LOCS board, admin. discuss first year goals in new strategic plan

Second part of a two-part story

By Megan Kelley
Review Writer
LAKE ORION — During their meeting on Aug. 10, the Lake Orion Community Schools Board of Education reviewed the district’s strategic plan goals for the upcoming school year.
Since approving the strategic plan at the April 27 meeting, district officials have been working to reach goals in five main focus areas: Academics and Programs, Communications and Community Engagement, Operations, Learning Environment and Culture, and Personnel and Leadership.
Each of these areas has their own goal statement and subsequent points of interest to aid in reaching the main goal of the focus area.
Last week, the Lake Orion Review covered Academics and Programs along with Learning Environment and Culture.
1. Communications and Community Engagement
Goal statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will enhance district communications and increase community engagement in schools”
This focus area includes: Partnerships, Adult Enrichment and Community Connections
a. Partnerships
LOCS has begun putting further emphasis on local partnerships. Partnering with the Orion Township government, Kensington Community Church, Woodside Bible Church and General Motors. These partnerships are expected to be utilized in a variety of ways. For example, the district would like to work with GM to help provide alternative career opportunities to graduates and students, while Orion Township can aid LOCS by providing information on potential area growth.
b. Community Connections
The district has recently met with and identified about 55 local businesses and organizations to gage their level of support for LOCS. While the initial meeting already took place, it is anticipated that there will be future meetings regarding potential supporters and partnerships.
A committee is expected to be created to help understand future residential growth.
LOCS is also pursuing partnerships with both Meijer and Flagstar Bank for the district’s special education programs.
They have also established a connection with a representative of the annual Alumni Facebook group.
c. Adult Enrichment
LOCS is expected to expand their scope of adult enrichment services. The district will survey the community at the beginning of the school year.
2. Operations
Goal statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will maintain and enhance operations and facilities.”
This focus area includes: General Fund Operating Millage, Sinking Fund Millage, Alternate Revenue Sources, Manage District Bond Projects and Future Bond Projects.
a. General Fund Operating Millage
The district’s goal is to plan for non-homestead Operating Millage renewal. The current millage will expire June 30, 2025 with the last levy taking place July 1, 2024.
LOCS is not expecting a Headlee decrease in the 2024 fiscal year’s operating millage.
They are also looking at developing the general fund operating “replacement millage” election timelines. As of right now, there is no millage request, the district is simply reviewing their options moving forward.
Board Secretary Steve Drakos spoke out against another millage request stating that people are already hurting financially and that he doesn’t believe people would vote for another millage right now.
b. Sinking Fund Millage
LOCS is planning on a sinking fund millage renewal. The current sinking fund expires on June 30, 2026 with the last levy taking place July 1, 2025.
The district is also looking to develop the sinking fund “renewal millage” election timeline.
Current sinking fund updates are available on the district website.
c. Alternative Revenue Sources
LOCS has established a partnership with School Financial Service (SFS) for the growing Shared Time Services program.
They are also negotiating a lease for a new cell tower on the district’s property on Clarkston Road and also finalizing the sale of some property on the Orion Oaks campus.
Board President Jim Weidman emphasized that he would like to see the district “think outside of the box” when coming up with additional revenue sources.
d. Manage District Bond Projects
The district will continue to provide oversight of project construction and provide financial management of bond projects.
e. Future Bond Projects
Up next on the docket for bond projects are Oakview and Waldon Middle School’s remodel and sitework along with Blanche Sims furniture in 2023.
In 2024, Paint Creek renovations are expected to take place.
Projects at the CERC and the high school are expected to take place in 2025 and in 2026, if funds are available, the district will look at updating the administration building and Moose Tree.
3. Personnel and Leadership
Goal statement: “Lake Orion Community Schools will attract, retain, and value exceptional staff.”
This focus area includes: Recruitment, Negotiations, Staff Recognition and Leadership Development.
a. Recruitment
LOCS has created commercial advertising on local news stations from July 11 through Aug. 11 and held their second job fair on Aug. 9.
They have also updated their Employment page to contain more information for potential employees.
The district also created and implemented an onboarding survey for new hires to assess their experience throughout the hiring process.
b. Negotiations
LOCS has successfully negotiated contracts with the AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees) and AFSCME Childcare units. District documents show that this has allowed the district to be competitive in the market when it comes to compensation.
c. Staff Recognition
A committee consisting of the following members will begin work in September or October: LOCS Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Rick Arnett, LOCS Director of Marketing and Communications Mark Snyder, Oakview Middle School Principal Sarah Perry, Webber Elementary School Principal Jennifer Goethals, Paint Creek Elementary Principal Lauren Smith, Human Resources Administrative Assistant Lisa Barry and Human Resources Specialist Shannon Lewis.
d. Leadership Development
A committee made up of the following people will begin meeting in September or October: Arnett, Smith, Director of Curriculum (Elementary) Kerri Anderson, Director of Curriculum (Secondary) Drew Towlerton, Carpenter Elementary Principal Adam Weldon and High School Principal Dan Haas.
For more information on the district’s strategic plan, visit www.lakeorionschools.org/district/strategic-plan.

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