Lorain City Schools- a Surface Dweller’s Conclusion

January 11, 2011 at 12:21 am 7 comments

PART ONE-https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/lorain-city-schools-the-meeting-they-said/
PART TWOhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/06/lorain-city-schools-the-meeting-they-said-part-two/

PART THREE-http://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/07/lorain-city-schools-the-meeting-they-said-professional-development/

PART FOURhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/08/lorain-city-schools-the-meeting-they-said-the-ode-the-district-plan/
PART FIVEhttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/09/lorain-city-schools-the-meeting-ode-and-conclusions/

What started out at the local level as to the decision by Lorain City Schools to spend $38,296.50 in the period of one week- which is more than the median annual income of the residents of Lorain

http://www.city-data.com/city/Lorain-Ohio.htmlEstimated median household income in 2008: $34,943 (it was $33,917 in 2000)
Lorain: $34,943
Ohio: $47,988
Estimated per capita income in 2008: $17,351


The retreats and motivational speaker costs etc. seemed to me -wasteful, naive (as far as how this would be perceived by the taxpayer ) and extravagant soon became the poster child for a much bigger problem in my opinion. The “BILLIONS” being thrown at education and “professional development funding” which is being given to school districts all over the country. Without, it seems, any accountability tracking as to the successes or lack there of the local district determination/ interpretation as to what constitutes “Professional Development”.

Just how did those 3 recent retreats for administrators and their families trickle back down to help the LCS teaching staff? What benefits did the student body receive, how was their education impacted? Will we see a jump in scores, teachers enthused through listening to Mr. Clark as he talked through his $18,750 fee on that morning of August 24th?

Lorain City Schools has a larger issue, in my surface dweller’s opinion, to deal with.

I know that a healthy school system equates to a healthy community, and by the same token a healthy community equates to a healthy school system, housing values , people coming in or leaving the area also is figured in the health of the city and her schools. We are not healthy!

I also realize we did not come to this unhealthy place overnight it has taken years for the Lorain City School system and indeed the City of Lorain to reach this place. However we the taxpayer were paying and supporting the levys during those times of decline. We paid and paid when asked- we set aside money for new school buildings only to be told by the state you didn’t have enough students to build all the buildings we were told we would get for those monies.

Yes, the taxpayer was pretty good in Lorain they supported and what they got for their support was deteriorating infrastructure and safety forces and a school system declining .

http://www.cleveland.com/opinion/index.ssf/2010/10/lorain_county_lorain_city_scho_1.htmlAnswer: the amount based on a 100,000.00 taxable home ( that is their base of reference – not mine ) would cost the homeowner
$23.28 PER MONTH

WE the taxpayer already pay for the operating levy ( based on a 100,00 dollar base line)
$63.27 per month and according to the percentage calculator site
that equals an increase of 36.79 percent

Now added to that (LCS figures to the Plain Dealer)
$10.31 per month for the Construction levy- ( you know the new schools etc)

and a further $1.41 for the permanent improvement levy

IF the levy last week passed we would be paying $98.00 per month or $1,176.00 per year to the LCS alone ,or 3% of our annual median income for the year on LCS alone

Now the new “CEO’s ” are asking us to give them more money- what is the guarantee it won’t go the same way as in previous years in this old town? Coupled with the fact our own economic situations are dire and to give more will mean greater sacrifice than in the “bountiful years”.

We, the taxpayers, the ultimate funding source for salaries, and all expenses are the ones who make up the voting public- we are the ones that are part of that median annual income of $34,000.We are the ones that hear of “retreats” and the paying of “speakers in the many thousands of dollars- we are the ones that see the money in a different light to those spending the money.
$38,000 in one week when dealing in millions is a mere drop in the bucket but $38,000 when it is more than you bring home a year is a totally different story.

We do not know or in some cases care , if the money is coming from this account or that account. All we see is the fact it is coming out of our pockets as a taxpayer- money is money when it comes to the taxpayer and around here we have very little of it and we are being asked for more.

Although LCS ( as required by the ODE) to hold professional development events thereby they (LCS) have pleased the ODE but I don’t think the taxpayer is particularly pleased.

Was the decision to hold retreats at a lovely facility outside even the county wise? No, probably not the wisest thing to do when the are asking the local taxpayer to reach into their pockets in light of the “report cards”.

