The Lakewood Public Schools - 1984: A Compilation of Histories

BOARD OF EDUCATION Minutes - 1946 to 1980

Years 1946-1949:

January 1946

Authorized an auction sale for the razing of Wilson School on Warren Road and the West Bleachers at Lakewood High School at Franklin and Bunts.

Approved attendance of the superintendent at the Mid-West Superintendent's Conference at Chicago.

Authorized attendance of four staff members at the Ohio Educational Association annual meeting.

Authorized participation of students in the National Aircraft Show.

Authorized participation of the schools in the Victory Clothing Collection.

February 1946

Heard reports on the Seventh Grade Social Studies Program; the Veterans' Education Program at Lakewood High School; and the Schools' Citizenship Program.

Reviewed published articles by school system staff members.

Authorized acquiring machines for the high school machine shop. Accepted a bid of $2,050 to demolish Wilson School.

Advertised auction for the demolition of Wilson School and the High School Grandstand.

Received a request from Baldwin-Wallace College to place student teachers in the Lakewood Schools.

Accepted an advance of $29,000 from the Advance Planning of NonFederal Public Works for School Facilities Program.

Authorized a Building Construction and Improvement Bond Issue in the amount of $1,900,000 for the May, 1946 ballot.

Met with the salary committee of the Lakewood Teachers Assoc.

March, 1946

Received a letter from the Lakewood High School Student Council proposing a "Cabin in the Sky" (a student recreational center) to be built on the roof of the Lakewood High School building using funds raised by students from scrap gathered and sold during the war years.

Heard reports on the Lakewood Schools' Better Posture Program; and the suspension of high school students for membership in fraternities and participation in fraternity activities.

Received $14,500. from the Federal Works Agency for Advanced Planning.

Resolved to proceed with the Bond Issue election on May 7, 1946.

Heard an invitation to Charles Foster, Recreation Director, to conduct Softball Clinics for service men in Europe for 75 days.

April, 1946

Heard a report on General Dwight D. Eisenhower's visit to Lakewood High School on April 11. The General received a scroll and a coat of arms. General Eisenhower's plane pilot was Major Hansen, a graduate of Lakewood High School.

Appointed citizen members to "The World at Our Door Lecture Series" executive committee.

The Lakewood Teachers Association endorsed the Board's building improvement bond issue.

May, 1946

Heard a report that the $1,900,000 School Building Improvement Bond Issue on May 7, 1946 passed by an 81.15% favorable vote.

Renewed the contract of Paul A. Rehmus, superintendent of schools, for a five year period (1946 to 1951). Salary $9,000 to $9,500.

Approved proceeding with plans for a gymnasium-community building to be erected at Lakewood High School.

Considered a proposal to build a new school administration building on the Grant School site on Warren Road.

Recommended preparing the 1947 school budget based on a tax duplicate of $105,000,000.

June, 1946

Approved the use of Emerson School on Sundays by the West Shore Unitarian Church.

A ten year survey of Lakewood's elementary schools was presented showing changes in curriculum and instruction.

August, 1946

Charles Geiger, local merchant, appeared at the Board meeting and requested the Board to divert the Wilson School property on Warren Road to public use.

Authorized appraisal of the Wilson School property.

September, 1946

Heard a report on decreasing student enrollment between 1936 and 1946; from 9839 students to 7009. Educational personnel during those years reduced from 372 to 317.

The Lakewood High School principal (Dr. Lawrence E. Vredevoe) submitted a summary report of the past 10 years.

Resolved to submit a 2 mill school operating levy to the voters on November 5, 1946.

October, 1946

Heard a report on teacher absences the past 9 years. Forty teachers on the list represented the highest number of absences. One teacher (Philip Borofka) had not missed a day since he joined the staff 26 years previously.

It was reported there were 472 employees in the Lakewood school system.

November, 1946

Heard reports on promotions in the Junior High Schools; that the reorganized Junior High School courses involved less time for social studies and more time for science and English; that Lakewood stands second among Ohio city school districts in current operation, 26th in debt service and 5th in total tax rates for current operation and debt service; and that the

2 mill school operating levy returns showed a majority vote of 79.641% for the levy.

Approved attendance of the superintendent at a 3-day conference on the Education of Youth in America at Columbia University.

Approved a 10% increase in salary for school staff members.

