Why Won’t A School Levy Pass? – Guest blogger- KB Sagert.

November 17, 2011 at 4:51 pm 54 comments

Lorain City Schools Series- Part Onehttps://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/11/15/lorain-city-schools-what-will-it-take-lorain-the-good-the-bad-the-ugly/
Why won’t a school levy pass?
In Lorain, that’s the million-dollar – or, more accurately, the multi-million-dollar – question.

This post will not focus on whether I think you should or shouldn’t vote for school levies in the future. (Please read that last sentence twice! That is NOT my intent.) My intent is to try to figure out why the levies aren’t passing in Lorain – and perhaps suggest the start of a solution.

The answer, I think, is twofold – and the first part is straightforward: the economy. In Lorain these days, it feels as though most of us are in one of three categories: unemployed; employed but worried about becoming downsized; or employed but, even if fairly secure in a job, unable to shoulder more of the tax burden.

I’m going to focus the rest of the post on the second reason, which may be even more insidious than the first – and that’s a seriously eroded relationship between school leadership and the community.

I’m not finger pointing at anyone in particular and I’m not saying that blame should be laid at the feet of people currently in leadership positions. I’m very happy to see Ed Branham in the interim superintendent position and there are some truly dedicated and caring people on the school board and in other leadership positions. My point is that this trust has slowly been eroding for many years now and we’ve finally hit a crisis point.

To illustrate what I see as the problem, I’m going to use two people you might know as examples: Loraine “That Woman” Ritchey and me. Loraine and I have been neighbors now for more than 30 years; she and her family have been wonderful neighbors for us and I believe the inverse is also true.

But, let’s create a wholly hypothetical situation as an analogy – and I grant that the upcoming analogy isn’t perfect. But it might be helpful. Let’s say that, 30 years ago, Loraine felt that I wasn’t being a good neighbor to her. Maybe I worked second shift and she would fall asleep right before I got home – and my slamming car door would wake her up. I was, in a sense, being a bad neighbor, but I wasn’t doing it deliberately to hurt her. I needed that job! My mistake was that, rather than trying to find a solution (parking down the street a ways? oiling the squeaky door?), I simply said,

“Well, this the way that I need to do things.”

As time went by, I started being a bad neighbor at times in other ways – unintentional, but preventable. Maybe my two dozen pet rabbits would sneak out at night, without my knowledge, and eat up all the lettuce in her garden.
Like the slamming door problem, I might have been able to fix the bad will generated from the missing lettuce had I addressed it quickly enough.

“I’m sorry about your garden, Loraine,”

I could have said.

“Even though I didn’t know the rabbits escaped, they are my responsibility. I’ll plant new lettuce for you and build a better pen for my bunnies.”

But, I didn’t do that and so the resentment continued to build.

By this point, Loraine might assume that I was doing additional bad-neighbor things that I really wasn’t doing – but my track record made it too hard for me to convince her otherwise. She didn’t know when I was being straightforward with her and when I wasn’t – and, as our relationship continued to sour, I focused even less on trying to be a good neighbor – and the cycle continued to spiral downward and out of control.

Now, imagine that, on a regular basis, I would go to Loraine to ask her to make personal sacrifices so that she could give me money out of her family’s monthly budget. What do you think her response to me might be? Even if I would spend the money on a really worthwhile cause?

Then, this month, without admitting that sometimes I hadn’t been the perfect neighbor, I would have asked Loraine to permanently give me part of her hard-earned family income, even though she had said no to requests of limited scope in the past. Now what would her response be?

This analogy definitely isn’t perfect, as the school is asking for money to educate children, which should be one of our country’s top priorities. (And, I’m NOT saying that people shouldn’t vote for a school levy! I’m trying to determine why they aren’t passing to try to uncover some insight into a solution.)

