Archive for November 4, 2010

The Heron and the Henery ;)

“I was able to get a tour of the site and surrounding area with Utilities Director Corey Timko. Corey took me to the site that Mike Kennedy and I had visited to explain what was really happening”

November 4, 2010 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Edge of a Financial Cliff by Kelly Boyer Sagert


November 4, 2010

To the editor,

The Lorain school levy has failed. Why? Perhaps the words of Abraham Lincoln offer an explanation. Lincoln said; “You can fool all of the people some of the time and some of the people all of the time but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. When the only way the citizens’ can be heard is at the ballot box they will, and did, speak loud and clear.

In the last 3 years 4 tax levies have failed. The district’s state report card, to quote a recent editorial, “stinks like a dead cat on a curb”. ED NOTE: pdf OF THE EDITORIAL HERE

And over 1,000 students have left the district. During that same period the payroll at the Charleston Administration Center continued to climb. In the last school year it exceeded $5,000,000.
The district has done nothing to retain or attract students. When a major communications company offered to implement and pay for a marketing plan for the district the superintendent ignored the offer.

The school board’s Business Advisory Committee, the only board committee required under Ohio law, has not met in more than 2 years. The boards Financial Advisory Committee does not meet on a regular basis. The board’s Facilities Committee has not met in more than 6 months and played no part in the Site 3 decision.

In a recent communication I received from the Ohio School Facilities Committee regarding Site 3 it was made clear that, while the state would not object to building on Site 3, the state would pay no more than the original allocation in the master plan for a high school. So when costs far exceed the allocated amount, and they will, the state will shut off the money supply. Guess who will be left holding the bag?

I close with more words from Lincoln; “When the sentiments of the people are with you, you will not fail. When the sentiments of the people are against you, you will not succeed”. Words that I, and my fellow board members, should remember before asking voters to consider any school levies.

Jim Smith

At tonight’s Lorain City Schools Board of Education meeting, treasurer Dale Weber stated that the school system is poised on the “edge of a financial cliff,” now that Issue 8 failed at the polls on November 2nd.

Weber described several options that the school board could take next, including putting a levy on the ballot in February as part of a special election or waiting to put the issue on May’s ballot as part of the upcoming primary election. If February was chosen as the date, then the school board would need to pass a motion during the meeting and the school system would need to assume the burden of the cost of the election. If May was chosen, then the board would need to act by an unspecified date in January.

The board decided to not put the issue on the ballot in February to allow for planning time and for time to discern reasons for the failure of Issue 8.

The board and superintendent Cheryl Atkinson discussed whether cuts in school programming should take place immediately or if the current school year should continue in its present scheduling and format. It was noted there is funding available to continue current classes and programs through the end of the current school year. It was decided to not make additional cuts during the 2010-2011 school year in hopes that the community would approve additional funds in the election held in May 2011. The school district would not have immediate access to funds generated by a successful levy campaign, but they could borrow against future funds.

Although board member Jim Smith did not suggest making programming cuts during the middle of the 2010-2011 school year, he did present an alternate view, suggesting that some cuts in spending should be made now. He pointed out that the board and administration should also consider the fact that, in 2011, the community will also need to consider a renewal levy; if that levy fails, Smith said, then the next step for the district would be to turn off the lights and shut the doors. He also suggested that bringing back students who left the district in favor of charter schools would also help the budget crisis, as each child takes approximately $5,700 in funding to whatever school he or she attends.

The school system, according to Weber, is currently in a state of fiscal caution. Depending upon the recovery plan that the school system will need to submit to the state, the district could be downgraded to fiscal watch – or could be placed in fiscal emergency.

November 4, 2010 at 1:30 am 15 comments



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November 2010