Home > Community Updates, Did You Know > Parent Update – December 14, 2009

Parent Update – December 14, 2009

December 15, 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.

  1. Mercedez
    December 15, 2009 at 10:35 am

    I think its important to point out that the $851 million budget hole could trigger the loss of more than $5 billion to education funding over the next 18 months. That could mean Ohio would no longer meet minimum spending requirements to qualify for federal education stimulus dollars. This is in ADDITION to the local cuts we’re already faced with.
    Locally, we need to pass this levy. And at the state level, we need to contact our state reps and insist they find a solution to fill the budget gap.

    • December 15, 2009 at 7:21 pm

      Mercedez – you are exactly correct and time is of the essence. If our legislatures do not find a solution to the budget standoff before the end of the calendar year, the financial effects on K-12 schools, as well as State Colleges and Universities will simply be devastating.

      The Federal Government is prepared to distribute additional stimulus $$ to public schools. If this budget standoff is not fixed immediately, Ohio schools will be ineligible for these grants.

      I urge all citizens to contact Senator Patton (614-466-4895), Representative Patten (440-409-1536), and Governor Strickland’s office in Cleveland (216-787-3240). We need to urge our elected officials to work together to find creative solutions to this budget standoff ASAP.

      Here is a link to an Plain Dealer story that provides updated information on this topic: http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/12/senate_republicans_work_on_bud.html

  2. David
    December 15, 2009 at 11:19 am

    Will I be able to sign up for car pools at Falls Lenox in Jan.? I’m concernd about getting to the bus stop in time to pick up my 1st grader after picking up my 4th grader at OFIS. After this change is implemented I may be unable to get home in time to be at the bus stop, considering the traffic at OFIS and on Bagley.

    • December 15, 2009 at 12:30 pm

      David,

      A few parents expressed this concern / question at the Transportation Information meeting this past Saturday morning. I do not know if these persons are open to a car pool, but perhaps someone will reply to your posting. If not, please call the principal of the building your child attends school and ask if he or she know of any parents who have expressed a similar car pool desire.

      I am hopeful that this challenge will become an opportunity for members of our community to pull together in this time of need.

  3. Kari Jacobs
    December 15, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    My daughter attends OFIS and a letter was sent home regarding the upcoming levy and absentee voting. My comment…why did the district waste money putting that letter in envelope and attaching a mailing label to it? I think the district needs to save money every where it can. And it’s waste like this that I find frustrating.

    • December 15, 2009 at 12:20 pm

      Kari,

      No District funds can be used to promote a school levy (It is not legal to use public funds to promote a levy campaign). All mailings home are completely paid for by the Pride In Olmsted Schools levy committee.

  4. well informed mom
    December 15, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Hi Kari–
    The district didn’t pay for any of it–volunteers, like myself and my firends, who have donated money to the levy campaign paid for the copies and labels. The envelopes were donated by a kind, local business who is concerned about the education of our children. Volunteers, like myself, spent many hours labeling and stuffing the envelopes. So you shouldn’t be frustrated, you should be thankful there are volunteers looking out for the future of your children!

    • grateful parent
      December 16, 2009 at 8:26 pm

      We have two children attending OFIS and Falls-Lenox. We moved here 6 years ago because of the excellent school ratings and growing communities. We are so GRATEFUL to the generous and hardworking volunteers who are working to maintain both of these by passing our levy. I did not realize that the cost of levy promotion was taken on by our volunteers. My family and I sincerely thank you for your continuous efforts. Is there a way that we can donate money to help with costs? We know, by reading and staying informed, that our school system works incredibly efficiently and stretches the dollars as far as they will go. We appreciate that they make such responsible choices for the sake of our children. We will be voting YES…. and hoping this time people realize the impact this has on the entire community and will also vote YES!

      • Diane
        December 17, 2009 at 10:32 am

        Grateful Parent, The Pride in Olmsted Schools, a group of volunteers, does and is accepting donations to defray the cost of literature and postage that is sent out to families. The address you can mail your donaton to is Pride in Olmsted Schools ,26937 Bagley Road Olmsted Township. Thank you for recognizing what a terrific job this group is doing to help our kids..

