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Lakewood’s finances look good for five years

HEBRON – The next five years look smooth financially for the Lakewood School District. “I’m very happy with the financial stability of the district at this point,” said Lakewood Superintendent Jay Gault. “It’s awesome. Everything seems to be holding in place.”

Treasurer Glenna Plaisted presented a five-year forecast to Lakewood School Board members at their October 8 regular meeting, which showed the district should be solvent through fiscal year 2018.

According to the forecast, for fiscal year 2015, the district’s total revenue is $23,442,198, and expenditures total $20,771,970. By fiscal year 2018, total revenue will be $23,478,092 and total expenses will be $23,301,128. However, by fiscal year 2019, total revenue will be $22,456,218 and expenses will total $24,301,847.

Plaisted explained the district has two emergency operating levies. One is a five-year renewal levy last approved by voters on May 7, 2013. It generates $2,353,259 a year. This levy expires in fiscal year 2018. The second is a tenyear levy approved Nov. 2, 2010, that generates $3,538,880 a year.

Fiscal year 2013 property tax revenues were down due to a $883,839 refund, prompted by an over collection of taxes by the county auditor.

In other district news:

• Gault said the board met Tuesday in executive session and narrowed the search for a new superintendent down to five candidates. Gault announced at the September school board meeting that he would retire June 30, 2015. Board members unanimously accepted his retirement.

Gault is a Lakewood graduate who also served as Lakewood High School principal for three years.

The Licking County Educational Service Center is helping to conduct the search for a new superintendent. The process includes special board meetings, most of which are held in closed or executive session.

• School Counselor Valerie Kieffer said three seniors from the Class of 2015 will be honored at the Wednesdy, Nov 12, school board meeting for their scores on the 2013 PSAT. All are National Merit Scholarship Program Commended Scholars, They are Andrew Gulick, Stacie Carlton and Alexandria Muller. They will be presented with framed certificates during the school board meeting.

The National Merit Scholarship Program is an academic competition for recognition and scholarships that began in 1955. High school students enter the National Merit Program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which serves as an initial screen of approximately 1.5 million entrants each year, and by meeting published program entry and participation requirements.

• Board members approved four supplement contracts for the following coaching positions:

*Jason Nickles, as varsity assistant boys basketball coach

*Scott Jacobs, as middle school boys basketball coach

*Heather Padar as middle school girls basketball coach, and

*Scott Hitchcock as middle school girls basketball coach.

• Director of Pupil Services Patti Pickering said the district is having difficulty finding enough substitute bus drivers. The transportation department is actively looking for more. She added that candidate interviews will start soon for the position of Technical Director.

• Gault said progress continues on the solar power project although the weather has slowed work a bit. “They’re working hard at it,” he said.

After years of enduring hurdles and delays, the district is installing two solar array clusters that will power Lakewood High School and the two intermediate buildings. The project is expected to be completed by Dec. 1.

An agreement was reached in December and installation of the solar was expected to begin last March.

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