December, 1946

A report was given on tentative Ohio school legislation that would, if approved, distribute funds based on average daily membership rather than on average daily attendance of students.

Authorized one-year leaves of absence for foreign exchange teaching.

January, 1947

Received a letter from the Director of Law, the City of Lakewood, indicating that Yacht Club Island in the Rocky River would be annexed by the City of Rocky River for tax purposes.

A study indicating that 249 of Lakewood Schools' 323 educational personnel lived in Lakewood was presented.

A report was submitted that a gathering of area board of education members and superintendents of schools in Cleveland discussed the shortage of teachers and the financial status of teachers. Also discussed at the gathering was the organizing of the Ohio School Boards Association. Also recommended that the State should fund education on the basis of $60 for each elementary child and $72 for each high school child as a flat distribution.

Lakewood High School students presented $20,000 to the Board of Education as payment toward the proposed "Cabin in the Sky" (a student recreation center to be built on the roof of the high school building).

The Board was urged by some citizens and the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce to hear all proposals for the disposition of the Wilson School property on Warren Road before making a final decision.

It was reported that a course of study on Courtesy was being written by teachers as part of the Citizenship Program.

February, 1947

Heard a report on instrumental music classes, operation of the high school swimming pool, the "World at Our Door" lecture series, and the winter activities of the recreation department.

The 829 employee W2 Tax Forms for fiscal 1946 totaled $152,415.

March, 1947

The superintendent reported that the percent of attendance of students was lower than a year ago.

April, 1947

Heard reports on the Veterans' Training Program at Lakewood High School; on U. S. Senate Bill #472 -- Federal Aid to Education would provide at least $40 per capita for every child in the USA; and the suggested "pass-the-hat" collections at Harding Playfield summer games to defray expenses.

Adopted a new minimum salary schedule of $2,000 for teachers with a Bachelor's degree, and an additional increment to be given to teachers receiving the Master's degree.

Approved a bid to floodlight Harding Playfield.

Reappointed Lawrence E. Vredevoe as Lakewood High School principal for three years beginning August 1, 1947; and Samuel S. Dickey as Assistant Superintendent of Schools for three years.

Employed the architectural firm of Conrad, Hays, Simpson & Ruth to design a gymnasium-community building at Lakewood High School.

May, 1947

The superintendent reported on the work of the Citizenship curriculum committee, and that materials on Courtesy and Good Manners would be ready for distribution in the fall.

Approved changes and additions to the summer school policies.

June, 1947

A citizen requested that the Wilson School property be used for baseball facilities.

Contracted with the architectural firm of Conrad, Hays, Simpson & Ruth for work on the Franklin, Garfield gymnasiums.

July, 1947

Heard a report on the sale of War Bonds and Stamps in the amount of $1,021,495 from January, 1942 to June, 1947.

Accepted a bid for the erection of 750 seats at the Lakewood High School stadium.

Resolved to submit the renewal of a 6.7 mill school operating levy at the November 4, 1947 election.

August, 1947

Citizenship curriculum materials, to be used starting in September, 1947, were introduced to the Board. The work was completed by 50 teachers and administrators and 12 parents.

Heard reports on the elementary schools' programs submitted by Ethel K. Howard, the Director of Elementary Education; and that there were 9,530 children in the Lakewood Schools in May, 1947.

Paul A. Rehrnus, superintendent of schools, resigned effective August 31, 1947 to accept the position of superintendent of schools in Portland, Oregon.

September, 1947

Citizens petitioned the Board for "improvements to the Roosevelt School playground facilities.

The status of the "World at Our Door" lecture series was reported.

A student enrollment report showed a total of 6,899 pupils. Enrollments had decreased from 9,359 in 1937. The schools' staff decreased from 372 in 1937 to 320 in 1947. Lincoln School had the largest elementary enrollment, 482. Harrison the smallest, 242.

The Board appointed Martin W. Essex as the new superintendent of schools beginning November 1, 1947.

October, 1947

Samuel S. Dickey served as Acting Superintendent of Schools from September 1, 1947 to October 31, 1947.

The Board received a note of thanks from the Grant School PTA for adding a fifth grade to the school.

A resolution was adopted to amend the 3% admission tax at school functions.

Authorized purchase of new water coolers (drinking fountains) at Lakewood High School.

