Home > Community Updates, Did You Know > Parent Update – January 13, 2010

Parent Update – January 13, 2010

Transportation Update

If you are involved in the AM or PM process of dropping off or picking up students, you have witnessed the improvements over the past week.  Thank you to those who have made suggestions for improvement.

While it is still time consuming, improvements have been made, and in reality, things are probably as good as they are going to get.

Drug Search at OFHS

Last Thursday, upon the invitation of District officials, law enforcement officers from 13 local cities conducted a drug search of OFHS.  Drug sniffing dogs were utilized to search lockers, locker rooms, and the parking lots.  While no drugs were found inside the school, marijuana was found in one student’s car.

As many parents will remember, drug searches were conducted last school year at both the High School and the Middle School.  The District will continue its efforts to work with the local law enforcement agencies in an effort to ensure that our school buildings remain drug free zones for our students.

How Our World Is Changing

A few days ago, an Olmsted resident emailed me with a YouTube link that really shows how much our world is changing.  To view this video, please click here.

After viewing this video, you will see why it is so absolutely necessary that our children receive a quality education that allows them to be competitive in this 21st Century Global economy.

OFHS Football Team Receives State Academic Honor

Congratulations are in order for the Bulldog Football team and two of its members.

The football team has been recognized by the Ohio Football Coaches Association as Academic All-Ohio.  A total of only 22 teams throughout the state received this recognition.  In addition, Ryan Petitti and Cameron Trefny have been named to the Academic All-Ohio Football Team.  A total of 111 student/athletes received this recognition out of over 35,000 players in the state of Ohio.

The District would like to congratulate our Head Football Coach, Mr. Jim Ryan, his coaching staff and players for this outstanding accomplishment.

OFCS Partners With Polaris JVS

Hopefully you are aware that the per pupil spending of OFCS is the 4th lowest of the 31 school districts in Cuyahoga County.  OFCS is able to accomplish this feat, while at the same time achieving top academic ratings because of its continual search for alternative sources of funding.

This school year, through various partnerships with Polaris JVS, OFCS has been able to receive $163, 097.25.

Specifically, OFCS is receiving $19,647.50 to cover the expenses of our afterschool elementary Chinese program; $139,005.22 for the new Bio-medical Science class which is offered to OFHS students; $2,881.90 for the online Study Island computer program; and $1,562.63 to help cover the expenses of printing the OFHS course selection guide.

As stewards of the District’s finances, OFCS will continue to search for alternative sources of funding.

More Student Athletes Recognized For Academic Accomplishments

The South West Conference recently released its 2009 Falls Sport All-Conference Academic Honorees:

Boys Cross Country Adam Broski

Girls Cross Country Alaina Clark

Football Ian Sparks

Boys Golf Neil McGrew

Girls Golf Taylor Eyssen

Boys Soccer David Levin

Girls Soccer Lauren Mesaros

Girls Tennis Erin MacIvor

Volleyball Corinne Manley

Cheerleading Samantha Nicolay

Competition Cheerleader Lauren Purirani

Congratulations to these students for being true student athletes.

Did You Know

Did you know that during the month of December that OFHS students donated 1,326 food items to the Olmsted Community Food Bank.  We are very proud of this noble effort by our HS students.

Levy Update

I would like to thank the 52 persons who came to the Pride in Olmsted Schools Levy meeting last Thursday evening.  Despite the winter conditions, these dedicated persons continued their efforts to ensure that all community members are made aware of the importance of the February 2nd levy vote.  For more information about the upcoming levy vote, please visit the Pride in Olmsted Schools levy website by clicking here.

Levy committe volunteers met on Thursday, January 7th in order to discuss plans for upcoming levy events.

Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO)

On February 2nd, at 7 PM in the OFHS auditorium, an informational meeting will be held for any student interested in participating in the PSEO program, next school year.  If you have any questions about PSEO, or this meeting, please contact the school counselors at the High School.

All-Day, Every-day Kindergarten

Over the past several months, several residents have asked District officials questions pertaining to when or if OFCS will begin offering all-day, every-day kindergarten classes.  As many know, new laws in the state of Ohio require school districts to offer all-day, every-day kindergarten next school year, unless the District requests a waiver from this requirement.

