Just the Facts

Just the Facts imageJust the Facts - The place to get the facts about issues and time-sensitive information.

Just the Facts can also be found on Lakeland's Facebook page at Just the Facts Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/lakelandschooldistrict/#lcsdjtf)

Posted October 20, 2017
As part of our mission to be transparent with our school community, we want to provide our taxpayers with some specific statistical and factual information.

The Lakeland Central School District supports the work of the Committee on Open Government and deeply respects the right of all citizens to access public records to which they are legally entitled.  As part of gathering these records that are requested, considerable time and effort are required.  Records must be located and then examined to ensure that legal and privacy requirements are met. Often, hundreds (and in some cases thousands) of pages must be checked to ensure names, and other confidential information is redacted.

This can take weeks of administrative and clerical time to complete, costing significant taxpayer dollars in time and salaries that could be better spent acting in the best interests of students.  In effect, records that are enormous in size, and contain numerous names of students, staff, and other protected information must be examined with extreme care, time and attention. The result is that these efforts take resources away from our students, teachers, school programs and our District Mission.

A single individual, in fact, can cost the taxpayers of Lakeland thousands of dollars in time and effort and production of records that in some cases seem to have no specific purpose in being collected. Just as an example, one actual FOIL requester submitted over 60 FOIL requests and then additional follow-up communications once the information was processed and provided. Many of these requests duplicated records previously provided. It is disturbing to us that the valuable resources we want to direct to students and the community are being diverted to time-consuming administrative tasks that seem to have no educational purpose.

Once again, the Lakeland Central School District appreciates requests for access to public information that is used to gain a better understanding of our public functions and the services we perform. But the public also needs to know there are individuals who make numerous requests serving no positive outcomes that we can understand and creating the depletion of our educational resources.

Posted September 26, 2017
In an unusual heat wave such as the one, we are currently experiencing I have received some communications asking why we don't have every classroom and common space in every school air-conditioned. We committed to getting our schools air conditioned as time and funding will permit.  Last year we were able to fund air conditioning for the LHS auditorium and library, and the LCBMS large cafeteria A. This past summer we added the second floors at VCES and LHS, and we have many more areas currently being designed.  We have also been adding classroom air conditioners and continue to do so. Due to the design work, state approvals, bidding, and construction as well as the significant costs, we have to complete this work in stages. We appreciate the community's understanding and patience and the good news is that the heat wave is forecast to end shortly. In the meantime, we will continue to do our best to ensure students are not overheated and stay hydrated.

George Stone, Superintendent

Posted June 1, 2017
We want to inform the Lakeland School Community as to the numerous inaccuracies in a story from the Northern Westchester Examiner (May 30-June 5, 2017) regarding the "Bus Driver Failing Drug Test."

First, the test was given after the morning runs on April 25, 2017, not May 4, 2017.

Second, "Drivers receive a urine test, not a breathalyzer."

Third, the driver's run did not contain a middle school run.

Fourth, neither the dispatcher or any other District employee notifies drivers “in advance” of a random drug test.  On the morning of the test date, the Supervisor gives the list to the dispatcher on duty who then immediately calls in those who are to be tested.  They park their vehicles, come down to the building and go right to the back where the test is conducted. They must have their photo ID license with them. Should a driver refuse a test or not report to the Supervisor after their AM run, they are immediately taken out of service.

Fifth, who and when tested is determined by the testing company and is completely random, the district has absolutely no control over who, when or how often an individual is tested.  We are not aware of any circumstance in which a driver was not tested for five years.

Further, for informational purposes:

As per New York State DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rules and regulations, the testing company is given an updated roster of drivers every calendar year. This list is updated every time they are on site and whenever a new driver is added to the roster.

Governmental regulations require all motor carriers to test 25 % of their drivers per year. The Lakeland Central School District doubles that allowable threshold and tests 50 % of its drivers each year.

The testing company contacts the Supervisor of Transportation to set up a date for the next round of drug tests. The Supervisor does not choose the date.  Our only input is to alert the company of days that we will not be in session. The company will then pick a date, notify the Supervisor and then late in the afternoon of the previous day sends the random list of those to be tested to the Supervisor. This is a computer generated random list given to us by the company. This list is not shared with anyone.

It is important that information be obtained from reliable sources and not "anonymous sources."

George Stone, Superintendent

Posted April 28, 2017
UPDATED VOTER INFORMATION: The District will hold voter registration for the annual budget vote on the following special dates. Registration is also available Monday-Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at Administration Building, 1086 East Main St., Shrub Oak.

•May 2, 2017 - Lakeland High School 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
•May 3, 2017 -Walter Panas High School 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The annual budget vote will be held on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 at Van Cortlandtville Elementary School, Route 6, Mohegan Lake from 7:00 am to 9:00 pm.

