MILLBURY — Lake Local Schools students will be back in school this fall five days a week, as teachers and staff will return with smaller paychecks.
The back-to-school plan, which will be finalized early next week, was discussed at Wednesday’s board of education meeting.
After an executive session, the administration announced the reduction in salary for all full-time employees.
“Due to the recent reduction in state funding that affected all Ohio school districts, the Lake Local School District is announcing that all full time employees will be taking a .75% reduction in previously negotiated contractual raises for the 2020-21 school year,” the district said in a release.
This cost cutting measure will save the district over $75,000, according to Jeff Carpenter, treasurer.
Stemming from a mutual desire to work together for the good of the district, this decision was a result of months of discussion and planning involving the board of education, the school administration, the teacher’s union and the support staff union.
“This action shows the level of trust the different groups have in our district,” said Superintendent Jim Witt.
In a related decision, the Lake Education Association came to an agreement with the board of education to adjust the salary payment schedule for the extra and co-curricular positions to a system that will account for a possible shutdown of schools before or during the year or season. Those coaches and advisers will be paid according to the amount of the season or year that has been completed. If a season is shut down midway through a year, those affected will not be paid for the remaining portion of the season.
Carpenter said that Lake’s funding has been cut $296,816 in 2020. The loss is expected to be $291,324 in 2021.
The school district will receive $167,046 from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, he said.
The district has two main options for fall school, Witt said after Wednesday’s meeting.
“One option is to bring kids back five days a week, with guidelines in place as recommended by the health department,” he said.
“For those people who are not comfortable sending their kids back, we have a virtual platform in place they can take advantage of — a self-paced, self-guided program, but our teachers will be in charge of grading it. Those kids will still have all the perks of being a Flyer.”
Everyone is going into the school year expecting accommodations, Witt said.
“I think we all know that at any point things could change based on the number of cases and hospitalizations. We all know we have to be flexible and we’re asking our parents and our kids to be flexible with us, as well,” he said.
The plan is to have busing, lunches and all students in classes five days a week, Witt said.
No volunteers will be allowed in schools during the day.
Lake has had 25 community members volunteer to hone the back-to-school plan. There are subcommittees, such as transportation, athletics, visitor policy, cleaning and food service.
Also at the meeting, the board:
• Approved staggered starts for Lake Elementary kindergarten students on Aug. 19-21.
“This is being done to bring those kids in the first day for testing and screening that we missed out on this spring,” Witt said. “This will give them a baseline of what their knowledge is and how to educate them from there.”
• Approved donations of $502 from Foertmeyer Northwest LLC and $50 from Kevin Farley for the Glider Pack program, which is food assistance for students and families. Farley also donated $100 in food.