  5. D
    December 15, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    As a parent who has been driving my 4 kids to school daily in preparation for the start of Jan 4th. All 4 of my kids are at 4 different buildings so time is of the essence for me when I have multiple kids starting at the same times. My largest concern right now that is really bugging me and has been for months is the school zones.

    Please answer me why the school zone lights are not on in the morning between the Middle School and the Intermediate School? These lights are supposed to be for the protection of all involved. I cannot turn right or left out of the Intermediate School driveway without an extensive wait. Not only am I having a hard time getting out, so are the buses! They are having a hard time getting in and out. If these lights are on for the duration of the time in the morning, it will slow the existing traffic down and make it possible for those of us to get in and out smoothly. Which in the long run will make for a much smoother transition in the morning and in the afternoon.

    • December 15, 2009 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks you for bringing this to our attention. The school zone lights are scheduled to be on both in the AM and PM for certain amounts of time. Perhaps there is a malfunction that is keeping the lights from being operational. You are the first person to report this outage. We will look into this. Thank you again.

      • D
        December 15, 2009 at 9:50 pm

        Yes please look into this for I think it will solve a lot of problems when school resumes. I might would suggest a time frame of say 7:35am-8:30am. Then in the afternoon the normal schedule. It needs to be considered as long as the buses and the children are being transported. Plus it will also make it much safer for those who will be walking. Doors are opening at 7:40 at the Intermediate School. As for the Middle School, I have had to have my kids in as early as 7:30.

      • OF Parent II
        December 16, 2009 at 1:35 pm

        Just so u know the school bus drivers HAVE been complaining about the school zone lights at the inter. school and middle school, and Mr. Atkinson has said that those light go by the school times, 5 mins, before and after…they will not run that long in the morning or in the afternoon, so u just need to slow down and be curtious of the people coming out of those driveways..and hey let the buses out too!

      • Dave Lewis
        December 17, 2009 at 4:52 am

        I spoke to a township police officer (Jackie Ketterer) yesterday about the school zone lights. Beginning January 4, the lights for the Middle School and Intermediate School will turn at 7:30am and stay on until 8:40am.

  6. Kelly
    December 15, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    I have lived in the Falls/Township since 1993. All along the homeowners have had to take the brunt of the funding for the schools. I thought there was supposed to be a joint economic commission that was supposed to help get industry into the area to take some of the pressure off the homeowners. Is there any progress in this area? I voted for the levy, but I live around people who have lost their jobs and are highly educated. Some can simply not afford this. Our city needs to beef up there efforts to help us out.

    • December 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

      Kelly,

      There is a 3 person commission called the JEDD, which stands for Joint Economic Development District. This is a partnership between the governments of Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township. There is a plot of land on Cook Road, west of Stearns Road which is the hopeful destination of business and commercial development. This is the largest undeveloped tract of land in Cuyahoga County.

      Unfortunately the JEDD commission is an all volunteer commission and it has really struggled with moving this venture forward. While the school district is not a member of the JEDD, it has covered legal fees for this project for several years in an attempt to move the project forward (To date, approximately $35K). There are both roadway as well as sewer, water, and electric issues that also must be solved.

      In this tough business climate, it will be difficult to bring a business (or businesses) into the JEDD. However, it will also be difficult to promote the JEDD as long as the leadership structure remains all-volunteer. While certainly dedicated, these individuals all have day jobs, as well as the fact that two of the persons are elected to government positions (1 OF city council and 1 Township trustee). Someway, somehow, we (Olmsted communities) have to find someone to promote the JEDD on a 24 /365 basis.