Promoted the 6.7 mill school operating levy renewal on the November election ballot.

November, 1947

Martin W. Essex, new superintendent of schools, was introduced to the audience at the November board meeting.

The Nash Automobile Agency requested a right to purchase a parcel of the Garfield School property on Detroit Avenue.

The Board announced that the renewal of the 6.7 mill school operating levy was approved by a 75.34% majority.

December, 1947

The superintendent reported on the activities of the Lakewood Schools' Visiting Teacher.

A cost of living adjustment of $125 was approved; to be distributed to each employee in service from September 1 to December 31, 1947.

January, 1948

The Board's contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System increased from 4.75% to 5.75%, and to the School Employees Retirement System from 5.5% to 6.5%.

Received the resignation of Dr. Lawrence E. Vredevoe, principal, Lakewood High School, effective the end of the first semester (1947-1948).

The superintendent discussed the current status of the search for a new high school principal following the resignation of Dr. Lawrence Vredevoe.

Appointed Mahlon A. Povenmire as principal, Lakewood High School, beginning February 16, 1948. Mr. Povenmire was Superintendent of Schools, Galion, Ohio.

Heard the following reports: a deficit of $782 exists in the school cafeteria operation; of progress on the school building rehabilitation program; the superintendent advised completion of some auditorium-gymnasium units at the elementary schools; that 88 of 111 eligible employees had joined the local chapter of the Ohio Association of Public School Employees; and on the coordination of student counseling between the junior and senior high schools.

Heard of the development of the Social Studies course of study in the elementary and junior high schools. The ninth grade study of Occupations and Civics was being revised.

The Red Cross Disaster Committee requested use of the Lakewood School buildings in the event of disaster.

February, 1948

Report on the decrease of student enrollment and the process of staff reassignments to compensate.

It was reported that the building plans for a high school auditorium-gymnasium were costing more than resources; that the Board should consider the possibility of going to the people for additional money.

Report on the study of housing the fifth and sixth grades at Grant School.

The superintendent recommended the employment of more experienced teachers to balance the numbers of inexperienced teachers employed during the past several years.

Agreement to prorate taxes on the Rocky River Yacht Club Island.

March, 1948

A letter from the Lakewood Teachers Association expressed appreciation for opportunity to state preferences on the 1948-1949 school calendar.

Reviewed a spot map showing juvenile court cases throughout the city.

Heard a report recommending that 4th, 5th and 6th grade children at Grant School be reassigned to Roosevelt, Madison, and Lincoln Schools.

Application was made for the exemption of the schools and PTAs from the 3% city admissions tax.

Heard the need for replacing boilers at Harding, alter plumbing at Madison, repairs at Harrison School, and drainage at Harding Field.

Adopted the school calendar for 1948-1949.

Raised the minimum teachers' salary from $2,000 to $2,050 effective 1948-1949.

A policy on employee absence was adopted.

April, 1948

Heard of the initiation of a study of the basic primary grades reading texts, last adopted in 1936. A study committee will make recommendations for new reading texts early in 1949.

Heard reports on the secondary curriculum study as related to general education and the core curriculum; on the children's Saturday film programs at the Hilliard Theatre sponsored by the Lakewood PTA Council; and on the increased use of power and light in the Lakewood Schools.

Announced a meeting in Lakewood of lighting representatives from northern Ohio held to show the new Lakewood classroom lighting and painting.

Accepted a bid to raze the Dowd Street unit of Harrison School.

Recommendation approved to reorganize Grant Elementary School as a primary school with fourth and fifth grade children permitted to attend any Lakewood elementary and junior high school of their choice.

Accepted policies and procedures for the operation of elementary and high school summer schools.

May, 1948

A letter was read from Eva Smith, a Lakewood exchange teacher in England.

Heard reports that food prices in the cafeterias were raised to decrease the cafeteria deficit; on the community-wide survey of the recreational needs of the community; and on school costs showing Lakewood (for 1946-47) as second in the state in costs for current expenses.

Resolution to pay architectural firm for plans completed on the proposed gymnasium-community center at Lakewood High School, even though there was little hope the Board had funds enough to accept bids on the project. The Board authorized the architects to continue with planning.

Recommended improvement of the high school chemistry and vocal and instrumental music facilities.

Increased maximum salaries for teachers with less than four years' training.

