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Lakewood sets public forum on Oct. 25

By Kim Garee

HEBRON – The Lancer Pride Levy Committee has scheduled a public forum for Oct. 25 to get the word out in what Lakewood School Board President Tim- Spitzer called “an informational campaign” at the board’s recent business meeting.

Spitzer, who also co-chairs the Lancer Pride Levy Committee with fellow board member Joe Bowman Jr., said the group is building “a data base of support” with a few dedicated volunteers.

The committee is trying to get the facts out to Lakewood voters about two issues on the Nov. 6 ballot: a five-year emergency levy renewal and a one percent earned income tax.

In brief, the renewal issue would allow the district to continue to collect the same $2,058,646 annually that was originally approved by voters in 2003. Ballot language will read “renewal plus increase” in order for Lakewood to continue to receive $294,613 in personal property reimbursement payments from the state, though the community will not be taxed on that amount.

The one percent earned income tax would be a continuous levy that would bring an estimated $2.176 million to the district annually, according to data from the Ohio Department of Taxation. Only “earned” income would be taxed, exempting income from pensions, retirements, interest or capital gains.

Spitzer said the community can pose questions at the public forum Oct. 25 – which will take place at 7 p.m. in the Lakewood High School Auditorium – or contact levy committee members and school officials. They will soon see the issues advertised on four large local billboards, as well as on yard signs, which are now available to residents.

In other business conducted at the Sept. 12 meeting, school board members again approved an eighth grade field trip to Washington D.C. April 1-4 of 2008. Trip Coordinator Debbie Warthen made a detailed presentation to the board about the trip, which is subsidized by an anonymous community benefactor. Warthen emphasized last year’s first trip was a huge educational success for students who participated, and she expressed gratitude to the school’s benefactor.

Warthen said she hopes for about 150 students and 15 chaperones to make the trip in 2008, which includes a whirlwind visit to national points of interest and educational programs, as well as entertainment.

Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer said things went smoothly with the elementary realignment at the beginning of the school year. Though there were some bussing and shuttle issues to iron out the first few days, Ettenhofer said that transportation is running “like clockwork” now.

Ettenhofer did say they are having problems with parents arriving too early to pick up students at Hebron Elementary and getting in the way of busses.

Ettenhofer also noted some early signs of success in the food service area. The district is encouraging the use of main lines to allow students to combine menu items that would still be Class A lunches, which Lakewood then received reimbursement for from the state. He said the district sold 1,500 more Class A lunches in August.

“We have full-service cafeterias,” Ettenhofer said, in a response to “rumors” that the cafeterias are bringing prepared food in. He said the only time they bring in prepared food is one day a month when students get Pizza Cottage pizza.

In other business, the school board:

  • Approved the retirement of bus driver Mary Ann Thorp.

  • Approved the following supplemental contracts: Rex Carr, varsity assistant volleyball coach; Jamie Mason, freshman volleyball coach; John Young, 8th grade boys basketball coach; and Michelle Nixon, 8th grade girls basketball coach.

  • Approved the tuition rate for Lakewood at $5,901.69 per year, according to amounts determined by the state. Superintendent Jay Gault explained students from other districts not contiguous with Lakewood – from Newark City Schools, for example – would pay that tuition. Gault explained it has nothing to do with traditional open enrollment.

  • Approved a public records policy revision. Gault said the biggest change of the policy comes from a HB9 mandate for training sessions in public records for public officials. Gault said the board can send a designee to the training.

    The board’s next regular meeting will be Oct. 10 at 6:30
    p.m. in the high school library.

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