Because of the tenuous financial condition of OFCS, I have recommended to the Board of Education that they approve a resolution requesting exemption from this unfunded state mandate for next school year.  On this same topic, yesterday a bill was introduced in the Ohio House to eliminate this unfunded financial mandate.  As reported by the Hannah News Service, here is an overview of this proposed legislation:

HB366 SCHOOL DISTRICT RULES (Gardner R) To allow school district boards to exempt their districts from certain spending rules and the requirement to provide all-day kindergarten and to direct duties of the Ohio School Funding Advisory Council.
Rep. Gardner began his comments on a mildly defensive note, saying apparent criticism that he himself had introduced unfunded mandates on school districts in the past were not well taken, to the extent all unfunded mandates are not created equal. He said academic requirements on districts under Core curriculum bill 126-SB311 (Gardner) are proper to the role of state government, while direct funding mandates under HB1 (Sykes) are not.”I would suggest – and I hope this will not be quoted out of context – there is evidence that that the evidence-based model (EBM) can generate positive results. There is also evidence that it will cost more than most school districts can sustain,” Gardner said, suggesting fully incorporating EBM would require districts to sacrifice local priorities. He flipped the mantra of unfunded mandates on its head.”I believe there are a billion dollars of un-mandated funds” at the local level, Gardner said.He called it “almost impossible” for districts to plan for implementing – or not implementing – EBM in the near future while facing a $497 million school budget hole at the state level, saying the out-clauses of HB1 provided little comfort.

“I think it is curious that a new ‘constitutional’ system would include so many waivers.”

During questions, Rep. Phillips suggested HB366 was seeking to make an end run around the rulemaking authority of State Superintendent Deborah Delisle and the State Board of Education under EBM. Gardner responded by deferring to the local control of the past.

“I’m one of these people who believe a lot of good decisions have been made by local schools,” he said, pointing to Ohio’s rise to sixth out of all states under one national ranking of academic progress.

“They have to cut those teachers, those programs, that staffing to comply with what Columbus says is best.”

Gardner indicated at several points that he did not oppose HB1 and EBM outright, though there was little evidence of that in his comments.

“I wouldn’t undo all of HB1 – though I suppose in some cases that I would.”

He said the state, and the Legislature, might have as easily turned to different “evidence” provided by the Gates Foundation, the National Center on Education and the Economy, and the Kinsey report.

“There is evidence those strategies are better than this one.”

  1. Julia Love
    January 13, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    I wonder if the drug searches will turn up more drugs if the middle school and high school students have no extracirricular activities next year? I would like to think not, but I wonder if there are any statistics showing what happens to teen drug and alcohol use, teen pregnancy, and teen crime rates following cuts to extracirriculare activies as a result of failed school levies. I for one do not want to find out. I’ve already cast my absentee YES vote and I hope that every other parent in our community will do so as well. VOTE YES! VOTE NOW!

  2. Kim Cleary
    January 13, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    Congratulations to all the students who were recognized for their achievements! I hope our students will have the same opportunities next year! VOTE YES! SUPPORT OUR CHILDREN AND YOU SUPPORT OUR COMMUNITY!

  3. noelle333
    January 13, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    The school levy must be eliminated, period. There are no school levies in Pennsylvania and the system works great. Neighbors are not angry at neighbors they live in harmony. Schools do not run out of money and do not have to beg the voters for additional monies. In PA, people vote for school board members who, in turn, vote for tax increases if necessary. It works great. This systems is ridiculous and must go. I’ll be researching how to lobby the OH congress/senate on how to get this accomplished.

    • Jessica Caraballo '97 bulldog grad
      January 14, 2010 at 6:58 am

      Noelle333…… The system that is in place is not ridiculous and there are MANY stories of graduates from Olmsted Falls that will attest to that. Our schools are not given the Excellence rating because of a flawed system. This school system has had so many fruitful students past and present. The teachers and staff we have are the best. You should go visit a classroom and see what goes on at any given day and see how much they do for the kids. I would challenge you to turn your research into finding all the good things about our schools. You need to remember that an operating levy has not been passed here in 11 years, so it is not as if the school is always asking for money. 11 years is impressive. Remember, it’s all about our children and giving them the tools they need to be successful in life.