There is an underlying similarity in a relationship between a school district and a community, and relationships between neighbors. In both cases, to make it work, there needs to be trust and a sense of good will, a feeling of working together for a common cause – and that, in my opinion, is the crucial piece that’s missing in the relationship between Lorain voters and the Lorain City Schools.

How can this be fixed? My guess is that it won’t be fast or easy. The wounds are too deep.

I do believe, though, from the bottom of my heart, that relationship repairing is at the core of the solution. Not a more carefully crafted levy slogan or appealing to different demographics in the community.

Relationship rebuilding. Genuine, straightforward relationship rebuilding.

For school leaders, this would involve honest (and at first painful!) conversations with the community – and a willingness to really listen what the community has to say in response. I’m not talking about an in-and-out forum or a community survey, either. I’m talking about an ongoing, heartfelt reaching out and a commitment to working with the community today, tomorrow, next week, next year – and beyond.

Who’s willing to give this a try?

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Entry filed under: city of lorain, education, Link -ups. Tags: .

Lorain City Schools- What will it take Lorain? The Good- the Bad – the Ugly? Do YOU Wear the Chastity Belt of Censure – why do we give them the power?

54 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 17, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Well said Kelly and you are spot on as far as I am concerned

  • 2. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 17, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks, Loraine!

  • 3. Peter Potamus  |  November 17, 2011 at 7:05 pm

    “Then, this month, without admitting that sometimes I hadn’t been the perfect neighbor, I would have asked Loraine to permanently give me part of her hard-earned family income[b] [to perform a vital service she needs but can’t perform herself][/b], even though she had said no to requests of limited scope [b][to perform a vital service she needs but can’t perform herself][/b] in the past. Now what would her response be?”

    The response might be, “You either can be trusted or you can’t & you’ve shown that you can’t be trusted”

    In the real world scenario, the concept of “stewardship” comes into play…in your admittedly imperfect example it does not

    …but “stewardship” is the issue that you are raising and it is valid for about 3% of the “no” votes on school levies.

    “Economics” was what you pointed out correctly, though people engage in the “cognitive dissonance” that it is other issues.

    “Stewardship” involves both “capable performance of duties” & ethics-driven impetus to ensure that those duties are carried out/faithfully-executed

    You’re saying they’ve failed on both counts; I think many would agree that questionable actions have led to a justified “crisis in confidence”

    You lose the trust of the constituency that you are mandated to serve then you can never be an effective steward and should be replaced

  • 4. Bill Sturgill  |  November 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Kelly, I’m hoping in my heart that some of this has already started. We scheduled what was suppose to be a townhall meeting, and not many even bothered to show up. Can’t argue any points you made because what you said is painfully true and accurate. I just hope everyone keeps talking and that trust can be rebuilt. Anyone who wants to email me at bsturg@roadrunner.com, or call me I’m in the phonebook . I’m the one on Edgewood Dr…That’s sort of a joke because there’s not a lot of Sturgill’s in there. Thank you for your comments very good analogy and perspective…keep watching and you will see we are trying to get better, but the truth is we can’t so it alone……Bill

  • 5. ladalang  |  November 17, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    I feel that half the battle is for the district to openly admit what the voters are telling them and then schedule a town hall. Nobody shows because the voters have no faith they will listen or that anything will change. They have to start talking the talk to allow the voters to see there is a new sheriff in town. They keep spouting the same mantra and the voters will continue to tune out. There is a distinct wall built up and that wall will have to be taken down one brick at a time. They still have factchecker harassing posters and spreading misinformation. He’s infuriating people with his approach. They need a makeover that involves kicking him to the curb. New day, new attitude new words. Otherwise this stalemate will never end.

  • 6. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 17, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    Peter – How is the 3% calculated?

  • 7. Grammy  |  November 17, 2011 at 10:08 pm

    Well said Kelly. Trust, honesty and performance may be keys we need to add into this mix.

