Lorain City Schools -The Play-The Passion -The Board

March 24, 2011 at 6:02 pm 13 comments

I shook off my apathy last night and attended the Board of Education Meeting to do my homework.

I was a little worried that I might have developed deafness in my self -imposed exile from all things Lorain.

I could hardly hear a word most people were saying as they spoke into the microphone . I wonder what pertinent information I was missing. As we will see later in this post ” not hearing information” can ultimately result in people speaking loudly.

I did hear Mr. Chuck Parsons the facilitator of the meetings held in regard to what is a “wish list” of the particpants of the meetings held for the new high school. Mr. Parsons did state the turnout was low even though well publicized for the meetings as discussed here


I couldn’t help but add the numbers in my head less than 75 people “wishing” – indicative of the burn out perhaps.
A special meeting March 28 to give more overview of the plans for the new high school . The meeting is at 5 p.m. at the Charleston Administration Center.

We were treated to the children performing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” from Annie – performances at the Lorain Palace April 1st and 2nd – 7 -9 pm – tickets one dollar .

The students were all really enthusiastic and energetic – a joy to watch – they made you smile – one little one was throwing everything she had into her moment in the spotlight – she had the stuff of which actors are made pride and passion in her role .

They also apparently had an impact on Mr. Smith’s decision with regard to endorsing the renewal levy in May, he stated:

I must admit, I was conflicted until watching those kids. You can’t do anything but vote in favor”

Ah! The play’s the thing ;) and then “the passion” and passion certainly came across the floor to the audience that was left. Only it wasn’t the kids displaying projection and passion it was the BOE members.

As a surface dwelling onlooker who hasn’t attended a BOE meeting since Dee Morgan’s time and the passion of 2007 ,I was somewhat taken aback.

The touch paper was the article in the Chronicle Telegram
http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/03/23/lorain-school-district-faces-federal-discrimination-lawsuit/ BOE member Jim Smith brought up the subject of the article and quite frankly it was all down hill from there
He said , they said – I will say- you will not say – we will not say.

The atmosphere was one that you could literally cut with a knife, the undercurrents in that room churned, swirled and eddied around those on stage and we in the audience- the drama , tight lips, spluttering, eye popping , narrowing of other eyes, the clenched jaws, neck tendons showing, rising blood to the faces – it was all there –

great expectations!!! Mr. Dickens ;)!

I sat there wondering whether a functioning board was actually dysfunctional.

You can read the real press take here

Board member threatens grievance over federal lawsuit against Lorain schools

Board President Tony Dimacchia and Smith argued over whether lawsuits involving the schools should be brought to the board’s attention immediately.

While Dimacchia attempted to give him an answer, Smith was questioning the district’s attorney Tony Giardini.


After the meeting I asked for some clarification – I spoke to Mr. Diamchia – and Mr. Giardini – (Mr. Smith had left) as to my perception of the conduct displayed from the point of an onlooker-

Whilst I understood “legal” decisions made in all this and the explanation made by Mr. Dimachia echoed in the meeting :

“We don’t do the day-to-day operations of this school district … There is a proper process that goes through any district or any organization. … When there is an issue and it gets to a certain point and it is legitimate and serious enough for the board to hear it, then we will deal with it at that time,” the board president said.

and Mr. Giardini’s quote in the Chronicle

Giardini said he does not inform the board of legal matters until they reach the point where he needs board members to take action. Prior to that point, Giardini said he briefs Superintendent Cheryl Atkinson on legal matters.

Ford was used as part of the analogy as to how things work as far as the chain of knowledge- which I understood but in my opinion there is to me a fundamental difference :

Lorain City Schools although Lorain’s 2nd largest employer and the way “business is done” reminded me that

LCS shareholders are “we the community”-

The money to exist is not derived from selling/ manufacturing/ supplying a commodity from which the corporation makes a monetary profit as is the case with private corporations where Board of Directors are compensated sometimes to the tune of “millions “ for their expertise .