  7. Leslie Ziegler
    December 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    It’s very disconcerting to read some of these blogs. I’ve read the blogs from the previous post and today’s post and I really can’t understand this “what’s in it for me attitude”. Whatever happened to “it takes a village to raise a child”? The economy is bad, I get it. However, what is more important than education? And the suggestion that our administrators and teachers should take a pay cut is really appalling. As a former teacher, I know that a teaching job does not end when your students leave the room. I have volunteered every Monday for my son’s class last year and this year and I can attest to how much our teachers do and how much the students are learning. There is a lot of planning that goes into a lesson plan for each and every subject. Did you also know that teachers constantly have to keep up on their crudentials? You may think your son or daughter’s teacher is just having a lovely lazy summer vacation, but most likely they are going to classes to be more educated and informed teachers, which they do have to pay for. People seem to be very focused on busing and sports, but if this levy keeps failing the cuts will be deeper. You may not see the effect on the classroom now but you will soon if people continue to believe, “Well, at least it doesn’t affect me”.

    • Matt Englehart
      December 15, 2009 at 8:42 pm

      I agree with you Leslie, that although most of the attention has been focused on busing and extra-curriculars, people should also be concerned that the quality of their children’s education may be increasingly at risk. I wish we would hear more about the ways in which that quality could be impacted if levies continue to fail.

      The big picture is that our country’s youth need to be well-educated for our country to remain in a position of leadership. If the quality of that education declines, so will our chances of preserving that position. Admittedly, one might be tempted to ask how the decline of one school district can impact a nation. Fine, then I propose that anyone who pursues that line of thought abstain from voting in February – after all, how can one vote make a difference?

  8. peter naegele
    December 16, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Leslie Ziegler :And the suggestion that our administrators and teachers should take a pay cut is really appalling. As a former teacher, I know that a teaching job does not end when your students leave the room. I have volunteered every Monday for my son’s class last year and this year and I can attest to how much our teachers do and how much the students are learning. There is a lot of planning that goes into a lesson plan for each and every subject. Did you also know that teachers constantly have to keep up on their crudentials? You may think your son or daughter’s teacher is just having a lovely lazy summer vacation, but most likely they are going to classes to be more educated and informed teachers, which they do have to pay for. People seem to be very focused on busing and sports, but if this levy keeps failing the cuts will be deeper. You may not see the effect on the classroom now but you will soon if people continue to believe, “Well, at least it doesn’t affect me”.

    Leslie, the situation is MUCH more complicated than you present it to be.

    From the perspective of the homeowner who has had their hours cut [or jobs eliminated completely], their home values drop significantly, etc, cutting staff salaries is certainly more appealing than increasing taxes. When they see the average salary for teachers in our district, it becomes even more appealing.

    As an educator, I can also appreciate the teachers’ perspective. I answer email until 10 pm 7 days a week, keep up with the literature 12 months a year, revise syllabi bi-annually, implement changes in information technology, etc. Dedication to the craft and to the students is something that drives us all, salary aside.

    So….on one side we have the tapped out citizen and the other we have the stressed out educator. Now, the wrinkle in all of this is that continued failures of the levy will result in district entering fiscal watch/emergency again. This in turn will have a negative effect on the district’s rating which in turn will have an effect on home values….you can certainly see the cyclical nature of this problem.

    This situation needs to be analyzed from all perspectives before passing judgment on how people vote. A reconciliation needs to be arrived at to ensure the continued success of our district and the future of our children. Failure to do so will only alienate those you wish to unite….driving them further away from the cause.

  9. Cindy
    December 16, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I am struggling with “do I” or “do I not” in regards of putting my kindergartner in his booster seat when it comes to January and he no longer receives busing. He will be in a car pool with two other neighbors and it is never going to be the same person taking as it is picking them up. The new booster law states children must be 8 years old or 57 inches, I believe. Obviously, these kids don’t fit that description and legally need to be in a booster. Do they bring them into the building and add it to their coat hook collection? Did anyone bring this up at the transportation meeting? What does anyone else plan to do? My husband was planning on taking the three boys in his Camry, but I don’t think 3 boosters even fit across the back row…

    • Tina
      December 18, 2009 at 4:18 pm

      Cindy- I have an extra booster if you or any of your carpool friends would like it.

