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Education

Woodridge looking into increasing security in schools

12/27/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Becky Tompkins

Woodridge Local Schools officials are reviewing security measures and considering additional safety precautions in the wake of the recent school shootings in Newtown, Conn., Superintendent Walter Davis said.

Those in attendance at the Woodridge Board of Education meeting Dec. 18 observed a moment of silence for the victims of what Davis called a “senseless tragedy.” He said district officials were reviewing building entry points and working with Cuyahoga Falls and Peninsula law-enforcement officials to coordinate safety efforts.

In other business, board members voted 4-1 to extend Davis’ contract another four years. Member George DeBord said he supported Davis, but not a four-year contract.

According to the Ohio School Boards Association, DeBord said, it is rare for a superintendent to have a contract longer than three years, although contracts may be as long as five years.

Board President Tammy Heffernan said the four-year contract is “perfectly legal” and added, “He’s a wonderful leader, and four years shows our faith in him.”

Member Jan Flasco said, “He is on top of everything. He has never asked for more money, and we’re not giving him more money.”

Davis’ salary will remain at $110,000. His three-year contract expires next summer; the new contract will run from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2017.

Treasurer Deanna Levenger mentioned in her financial report the district is awaiting a new two-year state budget presentation in February that will impact school funding.

Ohio biennial budgets begin in odd-numbered years, she said, with the next one to run from July 1 through June 30, 2015.

Gov. John Kasich must present the executive budget to the Ohio General Assembly within four weeks after its January reorganization, she said.

Despite the Ohio Supreme Court’s having ruled in 1997 — and three times since then — that Ohio’s system of funding schools is unconstitutional, nothing has been done to remedy its heavy reliance on property taxes, Levenger explained.

The amount of unrestricted state aid that Woodridge receives has decreased 7.6 percent in the last 10 years, she said. In 2002-03, the district received $693 per student and last year only $555 per student, despite inflation.

And during those 10 years, Woodridge’s enrollment has increased by 270 students, to 2,013 last year, a more than 15 percent increase, she explained.

District officials are “keeping our fingers crossed,” she said, that the new budget will bring good news for the district.

The board’s next regular meeting is scheduled for Jan. 8 in the library at Woodridge High School, 4440 Quick Road. An organizational meeting will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the regular January meeting at 6:30 p.m.

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