Lorain City Schools – What will it take Lorain – The BAD

November 28, 2011 at 12:09 am 19 comments

UPDATE: I have pulled this information out of the comments to the “front page” as I believe the information is beneficial and “shows” a great deal Comment No. 2. on this post
Click on jpg to enlarge.

I analyzed stats from the year Dee Morgan left to the last year Atkinson was here to see what that cool million we spent on her did for us. We were better in 7 areas and worse in 18. Average Superintendent salary is $140,000. Why do we spend $85,000 more than the going rate? For what?


Part One – THE GOOD

BAD – the definition
Not achieving an adequate standard; poor

Lorain City Schools has been in the BAD category when trying to achieve an adequate standard:

The history from Citizens 4 Better Lorain Schools
( You can follow this link and click on the links (PDF files) for all the documentation here :

The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2010-2011. 5 out of 26 state indicators met.

The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2009-2010. 1 out of 26 state indicators met.

The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2008-2009. 3 out of 30 state indicators met.

The Yearly Report Card by the Ohio Department of Education is in for 2007-2008. 4 of 30 state indicators met.

Apparently we have also been “bad” in other years

4-05-Academic Watch-Morgan 3- 78.1 out of 120

05-06 -Continuous Improv -Morgan 6-82.3 out of 120

06-07-Continuous Improv -Morgan 4-80.6 out of 120

07-08 -Academic Watch- Atkinson -4 -77.8 out of 120

08-09-Academic Watch Atkinson 3-78.6 out of 120

You can slice it and dice it anyway you want:
Morning Journal article August 2011
Lorain schools get better grade (with video)

but we are still “struggling”- UP a point- DOWN a point…… but always hovering very near the bottom and that is BAD……….

Obviously, this has not happened over night but we aren’t making any great strides either even with two different ” highly paid” and “educated” superintendents at the “helm”

The numbers games comes into play -


after all since schools are publicly funded they have to show us something for our money don’t they?

You can find all sorts of information here

We aren’t healthy and haven’t been for many years and gaining a point or two isn’t going to cut it, because a whole generation of children have been coming through the corridors of under achievement and academic watch and that is bad…….. we won’t get those years or those children back for a “do over “

Something isn’t working no matter how much we pay superintendents or spend upon the students per school (whether high school, middle school or elementary) The 2009-2010 stats found here
LCS Excel file

There is a great deal of information about the Lorain City School system on the Ohio Department of Education website and you can compare all information to any school in the state ( including charter schools) also here is a link to the website INNOVATION OHIO -

FYI on Innovation Ohio

Feb 28th 2011 Former Strickland Policy Chief Launches Innovation OhioColumbus, Ohio — Innovation Ohio, a new non-partisan but avowedly progressive think tank with offices in downtown Columbus, begins operations today.

Innovation Ohio, which is comprised of leaders in business, academia, politics and public service, will have a two-fold mission. First, it will advocate and advance progressive public policies (especially in the areas of the state budget and jobs, education, health care, and energy) that strengthen the middle class, protect the less advantaged, equalize opportunity, and provide businesses with the tools they need to innovate, compete, and create well-paying, long-term jobs. Second, Innovation Ohio will provide rapid response policy analysis and commentary to ensure that reckless, ill-advised or counterproductive proposals originating elsewhere do not go unchallenged. Innovation Ohio will not urge the election or defeat of candidates for any political office, nor pursue a partisan agenda. It will, however, deploy an army of academics, practitioners, and policy experts to ensure the progressive voice is heard and included in the public policy debate

and the report which you may find informative :

So there is your homework – anyone have any ideas on the “real fix” other than what has been happening – playing the stats game in order to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

In order for Lorain City Schools to make progress in the community ( all of the community not just enough of them to squeak by with a win in a levy campaign) but to get the citizens on board supporting their schools once more there has to be ” a course of action and time line to turn the bad report card into one the “city” and “her tax paying citizens” – the other two partners – can once again be proud to put on the public refrigerator door……..

MY BAD!!! What is YOURS????

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Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, education, notorious opponents of exactitude. Tags: , , .