  10. D
    December 17, 2009 at 7:30 am

    D :Thank you Mr. Lewis! As I have stated I think this will help greatly to keep everything flowing at the start of the New Year. I do know personally that the bus drivers have also been complaining about the situation because I am usually sitting right there waiting to get out of the drive while they are either trying to get out or get in. So now that the lights will be on, those who are not courteous will now have to slow down to let us out!

  11. Leslie Ziegler
    December 17, 2009 at 4:57 pm

    In response to Peter, I am in no way suggesting that this levy is an easy issue. I do understand that. I did not grow up rich. My mom cleaned houses and my dad worked at the refuse department. However, education came first in my house. I grew up in Lakewood and the system at the time was excellent. My parents paid higher taxes and did sacrifice to have all 5 of us get the best education possible. We didn’t even have busing. My mom drove us to school or we walked. When I was looking to move back from the Eastside to the Westside, I looked up every district to determine their academic status. I was shocked that Lakewood was on Continuous Improvement. Just now Lakewood is back to an Excellent status. I do not want to see Olmsted schools fall. I am looking at the overall future of our schools. If levies keep failing the money has to come from somewhere and academics will suffer. Each child deserves access to a quality education. I really want to see that preserved. Perhaps in my burst of anger I was a little harsh. However, as Matt Englehart pointed out, we have to keep the big picture in mind. There are consequences for our actions. Some do not see the point in voting yes for the levy because it doesn’t affect them currently. Currently, it doesn’t affect me, but it affects others. My point is that eventually it will affect everyone. I do not want to see overcrowded classrooms, more overburdened teachers, lowered academic status, parents moving out to seek a better school district, home values being lowered more than they already are, the list goes on. Unfortunately, we do not live in our own personal bubble and what we decide now can have great or devastating consequences on our community.

    • Jim Baldwin
      December 18, 2009 at 11:03 am

      Leslie, i could’ve not said it better, myself. Thanks so much for your support!!!

  12. December 18, 2009 at 6:43 am

    Dr. Hoadley – Please address the issue of the right turn only restriction at the Falls Lenox exit drive during pick up and drop off. What are the exact times the exit lane will be restricted to right turn only? How was this right turn only restriction decided? Was a traffic engineer consulted? How will the restriction be enforced? I have a 3 year old that I drop off at Kids First every morning and I need to make a left to go to work. From my experience in the morning, I would estimate that 90% of the parents who drop off at Kids First in the morning turn left out of the drive way. I think that requiring all cars to turn right out of the drive is only going to create more of a traffic jam along Bagley Road because you are putting all the cars back into the main traffic area. If you allow left turns out of the drive, then as soon as those cars clear the Mapleway intersection, they really aren’t affecting the School traffic any longer.

  13. Stacy
    December 18, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I do not know the exact numbers and this may be just hearsay, but I’ve heard that this years practice achievement test for the third graders presented the lowest scores with over half the students failing. I also understand, or have heard that this class is the largest class in our school district with the largest teacher:child ratio. If this is true than we are already seeing the effects of larger class size and if the levy fails it can only get worse. Please vote yes for education this February!

  14. peter naegele
    December 18, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    Leslie Ziegler :
    My point is that eventually it will affect everyone. I do not want to see overcrowded classrooms, more overburdened teachers, lowered academic status, parents moving out to seek a better school district, home values being lowered more than they already are, the list goes on. Unfortunately, we do not live in our own personal bubble and what we decide now can have great or devastating consequences on our community.

    That was my point….you’re missing the other half. There could be as many as 3 levies on the ballot in 2010 in the Township. Both the school district and the Township are in a sad state of financial affairs.

    • Leslie Ziegler
      December 20, 2009 at 12:26 am

      While true we may need to vote on levies involving other issues in the near future in the Township, this February’s upcoming school levy is what is on the ballot currently. People will indeed have to prioritize where they would like their taxes spent. I don’t think I’m missing that. However, the schools will always be on the top of the priority list for me and I would hope it would be for others as well.

  15. A net G
    December 22, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    So how many children are in 3rd grade and how many teachers? How many 4th grade teachers are there? How can a tax payer see the financial plan for the district if the levy passes? I have become very intrigued with the whole picture since I started reading the blogs.

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