In February, a two-question survey was sent for East, West and Middle School families to respond to topics of what the school district was doing well; but more important, what we need to improve.

The response from the families was very good as 51 percent of the surveys were returned. The positive comments were very much appreciated. All surveys were copied so the staffs at each building could read what the families were concerned with at this time. There were many good ideas and points of concern forwarded to us.

This article's purpose (and more articles will follow in the weeks to come) is to address the concerns bought to us, and let the families and public know what we have done to address their concerns. One of the items that came up for West School was the Beaver Street front loop.

In response to the concerns of cars pulling in and out in the morning, it was decided to create one lane to better control and simplify the flow. As far as parking in the loop, it is a necessity for visitors and employees who travel because it is the only entrance where the doors are not locked. Again, only one lane can be parked in due to the necessity of keeping the fire lane open for police, fire and emergency squads. All doors are open in the morning at each parking area for families to drop off their students to spread out the flow of traffic.

Another suggestion was for more help for students who struggle particularly in math and reading. We agree with you. These are called intervention teachers because they provide more small groups and individual attention for students who need help. We currently have intervention teachers for reading in all grade levels but only offer math intervention for students in third grade. Unfortunately, more teachers mean more costs to the district and something that is not possible at this time.

"A full-time nurse is needed." Again, we agree with you. The new budget proposed by Governor Strickland actually has a full-time nurse as a requirement. It also has a paraprofessional in each building's nurse's office as part of his proposal. The hiring of four and a half new employees comes right back to the budget and the costs associated with those hirings for the district budget.

The last topic for today's article is teacher pay. The average teacher pay in the Governor's new budget for education was based at $51,000. Newcomerstown School District's average teacher's pay is $43, 533. This is in the bottom 10 percent of schools in Ohio.

Next week, another article will be presented with more suggestions for improvement that made available on the surveys.