Parent Update – January 22, 2010
Both OFCS Labor Associations Agree To Extend Current Contracts
Recently, some levy volunteers have heard “rumblings” from residents that there is a concern that passage of the February 2nd operating levy would simply mean immediate salary raises for all District employees. This is obviously concerning to residents who have suffered employment loss or salary reductions due to the downturn in the economy.
To counter this concern, members of the Olmsted Falls Education Association (certified staff) and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (classified staff) have each voted to extend their current labor contracts for an additional six months. The current one-year contracts for both associations were originally set to expire on June 30, 2010. These contract extensions continue the base salary freezes and significant insurance concessions, previously negotiated between the Olmsted Falls Board of Education and both associations last spring, through December 31, 2010.
As superintendent, I would like to thank our two labor associations for reacting quickly to these community concerns and extending the current contract conditions. The District hopes that residents will cast a vote with the confidence of knowing that new local revenue will be utilized to return the programs and services that have unfortunately been cut due to the failure of the past three operating levies.
Below, please find a portion of the press release that has been created and released to local news agencies:
Olmsted Falls, OH— January 26, 2010 – Members of the Olmsted Falls Education Association (certified staff) and the Ohio Association of Public School Employees (classified staff) have voted to extend their current contracts with the Olmsted Falls School District for an additional six months. The current one-year contracts for both associations were originally set to expire at the end of this current school year, on June 30, 2010. The new contract extensions continue the base salary freezes and significant insurance concessions, previously negotiated between the Olmsted Falls Board of Education and both associations last spring, through December 31, 2010.
“As a Board of Education we constantly strive to balance the needs of our students with the needs of the greater community,” said Mr. Frank Pedicini, President of the Olmsted Falls Board of Education. “Our current operating levy request is based on the minimum amount of funds needed to maintain District operations, and does not allow for excessive wage increases for administrators and staff.”
“We sincerely hope that these contract extensions demonstrate our commitment to seeing our District and our community through these challenging economic times,” said Mr. Jeff Kho, social studies teacher and President of the Olmsted Falls Education Association. “As a teacher, resident, and parent in this District, I am pleased we were able to work together to continue the cost-saving measures achieved during our last contract negotiations.”
Olmsted Falls City School District began implementation of an Educational Reduction Plan in March 2009, following the failure of two operating levies (in November 2008 and February 2009). Since then, a third operating levy failure in November 2009 has forced cuts to continue including a reduction to State minimum busing.
“With the loss of eight bus drivers and a reduction in hours for twelve others made necessary by the significant reductions in transportation services, our classified employees – many of whom are residents in this community – are certainly feeling the impact of the District’s current financial strain,” said Mrs. Linda Maloney, President of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees. “Still, we remain committed to supporting our District and this community, and hope that the extension of the current contract’s wage freeze and insurance concessions will help move us forward toward a more stable financial situation.”
An 8.7 mill operating levy on the February 2, 2010 ballot would help restore some lost programs and services. Failure of a fourth operating levy will mean additional cuts, including the loss of extracurricular and athletic programs. Deeper cuts to staff, which ultimately has the most negative impact on the quality of daily educational programs, are also at risk without an infusion of new operating dollars.
“It has been 11 years since our District has received any new funding from an operating levy and, in that time, enrollment has increased more than 28%,” said Mr. Joseph Bertrand, Vice President of the Olmsted Falls Board of Education. “I commend both associations and their members for their continued understanding of these challenging economic times – both for our District and our community.”
The Olmsted Falls Board of Education will officially vote to accept the contract extensions from both associations at their regularly scheduled monthly meeting on February 18, 2010.
The Pride in Olmsted Schools’ Levy committee has released new levy video. Click here.
This Saturday, OFHS students will be conducting an awareness campaign between 11 AM and 2 PM. During this time, students will be gathering at the corner of several key intersections throughout the Olmsted Communities. The goal of these students is to raise awareness of the activities that would be lost should operating levies continue to fail.
Letters to the Editor regarding the upcoming levy.
Please click here to read letter #1.
Please click here to read letter #2.
Please click here to read letter #3.
Please click here to read Letter #4 written by OF council woman Ann Marie Donegan.
Please click here to read letter #5 written by OF Mayor Robert Bloomquist.
February 2nd Is Bulldog Pride Day
February 2nd is Election Day and an important day for both our school district and our community. In order to celebrate the importance of this day, it has been designated as Bulldog Pride Day. We are asking all students, faculty, and staff to show off their Bulldog Pride by wearing school colors.
OFHS Student Becomes A Finalist In Essay Contest
Congratulations to sophomore Hayleigh Sanders who has been named a finalist in the Stop the Hate: Youth Speak Out essay contest sponsored by the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood. Hayleigh will be honored at an awards ceremony on March 21st at the museum.
OFHS Forensic Team
Congratulations to Natalie Brdar and Pam Keller as they led the OFHS Forensic Team (Speech and Debate) to another top ten finish this past Saturday. Pam is the first sophomore to be crowned Tournament Champ twice.
Many residents may not be aware that OFHS has a hockey team. The team plays its home games at the Brooklyn Rec Center. For a link to the Bulldog Hockey website, please click here.