    While all of us either personally or professionally have experienced the increased costs of doing whatever, we have not supported our schools with that same outlook. We cannot do in 2011 what we did in 1990 with the same amount of money. Increasing costs and unfunded mandates from the state and federal governments have not helped the budget situation for any of us. All this information needs to be spoken and listened to on both sides of the issue. Maybe if the state legislature would have done it’s job the way the Ohio Supreme Court told them to regarding school funding, none of our districts would be in this situation. I don’t know what the answer is, but communication would definitely help us identify it and hopefully find a positive solution.

    Having the state come and “take-over” the district is not the answer, especially if you look at what that means: they come in, appoint a few people, we appoint a few people, you come up with a plan, maybe the state will loan you some money (which is paid back first) and hope you follow the plan and the result is good. So much for state take-over. They are hard pressed running the state, let alone individual school districts. Maybe we need to look at what some other states have done and consolidate our schools by county, seems to work in the south.

  • 8. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I’ll definitely keep watching, Bill!

  • 9. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 17, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    Ladalang . . . a new type of conversation is definitely what’s needed.

  • 10. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 17, 2011 at 10:42 pm

    Grammy – I agree that we need to look at other models that are working well elsewhere. No use re-inventing the wheel any more than is necessary . . .

  • 11. Tracy Isenberg  |  November 17, 2011 at 11:13 pm

    I have faith in and hope that Ed Branham can make some positive changes in the district and bring back some trust within the community but he has a long road to travel and lots of healing needs to be done to tear down those walls of distrust. Unfortunately voting is the only voice the community had to express their opinion and dissatisfaction. Teachers were reprimanded if the public spoke at school board meetings even if it was to express their support and appreciation for teachers/programs. This led to school board meetings going from standing room only when the public felt passionate about their children and the schools to people staying away. I hope the students who remain in Lorain City Schools can have the opportunity to see positive changes.

  • 12. Kalin  |  November 18, 2011 at 1:24 am

    The Ohio State Constitution requires the General Assembly to provide and fund “a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the State.” Several Supreme Court rulings have upheld this. At this point, the use of property and potentially income taxes is an Illegal way to fund the schools.

    So I would suggest that a campaign to fund schools be directed at Representative Dan Ramos and Senator Gayle Manning.

  • 13. Grammy  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:12 am

    Kalin: Some years ago the Ohio Supreme Court directed the state legislature to revamp the method of funding “common schools”. They were directed to find an “equitable” method of funding. (This was after the lottery was supposed to solve the school funding problems. Of course, you could use the lottery monies to buy computers but not to fix the leaking roof overhead.) They have yet to act on a court order. The burden for funding cannot remain the responsibility/burden of only a specified group, the burden for common schools should be spread across the entire population of the state, not just homeowners.

  • 14. kalin  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:58 am

    Agreed, it should not be just on the homeowners. It’s a shame that the state has not acted on two court orders.

  • 15. relic43  |  November 18, 2011 at 4:05 am

    Great job Kelly. You have given this city something to think about. I believe this community still has PRIDE – unfortnately it has been put into a dungeon , but a ray of sunshine is now filtering thru with the welcoming of a home town boy, Ed Branham. PRIDE can now climb back out of that hole of discontent. We can recover from this disaster, but it will take time and a lot of support for our next superintendant. We need to seek out a superintendant that will be honest and have PRIDE in the community.

  • 16. Peter Potamus  |  November 18, 2011 at 6:50 am

    The 3% was a figure provided to me by this Magic 8-ball that I’ve had for about thirty-eight years.

    My question to Mr Magic 8-ball was, “Is 3% about the amount of voters in the district where KBS’s exercise in mental gymnastics would apply?”

    The Magic 8-balls answer was “all signs point to ‘yes'”.

    Normally, I wouldn’t subscribe to such predictions but it also confirmed that either 0% of Thomas Skoch’s and Andrew Young’s newspaper route delivery drivers were carrying the required commercial insurance.

    Also said pretty much the same thing about 0% of Pizza Delivery drivers being uninsured.

