HEBRON – Lakewood Superintendent Mary Kay Andrews recently met with ODNR officials and engineers, and determined the first phase of the project to replace the Buckeye Lake dam will not affect school bus traffic.
“The first stage of this project is to stage materials and equipment,” she said. This work is beginning immediately. “We have met with the project coordinators and engineers to review bus routes in the Buckeye Lake area.”
Andrews said she wants parents and students to be aware that there will be increased construction traffic along Ohio 79 and possibly other roads into Buckeye Lake to the North Shore boat ramp and Seller’s Point. “Our primary focus is to make parents and students aware that there will be an increase in construction traffic during pick up and drop off times,” Andrews said. “We would also like parents to take time to remind their children of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s advice to stay three giant steps (six feet) away from the curb when waiting for the bus; and when the school bus arrives, wait until the driver says to board.
We are not anticipating any disruptions to service.” She said parents and students will be updated with any related changes.
“I’m happy they (ODNR) reached out,” Andrews said.
In other district news:
• Andrews said the district and the Lakewood Teachers Association approved a new three-year contract through 2018. She said the contract spans from August 2015 to July 31, 2018 and is retroactive to June 30, 2015.
“We are proud of our teaching faculty and want to secure the best for our students,” Andrews said. “This contract is a result of a lot of hard work and commitment by the administration and association leadership. The total package represents recognition by our board that Lakewood teachers should be compensated comparatively to other local districts in Licking County.”
“Our members asked us to bring them a fair contract and the LTA bargaining team was proud to be able to deliver it,” said Lakewood Teachers Association President and middle school science teacher Dawn Villares. “We spent many hours in candid conversations with the board of education’s bargaining team, trying to find solutions that were beneficial to both sides. The new agreement includes reasonable adjustments to compensation and also provides additional protections and benefits for our staff.”
• Treasurer Glenna Plaisted told Lakewood School Board members Oct. 14 that the district’s five-year forecast remains positive through 2020. She said the district has two emergency levies. One will expire in 2018 and the other 2020. With the new biennial budget beginning July 1, 2015 (House Bill 64), the district is falling on a Foundation Guarantee, which will hold Lakewood at the 2015 funding level for 2016. “We will also be on a guarantee for 2017. This is after being on a funding cap under the previous biennial budget,” Plaisted said. Lakewood received a 6.5 percent increase in fiscal year 2014 and a 10.5 percent increase in fiscal year 2015.
Plaisted said under House Bill 64, the district is also losing its Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement. She said the phase out is to begin this year, however a hold harmless supplement was added to the budget to keep the district from incurring this revenue phase out loss this year. Plaisted said an aggressive phase-out of the reimbursement would continue after this year through 2019. The district will be losing $2 million annually once the phase out is complete. “The district remains financially strong and will continue to provide a strong education to our students in a cost effective manner,” she said.