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Oakwood schools say “no” to school buses

Based upon the legal opinion received from counsel, the Oakwood City School District plans to continue transporting students in SUV’s to their career technical classes. The legal opinion written by the law firm of Bricker and Eckler concluded that the district is not violating the Ohio Administrative Code by utilizing vehicles other than regulation school buses. Dr. Mary Jo Scalzo, Superintendent of the Oakwood Schools, stated that this is very good news for the district and the community.

“We are glad that our attorney believes it is still legal for us to continue current practice. It may be the intention of the Ohio Department of Education Transportation Office that students be transported in school buses, but the language of the rule does not prohibit the use of SUV’s. Use of these vehicles to transport our students to and from Kettering and Centerville provide a safe and economically feasible mode of transportation,” said Dr. Scalzo said.

Nicholas A. Pittner, one of the leading experts on school law in the State of Ohio and a lawyer with the firm of Bricker and Eckler of Columbus, researched the law and stated, “In short, it is our conclusion that Ohio law does not prohibit the District from transporting its vocational students from the high school to their vocational school programs and returning them to the high school at the end of the day.”

Earlier in the year, representatives from the Ohio Department of Education’s Office of Pupil Transportation informed the district that operation of the SUV’s violated the Ohio Administrative Code Section 3301-83-19 which they believe is intended to prohibit the use of anything other than a school bus for the transportation of vocational students.

School Treasurer Kevin Philo stated that if the district had been forced to buy a couple of buses, it would have cost the district upwards of $150,000 just for the vehicles. There would be additional costs for fuel, maintenance, and bus driver training.  He continued, “Many residents contacted us to tell us to continue the use of SUV’s because of safety and cost.  They suggested that if we were not able to work this out with the state, that we contact our state legislators to get the language changed.  We feel this legal opinion protects the district from increased liability and allows us to continue operating our transportation in the safest, easiest, and most cost effective method possible.”

Harman to celebrate 100th with Maypole dance

As Oakwood’s first elementary school, Harman Elementary joins the city in celebrating 100 years!  To kick-off its Centennial, Harman will be celebrating with a traditional Maypole dance on Friday, May 16  at 2:30 p.m.  Harman’s sixth grade class will be performing the Maypole dance for the rest of the students. You are welcome to share in the re-enactment of this timeless tradition – save the date!

Calling all Harman Alums!  We would be honored if you joined us in walking with Harman School during the That Day in May parade on Saturday, May 17, at 12 noon.  Look for the Harman banner!!

PTO Meeting May 8

The final Oakwood Junior and Senior High School PTO meeting is Thursday, May 8 at 11:45 a.m. in Room 211.  Next year’s slate of officers will be presented for a vote.  

PTO President Tracy Payne will summarize this year’s activities and there will be reports on year-end events from the superintendent, school principals, Board of Education representative and guidance office.  

All parents are welcome to attend.

Step Back in Time’ Festival May 10 at E.D. Smith

In honor of Oakwood's Centennial, E.D. Smith Elementary School festival has an old fashioned theme this year. The school is sponsoring a “Step Back in Time” Festival on Saturday, May 10 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Enjoy some old fashion food & fun including Pine Club burgers, cotton candy, tug o war, duck pond, goldfish toss, pie eating contest, raffles, spin art, pinwheels, balloon artist and more! - all to good old ragtime and barbershop quartet music!

Lange preschoolers visit Learning Tree Farm

The preschoolers from Lange School had a grand time at the Learning Tree Farm last Wednesday.  The children, many parents and the teachers made the trip to the Farm to see the annual shearing of the sheep.  

Everyone sat amazed as the sheep was sheared in a matter of minutes (The shearer’s been known to shave the coat in as little as 40 seconds!).   The children then had a chance to see some fleece spun into yarn and yarn knitted into clothing and blankets.  

Two week old black lambs made a special guest appearance for the children. The Farm’s part time border collie, Rowdy, demonstrated his sheep herding abilities. The children were also able to visit the donkeys, cows, chickens, sheep, and goats.  

Karen Fitzharris of Oakwood is the newly appointed coordinator of the summer camp. This year’s theme is “Native Americans of Ohio”.   The camp is for children ages 8-12 and will take place June 23-27, July 7-11 and August 4-8. Learning Tree Farm also offers curriculum based programs for schools and homeschoolers.

Registration forms for camp and information about the Farm are available at or by calling 866-8650.

Concordia preschool fundraiser May 10

Concordia Lutheran Church Preschool is hoping to expand by adding a 5’s bridge to kindergarten class.  

To help this effort, a multi-family yard sale will be held at the Concordia Lutheran Church on Saturday, May 10 from 8am to 1pm in the Fellowship Hall.  All proceeds will benefit the Preschool program.  For more information about the Preschool please contact Beth Aldrich at 293-9783.

If you would like to donate any kids or baby items you may drop them off at the church.  Or contact Jennifer Spann at 293-1257 or to drop off larger items.

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May 6, 2008
Volume 17, No. 19

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