Parents pack Lakota West to hear proposed changes

By Kimberly Holmes – bio | email

LIBERTY TWP, OH (FOX19)  - Massive cuts are coming to Lakota Local Schools next year, and parents demanded answers on Thursday night.

Dozens attended the second informational meeting on what millions of dollars in proposed cuts could mean for the district. The School Board still has to approve those $12.2 million in proposed cuts, but Lakota Local parents said they turned out to mentally prepare.

"I'm hoping that people become more aware of the situation that we have and see how painful the cuts they're proposing are going to be on the people," said concerned parent Thomas Ngul.

The budget cuts will mean slicing activities, teaching positions, and services across the board.

In addition, the school said on its website that all day kindergarten program will be delayed until the 2012-13 school year.

"The current kindergarten program is working for Lakota, and at the same time, we are anticipating huge changes to our educational system from deep budget reductions that need our complete focus for the upcoming year," remarked Interim Superintendent Ron Spurlock. "Lakota is acting prudently in investigating all potential means for reducing costs, and will continue to do so. In the case of the alternating day proposal, information was gathered from a number of sources including research articles, parents, other interested community members, and early childhood educators, and it was decided that this upcoming year is not the year to implement such a change," continued Spurlock.

Emotions ran high as administrators laid out their potential plans. They tried to stress to parents that they understand their concerns.

"It's important that we hear what they have to say and what they're saying is that they value education," Spurlock. "They know it's important for their kids and they're very concerned what this is going to mean for their sons and daughters next year."

While many parents tell us they plan to weather the district's storm; others are considering all of their options-- including moving.

"Not only are we making a decision for next year, but we're making a decision for the future," said Frank Wray, a concerned parent. "And given what I saw at the middle, junior high and high school levels, we're not really feeling that comfortable leaving them in the district."

Administrators asked everyone to fill out a survey to pass along those thoughts.

Parents who couldn't attend Thursday's meeting are asked to fill out that same survey online. You can find it on the district's website. Administrators say they'll use that feedback.

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