Mark Puente – says NOT SO!!!!!!! Lorain City Schools- Jim Smith- “Good- Bad and Ugly” – Guest Post

19 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grammy  |  November 28, 2011 at 3:29 am

    To be honest, I wish we had a time machine so we could go back to 1990’s and start that whole levy campaign over again. Instead of trying to intimidate the citizens to vote them money, honesty and openness and a genuine concern for students would be the driving course. This openness would have probably kept the levy from failing, which in turn lead to cancellation of ALL extra-curriculars (sports, arts, clubs, student government) for an academic year, which led to a student flight. Granted, the levy passed but not before confidence in our system vanished. Somehow, the current leaders of our school system have to get back to the respect and trust that used to drive this district.

    I know back to basics sounds like the stone age to some, but if we don’t build a good base, we cannot go forward. The extras are nice, they add enrichment and open doors, but if you can’t read, do math, actually attend school and graduate, what good are Mandarin classes? When data was looked at when testing at the state level first started, indicators of where we were “losing” students was ignored. We should have looked at the data and plugged the leak in the dike wall before it became a flood.

    Get back to the good old basic, regular, college and honors classes. Get back to allowing teachers to teach the material without having the State breathing down their necks for achievement on tests. Testing is fine but not as an end in itself. Get rid of No Child Left Behind shackles, it really hasn’t work as proposed, not at the national or Texas level, as promised. It just added another level of requirements to an already overloaded curriculum. Yes, we need standards, but not when those standards come with so many strings we can’t actually teach the students anything except hopefully how to take the test.

    I wish I had the answer. We need to look at and work together and stop pointing fingers at those that are long gone. Let’s put our best and brightest to work TOGETHER and maybe we can set this run away train back on its tracks.

  • 2. ladalang  |  November 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    Here’s an updated spending/enrollment graph:

    I analyzed stats from the year Dee Morgan left to the last year Atkinson was here to see what that cool million we spent on her did for us. We were better in 7 areas and worse in 18. Average Superintendent salary is $140,000. Why do we spend $85,000 more than the going rate? For what?


  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 28, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    Good question Joyce and one that the LCS NEEDS to address…. we gave (in my tax payers opinion) premature bonuses ( raises whatever you would like to call it) for Atkinson and the job was not being done, no matter the high priced “supers” claims it is not reflected in what I expect to happen for that money and “expertise”

    I was also disappointed in the school board members who continued to sing her praises and make excuses when they are supposed to represent US. I don’t care if she was a “nice person” in their eyes – she was earning a great deal for her expertise and honestly I don’t see any benefit from either of the superintendents I had “dealings with”-

    I could not find a mission statement for the Board of Education but I would assume ( I know ass out of u and me - hopefully that isn’t the case ;) ) it is their mission to promote a high standard of education for the students of Lorain City Schools and not to “promote the platform and add to an already lopsided income ” for a superintendent because it seems looking at the past few years the majority have been leaning that way instead of asking the “hard questions” just my 2 cents as surface dwelling taxpayer ( which most of us are :)

  • 4. ladalang  |  November 28, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    The biggest thing I believe we can do as a district is to cut administration spending down to 4 million. That means shaving eight million off the top. Start paying what every other district in Ohio pays $140,000 or less to attract someone who cares rather than someone who’s looking for a big salary but won’t do anything for it. Focus on the basics academically. We are terrible in Math as a district. Instead of getting back to the basics we add Mandarin Chinese to compete in a “global market” sounds great but we aren’t able to compete in our county let alone a global market. What a waste of valuable resources. I believe in Foreign Language classes but just not in the current shape we are in. We are horrendous in academics. The kids taking Mandarin Chinese aren’t bringing our scores down, it’s those who our district has given up on. Those forgotten kids. It’s like we concentrate on the top performing kids and ignore the majority of our kids who truly need the help. They play the blame game. Parents and poor. Two factors that will never change.