      • DarleneS
        January 14, 2010 at 9:04 am

        Jessica,
        I believe that Noelle is only referring to the process of securing the funding necessary to ensure a school district’s successas ridiculous, not the school system itself. She is indicating that rather than a vote for a levy, the school board themselves vote and determine that additional funds are needed, and the community’s taxes are increased. Pennsyvania’s school districts are not without financial woes. The state funding they receive has to be supplemented by the local taxes, and there is great disparity in the $$$ available to spend from one district to another (just like in Ohio…).

      • susie
        January 14, 2010 at 9:12 am

        Yes it is ridiculous and unlawful. Not having levies would not mean we have less qualified teachers, and that there wouldn’t be any good things going on.

      • noelle333
        January 14, 2010 at 5:51 pm

        Jessica, I voted for the levy 3 times. We chose to move to Olmsted Falls 2 years ago because of the school district. I interviewed Westlake, Avon, and Avon Lake schools and liked what OFSD had to offer my 3 children. We moved from a suburb in Pittburgh where the state contributed less funds to our community so taxpayers had to pay more of the bill. In fact, we continue to pay our property taxes in PA because we still haven’t sold our house. So, in fact, we pay for 2 excellent school districts right now – and I have a right to vote for an increase in my taxes in our OH school district. In PA, I do not.

        Darlene is correct – there is a great disparity between districts. The Board Members voted to raise our property taxes 5 years ago so they could pay for a multi-million dollar elementary school renovation. Other schools districts in the state were receiving more state funds for renovations, a point the superintendent made often.

        Since I’ve been in both situations, I feel the situation in PA is less painful for the community as a whole. It’s similar to the health care reform legislation or any legislation in Congress. We vote for our representatives and they can vote to raise our taxes. We vote for the school board members, and they, as our representatives, should vote to raise/lower our taxes.

    • Nancy
      January 14, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      PA is not that great! Property taxes on a $160,000 house I was looking at were $6,000!!!

      I too will mail my absentee ballot with a YES!!!

  4. falls parent
    January 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

    True of false? There was also “pot” found in a teachers car??

    • January 14, 2010 at 7:31 am

      According to the Olmsted Township police, who were in charge of the search, the answer is false.

  5. January 13, 2010 at 10:07 pm

    Amen!

    Go Mechanicsburg (PA) Wildcats. ’89

    You might attend:
    State Representative Matt Patten’s Townhall, Thursday, January 14th from 6-8 at Berea Public Library. Topic vaguely referenced as a “discussion of issues facing Ohio”.

    And check out: http://www.uasd.k12.pa.us/SchoolFunding/funding%20in%20PA.pdf

  6. lori
    January 14, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Until the State can get this accomplished (which could be years) there is no way a levy can be eliminated and still have a successful school district. Levies are passed/or attempted to pass throughout the state and it is obvious that the districts that pass levies are the districts that have more programs, varied classes, more language offerings, art and music, sports, busing etc. In Olmsted Falls our taxes are high and without the levy passing they will still be high, but with a poor school district, lower housing value etc. Please consider this when voting!

    • noelle333
      January 14, 2010 at 6:01 pm

      I’m just suggesting that the right to vote for a levy be taken away from individual voters and given to the School Board members. The School Board members know the financial state of affairs of the school district and whether a tax increase is necessary. Many voters are still not aware of the facts. For example, when my son had a sledding accident last week and was driven to the hospital in an ambulance, the EMT noticed I was from Olmsted Falls. He said he was also from OF and asked if I was going to vote NO against the levy. He told me that Dr. Hoadley made $185K and that several teachers in the district made over $100K. He compared Dr. Hoadley’s salary to a Columbus superintent’s salary and didn’t think that was fair. He is a NO vote, clearly uninformed and does not know the facts. How many other uninformed NO votes are there out there? At least the School Board members are informed, know the facts, and can make an intelligent vote. I would feel confident in their decision to raise or lower taxes. And, if I didn’t like their decision, I could vote them out in the next election.