The average taxpayer has a different perspective than those who are “within the parameters of the education industry”. We see our schools, in the larger districts now becoming “social service agencies”-
The goals as set out in the Lorain District plan has
as number 4. on the list

4) Close the socioeconomic, ethnic and gender gaps in student achievement

and coming in at number 8

8. FY 2010 Increase student achievement (Reading/Language Arts, mathematics, and science)

As a lay person looking at those goals I would say number 8 would go a long way probably in taking care of number 4 -but when applying for grants number 4 is a stronger bullet point.

In order to show the taxpayer the need for more of our hard-earned money, first the LCS is going to have to be more creative in the way grants are used and show us the money is well spent. For instance instead of weekend retreats it may behoove them ( since they are highly intelligent and highly paid) to rethink how they spend the hundreds of thousands given under Title 1 and Title 11 funds- a school system that spends the money and can track the success of their decisions would it seem to be a novel idea in light of the current set up nationwide .

Retreats in lovely places may stimulate the economy ( especially helping out the hotel industry) but the stimulus is a negative when it comes to the taxpayer.

The other problem as I see it is all these grants and programs .

Success for All for instance, now being proclaimed wonderful by LCS.
I have only scratched the surface BUT I have looked at literature on-line dating back to 1987 and the “nationwide” program starting by 2000 – and I have to ask that maybe “Success for ALL” is somewhat of a misnomer – maybe “Success for a PERCENTAGE”– and how does that percentage equate to the monies spent? Are we getting our money’s worth and “who tracks that”? SIGH!

I can tell you what the average taxpayer is saying as they send me emails –

Why do we have to spend money on all these programs- when a teacher has been to college and gets their degree and license to teach shouldn’t they be able to “teach”!

And from readers who have been downsized, living on unemployment, retired or are now one income families :

“Why do we have to spend $18,750 for a motivational speaker to motivate teachers- shouldn’t the fact they chose the teaching profession and all it entails as well as getting a monthly paycheck be motivation enough?”

There you have it -there has to be a change in the way LCS is perceived by those that are footing the bill and a change in “grant funding ” thinking – no longer can we continue to throw dollars and not “sense” at the problems.

NOTE: As always differing points of view are welcome for a Guest Post


Entry filed under: Brit take, education, personal opinion. Tags: .

Lorain City Schools- the meeting- ODE and Conclusions Rejects- one wo(e)man’s trash another’s treasure- Chris Ritchey

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Grammy  |  January 11, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    You’ve hit a home run again! The monies come from the same pocket whether it is from local taxation, state taxes/grants, federal grants, it all comes from our pockets. With a salary of over 200,000, you’d think the superintendent would be able to “motivate” the employees, that’s part of her job. If we could all work together as one unit to make things better, it would be better. As long as the mentality is “the grant said I could do that” with no regard to common sense, it will continue to deteriorate. Sorry for the students who have to bear the brunt of all this, it’s not their fault, they bear the scars and bruises of the system. When a program starts through a grant, makes progress and starts to get ahead, but, the grant money runs out so the programs stops and they have to start over on another “grant” track, there is no completion, no finality to anything they have been doing. As long as we only focus on spending the money, we are not serving our most important clients, our students.

  • 2. Anne Molnar  |  January 12, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Well done Loraine, I copied all six reports, and strongly feel that the public should read each one. How else will they know. Your research in all these reports will long be remembered, and again thank you for all your hard work and efforts .. I know that this took alot of your time.

  • 3. Loraine Ritchey  |  January 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Thanks Anne – there are so many more questions- but as you say it does take time and effort- and I never did hear ( althpugh promised) back from the new communications director of the ODE. It was also amusing how the people of the ODE kept passing the questions I had ( which were very simple a yes or a no from one dept to another…… took days- but it seems that is the way lately hoping that people no matter their situation will lose the drive and just go away ……. well tenacity has always been my strongpoint 🙂

  • […] in Lorain. Most notably in recent days the Lorain City Schools from meetings about design to the future of the finances of LCS. There are many reasons for the lack of enthusiasm for all things Lorain […]

  • […] I wrote a series of posts recently in regard to the financial situation of Lorain City Schools. I found some of the expenditures ( in my opinion as a surface dwelling voter) “worrying and wasteful” The links to all of the posts are here in my “conclusions” post https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/01/11/lorain-city-schools-a-surface-dwellers-conclusion/ […]

  • […] see ,as I have been pointing out of late, with city government and city schools there is another factor in the equation – those in the establishment have their […]

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