    Here’s a look at other districts spending on administration costs:



  • 5. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 29, 2011 at 1:16 am

    Sorry Paula as I said I am having touble with the comments section I have reported it looks like your post was discombobulated :(

  • 6. aka mozart  |  November 29, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    Check out last night “Rock Center” report on the schools in
    Atlanta. It was about teachers and the super….ha…they even mentioned Decal (sp) was looking to see Atkinson’s face…(ugh)…

  • 7. Grammy  |  November 29, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    This may be a little off the wall, but I just read the article in the MJ about the new Ohio State football coach and his compensation contract. Here is a PUBLIC educational facility paying out an outrageous amount of money over six years to a football coach. His job is get the “team” back to its glory days and help us in Ohio feel good. What in the world is the message we are sending! Throw lots of money at the head honcho and hope for success. Looks like the LCS philosophy. Those funds would have done great things for student scholarships for ACADEMICS. We keep moving away from basics at all levels of education and look for the gratification instead. Sports have their place (a great place) but NOT when you send this type of message.

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 29, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    I agree “sports ” has a place but only a tiny – tiny percentage of players/participants go onto be professional and then only for a limited playing time – but the billions made by the colleges etc.


    I suppose could be argued helps toward the “cost of the education”.I wonder how much benefit those non sports students benefit from having sports at their college- just wondering out loud. I was amazed at the Penn state income realized yearly from football 50 million last year down from 92 ….

    Throwing money at the ” who will save us person of the moment “ seems to be the way we have evolved- we are looking for leadership and when the “expert ” is found to have” no substantive clothes” we search for the next highly paid expert to save us with the “Oh they must be good look at what they are paid elsewhere syndrome of save us save us tell us what to do?” whilst their game plan is getting that money –

    How long did Dr. Atkinson stay in any one place before we hired her – I found that worrying you can’t turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse quickly but we raved and raved ( and some on the school board still do) and so we gave her an even more lucrative contract to keep her so she would stay and weave her magic …… errrrrr that didn’t work out too well except for her did it??? – why do they still carry on about her and turning things around??? ???? it was a mistake by not admitting our mistakes we carry on making them in my book….. .. we are desperate…… and we are media hype addicts…….. we want to believe someone else can do it for us – I don’t think that is the case

  • 9. Grammy  |  November 29, 2011 at 2:38 pm


  • 10. Dr. Tammy Ramirez  |  November 29, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I want to go back to something Bill Sturgill said: “If I eliminated Charleston Center completely would education change in Lorain, as far as its achievement.”. The answer to that is ” No”.
    When a business is in trouble, you must look to the management as the issue, they set the tone for the leadership, direction and focus. Therefore, eliminating the administration is EXACTLY what is required. Even if there are those who argue “we can’t because of requirements, regulations, etc. etc…..if you want change, it doesn’t start with the kids, the parents or the teachers, it starts at the top! Abolishing the “Charleston Center” and either outsourcing the entire job or forming a public-private partnership (P3) sends the clear message that the board is not doing business as usual!

  • 11. ladalang  |  November 29, 2011 at 5:08 pm

    The fact that they would lay off teachers before any mention of the huge administration shows you exactly where their heads are. They want to make painful cuts that hurt the students and voters to force a yes vote on a levy. We have a perfect situation to get that administration lean and leave those teachers in the classroom where they belong. We are at a crossroads. The easiest most painless cuts would be to administration. Even Avon Lake is under $2 million and we are at $12 million? Something is wrong with this picture. One high school and we have a huge administration. If they cut administration by $8 million they would make huge strides with the voters.

  • 12. Grammy  |  November 29, 2011 at 6:25 pm

    So, which administrators do you think should be cut? Which positions do we eliminate without hurting students?

    I can see a scaling back, like I said before, let’s get back to basics. So at the high school and middle school, a principal and an assistant principal, a counselor or two. The elementary schools will each need a principal. There should be someone to oversee the principals and see that they are doing their jobs as per board policy, so that is a position that should not be eliminated. Student Services oversees accountability, enrollment, psychologists, special education needs, so that’s a STUDENT SERVICE and we need that.

    There are many positions that are (I know you don’t want to hear it) required because we have requested and received GRANT monies that carry their own sets if additional rules and governance. But, if we give up that grant money, we give up those programs, and since we can’t run the programs without the grant money, we short change the students once again. And it goes on and on. There are also positions in central administration that are State mandated/required.

