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Athletic transportation gets a one-year pass

HEBRON – Lakewood School District will pay for student transportation to and from athletic events next year– but only next year.

“This is something the board spent a lot of time and thought on,” said Lakewood School Board President Judy White during the board’s July 11 meeting. She said next year the district would provide $40,000 for athletic transportation. “One year and one year only we’ll have $40,000 to put toward it,” she said. “It’s not an ongoing resource.”

White said a fee to cover athletic transportation may be prudent in the future. She suggested that during the next year, the athletic department staff and athletic boosters may wish to look for ways to operate logistics more efficiently, find funding, and take advantage of a committee that’s exploring ways to pay for athletic transportation. White thanked the athletic boosters for their efforts.

Lakewood Athletic Director Bo Hanson told board members during the May 9 board meeting that his department is out of funds to transport students to and from athletic events, and he asked board members if the district could resume paying for it.

Covering transportation expenses became the athletic department’s responsibility when the district trimmed $1 million from its budget in 2010. Previously, Hanson said the athletic department depends upon money from ticket sales to cover expenses, and there’s not enough money being generated to pay for everything. Hanson is trying to avoid implementing a pay to participate fee for athletics. He’d prefer the district’s general fund cover the costs of transporting students to athletic events.

The athletic department still owes the district $20,000 for an advance it received last year.

“For this year, everyone gets a ride,” said White.

“We’re glad they’ve chipped in,” said incoming Athletic Boosters President Kevin Krier. He said the Boosters are unable to pay for transportation and transportation expenses drained the athletic department’s resources. “This is a step in the right direction,” said Krier. “We hope to keep the positiveness going.”

Superintendent Jay Gault said the revenue is from the state’s new casinos, which is allocated to Ohio school districts this year. He said that as far as he knows this is a one-time deal and school districts should not count on the revenue continuing. “That’s what the law says,” said Gault. “We’re not banking on that (revenue).”

• Gault said an early report suggests that the Lakewood School District met 22 of 26 indicators on the upcoming state report card, classifying Lakewood as “effective.” He said other statistics associated with the state report card are not yet available.

• Gault said Lakewood Middle School’s day will begin 10 minutes later next year, but no one except teachers will really notice the difference. He said the day will begin at 7:40 a.m. instead of 7:30 a.m., but bus schedules will not change. The change in time allows the teach- ers to meet in teams before the day’s academics begin.

• Gault said he hopes teacher contract negotiations can begin the week of Aug. 13. “Once school starts, we’ll be down to evenings and weekends,” he said. White said the board is ready to proceed with the negotiations whenever the teachers are ready.

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