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Lakewood set new bussing plan for realignment

HEBRON – Lakewood school officials and the Lakewood Transportation Alignment Committee have developed a new K-5 “bussing” plan to coincide with the elementary realignment this fall.

Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer told school board members at their May 9 business meeting that the written plan for bussing, as well as parent drop-off and pick-up procedures, will hopefully ease some of the “parking lot confusion” that has plagued the elementary buildings for years.

“We’ve always said, ‘Oh, they shouldn’t do this and they shouldn’t do that,'” Ettenhofer said, “but we’ve never really told them what they should do.”

Parents will receive two important documents in their child’s year-end, take-home packets, he said: one is the written parking lot procedures, the other a K-5 Realignment Guide pamphlet filled with common questions and their answers.

Some highlights of the bussing plan as described in the pamphlet are:

+ “Elementary schools will start and dismiss on the same schedule. The number of shuttle busses has been cut in half, three each way. There will be two pickups in the Buckeye Lake area, K-2 first followed closely by the 3-5 busses. This will eliminate students changing busses.”

+ “Shuttle bus dismissal at both Jackson Intermediate (grades 3-5) and Hebron (grades K-2) will be at 3:15.”

+ “Jackson Intermediate will allow parent pick-ups at 3:20. This will allow parents to drive to Hebron for student pick-up at 3:30 if they wish.”

Ettenhofer said car and bus traffic patterns have also been modified and will be included in detail in the flier parents receive when school ends.

Look for more detailed information about realignment in the pamphlet, an up-coming Beacon article, and, this summer, at the new Lakewood website: www.

In other business last Wednesday, Lakewood Treasurer Glenna Plaisted told board members the five-year fiscal forecast they unanimously approved was very much like the one the district filed with the state in October.

“Overall, we’re still looking at the same picture we were back then,” Plaisted said. She spoke of effects the phasing out of tangible personal property tax revenue will have on the district.

Based strictly on estimations and projections, the forecast is a tool used by the district for making financial decisions. The one approved this month shows the following general fund balance in the corresponding fiscal years: $4.7 million in 2007, $4.2 million in 2008, $1.4 million in 2009, and then a deficitof $3.6 million in 2010 and $9.9 million in 2011.

Plaisted said Lakewood’s five-year emergency operating levy expires in December of this year, with collection continuing through 2008. It generates $2,058,646 a year for operating expenses, which represents 11 percent of the district’s operating budget.

Board members have been discussing, for months, asking voters to renew that levy with an increase to meet expenses. To that end, the group scheduled a series of meetings to discuss the amount of that increase and the time frame for the levy, which they have said they intend to put on the Nov. 6 ballot. The board will meet in special session on June 6 and June 27, both at 7:30 a.m., in addition to their regular June 13 business meeting.

Plaisted said the board needs to pass its first resolution to put an issue on the November ballot at their July 11 meeting.

In other business, the school board:

+ Heard a presentation by teacher Debby Warthen and three of the students that recently went on the eighth grade trip to Washington D.C. Ninety students went by meeting academic and disciplinary requirements. The trip was made possible by an anonymous benefactor, according to Superintendent Jay Gault.

+ Hired a new guidance counselor, Phil Sikorski, at a salary of $52,948.

+ Approved the retirement and resignation of the following teachers: Sandy Pyles (third grade); Cornelia Rector (high school English); David Daugherty (high school science); and Judy Rauch (vocal music).

+ Approved a list of about 180 graduating seniors.

+ Approved contracts with: Robertson Construction for the design/build proposal of interior ramps/mechanical lifts at Hebron Elementary for $21,128; the Licking County Educational Service Center for specific amount to fund programs for special education needs at $278,819 for FY2008.

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