Resolved to place elementary and junior high school teachers on the same salary schedule as high school teachers.

President of the Lakewood Teachers Association (Sylvia Todd) thanked the Board for adjusting teachers' salaries and for adopting the single salary schedule for teachers.


Reappointed Ralph P. Orchard as Director of Operation and Maintenance.

Rented a test scoring machine from IBM.


Heard a report of help from the community in finding housing for teachers new to Lakewood.

Reported a gain of 145 children in the elementary schools, a loss of 188 in the junior high schools, and a loss of 26 at Lakewood High School.


School enrollments; elementary increase to 3766, up 126; junior high schools decreased by 64; senior high school decreased by 76. Total enrollment: 6810. Total decrease from the previous year: 89.

Introduced a new handbook for substitute teachers.

Announced the organizing of a Superintendent's Advisory Council.

October, 1948

Presentation of the new core curriculum materials to be used in the elementary schools.

Report on the loss of $70,000 revenue over a two-year period due to the reduction of income from voted levies by the County Auditor.

Mrs. Gilbert Nelson, PTA Council President, reported on the activities of the Lakewood Schools' PTA units.

Selective Service Board #30 was granted office space in the Board of Education Annex.

Authorized the Director of Cafeterias to make application for U. S. Department of Agriculture surplus commodities.

Regulations for the use of Roosevelt Elementary School playground were presented.

Authorized the use of Roosevelt School gymnasium on Sundays by the First Evangelical & Reformed Church, which had suffered fire damage.

Resolved to increase the salaries of school nurses.

November, 1948

A State Department of Education report showed Lakewood High School tied for second in the percentage (90%) of students graduating.

A letter/ resolution from the Lakewood Chamber of Commerce recommending that the Board of Education (1) sell the Wilson School property for commercial purposes, (2) complete neighborhood community and recreational centers, and (3) complete the high school gymnasium-auditorium assembly building and the "Cabin in the Sky" (student center).

Resolved to advertise the Wilson School property for sale.

Proposed submitting a school operating levy to the voters in order to maintain Lakewood's leadership in teachers' salaries.

December, 1948

Heard reports on the successful American Education Week/Open Houses which attracted many parents; and on the State Department of Education's evaluation of Lakewood's secondary schools.

Mrs. Ethel Howard, Director of Elementary Education, presented an "Information Series" report on "Curriculum Areas in the Elementary Schools".

Resolved to solicit bids for the lighting of the high school stadium.

Authorized advertising the Wilson School property for sale.

Authorized a $125 cost of living adjustment for all employees.

January, 1949

The Superintendent reported that the Board's contribution to the State Teachers Retirement System raised to 7.5% and to the School Employees Retirement System, 7.0%.

The decrease in enrollment at the high school resulted in a decrease of $31,075.39 in state funds for the Lakewood Schools.

Reported that the pupil-teacher ratio in the Lakewood Schools was 23.025 students.

Learned that the Hayes School PTA Parent Education discussions are a pioneering venture leading to a more desirable understanding of home and family relations.

Reported on the development of a new supervisory philosophy.

Increased construction costs caused expenditures from the Building Improvement Fund, in excess of budget, to be $157,418.

Advertised the auction for sale of the Wilson School property on Warren Road to be held on February 10, 1949.

February, 1949

Congratulated the PTAs for the development of the Parent Education Programs.

The president of the Lakewood Teachers Association spoke on the "Objectives and the Activities of the Lakewood Teachers Association."

Rejected the only bid of $50,000 as insufficient at the auction of the Wilson School property. Voted to readvertise the property auction for April 6, 1949.

Resolved to inform architects that sums of $90,000 each were available to construct auditorium-gymnasiums on Franklin and Garfield Schools.

Approved a new architectural contract with Conrad, Hays, Simpson and Ruth. '

Appointed Paul E. Spayde as Director of Research and Guidance.

Resolved to increase the salaries of school nurses.

March, 1949

Reports received on a philosophy of the high school written by the entire LHS faculty; and on the participation of Lakewood Schools' administrators and faculty in leadership roles at the UNESCO Conference in late March.

April, 1949

There were no bidders on the Wilson School property on April 6, 1949.

Resolved to submit a renewal of a 2 mill school operating levy and an additional 1-1/2 mill levy to the Lakewood voters on May 10, 1949.

