2020/2021 School Year Updates

Tax Rate Hearing:

Thursday, September 24, 2020 at 6:30 p.m.

Arvin Education Center, 1650 Colonels Drive, La Grange

The pandemic has forced us to make many difficult decisions this year about when and how to open schools safely. Now we face another difficult decision – the need for a tax increase.

In my time as superintendent, I have only asked for tax increases when they were truly needed. Once to fund the placement of full-time School Resource Officers in all of our schools; another for a small, but overdue increase in staff salaries. This time, the request for an increase stems purely from the unexpected expenses we have incurred due to the pandemic and our commitment to return to in-person instruction as soon as possible.

When we made the decision early in the summer to return to face-to-face instruction, we knew we needed to create a virtual option to reduce in-person class size and to protect our vulnerable families. We developed our Virtual Learning Academy (VLA) to serve both groups. This new way of learning comes with new, unanticipated costs. With an enrollment of more than 3000 students, we needed to hire 36 teachers to staff the VLA. Along with the software platforms purchased to run the academy, the total cost is $2.6 million for this school year. Although costly, it was undoubtedly the right decision to protect our students, our staff, and our community.

State budget cuts in the past, and projected in the future, have placed an unprecedented burden on local school districts. While we have used our contingency fund to cover many expenses, we cannot drain it. As the pandemic continues to impact every part of our society, the long-term consequences are still unknown. The state budget that was approved last session only covered one year. The second-year budget has not been determined and we expect it to be lean, resulting in local districts carrying even more. Our commitment to the community demands that we prepare to shoulder additional unanticipated costs.

I am asking for an increase that would result in 4% more revenue on the same property as last year to cover these additional expenses related to VLA and our new in-person model. What this means is an extra $12 per $100,000 of assessed property value on your tax bill for property which doesn’t have a change in value. 

We continually look for ways to cut the budget, save money wherever possible and remain good stewards of taxpayer money. We appreciate the community’s continued support as we navigate these unknown waters.

 

Respectfully,

Greg Schultz, Superintendent

 

 

September 4, 2020

Dear OC Community,

After careful consideration, including consultation with the Oldham County Health Department, we are ready to reopen some of our schools to in-person instruction. Therefore, all OCS elementary schools will resume on their normal M-F schedule starting on Wednesday, September 16. Preschool will reopen for face-to-face instruction on September 21.

At this time, the plan remains the same for middle and high schools to reopen on an A/B schedule on September 28. If you are enrolled in VLA, you will remain in VLA for this trimester and there will be no change to your schedule.

So why now and why only elementary schools? The Oldham County Health Department continues to report a manageable number of positive Covid19 cases in the county. Elementary school students are at lower levels of risk due to their limited social interactions compared to most secondary students, and benefit most from in-person instruction. We believe this is the right first step towards getting back to as much in-person instruction as possible this school year for all students.

We will be implementing the strict health and safety guidelines that we announced earlier this summer, including temperature checks upon arrival, face coverings at all times, frequent hand washing, and increased cleaning protocols. Please note that the new Healthy at School guidelines announced on 8/31 require face masks at all times in school buildings and on buses, even when 6 feet of social distancing can be accomplished. The only exceptions are when actively drinking or eating, or when outside and practicing appropriate social distancing.

For more information on the safety measures OCS has put in place for returning to school, visit https://sites.google.com/oldham.kyschools.us/return-to-school-plan/traditional-school.

Thank you for your continued support and flexibility. We look forward to welcoming our K-5 students back on the 16th with Preschool students the following Monday.

Quick video explanation on why we are making this decision:

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