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Lakewood freezes salaries

HEBRON- Lakewood School District’s teachers and staff’s salaries will be frozen for the 2010-2011 school year. No one working for the district will receive a raise beyond any scheduled step increase.

“Thanks to the teachers for stepping forward,” said Lakewood School Board member Judy White during the Oct. 14 school board meeting, where the salary freeze was approved.

Board President Joe Bowman, Jr. said he respects all employees for agreeing to the freeze “in this crucial situation.”

Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted explained that a school district’s salary schedules are set up to reflect years of experience and type of college degree held. A step increase refers to the number of years of experience a teacher has. Each year they work, their experience level increases a year and they would increase one step. The resolution the board approved still permits step increases.

“When we refer to a zero percent salary adjustment, this means that there is no increase to the salary schedule currently in place,” she said. For example, Lakewood’s base teacher salary schedule for last year (fiscal year 2009) was $30,606. There was a 2.6 percent salary adjustment negotiated for this school year (fiscal year 2010). That would mean Lakewood’s base salary would now be $31,402. With the freezing of the salary schedules, that means the base for fiscal year 2011, next school year, would stay at $31,402.

Superintendent Jay Gault said previously that the freeze would remain in place no matter what happens to the additional 8.9 mills levy on the Nov. 3 ballot. “This levy is not about putting money in our pockets,” he said, adding that the levy is specifically to replace revenue lost from the phase out of the tangible personal property tax.

In other school board news:

• Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhoffer is happy his prediction didn’t come true. He predicted the school district would receive an “effective” rating based on the Ohio 2008-2009 School Year Report Card. He was thrilled that the district received an “excellent” rating. The district met 24 of 30 indicators, which usually earns an “effective” rating, but Ettenhoffer said the district met the “Value Added” component for a third year, which bumped the district’s rating up to “excellent.” According to the state, if students show better than expected growth in specific subjects for two consecutive years, their district’s rating is raised one level. Lakewood qualified.

“We are thrilled to announce for the second consecutive year that Lakewood has earned an ‘excellent’ designation on the district report card,” said Ettenhoffer in a news release.

According to the release, “The State of Ohio uses multiple tools to measure both achievement and progress of our students. We are most proud of the accomplishment of our students and staff in the area of Value Added. This component measures if students in grades four through eight are actually making a year’s worth of expected or ‘typical’ progress or ‘growth’ in the categories of reading and math. We are proud to announce that our students for the last two years have made more than typical growth in these areas.”

• Gault said any discussion of implementing a district-wide uniform dress code is on hold at least until after the November vote for the 8.9 mills levy. In the meantime, board members will contact other districts with uniforms to determine if implementing a dress code improved academic performance.

• Board member Forrest Cooperrider was appointed to the tax incentive review council for two years.

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