Administrators with the Olentangy School district plan to host three community forums this year.
The forums are a time to bring together community members to ask the district questions, said Karen Truett, district spokeswoman. The district will also invite state lawmakers Andrew Brenner and Kris Jordan to attend.
“Sometimes, it’s nice to have lawmakers available who have the ideas firsthand,” Truett said. “Lawmakers are working on a lot that deals with school districts. Then, they are able to hear what’s going on in their communities because this is a large part of their constituency for them.”
The forums will take place at each of Olentangy’s three high schools with the first being Nov. 14 at Olentangy High School.
Each forum will last two hours with the first hour being a time for the district to provide an overview on where it is academically and financially and the second hour will serve as a question and answer session.
Attendees will write their questions down on cards, so they can be read to the crowd before receiving an answer. Contact information can also be written down on the card, so any questions not answered will be addressed later by phone or email, Truett said.
Although not intentionally planned, the decision on Senate Bill 5, the collective bargaining law that is subject to a voter referendum on Nov. 8, will have been voted on before the meeting, so the forum can be used to talk about how the decision will affect the district, Truett said.
Superintendent Wade Lucas has tried to engage the public via town hall-style meetings in the past. Last year, Lucas held more than 150 coffee chats and small community meetings to get out information about the district’s levy, Truett said.
Lucas is open to holding smaller groups if needed, Truett said.
“There have been large-scale group meetings about certain topics, like last year’s meeting on the overcrowding at Orange Middle School,” Truett said. “These forums are not uncharted territory, but this is the first time the district has done this to give folks an overall view of the state of the schools.”
The first forum has been set for 7 to 9 p.m. Nov. 14 at Olentangy High School, 675 Lewis Center Road, Lewis Center. No RSVP is required, and the auditorium seats about 500 people.