    I mean that’s pretty good accuracy from a Magic 8-ball… I think therefore you could have a high degree of confidence that 3% is a good ball park figure to be tweaked slightly up or down.

  • 17. Lisa  |  November 18, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    For a real dialogue to take place, everyone needs to be as comfortable speaking their minds at public/townhall/board meetings as they are when cloaked in their anonymous online identities.

  • 18. Brian  |  November 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    Here is what many folks view as the problem. It is widely reported that Lorain spends more money per student than most school districts, so why does it need more?

    I get that Lorain students may be disadvantaged economically and in some cases socially, but to say that it flat out costs more to educated EACH AND EVERY child at a rate that is higher than most of the state is disturbing.

    My kids did well in school and two of my children graduated early and I can say that WEEKS UPON WEEKS of educational opportunities for my kids were lost as the schools stopped teaching my kids and concentrated on teaching a test that most of my kids could pass in the 8th grade.

    “What are you doing today in school son?” and every year the answer was..

    “Nothing dad, everyone is practicing for the OGT”

    Add up the hours and the days wasted sending my children to school year after year where it is obvious that my children were not being taught but babysat for the day, or two, or three days in a row. It becomes obvious who the schools are most concerned spending their TIME with.

    TIME equals MONEY.

  • 19. Chris  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    The reason school levies don’t pass is because the Lorain City Schools have enough money to carry out the service the voters of Lorain want. It’s really that simple.

    The LCS currently receive approximately $12,000 per student in total funding. That is a reasonable amount to provide a high school education.

  • 20. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    Good point, Tracy! One of the big necessary steps is that people in the community need to feel safe about expressing their opinions to school leadership without fear of retribution. That does box people in, giving them only a “no” vote to express dissatisfaction. A much better way would be open communication where people can get questions answered and work with the school district to make all better.

  • 21. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:46 pm

    Kalin and Grammy — A huge issue, no doubt . . . this is one where the school district and community can agree!

  • 22. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Relic43 . . . great comment! This reminds me of two stories.

    One, during the years when I would frequently volunteer at the high school, students would often tell me, “we’re ghetto,” sounding bummed out when they said it, or sounding outraged when telling me how a visiting school called us “ghetto.”

    I’d try to get to the bottom of what “ghetto” meant to them. I’d tell them that nobody can make someone else be “ghetto”; that it’s a state of mind that they shouldn’t buy into. They’d listen politely but probably figured I was an older person who just didn’t get it. Basically, they’d felt overwhelmed by circumstances and couldn’t muster up enough school pride to combat those circumstances. Not a criticism of them; just my sense of what was going on.

    Two, I attended the LAK band concert when Dustin Wiley first had the students play their marching band music in the auditorium, to celebrate their season. The band marched in with a rousing cadence and then, all at once, the drum beat stopped. As one, the band members clicked their heels and shouted, “We’re LAK!”

    Their shout echoed in an otherwise silent auditorium and I felt chills. Initially, I assumed it was the drumbeat, the excellent marching, etc. that caused the chills. Then, once my brain caught up with my visceral reaction, I realize . . . OhMyGosh! That was PRIDE. From the tops of their heads to the bottom of their feet, these students had pride — in themselves, in their band, in their school.

    It was a wonderful moment . . . I’m getting a bit teary eyed thinking about it!

  • 23. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Quite an 8 ball, Peter! Feed and care for that baby . . .

  • 24. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:03 pm

    You’re right, Lisa! That’s exactly where we need to be. Over the years, with one exception, I have clearly posted under my own name. The most anonymous I’ve gotten is to be KB Sagert and sign my name as Kelly. (And, since my name is Kelly Boyer Sagert, it still should be clear.)

    The one exception was one blog post that I wrote about the school system for Loraine. I’ll find the link and post it here. I hated writing it anonymously, but it was during an era of high retribution for having an opinion. I wouldn’t have cared for myself, but it might have hurt a couple of people I was close to, so I went the anonymous route.