Reported on the "Youth and the Teaching Profession" conference at Emerson School sponsored by the Ohio Education Association on April 20.

Because of decreased enrollments teachers were given the opportunity to volunteer for changes of assignment to lower grades.

May, 1949

A petition was received from eight Lakewood citizens (including Margaret Manor Butler) requesting the Board to operate and maintain the old Nicholson property at 13335 Detroit Avenue as an historical museum. The Board declined, citing Ohio School Law.

A report that new salary schedules for employees will result from passage of the school operating levy.

Report that the school operating levy (3-1/2 mills) passed with an 84% majority.

Additional salary increments were authorized in recognition of the credits earned by certificated personnel beyond requirements for the Bachelors and Masters degrees. Work completed to be related to the teacher's assignment and directed toward a special need of the schools.

A new teachers' salary schedule was adopted with a BA minimum of $2700 and maximum of $4500; a MA minimum of $2800 and a maximum of $4700. New administrative, clerical and custodial salary schedules were also adopted.

The Ohio Council of Geography teachers met at Taft School on May 6. Accepted architect's plans for the Franklin and Garfield Schools' Auditorium-Gymnasiums. Authorized the advertising of bids for construction.

June, 1949

St. Charles Avenue residents complained of dust blowing off the Wilson School property.

A report that teacher employment was helped by passage of the levy.

Resolved to rehabilitate the machine shop and reroof the swimming pool at Lakewood High School.

Authorized the construction of the Garfield and Franklin Schools' auditorium-gymnasiums.

July, 1949

A reduction of 11-1/2 educational personnel for 1949-50 was in keeping with reduced student enrollments.

The Lakewood Library Trustees requested that $156,596 be included in the Board of Education budget for library operating expenses.

August, 1949

Two offers were received from developers to purchase the Wilson School property. Both developers planned to build commercial buildings. Offers were $100,000 from M. H. Hausman Real Estate, and $110,000 from Warren Center, Incorporated.

September, 1949

Announced formation of a twelve-weeks administrators' curriculum study program.

School enrollments continued to decline due to low economic depression years birth rates and expanding Lakewood parochial schools.

Exchange teacher, Elise Moulinas, from Paris began her year in Lakewood at Emerson School.

27 new teachers reported for duty on September 6.

Resolved to sell the Wilson School property to the Warren Center Incorporated for $116,500.

October, 1949

Read a copy of a letter to Lakewood City Council from the League of Women Voters recommending delay in the rezoning the Wilson School property to commercial use because of differences of opinion between Council and the Board.

The chronology of Wilson School property events was subsequently reviewed by the Board from 1/5/47 through 9/8/49.

Heard a report on the gain of student enrollments in Lakewood's parochial schools: 75% public, 25% parochial.

Report on the newly developed "Staff Study Programs," organized to maintain Lakewood's top position in curriculum development. The "on-campus in Lakewood" format, led by Dean McSwain of Northwestern University (elementary staff) and Dr. Harold Alberty, Ohio State University (secondary staff) is unique in the country.

Report on the new Fifth Grade Curriculum Guide and a unit on Housing.

Margaret Manor Butler proposed an historical museum room at Lincoln Elementary School.

The Board adopted the Patton "Word Mastery Speller" as the new basal spelling text.

November, 1949

Heard a report on the Lakewood Schools' financial status as compared to other Ohio cities.

Report on the gain of sick leave days used by staff members; from 39.6 days in 1948-49 to 41.2 days in 1949-50.

As a result of new lighting at the Lakewood High School stadium, and the subsequent scheduling of Friday evening football games, attendance increased from 14,238 in 1948 to 38,590 in 1949.

A letter from Councilman Thomas Ward stated City Council's intention to eliminate watchmen at the Belle, Nicholson and Webb railroad crossings.

December, 1949

Report that 7,926 adults visited the Lakewood Schools during American Education Week Open Houses in November.

The Evening High School Credit Program for adults was rated S+ (highest rating) by the State Department of Education.

Report that 1524 adults are enrolled in 21 different activities in the Adult Education and Recreation fall (non-credit) programs.

>> 1950-1953

The history of the Lakewood Schools from 1946 to 1980 is reflected in excerpts from the minutes of the meetings of the Lakewood Boards of Education, compiled by Joseph Wilson, former teacher, principal and personnel director (1947-1979).