2010-10-23 / News

Final push for Lakewood levy underway

By Scott Rawdon

HEBRON – There’s no time to rest between now and Election Day, Lakewood School Board members said during the Oct. 13 board meeting.

“This isn’t a slam dunk in three weeks. We still have a lot of work to do,” said board member Trisha Good. Board members reviewed Superintendent Jay Gault’s long list of cuts that will be necessary if voters again reject an additional 9.9 mill school levy on Nov. 2. The cuts will total $4.4 million, and include a severe reduction in staff, building closures, severe transportation reduction, and elimination of extra curricular activities.

“Nobody thinks this is a slam dunk,” said levy committee chair Holly Graham. Gault commended the levy committee’s work thus far. “These people are working their tails off,” he said. “If it doesn’t pass, it won’t be from a lack of effort.”

Gault said the levy committee would continue its door-to-door campaign Oct. 23 and Oct. 30, and the district will continue its informational booths at home sporting events.

Gault said the board would approve the cuts during the February board meeting should the levy fail. However, there will be no specific names of who will be laid off immediately. “We know it’s going to be somebody,” he said, but the school needs to give those who are laid off until July to find another job.

“We’re in dire straits,” said Joe Bowman, Jr., board president.

In other school district news:

• The board will hold a morning special meeting Oct. 28, at 7 a.m. at the district office to discuss the district’s five-year plan. While it may seem counterintuitive to discuss Lakewood’s five-year plan just days ahead of a major levy vote, Gault said the state requires school districts to submit a five-year plan by the end of October. He said Oct. 29 is the last day for submission.

• Bowman warned anyone using the Ohio Education Association levy calculator to be sure to enter the home’s assessed value, not its appraised value. “Assessed value is used for levies,” he said. “It may be lower than the appraised value.” The calculator is at levycalculator.ohea.org.

According to eHow.com, an appraised value pertains to a property’s estimated value. It is the opinion of an experienced and professional appraiser who examines the property and sums up its worth. This value is often based on market analysis, or the recent sale prices of similar properties in the same neighborhood.

An assessed value of a property is the dollar amount used to compute local property taxes. A tax assessor uses similar criteria as an appraiser, such analyzing the recent sales prices of similar homes in the same neighborhood, but the assessor is likely to take it a few steps further. They will also investigate how much the property has appreciated or depreciated, and how much it would cost to replace the property, taking into consideration the current material and labor costs.

• Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer told the board he has three goals to improve the district by the 2012-2013 school year.G

oal 1: By 2012-2013, 90 percent of all students will be reading on grade level by the third grade and each following year as measured by common assessments.

Goal 2: By 2012-2013, all students will show at least one year of expected growth in mathematics according to value-added measures in grades 4 though 8 and through common district assessments in non-tested grades.

Goal 3: By 2012-2013, 90 percent of parents and families will participate in activities and effectively utilize resources designed for supporting student development in math and reading.

• Board members approved a student trip to Washington DC and a drama department trip to New York City. Gault was clear that the students pay for each trip. “Nothing comes out of the district,” he said.

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