Thursday, July 23, 2009

Oh, and by the way, our staff averaged 6.5% raises this year (snicker, snicker, snicker)

In his latest address to the masses, ol' Wade forgets the real threat to district taxpayers -- the ever-rising salaries.

But in a classic redirect, Wade places all the blame on the state. Based on his messages thus far, it sounds like district taxpayers will be stuck in Wade's spin mcycle for a long while.



Dear Olentangy Residents:

Late last week the governor signed Ohio’s new biennium budget bill. This bill includes a reduction in funds for 75% of Ohio schools, including Olentangy, some significant operational changes and a new way of funding Ohio schools.

Overall, I am pleased with the outcome for our schools and certainly applaud our governor and legislators for making schools a priority in these challenging economic times. Moreover, much of the credit locally certainly goes out to all of our Olentangy parents and residents who twice answered our call to contact state legislators. Together, we were able to make our voice heard on behalf of our students and taxpayers.

At this stage, we have some preliminary information as to how Olentangy will be affected. In the coming weeks and months, we hope to obtain more specifics from the state so that we can adjust our programming, budget and projections accordingly. In the meantime, below is a summary of what we do know:

*Olentangy will lose 1% in state funding this year and 2% next year. In order to offset this and any other shortfalls in revenue from other sources, the district will make the necessary adjustments and keep the commitment made to voters in March of 2008 of not returning for operating funds for three years.

*Ohio districts, including Olentangy, are receiving stimulus dollars. However, these dollars are earmarked for certain programs, such as IDEA, which affect approximately 10 percent of our student population. These are one-time funds and this funding goes away after two years.

*The state is mandating all-day everyday kindergarten and meeting state-mandated student-to-teacher ratios. However, we understand that there may be waivers granted for high performing schools such as Olentangy. If not, certainly this will affect our operating budget and our schedule for new building construction.

In addition, there is a provision in the budget which permits slot machines at racetracks. Residents should know that in supporting slot machines, one is not directly supporting schools. Much like the lottery money, this is not money that the schools receive directly. Rather, the slot machines simply free up money in Ohio’s overall budget so that other programs can be funded with less of an impact on education.

As we obtain more details we will communicate those to you. In the meantime, we are very appreciative of the support shown by our residents for their schools. Thank you for answering our call to assist. I believe that our combined efforts were tremendously successful.

Sincerely,

Wade Lucas
Superintendent

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