    And, in the interests of full disclosure, I did create a fake name for the Morning Journal site but never used it . . .

  • 25. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    Brian and Chris – Sounds as though the school district would greatly benefit themselves by laying out specifics about what the costs are and why they’re higher here. The ones that are fully justified will make more sense to the community; and they may spot more areas of cost cutting, that way.

  • 26. Peter Potamus  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    Anonymous online identities require the reader to find a greater degree of “corroboration”…

    ..so when posting anonymously, one needs to point out where one’s assertions can be independently validated or provide an alternate vehicle which replicates “corroboration”…

    …”retaliation” drove the Free French to the underground during WWII… what one witnesses with the anonymous online lorain school posters is the same concept dressed in a slightly different suit of clothes

  • 27. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 18, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    Posting anonymously has a great responsibilty for corroboration I agree although I know who is posting on this blog ( articles) so they aren’t really anonymous ..pen name at times BUT
    it is very sad to think in the country that prides itself on “free speech” there was more than one occasion where well I am not being dramatic here but a “witch hunt” went on in the very system that educates youth to find sources………….

    I know that for a fact as when I requested the public records request for the “Sawmill Creek”- weekend etc. people were being “looked at” their “computers being looked at”…. the funny thing was that I had garnered the information from more than one avenue and remember for every payout there was a recipient as well 🙂 source completely out of the LCS system altogether…… but I realized that that due to that information people were being blamed for “talking” how sad………..

    It was also the reason I wrote the fact checker and zebulon post
    https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2011/10/07/the-dangers-of-being-a-non-entity-checking-facts-and-who-is-who/

    In some instances there is a form of protection in being controversial under your own name – because when they come after you they had better be sure of “their ” facts otherwise “they” will be seen to have a retaliatory agenda…

    I spoke out about a slum lord problem in this neighborhood rubbed one of them the wrong way – he came to my husbands place of work and threatened his position within the city ( as he was connected and could lose him his job..so to “shut his wife’s mouth” my husband turned to him and said
    I have been trying to shut her up for 25 years if you can do it be my guest…….

  • 28. Mark  |  November 18, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Attitudes on the part of Dimacchia, factchecker, Tony G, etc. stink. The fact that the administration is perceived as bloated, hurts. And as has been stated, it doesn’t feel the the admin listens.

  • 29. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 18, 2011 at 10:38 pm

    Here is a comment that appeared on LC.com about the issue: http://www.loraincounty.com/lorain/discussion.shtml?id=385816&f=11&v=

  • 30. Lisa  |  November 19, 2011 at 12:59 am

    Don’t get me wrong – the anonymouses out there have valid points, ask relevant questions, have real concerns, and often speak the truth in their online comments. However, in order to achieve the change they seek, they need to speak in a public forum where their questions and concerns will be taken seriously and acknowledged and addressed by TPTB. Both sides have to give a little to get a little here. The BOE needs to be more forthcoming with information and the people have to give them a chance.
    My suggestion? A complete re-creation of Lorain City Schools. The BOE and Superintendent need to come clean about what has been left behind for them to clean up from previous administrations, and the actions they have taken or are going to take to rectify the situation and make sure it never happens again. Here’s where we stand, folks. Lay all the cards out on the table. My dad always said never let a problem get so big that we can’t do anything about it. This is your school system – help LCS rise from the ashes and be the school system that you want them to be.

  • 31. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 19, 2011 at 1:30 am

    Thanks for the comment, Mark!

  • 32. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 19, 2011 at 1:31 am

    Lisa — And, the goal is to make the atmosphere comfortable enough/safe enough so that people can speak their minds without worrying.

    I agree with you, re: the re-creation . . .

  • 33. Lisa  |  November 19, 2011 at 3:43 am

    With that thought in mind, Kelly, I should say that all of my comments on this post are being posted by Lisa the citizen. 🙂

    The district has nothing to lose by coming to the people with all the facts and figures and saying here’s what we’ve got to work with,
    what would you do?

