Conneaut Area City Schools – State of the Schools
Public school districts use a combination of state funds, local sources such as property taxes (and in some cases income taxes) and federal funds. The funding of public elementary and secondary education in Ohio is a joint effort between the state and local school districts. Over the course of the last decade state funding and federal grant funding has either held steady or been reduced significantly. With these reductions in funding school districts were forced to go back to the taxpayers in an attempt to remain whole or as Conneaut was forced to do - implement substantial reductions
The amount of state funds that we as a district receive is based on a formula that takes into account the student enrollment and the property wealth of the district. Over the last 5 years we have diligently worked to balance the school budget. Back in 2008, after failing our 5th straight levy attempt, we were clearly told by the voters- “live within your means.” Over the course of these last few years numerous reductions in services plus cuts in staff were made. The great news is that our district finances currently show us in the black for this fiscal year and a slight carryover balance for the 2014 fiscal year. Balancing the school finances has not come without difficult budget reductions. In fact, despite all the reductions, we still remain in deficit spending. The taxpayers told the School District to live within its means and should be pleased with our fiscal responsibility. But remember many of the cuts such as reduced busing, limited extracurricular activities and larger class sizes still remain in place.
For the 5th straight year busing remains reduced to state minimum levels. We continue to offer busing to students pre-school through eighth grade and who live outside the 2 “road mile” distance of their current school. This remains possible through the use of common pick-up points throughout the district.
So again that means no busing for any student who lives with in the 2 “road mile” radius and no busing for any ninth through twelfth grade high school student. I will let you know right now, there is not one single board member who wanted to reduce busing. It was strictly a financial decision to balance the budget.
We have mailed out post cards to your home address. These cards will show your students’ bus schedules and will include their stop location, pickup and drop off times, and the bus number assigned. If you have not received a post card please contact our office at 593-7205. In addition we have posted all bus stops on the district web site at www.cacsk12.org. These stops will also be published in the paper.
Food Service – “NO INCREASE IN PRICES”
Breakfast and lunch will be available as usual in our school cafeterias. All prices will remain the same for the fifth straight year! Even with new rigorous federal standards (which involve increasing the amounts of fruits and vegetables that must be served), Pam Anderson, Director of Food Services, has the food service program in solid financial shape. The price of a student lunch at CHS and CMS is $2.75, and at GES and LPS it is $2.50. The cost of breakfast will be $1.50 at CHS and CMS and $1.25 at GES and LPS.
Third Grade Reading Guarantee (Update – June 2013)
The Ohio General Assembly made changes in Senate Bill 21 to the Reading Guarantee. The Ohio Department of Education distributed detailed guidance on these changes in June 2013. This document outlines the major changes made. All components of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, including diagnostic testing, letters to parents, reading improvement and monitoring plans, and interventions are required for any student in grades K-3 that is found to be not on-track after the reading diagnostic testing done before September 30.
However, only third grade students face retention based on Ohio Achievement Assessment reading scores. If a student is retained in the third grade, then there are two new intervention requirements. Retained students must have at least 90 minutes of reading instruction a day. Retained students must also have the opportunity to receive intervention services from outside providers.
CARE for Kids continues in their fundraising efforts. The money donated by this community group goes for the recreational and athletic needs of our school and community. The school system spends all of its general funding on educational programing. Without the donations from CARE, the school and community would be unable to have these facilities. This group has raised over 2.5 million dollars in private funds for the “SPARC complex.” The acronym SPARC stands for “A social place for athletics recreation and community.”
Drive by the stadium and you will see that construction of the Eighmy Track and Field Complex has started and the completion date is set for November 1st, 2013. Also, local contractor Schwartz Construction is building our new concession and restroom facility located at the southwest corner of the football field. We hope to have these complete in the early part of this fall football season.
Get involved by purchasing “preferred seating” at the stadium or by donating. Call Jim Campbell, Conneaut Area City Schools Athletic Administrator at 440-593-7220
Ohio Teacher Evaluation System
Ohio's new system for evaluating teachers (Ohio's Teacher Evaluation System - OTES) will provide educators with a richer and more detailed view of their performance, with a focus on specific strengths and opportunities for improvement.
Evaluations have two components, each weighted at 50 percent:
- Teacher performance rating, determined from:
- A professional growth plan
- Two 30 minute observations
- Student academic growth rating
Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate
Conneaut Area City Schools are committed to providing a safe and secure environment for our students. The names Columbine, Virginia Tech, Chardon, and now most recently Sandy Hook, have become part of the American vocabulary when discussing senseless acts of violence in the educational setting.
It is an unfortunate reality that situations such as these occupy our thoughts in today’s world. As a result, the Conneaut Area City School District, in cooperation with the City of Conneaut, has been proactive in seeking a plan to counter an attack on our schools. The name of this plan is called A.L.I.C.E. This acronym stands for: Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. This procedure is based on personal choice. It is this choice that could be the greatest factor in surviving an active shooter situation.
The Conneaut Area City School District will continue to train staff, parents and students in the A.L.I.C.E. procedure. We are happy that many of our parents took the opportunity to join the training sessions last spring. We used those sessions to clear up any misconceptions about this procedure, as well as to provide you with vital information about your role, should we ever be faced with this type of situation.
NO amount of planning or preparation can stop all school violence, but we can see to it that everyone has a choice in THEIR OWN survival in the event of the “unthinkable”.
District and school report cards
This week the Ohio Department of Education will release new district and school report cards that, for the first time, assign A-F letter grades on nine measures. These new report cards will make the educational performance of your schools and districts more transparent than ever. The reports will be available to the public beginning at 11 a.m. Thursday, August 22, at reportcard.education.ohio.gov. With these new report cards, the Ohio Department of Education will be emphasizing that these nine measures cannot and should not be averaged into a single grade for a school or district.
Yours in Education, D. Kent Houston8/24/2013