The first quarter has come and gone and already we have much to be proud of in our district. At the high school four of our students were named National Merit Semifinalists and three were named Commended Scholars. These students displayed exceptional academic talent by scoring in the top 1% of PSAT scores in the state. Thirty-two students were named Advanced Placement Scholars for their performance on the rigorous AP Exams.
Our district also continues to excel in arts and athletics. The boys’ golf team at LHS captured its second straight division crown, the boys’ soccer team won the Community Cup by beating rival St. Ed’s, boys’ cross country sent a runner to the State meet and the Garfield 7th grade football team was undefeated among some of the better sports standouts. In our music department, the high school has the highest number of musicians from any Northeast Ohio school to be selected for the All-State Orchestra. Six choir members from the high school were also selected for the All-State Honors Choir.
The first quarter has also been a busy one. Throughout the quarter, I met with staff in every building in the district as well as held two community meetings (see video
) in October where I outlined the challenges that lay ahead for our district. Although are making good progress in closing the gap as far as getting spending in line with revenues for fiscal year 2011, we are still projected to outspend our revenues by $2 million in FY 2012. That along with looming state funding cuts of a magnitude we never have before experienced dictates that more changes are in store for Lakewood Schools. As always, minimizing the impact on teaching and learning will be our priority as we consider where cuts can be made.
While this may sound disheartening following the passage of our levy in May, please know that the levy is making a crucial difference in our district – 50 positions were saved, programs were protected –and we will be much better off as a district when we emerge from this recession than if the levy had failed. Many area districts cannot say the same thing.
In past difficult financial times for the district, the community has pulled together to weather the storm and has shown remarkable support that we continue to feel today. We will need that sense of “we’re all in this together” to get through this rough patch. From the response at the community meetings, our citizens are ready to do just that. When asked “What suggestions do you have in dealing with these challenges?,” community members at the meetings resoundingly replied: more volunteers. This is one small way you can make a big difference for our students.
Also, down the line we may be asking you to help out by contacting your state lawmakers when it comes time for them to determine what the education allocation will be in the next state budget. We want to make sure that choices made in Columbus are the best for our students and our district.
Together we will continue to work hard at providing the best opportunities for our children and I pledge that the district will do everything in its power to maintain the quality of programming our community expects and has supported throughout the years.
Dr. P. Joseph Madak