May 8, 2013
From the Office of the Superintendent
The East Knox BOE and Administration greatly appreciates the community’s consideration of the combination levy even though it did not pass. It is unfortunate that voters have chosen a path to fiscal emergency for our school system, but we'll embrace our tasks ahead and continue to do our best to educate students with the resources we are given. However, no one should be surprised by significant changes that will occur in the landscape of what our school configurations look like beginning this August.
Our staff, Board and Administration are especially proud of our students' achievements in all aspects of their education. We are excited for our students that they are ranked Excellent on the Local Report Card for the first time in district history. We are humbled by the many professional and personal sacrifices our staff members make in their care of our students to ensure their safety, achievement and social-emotional development.
We look forward to the next six months with trepidation as we await the formation of the state-appointed Fiscal Planning and Oversight Commission. Their recommendations will be mandates that the BOE and Administration will be forced to implement. There are dark days ahead for East Knox, but we will face them together with the same Bulldog spirit for which we are known.
Dear Parents and Community Members,
The Board of Education placed a combination levy on the May 7th ballot. This levy will raise approximately $2.1 million per year if approved. It combines 2.9 mills of property tax with a 1% earned income tax. The Board heard a few concerns about last November’s levy request for a continuing period of time. This levy request is for a 10-year period instead of a continuous time frame. We certainly hope the economy continues to improve over that period of time in addition to our state legislature recognizing its constitutional duty to effectively fund public education. In the meantime, it is up to local taxpayers to ensure the futures of their schools and community.
Please visit us on Facebook or feel free to contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our levy request.
You have the chance to help shape East Knox Schools for generations to come. Please be sure to get out and vote!
Office of the Superintendent
March 11, 2013
To all Parents and Community Members,
The East Knox Board of Education will consider two very important issues when it meets this Wednesday, March 13that 7:00PM in the Middle School Commons.
The first issue of note is the possible lease with option to purchase over the next four years enough technology to provide every one of our Grades 4-12 students with an iPad4 with an additional 90+ devices to be shared at Grades K-3. This tremendous opportunity is a natural follow-through with the Board’s upgrade of our technology capabilities last summer. The Board and Administration will use Permanent Improvement (PI) funds, if approved, to the greatest extent possible. PI funds are different from General Fund income and expenses. The Board is asking for a levy in May to cover General Fund dollars which cover day-to-day type operational expenses. These are two separate funds. PI funds cannot by law be used to cover general fund expenses. They are meant for things such as technology, bus purchases and building/property improvements.
The three Building Principals and I attended the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy’s Active Shooter for EducatorsTraining last Thursday. You may have heard of the A.L.I.C.E. training that has been in the news especially since the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in December. Schools do a great job in training students and staff in lock down drills and seeking shelter. Sandy Hook teaches us that educators need to seriously examine how to respond when an active shooter actually enters a classroom or other area where students and staff are present.
These considerations bring us to the second major issue Wednesday evening. The Board will discuss possibly authorizing the Administration to arm staff members who receive proper training. IF the Board movesforward, the Board and Administration will work together to ensure that no staff member will ever be authorized to carry a gun without Peace Officer Academy certification, meet rigid requalification requirements as recommended AND receive written approval from the Superintendent. Any non-lethal methods would also require intensive training.
I assure you that as Superintendent andfather of two East Knox students, I am excited considering the implications for all students moving forward with technology and its educational possibilities. I am also very concerned for the safety of each one of our students-your children and mine. I’m not sure that putting guns into schools is the right answer unless it’s carried by a law enforcement officer. What I do know is that we must provide our students and staff some form of empowerment and knowledge to increase their chances of survival if ever faced with a significant threat.
Please join us Wednesday evening and bepart of these conversations. I assure you we do not take lightly the future of our children on any level especially these two areas.
Office of the Superintendent
December 16, 2012
The start of last Friday morning was like most other school days across the United States. Parents sent their children to school, thought about presents, fretting that maybe they still needed to buy one or two more gifts. Suddenly, we were again reminded of the devastation that is inflicted by those who are intent to cause harm. The grief of the Newtown, CT families who lost children and adults in another senseless massacre is unimaginable. Our hearts go out to them for their loss. We pray that they find healing.
As schools and communities reflect in the days to come, they'll certainly re-examine their security plans as we’re doing. We will not react as defeated by these senseless acts of violence. As a nation, we will persevere. We will continue to inspire and safeguard our children at every measure, but we can’t do it alone. We need you. So, how can you help as a student, parent, faculty and community? If you see posts, tweets, texts or hear utterances that boast of threats or violence in any form, please let us know or call the Knox County Sheriff’s Office at (740) 397-3333.
East Knox Schools are committed to our children and community. We continue to work to improve emergency communications. We updated our technology this fall with a new phone communication system tool. Our Administration and the Strategic Planning Committee are working to update our Crisis Action Plan. We conduct lockdown drills at all three buildings often in cooperation with the Knox County Sheriff's Office. They were on hand for a district-wide drill on November 7th. They are fully aware, have toured our buildings more than once, and give us suggestions to improve our procedures. As the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary demonstrated in their acts of courage, it is often the practiced staff's response that saves lives in times of crisis.
Last Friday is another reminder to be aware constantly of what's going on around us. Again, if you see something out of the ordinary, tell someone. If you hear any type of threat, report it to authorities. Don't accept what you know is wrong and that you have the power to positively effect. Correct an unsafe situation, trust your gut, and tell someone in charge.
As we ready ourselves for this last school week before break, please join me in continued prayers for the families of the Newtown victims. I assure you I've said a number of prayers that such a tragedy doesn't happen in another community.
To All Parents and Students,
Thanks to such a beautiful and relatively warm fall, I managed to delay writing this year's letter about the dreaded thought of calamity days (also known as snow days).
As a parent, I know all too well the disruption that occurs at home with delays or cancellations because of bad weather. Therefore, I try to minimize those disruptions as safety permits. Cancel, delay or have school on time? It's rarely an easy decision. The bottom line is whether or not it is safe for our buses to transport students.
Parents have the ultimate decision whether it is safe for their child to travel to school. This is an especially critical decision with teenage drivers. I urge you to consider all factors (age, experience, weather, etc) when determining whether your child drives to school on any particular winter morning or rides the bus.
I try to use the phone notification system on mornings when there's fog, snow or ice. However, you may also check our school's website, Facebook page, listen to the radio, or watch Columbus television stations. Another way to receive messages from the school is to text the word 'join' to 56360.
I hope each and every one of you has a great holiday season. Take care, be safe, and thanks for trusting us with your child's education!