Our board is, in effect, a voluntary board with a tiny stipend, basically serving and representing the community – who placed their faith in them and their willingness to represent we the taxpayer.

Lorain City Schools provides a service-

We ( and I say we because we the taxpayers are the holders of the purse) do not make a “monetary profit from that service”-

We as a community benefit only by those that benefit ( the students) from that service hopefully becoming responsible members of society who will be enabled through their education make life a little better for all as they take over the reins in a “global market” .

It is true that major corporations leave the business of “legal eagles” to be sorted out and are then apprised of the situations as need be. BUT we aren’t corporate America.

In this surface dwellers opinion those that represent the owners of the business –the community -should know through their representatives ( the elected BOE) what is happening in the organization – if not required knowledge then I, at least having sat on many “volunteer boards” would feel more comfortable knowing that my elected representation is at least informed as to what is happening.

A FEDERAL DISCRIMINATION LAWSUIT is hopefully not indicative of the day to day operations for LCS.

It has been my experience that the simplest little hiccup can escalate and cause a greater distress.

Personally if it is not the attorney’s job to tell the Board but the Superintendent and the Treasurer as to legal situations then the communication “formally ‘ perhaps through executive session that information should be shared – in my opinion.

If I was a BOE member, I would insist upon knowing so that I could be educated in the everyday workings of Lorain’s 2nd largest employer especially if the day to day business included federal lawsuits :(.

If that had been the case with the situation from last night we would not have been subjected to last night’s performance or the less than flattering “reviews” in today’s papers.
Just my 139,500 cents worth

As always this blog is open to giving space to differing view points on LCS.

Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, commentary, education, Legal, Open for Discussion, personal opinion. Tags: , .

UNDECIDED- NO. 9 ????? Lorain City Schools Comment Policy Reminder

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. thatwoman  |  March 24, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Apologies for the mistakes ….. I have been having computer hiccups – the editing tool for this blog has gone wonky so I was writing blind and could only edit spell check one letter at a time – then it would jump back to the beginning errrrrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg it has taken three hours to do something I could normally do in 1

  • 2. Lisa  |  March 24, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Thanks for the links.

    It’s too bad that the grownup shenanigans overshadowed the children. Again.

  • 3. Lisa  |  March 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I should mention that I was unable to attend the third HS meeting, which was for staff. I have it on good authority that there were about 40 people [out of 800-ish] at that meeting. All in all, that makes for 50-ish people [depending on how/who you count] who took advantage of the opportunity to say what they’d like to see in a new HS.

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  March 25, 2011 at 11:15 am

    Mr. Parsons said 42 actually but they did ask the BOE to ok an electronic meeting so they could get more input from those that actually will be using the facility.

  • 5. Bill Sturgill  |  March 25, 2011 at 11:16 am

    All the confliction, and there was a lot , in the end didn’t overshadow the children for me. I had two grandaughters performing and enjoyed it . Sometimes children are acting and sometimes grownups are acting like children. I can honestly say I am not proud to be part of that. I however am very proud of the children. I think Loraine was right, the little one made the best of her opportunity to shine. I’m trying to have faith that times and LCS will improve in the not to distant future…Bill

  • 6. Lisa  |  March 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    @ Bill
    I should have been more clear –
    The children were overshadowed in the local press, where they should have been center stage.

