Community Involvement in Master Facilities Plans

Community Input in Lakota's Master Facilities Planning
Posted on 02/24/2020
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Published in the Pulse Journal News on Sunday, February 23, 2020


Community Meeting on 2/26: Results from Visioning Sessions 

As Lakota moves forward in creating a new Master Facilities Plan, it is imperative that we include our community in the process. In January, we held our first community meeting to share the data we have gathered about the age and condition of our buildings, as well as our enrollment projections for the next 10 years. 


Immediately following the meeting, we launched an online survey called ThoughtExchange to gather feedback from our community members about the information shared. More than 600 people participated in the exchange by not only sharing their thoughts, but telling us whether they agree or disagree with others by using a five-star rating system. This online tool allows members of our community to give us their feedback even if they are unable to attend the meeting.


Some of the top-rated thoughts are requests for continued transparency and communication about the process. This is something that will absolutely continue. Additional community meetings have been scheduled during every phase of the planning process. We will also continue to use ThoughtExchange to gather more feedback. Information will continue to be shared on our website and through social media and district communications.


Other top-rated thoughts include the need for learning spaces that best meet the needs of our students and the request for equity among schools. Fiscal responsibility, including potential funding, class size and long-term sustainability were also among the top thoughts shared. 


An example of being fiscally responsible is Lakota’s participation in the Expedited Local Partnership Agreement, also known as ELPP, through the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission (OFCC). By participating in ELPP, Lakota can claim a 26-percent reimbursement rate from the state for future work that will be part of the approved plan.


The OFCC requires that districts hire an educational visionary consultant to help define the future of learning in the district. During the month of February, our visioning consultant has led several focus groups through this process. He has met with students, staff and parents, along with business and government officials, both as small focus groups and altogether. The findings of these sessions will be shared at our next community meeting on Feb. 26 in the West Freshman building’s Innovation Hub. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m.


A second ThoughtExchange will launch following this next community meeting to gather input from you. Links to the online survey will be shared on our website and through our social media channels. I encourage you to take the time to not only share your thoughts, but return to the survey often in order to rate others.


A dedicated Master Facilities webpage has been created to share information with our community. If you are unable to attend our meetings, they are recorded and posted online, along with all of the information we share. Please visit www.lakotaonline.com/buildingourfuture to stay up to date with the planning process.


Matthew Miller is the superintendent of Lakota Local Schools. Follow him on Twitter (@LakotaSuper), Facebook (Matt Miller – Lakota Local Schools Superintendent) and Instagram (lakotasuper).