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Lakewood treasurer honored by state auditor

HEBRON – Lakewood School District Treasurer Glenna Plaisted and her department received an Auditor of State Award with Distinction during the Jan. 11 school board meeting. “Based upon your recently completed financial audit, it gives me great pleasure to inform you that the Lakewood Local School District has received the Auditor of State Award with Distinction,” said a statement from Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost. “Clean and accurate record keeping is the foundation for good government and the taxpayers take pride in your commitment to accountability.”

According to the statement, the award is given to those entities that file a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and timely financial reports in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, as well as receive a “clean” audit report. The “clean” audit report means that the district’s financial audit did not contain findings for recovery, material citations or weaknesses, significant deficiencies, single audit findings or any questioned costs.

The Auditor of State’s office conducted approximately 3,800 financial audits last year. In 2011, 108 public entities qualified for and received the Auditor of State Award with Distinction upon the release of their financial audits.

“I would like to thank all the staff in working together to make this possible,” said Plaisted. “It takes a team to make us successful.”

“We look at the district’s money like it’s our own, and I’m really tight with my money,” said Superintendent Jay Gault. “(Plaisted) works really hard at it.”

In other school board news:

• Athletic Director Bo Hanson presented the board with the results from the drawing for a $20,000 camper to raise money to transport students to athletic functions and events. The goal was to raise a total of $60,000, which included the price of the camper. Lakewood Athletic Booster President Mark Nichols said previously the drawing netted a little over $7,000 after the camper’s purchase. It’s a far cry from $40,000, he said, but it’s still a profit.

“Obviously, it came up shorter than what they were hoping for,” said Gault. He said the athletic department and Boosters are planning another drawing, but this time the prize will be a Ford Mustang or a cash option. Gault said he supports another drawing and understands that Hanson and the Boosters probably limited their audience with the camper prize, because anyone who didn’t like to camp or didn’t own a vehicle that could pull the large camper probably didn’t buy a ticket. Gault said the cash option is important to expand the ticket-buying base to include people who may not want or need a car, but are willing to take a chance to win some cash. “When you do a fundraiser of this size, there’s always a learning curve,” he said.

Hanson said previously that he firmly believes another drawing can help the athletic department’s cause, particularly after the experience he and the Boosters gained through the camper drawing. His main goal is for Lakewood athletes to avoid paying sports related fees and if a drawing helps, then things will be raffled. “Our kids get to play sports for nothing,” he said, adding that he wants to keep it that way. “I’m scratching and biting for every penny.”

Nichols agreed that future drawings should be more successful than the camper raffle. And, even the camper drawing generated some income for the district. “There’s no negative in it,” he said.

Deb Owens from Newark won the camper during the Boosters Night at the Races Dec. 3. Hanson said Owens has a grandchild who is a Lakewood athlete and Owens camps. “It went to somebody local and she will use it and enjoy it.”

• Director of Pupil Services Arnie Ettenhofer said Lakewood added MAP, or Measures of Academic Progress, a computer adaptive testing that measures students’ growth over time, to the higher grades. “We started MAP testing three years ago kindergarten through fifth grade, and this year added it in (sixth grade) to high school,” he said, adding that student progress is measured three times a year with MAP testing and then the results are used to adjust instruction. “It can be used to differentiate instruction, help us form flexible groups, and guide us in intervention with students,” said Ettenhofer. “Once it is fully implemented, students will have results that show their growth kindergarten to high school.”

• Gault said looking to the new calendar year, the biggest issue would be, “Always, student performance. We’re seeing growth in our students.” His main goal is to recapture the district’s “excellent” rating on the state report card. It fell to “effective” on the most recent report, where the district met 23 of 26 indicators. Ironically, it’s the most indicators the district has ever met, but he said other factors caused the slippage. It’s very important to the superintendent to regain the excellent rating. “That’s our focus; that’s our job,” said Gault. “Absolutely that should be our focus. I want to see us continue to grow.”

• During the Jan. 11 meeting, board members reelected Judy White as board president and Trisha Good was elected board vice president. Board members welcomed new member Bill Gulick, who replaces former member Rob Large, who decided not to run in last November’s election.

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