert on valuation and taxes but I believe many have had their property reassessed and and seen reductions in their property based taxes.

    In the end, I think a school should be reviewed and questions should be asked. But I return to 10 years without a raise on our operational tax. Do I think there may be some for whom this tax is make or break – maybe. And I cannot being to empathize… but for most like us who it means a sacrifice or choices… it deserves a continued look. I pray this levy does pass. And when it does, I also pray all those who fought to pass it – as well as all who raised issues turn their focus on the state and demand positive changes happen. But for now, I will not punish my neighbor children and my community for their failures.

    Be a registered vote. Vote Absentee. Pass the Levy.

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