Guest Post – Bill Sturgill-LCS

October 8, 2010 at 9:33 pm 11 comments

ED Note: I made the offer of space available on this blog for those who wished to give their reasonings for various issues during this election season. Mr Sturgill has asked for such space with regard to Issue 8- Lorain City Schools

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Entry filed under: Blogging, education, opinion. Tags: .

Lorain County Community College- 17 and more! The Internet- linked forever :) :(

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grammy  |  October 8, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Mr. Sturgill: First let me thank you for your service to Lorain City Schools. Second, thank you for telling me about the drop in collected mileage from the 1992 levy. I appreciate all the information you have provided. Please do not take what I am about to say as a negative, rather as an inquiry. I have always supported the schools in Lorain both as a student, parent of students and employee.

    It is all well and good that you have broken down the amount extra that we would be paying should this levy pass. BUT, could you please tell me how I am to find an extra $140 in tax money on a fixed income? May current tax bill is over $500 a half and more than 2/3rds of it goes to Lorain City Schools. I am not getting an increase in my pension next year, my medical coverage will be increasing, I am not eligible for social security so I have to live on what I get and that’s it. There really aren’t even part-time jobs that I can take to make up the difference, especially since that extra income will impact other taxes that I am obligated to pay (the IRS will want an additional share–which will lead to local schools getting more federal monies, but as you can see it is coming out of the same wallet)

    Why has the state legislature been allowed to thumb their noses at the State of Ohio’s Supreme Court and refuse to find a better way to fund education in the State of Ohio as directed. We all know the lottery monies have strings attached ( you can buy computers, but cannot fix the leaking roof over them) so please, not lottery money as an excuse. Why does our board of education feel the need to bring in supervisory people from outside of Lorain and Ohio to do the job that others have left Lorain City Schools to do in other cities and towns right here in Ohio? Why do they feel the need to give such outlandish salaries to these same people and then bend over to please their every want and whim? There are restrictions and variables involved with accepting the position, but then they come and get them changed (the Superintendent NOT living within the boundaries of the district is unexcusable).

    I do hope you have a successful levy campaign and our STUDENTS get what they need. I look forward to your response to the above questions.

  • 2. Bill Sturgill  |  October 8, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    If I may call you that. Thank you for the question and opportunity to speak. I am not really in disagreement with many of the things you say. These are exceptionaly hard times and we the Board have already cut $9M out of the budget. Believe me it is hard to come asking when you know people are on fixed incomes and maybe just can’t afford it. I think that is just going to be an individual choice. I’m sure there are going to be people who would like to vote yes but will say no because of their personal finance. I think as long as you vote no for the right reasons I’m ok with that.
    As you know I have only been on the board for 10 Months. I believe a lot of things should happen in LCS. I believe we should downsize our administration over time with attrition. I am in no hurry to take someone’s job away in times like this, but i am all for not replacing someone who retires, or combining jobs to become more effecient.
    The Superintendent now lives in the boundaries of the city of Lorain and is a voting citizen. I was there when she went to vote on Monday.
    I will be attending a conference in Columbus on Nov. 7th and the discussion is about state funding. I believe they are getting closer to funding it correctly but not fast enough. If I were in contempt of state law I would be arrested and locked up till I came to the right conclusion. I will vote for the lawmaker who is innovative enough to do that. Strictland touted himself as the education govenor. Now would be a good time to step up,If it is any consequence the OSBA is suggesting an increase for the senior citizen school district income tax credit.
    I really can’t speak to the supt’s salary, I wasn’t there when it was voted. I think it was a bit much for our size district, so in hindsight i hope she can live up to it. I do know she works about 18 hrs a day.
    My biggest dissapointment since being on the board has been the fact that it has been all about monies. I would so much like to put this all behind us and isn’t it about time to focus on education and achievement. I did feel good today when I went to Washington elementary to celebrate them moving up to continuous improvement ……should I dare want for the word effective….Thank YOU…..Bill

  • 3. Grammy  |  October 9, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you for your response. It is indeed the exception today rather than the norm to be “civil” and foresightful in ones response.

    Again, Thank you.

  • 4. Susie  |  October 10, 2010 at 4:25 am

    Mr. Sturgill,

    Is the Board truly aware of what’s going on in this district?
    When will the Board take more control of the way the money is being spent in this district? Do you not have that power?