      • Jessica Caraballo '97 bulldog grad
        January 15, 2010 at 7:00 am

        Noelle333…Thank you for clarifying your suggestions. I understand to a point what you are saying. The problem I see is that our township trustees are run that way, where they are voted in and in turn they vote for things in the township. Unfortunately, you can see that we have unfinished buildings, a trash bill that we had no say in the matter, and way to many houses being built and no business are being built to balance all the new people. That in turn makes our burdens as homeowners even greater because there is no relief from the property taxes. Anyway, I think the BOE has done the best they can given the circumstances of the growing population in the district. You are right, there is ALOT of misinformation floating around. The way I see it, I am paying for an outstanding education for my children and that is fine with me. Take care.

  7. Resident, Graduate, & Parent
    January 14, 2010 at 8:29 am

    As a graduate of Olmsted Falls more than 20 years ago, I am dismayed at where our tax money has gone. We have extremely high taxes in comparison to other communities. This is in part due to the lack of substantial commercial business within our community. I hope that the controllers who have so faithfully regulated incoming business opportunities can now see that they were wrong. By not allowing certain businesses to join our community and not requiring commercial development as a part of adding new residential subdivisions that have been built over the past 20 years, we have failed to balance the communities population of children with supporting tax revenue from community businesses for our schools.

    Currently, it seems that it would be appropriate that an in-depth investigation into the accounting and spending of the school district’s money be made. However, I have yet to see anyone looking into this. Is it the hopes that if this levy passes, any mishandling of our money will be overlooked and forgotten?
    Cleveland schools have more than we do at this point. They have very little money coming in and still have sports, buses, etc. Yet we are being threatened in Chicago mob like fashion that all will be taken if we don’t obey and pass this levy.

    I pay $3429 in taxes each year. Passing the levy will increase my taxes by about $360 a year. That’s a 10% increase. I haven’t received that amount of a wage increase from my multiple jobs. I don’t want to seem selfish and uncaring; I have kids in this school district…I want to know WHERE DID ALL OF OUR MONEY GO? Why are there so many administrators and counselors and unneeded classes such a parenting and sewing? What are their salaries? What other options for cuts were discussed?
    Additionally, There are very generous people who give specifically to the Boosters and Music Association to fund sports and music activities. What has happened to that money?

    I never would have imagined that Olmsted Falls would fall apart; let alone to this extent. There is shame that should be felt and questions that should be asked with a demand for answers.

    • Susie Asadorian
      January 15, 2010 at 7:30 am

      You believe that the school district has money to be misspent? You yourself admitted that the imbalance between commercial and residential development is cause for funding failure. Our school administrators have been completely open with the community as to how our funds have been appropriated in the past. They have also informed us (several months ago) of the shortfall that was ahead, and the steps that would have to be taken if a levy was not passed, or a new form of school funding was not implemented. (See Educational Reduction Plan)

      NO, CLEVELAND SCHOOLS DO NOT HAVE MORE THAN WE DO. OUR children have a safe place to learn with highly educated teachers who have sacrificed pay raises and health care cuts. They have clean, warm buildings with the technology and resources available to get them prepared for college and the world beyond. OUR kids have parent volunteers, art and music programs that win awards, athletic programs that keep them physically fit and too busy to get into trouble after school. Coaches that care. We provide all of this by paying LESS PER PUPIL than Cleveland Public Schools.

      My kids are away from me 8-10 hours a day, and I know EXACTLY where my money is going, and EXACTLY what my children are getting for it.

      Olmsted Falls isn’t falling apart, we’re bonding together.

      I would really like to know how much you have tried to find the answers to the questions you ask. I would like to know if you are concerned enough about the cost of your taxes to contact a state representative, or attend even one of the informative meetings that have been offered.
      LISTEN! If you really cared to know, you would have heard about our district having the 7th lowest number of administrators in the state, the wage freezes they’ve taken, the MUCH NEEDED classes that have already been cut, and what the various Booster groups do provide. People that care have created a website to answer all of our questions. Please go to Prideinolmstedschools.org.