  • 7. vivian tuck  |  March 26, 2011 at 1:59 am

    I would like to know if it is legal for dr atkinson to live in houron ohio . I guess Lorain is not good enough for her to make her home bin our city just get her pay check from our taxes . Ask the citizens of lorain to pass yet another levey . She can not even vote on it just shows me how much she really cares about our children . Her vote when you come down to it could be the desideing vote .[ THINK ABOUT IT DR. ATKINSON ] Why was DR.Atkinson husband hired to work at Jonny wilson jr high . WHY WHY WAS HE HIRED . and why was Falbo hired as it was not put up for bids we have personal in our system who should of been offered the job .I cant find the hireing on board meeting min. but it all to be public imfo . I can say from the info I have I dont think the levey will pass I am not passing it have allways passed our levy not this time

  • […] I should just not go to meetings- apathy is at least good for the blood pressure. https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/lorain-city-schools-the-play-the-passion-the-board/ I have done what I have never done before I walked out of a community […]

  • 9. Bill Sturgill  |  March 30, 2011 at 11:42 am

    I understand completely. I hope someday soon the BOE gets to working on making things better for children, and our community in general. There have been a few days when I’m no longer proud to be part of some of the things that go on. I would encourage anyone in our city to go see the production of Annie this weekend.
    The little one’s ( all of them) not just mine are adorable, and do such a good job.
    I myself would trade all the millions in play right now just to be solvent and effective as a school district. This renewal levy is so important to this district, I hate to see children and teachers suffer. I hope voters understand this is a renewal, and not some ploy for new taxes. I still believe the school site will end up where most want it once all the facts and information are in. Just not soon enough for me….Thanks…Bill

  • 10. Susie  |  March 31, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    @ Vivian

    Do you have proof that she lives in Huron? According to the Lorain Co. Auditors site, she has a Lorain address. As others in this administration continue to demonstrate, that’s all you need for the voters to give you a pass. Plus, if she is registered to vote at that address, she can vote on the levy.

    Are you sure that Mr. Atkinson is a district employee? He could be working with/through Boys & Girls Club, just like your board president.

    The job that Mrs. Falbo was hired for was posted online @ http://www.lorainschools.org , just like the job opening in the Superintendent’s office that was also recently filled. The BOE gave your Supt the power to hire non-certified personnel without Board approval back in September. That’s how she was able to give her assistant a $1000/mo raise without anybody asking her WTF she was thinking. That’s how she was able to hire herself another secretary for $3750/mo. Even the Treasurer won’t put a stop to her irresponsible spending.

  • 11. Loraine Ritchey  |  March 31, 2011 at 11:32 pm

    HMMMMMM I wonder although Mr. Bieber owns property in Lorain and apparently from all sources lives elsewhere he is OK to be on the school board as a Lorain property owner as he pays a utility ( presumably a phone) he meets the rule but not the intent of the rule if that is the case… so does he vote in Sheffield or Lorain SIGH it does make one wonder about the behaviour of “circumventing”

    I wonder how they would feel if a parent did that so their child could go to another school system..I think they would not be so accomodating…..

    I had heard that the residency resquirement for the Superintendent was negated in the last contract… anyone know if that is the case?

    There seems to be ( from this onlookers perspective) some really less than intelligent thinking happening in LCSD ….. especially when they are looking to have a levy pass….. seems to be a case if WE CAN (so) WE WILL

    However if the levy fails in May can they not once again put it on the ballot in November again before the state would step in????????

  • 12. Joyce  |  August 2, 2011 at 3:05 am

    Loraine, I read this for the first time as you linked it in a post and I wanted to shed some light on what big corporations do in cases of legal matters. I work for one of the largest employers in Elyria which I am not allowed to name unless I disclaimer the heck out of it but they are successful and professional. Whenever something that involves press releases or legal matters hits the papers we are sent a company wide e-mail so we aren’t caught off guard with questions that may be asked. They do this ahead of the information reaching the media and local papers. So we know before the public ever does. That’s what a professional organization does. They want the employees to know what is happening and how to address questions should they arise. There is no excuse for not informing elected officials of legal matters as keeping them in the dark makes the district look unprofessional and like they are keeping important information from the people elected to represent the citizens.

  • 13. Loraine Ritchey  |  August 2, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I am surprised at the amount of “back story” that never hits the media anymore – ( showing my age ;( but then again we live in a “sound bite, twitter, scan don’t read” society .

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