    Raises were handed out to a select few before salaries were frozen, the teachers took their 6% increase last year while everyone else was forced to make concessions, people are being hired from the outside instead of promotions from within, job descriptions are being rewritten to disqualify internal candidates, retirees [and others who leave the district] are being replaced with people whose starting salaries are almost as much as – if not more than – – what was being paid to the person who left – and the list goes on.

    Yet, all employees are expected to financially support the levy, say good things about the district, and not talk to board members about their concerns. People are being forced to contact the Board anonymously because they fear retaliation from the administration. Doesn’t that tell you something is very wrong in this district?

    LCS truly is like the corpse at the funeral – painted and perfumed on the outside and rotting on the inside.

  • 5. Peter Potamus  |  October 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Thank you for contributing to the readership that this blog sreves, Mr Sturgill.

    Grammy touches upon a salient point; regardless of the worthiness of any levy, there are seniors whose budgets are expensed down to the last penny…. they don’t have any more money to spend.

    This puts the proponents of any levy(schools, safety forces, infrastructure) at a decided disadvantage as it locks in maybe 30% of the voting public as a “no” vote. Jerry Springer raised this same point when he was considering a run for the US Senate some years back.

    Susie also touched upon another point of saliency that plays into the hands of levy opponents; to wit, “favoritism” in handing out 6% pay increases to the favored few at the 11th hour before a pay freeze kicks in…. reminds me of Nixon showing the same favors to the Teamsters immediately before he instituted a 90-day wage/price freeze.

    It makes things that much tougher of a sell to the voters when these two comorbid exigencies are brought into play. Furthermore, Eisenhower, in his “hanging ourselves on a cross of iron” speech spoke of the military sucking off money that could be better spent on schools, hospiitals, etc…. In fact, Eisenhower’s son spoke of how his father would actually EXPENSE proposed weapons programs AGAINST how many hospitals, schools could be built with that money instead.

    I appreciate the concern of someone willing to take some of his available free time to visit what I consider to be an elightened readership here at Lorraine’s Web Log to advance what many would feel iss a Quixotic cause with no hope of victory.

    Yet David did indeed beat Goliath and it was with an oblique approach/strategy….

    The 1980 US Olympic Hockey Team at Lake Placid employed a unique kamikaze approach of their defensemen forechecking and defeated the Soviet Team which had defeated the NHL All-Stars some months earlier and had defeated

    The biggest concern you and others who share your LCS responsibilities should have ALONG WITH other school systems and safety forces is THE CURRENT EXISTENCE of resources that can be asembled in an oblique fashion to achieve your mandated needs…

    …in other words, would the proper assemblage of elements currenly within the grasp of you all be able to address your needs, in toto…. and yet none of you are seeing a solution that exists before your very eyes.

    The answer is “yes”… there’s a steep learning curve to achieve the ability to assemble these resources, but “what the hey”; you’ve already shown a willingness to give up some available free time to “compose”….

    … it is much easier to “read” than “compose” so the investment of just a bit more free time costs nothing at all. Both you and I are in the presence of people who have an established track record of showing concern for their community…. there’s your first poker chip to stash…

    …but you yourself already knew that AS EVIDENCED BY your presence here in the first place

    Stick around… like the Catholic Cardinal who later became Pope John Paul I told Michael Corleone in “The Godfather III”, “your a PRACTICAL MAN; what have you got to lose?”

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 10, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    People are being forced to contact the Board anonymously because they fear retaliation from the administration. Doesn’t that tell you something is very wrong in this district?

    There was mention of this on the televised BOE meeting on Channel 20.

    You know as being on the receiving end on more than one occasion for taking a stand and the consequences of taking a stand – I was always prepared to have the courage of my convictions, from John Cole, to Veard to Foltin whatever advocacy of the moment would mean in case of retaliation I always built that possiblity into my advocacy

    ….. They say speech is free and TPTB want to hear from us….but not really… when you speak out you have to weigh it against what you are prepared to lose or can afford to lose…… Those that have control can and will punish –

    IF this is once again happening in the school system I am deeply saddened I had hope things had changed , but from my off the blog emails it seems there is a very strong concern that “punishment” for views other than the “canned kind” or questions asked . THE PERCEPTION AMONG THE PEOPLE THAT HAVE CONTACTED THIS BLOG OFF THE POST SUPPORT THAT CONCLUSION- and we all know that perception is reality and therefore has to be dealt with.