      If you feel justified, go ahead and vote NO, but please be informed.

    • DarleneS
      January 15, 2010 at 7:58 am

      RG&P,
      Despite the fact that it has been posted numerous times on the blog, and is currently available on the district’s website, I’ll post you the link to “Where the Money Goes”…

      http://www.ofcs.net/docs/Electronic5YearForecast-Approved%2010-22-09-0.pdf

      I’m curious as to why you believe the money has been mishandled. Considering you have an opinion as to why certain classes, teachers and admins are not necessary, can you accept the fact that many in the community would differ with your opinion, and consider these and other classes an integral part of our outstanding school system?

      Has anybody considered that our children have been receiving an outstanding education at a bargain of a price and it’s time we pay our share to make sure it continues?

      You may consider your taxes high, but where I’m originally from, it’s a STEAL! I can’t even afford to live where I was raised! According to Money Magazine, my hometown’s average property taxes were $9587 in 2005 and Olmsted Falls averaged $3004 in 2006.

      Yes, we lack in commercial endevours, however how would you like to be driving home to a home in Strongsville everyday, having to battle the congestion on Pearl Road or 82?

    • Mike Cleary
      January 15, 2010 at 8:25 am

      There have been many discussions and investigations into the spending by the OFCS. These have been detailed since the previous levy in November 2009. To “boil it down” there are a few basic facts that shed some light. The last time a levy passed was over 10 years ago. So we are still operating at the same levels as 1999, yet enrollment has increased by over 28%. Additional mandates imposed by the State of Ohio and Federal Government allow for programs that don’t come with money, but there is certainly a cost that must be absorbed by the District (No Child Left Behind, All Day-Every Day Kindergarten, etc). OFCS has the 3rd lowest spend per pupil and the lowest Administrator to student ratio than any other District in the County (7th lowest in the State). Despite the challenges they have faced, they continue to be one of the top districts in the State and are rated Excellence with Distinction. So we have done “more with less” than any other District by comparison.

      Unfortunately the Community continued to grow and attracted home owners with children because of the schools. Developers continued to build 3 and 4 bedroom homes that are filled with children needing an education, yet the taxes on that home alone are not enough to sustain their own children’s education from a financial perspective.

      I have addressed the amount of administrators, but the educators have also been cut, along with some of their courses. Additionally the remaining educators agreed to a wage freeze and contribute more to their health care in order to provide additional savings and ease the burden on the District in 2009.

      There have been numerous meetings (very poorly attended), literature going home with the children since early 2009 and a vast amount of information online that provides greater detail than I have here. There are no secrets and the Administration and Board of Education have been available to answer everyone’s questions.

      Lastly, the Community has not fallen apart. It is with everyone’s assistance that we pass this greatly needed levy in order to preserve our children’s education, extracurricular activities, athletics, school busing and home values. There is no reason to feel shame because the questions have been asked and the candid answers have been given. The shame is for those who have not asked the questions, those who have not gotten involved or those who believe there has been negligence on the part of OFCS.

      Please feel free to contact me or any member of the Pride In Olmsted Schools committee and I will be happy to get you answers to questions or any resource you need to make an informed decision about the future of our Schools and Community

    • Diane
      January 15, 2010 at 9:56 am

      Where has all the money gone?? How about running a school district on an operating levy that was passed 11 years ago!! How about running a school district that now has 28% more students! Your 10% tax increase hasn’t happened in eleven years!! Every child has the right to an education and to having choices in school even if that is sewing or parenting. You are absoultely right that the controllers of this city made some errors in not bringing in more business but that is nothing we can change now. You say you want to know where the money went..Look in your child’s backpack, I can guarentee you they have brought home many info sheets with just the info you are lokking for..(Info that were created by volunteers not the school district)..I would hope you would become informed and learn what you need to know so that you can give YOUR children the chance for a quality education with many oppurtunities just like you had 20 years ago!!!

    • January 15, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      All Ohio school districts are audited annually by the Ohio Auditor of State’s office. Here is a link to the last OFCS audit: http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/auditsearch/Reports/2009/Olmsted_Falls_City_School_District_08-Cuyahoga.pdf

      I hope that by reviewing this audit, your concerns regarding “mishandling” of money are alleviated.