    Maybe if we scale back the transportation to STATE GUIDELINES we could save some money there. That of course means that parents would have to step up and take responsibility for student transportation. The State does not require transportation at the high school level. If we go back to the neighborhood school concept, students would live within the state mandated 2 miles and could walk, eliminating more bus costs. If a parent chooses to have their student attend a private and/or religious school, transportation is on you not on us. Special needs students often require transportation and that should be kept. Once again, I know you don’t want to hear this, but when I was in school, you walked to school. We even had to walk home for lunch and back within a give time period because our house was 5 houses short of the cut off to be able to stay at school for lunch. We survived and did quite well.
    Maybe some of the things from the “good old days” aren’t really so bad.

    Since the schools all have their own copiers, maybe the print shop’s work could be outsourced on the district level. Or, each building could print the district notices for their students at their building.

    Maybe we should take a page from some southern states and consolidate our schools on the county level. One board to oversee the COUNTY along with a central administration for the COUNTY. That in itself saves many cities and districts a lot of money that could go into teachers and materials for (are you ready for this) EDUCATING our students. Central purchasing, central support, what a concept! And you know what, IT WORKS.

    Changes have to be made, but not on the backs of any one group. We are responsible for giving our children that best we have to offer them educationally. That includes the best at home in the way of help and support; seeing that they go to school and do the work that is required. Being there for them when they have questions, not leaving it all up to the teachers who only see them part of the day. Education is a 24/7 happening so everyone has to help with the educating.

  • 13. Mark  |  November 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm

    Nicely done, Loraine. You should send a copy to Tony and zebulon.

  • 14. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 29, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Grammy I have a thought ………. the school system NEEDS to get out of the social service agency business and go back to “education”
    I may explore those thoughts in greater detail ……………

  • 15. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Thanks Mark – hopefully they will be reading – not just my thoughts but those that are commenting and are blog guests – they might see a pattern……

  • 16. aka mozart  |  November 29, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    To the Editor: A notable casualty of the Nov. 8 election was Lorain school board member Paul Biber. He will be replaced on the board next year by Mitchell Fallis.

    Biber’s major sin was his stubborn support for the now-infamous Site 3 location for the new Lorain High.

    Biber was aided and abetted by The Morning Journal’s editorials, but that is no excuse.

    I have nothing personal against Paul Biber. I thank him for his years of meritorious service to Lorain and wish him well in his next endeavor.

    Glenn Walter, Lorain
    I thought Glen was a hoot…anyhow, had to paste.

  • 17. Lisa  |  November 30, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    @ #12 Grammy re:
    “If a parent chooses to have their student attend a private and/or religious school, transportation is on you not on us.”

    I agree with you.

    That’s the way it should be, but it isn’t.

    I don’t think LCS can do anything to change that.

    Per ORC 3327.01 http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3327.01
    “In all city, local, and exempted village school districts where resident school pupils in grades kindergarten through eight live more than two miles from the school for which the state board of education prescribes minimum standards pursuant to division (D) of section 3301.07 of the Revised Code and to which they are assigned by the board of education of the district of residence or to and from the nonpublic or community school which they attend the board of education shall provide transportation for such pupils to and from such school except as provided in section 3327.02 of the Revised Code.”
    “Where it is impractical to transport a pupil by school conveyance, a board of education may offer payment, in lieu of providing such transportation in accordance with section 3327.02 of the Revised Code.”

    Although there appears to be an out when it comes to community schools: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/3314.091

    – Lisa the citizen :-)

  • 18. Grammy  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:43 pm

    To Lisa the citizen:

    Your information is right on the mark. My theory though is if we return to neighborhood schools, some of the transportation would be eliminated. There are a lot of students that live within the 2 mile limit of an available school, who have been assigned elsewhere (for lots of reasons that only make sense if you are manipulating data) who therefore need transportation. Go back to neighborhood schools, get back in touch with the people you live amongst and just maybe the children can teach us to live as a community rather than as shuttered strangers.

  • 19. Grammy  |  December 1, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    Also the STATE mandates responsibility but doesn’t provide funding to meet the obligations them insist upon.

    Unfunded mandates impact every district and take local monies away from the primary obligation of educating students.

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