    Would I have the guts to speak out knowing there was even the slightest chance that the perception is reality…… No probably not .

  • 7. Grammy  |  October 10, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    Retaliation by the powers that be has and will continue. When I was an employee of the board, I would not write letters to editor even if it was about a NON-school related issue. It was just too risky to put myself out there knowing my children/students could suffer for such outbursts. (It happened once and I would not do that to them again.) That in turn makes it difficult to teach your children to power of advocacy and standing up for what you believe is right. Fortunately, I found a way to give voice to my thoughts without jeopardizing my family members. It’s just part of the “game” we have allowed these organizations (schools, employeers, political personages) to get away with instead of standing up “en masse” to their high jinks. It is hard to have that courage but we must try.

  • 8. Loraine Ritchey  |  October 11, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    I have received a request for clarification as to the definition of “administrator” as pertains to LCS … for example who is included in that definition of administrator in LCS – is it just the administrators at Charleston???? also in the comparison with other districts are those districts including ALL administrators in their stats……
    including building administrators), and in this letter are only the ‘central office’ administrators are being counted.

    Yup I think we need to define administrators – Bill????????

  • 9. Bill Sturgill  |  October 12, 2010 at 1:27 am

    I apoligize to all for not being prompt, but will try to answser some question. Suzie is right about administators being hired at the same level the old ones were when they are left. I am under the impression charelston center is going to take a 5% cut but that hasn’t occured yet, I think we the board should hold up our end of this proposal. I believe a lot of the hiring was contractual and did before I came on the board, Some of this could be addressed as contracts are renewed, and all future contract should be scrutinized.
    Susie, there is a lot of things wrong with this district. I have been told that people are not allowed to talk with me and no one admits to saying that. If you want to talk or converse, I will hold what you say in confidence or read it in public. I also will hold anyone who retaliates on freedom of speech liable and I believe there are others who feel the same way. I’M IN the phone book under Bill Sturgill. I say we need the input whether we like the information that is said or not.
    I will say this till I turn Blue. We LCS need to start giving people a reason to trust us. I don’t mind answering questions. I encouraqge you ask them. My email is
    Remember I can only speak for myself and not the board. But I will try to be honest and sincere in my answers.
    Loraine, I consider an administrator anyone in a supervisory position or job. Naturaly includes charleston center and their support staff. Building principals and assistants. SFA people, are administrators for that grant and are paid with grant money but are administrators non the less. I would someday hope to see a flow chart comparision of 2007 VS 2010.
    Peter Potomus, I think you are correct unfortuanaly. It will be interesting to see what keep as imporantant when you have to make choices. If we had the money I would like to put the pre school back in place.
    Suzie, bottom line on raises and money. I wish the whole district took a 5% cut and that means everyone. I want to save as manny jobs and especially teachers as possible. Problem with this is there’s a lot of people who don;t feel that way.
    There are a lot of things to correct in this district. I say this for myself and will stand by it. I will not tolerate retalitory bullying by any one in this district. Thanks for the idea, now I have to read the policy book to see if we have a policy to deal with this…..Don’t be silent keep talking, its important… Thanks Bill

  • 10. Susie  |  October 12, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Mr. Sturgill, thank you for taking the time to respond.

    The salaries at Charleston have been frozen indefinitely for some, for the duration of individual contracts for others.

    I always thought “administrators” were those who held positions of authority – Supt, Deputy Supt, Asst Supts, Treasurer, Asst Treas, Chiefs, and Principals.

    Maybe someday, Mr. Sturgill, people won’t be so afraid to publicly speak the truths of LCS as they have done in the past. Morale is at such an all-time low, I’m surprised more people won’t speak up.

    It would serves us all well to remember that silence is acceptance.

  • 11. Bill Sturgill  |  October 12, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    I know morale is very low. I also have seen the finiancials for the district, and the picture isn;t pretty. I know passing this levy is not popular with many people. I just want them to read the information and form an opinion one way or the other. It is not going to help anyone in this district to remain silent if there are problems. I want to state up front that i have family working in the district. I ask no special favors for them, they should take cuts right along with everyone else, even the board. I would take whatever percentage it would take to balance the budget and save people, but that is just me. I don’t do this for a living, it is just a passion. Any time you would like to talk, you have my ear in confidence. If you can help this district please help me.Thank……Bill

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