      For many in the community, it is easy to believe that the school district’s issue is a spending problem. However, as has been previously stated, the per pupil spending of OFCS is the 4th lowest of the 31 school districts in Cuyahoga County. Specifically, the per pupil spending of OFCS is less than 1/2 of what other school districts spend per pupil on an annual basis.

      The issue is a revenue problem. The District has not passed an operating levy since 1999 and HB 920 prevents the District from receiving any inflationary growth on current levies. Additionally, because of the weakened economy in Ohio, our state revenue has been reduced by 2%.

      Finally, as a resident, you clearly see the lack of a business sector in our community. As such, the “tax load” falls upon the homeowners to a larger extent then in neighboring communities which are blessed to have a larger business sector.

  8. Cynthia
    January 15, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Can someone please clearly outline for me what changes will be made in the schools if this levy passes or fails? Specifically, I’d like to know if passing this levy will restore High School busing, field trips, etc. I did see that K-8 busing will be restored and a few extra teachers can be hired. I feel like all the information I’m receiving is negative and focuses on what they’re going to take away, but I’d like to know exactly what will be given back if it passes. Thank you!

  9. January 15, 2010 at 1:55 pm

    Please reference the education reduction plan: http://www.prideinolmstedschools.org/resources/Educational%20Reduction%20Plan.pdf

    Or if that fails go to: http://www.prideinolmstedschools.org and click on Educational Reduction plan and then download. Although I’m not 100% that high school busing which states will be restored this year is accurate?

    Find the Feb levy and you can see much of what will happens if it passes as well as if the levy fails. While k-8 will be restored promptly – if Feb levy vote is “certified” as passing.

    The Pride In Olmsted Schools understands and agrees the tone seems to be falling negative. The struggle is unlike previous levy efforts (which failed) – we don’t have as much positive to share. It is like a movie about an asteroid hurling toward earth. The positive is not getting smashed. Live another day. Busing for k-8 will bounce right back. But the remaining positives — mostly avoiding near and certain dismantling of our school programs piece by piece. The positive is avoiding additional cuts of unmandated programs like AP courses and athletics. The problem is each time a levy fails and cuts are made – there may end up being some programs and services we don’t get back.

    This is for some a hot, heated, issue. Many neighbors and parents views on this levy are incredibly passionate. Understandable, this levy addresses both our wallet and our kids. No matter what you believe you – we are still neighbors, part of our shared community. We – the volunteers – just hope out of respect – that all voters get the facts. One of those important facts is that school tax and township/city tax is not the same. And staying only positive – the school HAS demonstrated fiscal responsibility.

    For those who voted yes in November… please know the levy will not pass without each of you either voting yes by absentee now, or yes at the polls on Feb 2. Didn’t vote in November but are willing to support the first operational levy in 11 years – vote, and vote yes.

    Let’s not throw stones at voters with questions. But let’s equally be open to the idea that those answers might point us to seeing the school responsibly, rightfully, and reasonably needs this levy to pass now.

    VOTE NOW. VOTE ABSENTEE. VOTE YES

  10. Liz
    January 15, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    Isn’t your child’s education worth it? We moved here because of the excellent schools. We could have stayed in a city with much lower taxes but with a public school that I would not have my children attend. We had a choice of higher property taxes or private school. If our children had attended private school, do you think we would have been able to vote on tuition increases? We would be paying much more for their education than we are currently paying in property taxes. And in my opinion, they would not be getting as good of an education as they do in Olmsted Falls!

  11. January 16, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    About the Levy mtg above it was posted: I would like to thank the 52 persons who came to the Pride in Olmsted Schools Levy meeting last Thursday evening.

    And for fun look to the right side of the picture, man with the white shirt, tie, and his sleeves rolled up ready to help pass the levy… That is Olmsted Falls Mayor – Robert G. Blomquist.

