2008-03-22 / News

Lakewood thanks voters for levy support

By Kim Garee

HEBRON - School board members and administrators expressed gratitude to Lakewood voters at a March 12 business meeting for approving the renewal of an emergency operating levy that makes up more than $2 million of Lakewood's annual budget.

Board President Joe Bowman Jr. said the community, staff and everyone involved in passing the renewal deserved a "thank you" for accomplishing what is becoming increasingly difficultin this "difficulteconomic climate."

Bowman said he is proud of Lakewood and the many passionate supporters of the schools - "I believe in what we're doing here," he said.

Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault said that renewal allows the district "huge breathing room" - essentially giving them two years in the black.

Still, he also said, "One down, one to go." Gault has already requested a work session with school board members to discuss when the district intends to go back on the ballot and with what type of levy.

"There's a deficitstill looming in a couple of years," he explained. Gault said he wants to have a community forum some time following a board work session to hear residents' opinions about "accomplishing this next feat."

The board work session will be held at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, March 26. Also on the agenda for that meeting is a discussion about board policy on background check requirements for volunteers.

Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted said the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) had asked the district to address a plan for off-setting a deficit originally projected for 2010. She said she informed ODE that the passage of the renewal levy resolved that 2010 deficit.

Plaisted said state budget cuts to education will directly affect local school districts in ways that include bus purchase allowances and funding through the county educational service center, which provides services for districts.

Bowman said he wanted to make a public statement regarding the state cuts in education dollars. "I think that's appalling," he said, adding that politicians are continuing "to weaken the infrastructure of the future of our state." He said it is time for "everyone to band together" and write letters to representatives, and then challenged any of them to come to a school board meeting and explain the cuts.

Plaisted noted that bus fuel costs alone have increased 22 percent over the past year.

In other business:

• The board's technology committee is planning a meeting with Technology Coordinator Tim Owen. Owen presented an overview and update during the business meeting Wednesday night in which he outlined a plan for the future and steps to get there.

• The board also heard a presentation by the middle school's Future City Team, which included Pam Hundley and her students. The group presented the city they created at a regional competition in January.

• Pupil Services Director Arnie Ettenhofer said last week's early dismissal due to bad weather went well and specifically thanked the transportation and maintenance departments for getting all the students home safely. He also thanked township and village road crews for their assistance throughout the winter.

• Ettenhofer reported that students in third through eighth grade will begin Ohio Achievement Testing on April 21. In other academic news, he also said a Language Arts Curriculum Com mittee has completed its yearlong study and revision of curriculum. They created "notebooks" to help with consistency in curriculum to keep at each building. He thanked the 14 team members who spent six day-long sessions and other hours working on that project.

• The board approved a resolution to accept bids to replace the four rotting light poles at the football stadium.

• Board members also approved the retirement of staff members Mary Barry and Jack Maybury and classified employee Jackie Showman. Bowman and Board member Rob Large specifically expressed thanks to those retirees for their years of dedication and service to Lakewood.

The board's next regular business meeting will be Wednesday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakewood High School Library.

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