Each year, voters elect unpaid, community volunteers to serve three-year terms on the nine-member Board of Education. Petitions are available at the District Office. Contact the District Clerk at (914) 245-1700 for more information on petitions and qualifications.

To be eligible to vote in the school district, you must be:

  • A citizen of the United States •18 years of age or older
  • A Lakeland School District resident for at least 30 days
  • Currently registered to vote

Please note that if you are currently registered to vote in the general governmental elections, you can vote in the school district election. Those registered for the general election, but not school district elections, need only complete the school district registration forms at the voting site on the day of the budget vote.

For more information on registration or how to obtain an absentee ballot, please come to the Administration Building, 1086 East Main Street, Shrub Oak.

Posted December 8, 2016
An altercation between two middle school students took place in the cafeteria on Wednesday, December 7, 2016.
Teachers and administrators responded quickly to the situation. A thorough investigation began immediately, and appropriate actions are being taken.

When leaving the building, one student was transported in a wheelchair as a precautionary measure.

Once the situation concluded, the Principal addressed the students and encouraged them to avoid spreading rumors or false information to protect the privacy rights of all involved.
In an effort to complete a thorough investigation, which was concluded today, we delayed parent notification until today. At no time were any other individuals in jeopardy of being harmed.

Posted November 18, 2016
Just the Facts: Process for Members of the Public to Send Emails to the Lakeland Board of Education

I wanted to clarify the process for members of the public to send emails to the Board of Education. All email correspondence to the Board of Education should be sent to the district clerk at districtclerk@lakelandschools.org. This is to ensure that all board members receive the same information since board members have no authority as individuals.

Mail to individual board members concerning Lakeland Central School District business either at their board of education address or private address will be blocked or channeled to the Clerk for distribution. Board members work together as a group and have decided that they want to receive all emails and correspondence through the District Clerk. In this way all board members have access to the same information at the same time. This process ensures the proper function of the Board of Education. Thank you for your understanding.
George E. Stone, Ed. D. Superintendent

Posted October 28, 2016
A light bulb broke at Walter Panas and caused smoke. The school was evacuated and the fire department is completing the inspection. Due to the smoke the volleyball game has been moved to Lakeland High School at 4:30. The football game will also be rescheduled but we do not have the time as of now. At no time were students or staff in any danger.

Posted September 16, 2016
Information was received that an alleged threat was reported to Lakeland High School administration on Wednesday evening, September 14, 2016. The information was immediately turned over to Yorktown Police. At this time, the alleged threat has not been confirmed by testimony or video, however was taken very seriously. 

Police have made an arrest, however, a police investigation is different from a school investigation.  We are monitoring the situation very closely and will take all appropriate actions as necessary. At no time were students or staff in danger.  As always, safety and security remain our number one priority.

Posted September 12, 2016
For several days, Thomas Jefferson Elementary School has not had phone service. When a school’s phone system is down, Lakeland must deal with two service companies. A company must check the connections before Verizon, the carrier, will visit the location to repair the problem. Even when the determination has been made that Verizon is responsible, there can still be a delay in scheduling the repair.

Lakeland continually emphasizes that schools should be a number one priority ahead of other business interests, but it often doesn't seem to get through.

We are currently working on installing a new phone system. When it is operational, we will no longer need the carrier. Until then we will do our best to get the problems resolved.

Posted September 9, 2016
Governor Cuomo has signed legislation requiring all school districts to conduct lead testing. In order to be proactive, all Lakeland school fixtures required to be tested have already been tested and are below acceptable levels for lead. The new law signed by the Governor may require further testing and reporting at a later date. We will keep you informed as we receive more information from New York State.

Posted September 7, 2016
There has been some opening day confusion regarding the busing of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Elementary Students. In June, Lakeland Transportation was informed about the time change for Seton students. Given our entire fleet of buses and our entire fleet of drivers, the only viable option was to combine runs for Seton and Lakeland and then use shuttle buses to complete the arrivals. Unfortunately, and we apologize for this, the changes that were coming were not communicated early enough to allow parents time to understand and ask any questions about the needed changes. We do use shuttle transfers for the delivery of other private and special school students, so this is not something new. It is new for Seton, however, and we needed to provide additional information. The procedure has been amended. When the buses arrive at our elementary schools, Seton students will remain on the bus until all of the other students exit. Then the shuttle driver will come and personally escort the Seton students to the shuttle bus. This will ensure that all students are supervised and have been safely escorted to the shuttle bus to be transported to Seton. Obviously we will continue to look for other alternatives, but for now, we want to see how this works once everyone has adjusted to the change.Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

George Stone, Superintendent