  12. OF parent
    January 18, 2010 at 8:42 am

    I would like to comment on your remarks regarding full-day kindergarten. Has the district considered implementing this as a choice, at a cost to parents who choose this option? I just can’t believe that Olmsted Falls and other local school districts are so behind the times that full-day kindergarten is not the norm. I am from an area of NY where the switch to full-day kindergarten was made decades ago, and I just feel it is so important that I can’t believe the way it is just being dismissed. I understand the financial hardships the district is having- I have voted for each of the levies and am astounded that they have not passed- while none of us want to pay higher taxes, I can’t believe a small amount of money is more important than our children’s future, not to mention home values, the future of our city, etc. That being said, I think our chidren getting the best start to their education should be a priority, and it is one I would be willing to pay for if that is my only choice. I think the benefits of full-day kindergarten are well documented and clearly it comes down to cost.

    • Resident, Graduate, & Parent
      January 18, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Again, having grown up in Olmsted falls, graduated and put one child already through the school system (with an additional two that are currently in the system), we have never had full day kindergarten. We have not as a school district suffered any educational consequences. Our school consistently comes out on top with regards to test scores and graduation rates. What benefit do you specifically see that adding full day kindergarten will achieve?

    • January 19, 2010 at 11:06 am

      Please see my answer below for more information on the topic of All-Day, Everyday Kindergarten.

  13. OF parent
    January 18, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I would like to comment on your remarks regarding full-day kindergarten. Has the district considered implementing this as a choice, at a cost to parents who choose this option? I just can’t believe that Olmsted Falls and other local school districts are so behind the times that full-day kindergarten is not the norm. I am from an area of NY where the switch to full-day kindergarten was made decades ago, and I just feel it is so important that I can’t believe the way it is just being dismissed. I understand the financial hardships the district is having- I have voted for each of the levies and am astounded that they have not passed- while none of us want to pay higher taxes, I can’t believe a small amount of money is more important than our children’s future, not to mention home values, the future of our city, etc. That being said, I think our chidren getting the best start to their education should be a priority, and it is one I would be willing to pay for if that is my only choice. I think the benefits of full-day kindergarten are well documented and clearly it comes down to cost.

  14. OF parent
    January 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm

    I appreciate that Olmsted Falls has always performed well, and I am not looking to debate the merits of full-day kindergarten- I think those merits have already been proved, which is why other states have already gone that route and why our governor is interested in making it mandatory. I know that many children have been successful without full-day kindergarten and I’m not suggesting that they won’t continue to be (though I’m not sure the fact that OF comes out on top in comparison to other Ohio schools, which likely also have half-day kindergarten, is pertinent to the debate). I was actually primarily looking for Dr. Hoadley to comment on whether there had been any consideration given to providing an option, at an additional cost to parents, which is something that I have heard of school districts in other states doing. In addition, I was curious if any thought had been given to allocating a portion of the levy (should it pass) toward this initiative. In my opinion, it would be more beneficial to students than a German program at the high school (forgive me if I’m not up to date on the plan for levy dollars, but I know that was one area mentioned in the past). I was just surprised that it didn’t even seem to be a consideration. I know that many parents in our community were hopeful.

  15. Parent
    January 19, 2010 at 10:38 am

    I would also like Dr. Hoadley to give a response regarding paying for full day kindergarten. I was also hopeful for the full day kindergarten and am disappointed it will not be offered, although it sounds like a definite answer to this is being kept from parents until after the levy. At this time of year, having other kids registering right now for preschool and after school care it would be beneficial to have an answer on what kindergarten will be for next school year. I am also now looking into alternate kindergarten classes and also would like to know what the kindergarten class sizes will increase to if the levy doesn’t pass…it seems these class sizes are getting so large I can’t comprehend having such large numbers and actually accomplishing much.

  16. January 19, 2010 at 11:03 am

    As stated in the post above, I have recommended to the Olmsted Falls Board of Education that it seek a 1 year waiver from the state requirement of providing all-day, everyday Kindergarten (ADK) for next school year. My rationale for this is that the District simply does not have the financial resources to hire the additional staffing that this program would require.

    It is important to understand that even if the operating levy is passed in February 2010, the District will not receive any new tax collections until January 2011.

    At last weeks Board of Education meeting, the Board of Education approved this recommendation and the waiver request will shortly be sent to the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).

    Recently, the ODE estimated the costs for Olmsted Falls schools to add ADK. This estimate, which covers salaries and benefits of the necessary additional personnel (aides / teachers / classified staff) as well as physical changes to the building, was determined to be $637,305. While I think this estimate is high, there is no doubt that the District would incur additional expenses by implementing an ADK program.

    A year ago, it was the District’s intention to offer an ADK program for OFCS parents who desired this option, with an associated charge to cover operational costs. This is a business model that is utilized by several area school districts.

    Unfortunately, the Ohio Legislature took this “ability of schools to charge for ADK” away from school districts with the July 2009 approval of HB1.

    Specifically, this HB 1 legislation allows school districts who were previously charging parents for ADK to continue this charge. However, it prevents school districts that did not previously offer ADK from instituting a fee-based ADK program.

    Regarding your question about next years Kindergarten class sizes, we simply cannot predict this at this time. The District presently offers 12 sections of Kindergarten and class sizes are around 20 students per class. Once Kindergarten screening occurs and the District has a better idea of the number of potential Kindergarten students that will enroll for next year, class sizes can be estimated.

  17. DarleneS
    January 19, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Great letter to the Editor by a current OFHS student:
    Let’s show him our support.

    http://www.cleveland.com/sunpostherald/index.ssf/2010/01/olmsted_falls_students_need_le.html

  18. January 19, 2010 at 11:14 am

    OF parent :

    I appreciate that Olmsted Falls has always performed well, and I am not looking to debate the merits of full-day kindergarten- I think those merits have already been proved, which is why other states have already gone that route and why our governor is interested in making it mandatory.

    Unfortunately, while Governor Strickland and the Ohio Legislature are pushing for the implementation of all-day, everyday Kindergarten (ADK) programs, the financial resources of Ohio simply do not allow for any financial backing from the state and thus the costs are pushed onto local taxpayers.

    The Ohio Department of Education has estimated that the cost to implement ADK in OFCS would be just over $600,000 per year, and the District simply does not have the financial resources to take on that large of an expenditure.

    While the “formula” for funding Ohio’s public schools was modified in HB 1 (passed July 2009) the net effect for OFCS and many schools throughout the state was a decrease in state funding. In the end, it will be up to the citizens of this district to pay for any type of ADK program at OFCS.

  19. concerned parent II
    January 19, 2010 at 2:14 pm

    Dr. Hoadley – Can you tell us what was cut back in 2000 by the state? Be specific (if you would) – that may be what people (even myself) need to see to vote yes.

    • January 20, 2010 at 1:51 pm

      While I was not with the District during this time, the service reductions were largely the same as what is presently occurring. High School busing was eliminated and preparations were made to implement the reductions in K-8 busing.

      Employee reductions were made as well.

      One main difference between 1999 and 2010 was that the “state” actually arrived in 1999 at OFCS just after the District had just passed the 12.9 mill operating levy.

      Thus, while the levy had been passed, tax revenue had not “started to flow” and thus the District still had major financial issues. Other actions taken by the state were to void a recently negotiated labor contract with the Teacher’s association.

      As I have posted when answering similar as this, the “state” will not come in and help the District pass a levy. It will simply take over the decision making authority for making future “cuts”. It will not make decisions on educational quality or community traditions. It will be simply focused on “cutting deep enough” to keep the District financially afloat.

  20. Ashley
    January 20, 2010 at 7:37 am

    Is it for real that each time a levy doesn’t pass it costs more even though things were cut? So if it passed in Nov, it would have cost less and we’d still have a bus? Or is that just pro-levy browbeaters at the bus stop?

    • January 20, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Ashley,

      Thank you for your question.

      The reason the levy millage was increased from November 2009 to February 2010 is that by failing in November, the District “missed” a year of tax collections. An issue passed in November 2009 would have allowed the District to begin collecting revenue in January 2010.

      Now, by passing a levy in February 2010, the District will not receive any new tax collections until January 2011. Thus the financial hole becomes deeper and it takes a high millage rate (more money) in order to climb out.

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