    Lorain needs to do this:
    The Wichita Public Schools District Checkbook is available at http://www.finance.usd259.org.

  • 34. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 19, 2011 at 3:45 am

    Agreed, Lisa!

  • 35. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    I am going to leave Kelly’s post up as front page through the weekend if anyone would like to submit a “post” let me know and I will hold Mondays slot open for you. There is a great deal of material in the comments that needs (imho) to be addressed it is a start . Thank you Kelly for getting the discussion focused and thank you – those who have commented for your thoughts. Loraine

  • 36. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 19, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks for giving me a forum, Loraine! I look forward to reading the thoughts/posts that will follow.

  • 37. Dr. Tammy Ramirez  |  November 19, 2011 at 6:01 pm

    I’m not sure where in the continuum of good to ugly this fits, but I think we need to step back and look at the real problem. Paying for education in the city of Lorain, like many other cities where big business has come in, contributed to the community, created jobs, then left is the greatest problem.

    The Lorain School system issue is just a by-product of the commercial environment and the inabilities of the leaders of a city to see the “train coming” or the light at the end of the tunnel. If you recall there were a number of large business in this area, bringing in immigrants, developing new technologies, paying real estate taxes, donating to schools, etc, etc. During this time, the city focused on community development, because they didn’t need to work on economic development and the money for community development was easy to get. Kind of like Aesop’s fable of the cricket and the ant, we weren’t ready for winter.

    Now, we don’t have the business community to pay for the schools and the city took a long time to figure out they needed to learn how to do economic development. And that the city needed to be a big part of the solution to the problem.

    Any public school system is directly tied to the city system, the amount of revenue needed for both can not be sustained by the home owners alone, and it requires commercial property, lots of it!! We also can’t sustain a school system and city services through non-profits. Now, we have very little commercial and many, many non-profits. The city is learning how to do economic development, but this should have happened thirty years ago. So now we have a few negatives going against us. But if we want companies to locate here, it is absolutely essential that the schools be the best they can be. This is one of the things companies look at when deciding where to locate.

    Now, as you see, the problem is not the teachers, the administration, the budget or any of the other minor things that we talk about. The problem is we just don’t have enough retail, commercial and manufacturing companies to support the system. Of course, when the school system begins to see the funding dropping they should do everything they can to keep the quality of the schools as high as possible. But since they also believe it is something they are doing wrong, only they can’t find it, they start pointing fingers at each other and so does the rest of the city.

    How to fix the problem? Well, if you are a business, which every school system is. You cut as much as you can from the overhead, before you consider cutting you direct charges. That means you consolidate schools to save on utilities, drop programs and increase class size. You bring in volunteers (in the classrooms, cafeterias, libraries, administration) from the community to augment your staff. You go back to the tried and true ways of running a school. I guess “Old School” applies here!! Some of you are old enough to remember the fifties and sixties in Lorain, classes were overcrowded, no air conditioning, supplies were provided by businesses, kids took the city buses to and from school. Life was tuff…but from those schools came the best and the brightest we had to offer!

  • 38. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 19, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Tammy
    “I’m not sure where in the continuum of good to ugly this fits”

    I don’t think we have reached the “ugly” or the “bad “as yet in this series.( that would be ” my ” part of the series) …. be patient they will eventually be forthcoming. But I have turned this blog over to those that have an interest in LCS and their thoughts as well… I hope many more will take advantage of the offer … their words carry much more weight that mine 🙂 and quite frankly I really want the involvement of those who have experienced Lorain City Schools – I have only very limited experience with the system therefore I will defer to them – my thoughts can wait 🙂

    My main intent was to get the conversation started, see what happens and hopefully we can all learn something from the “other fella”. Kelly over to you

  • 39. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 19, 2011 at 7:47 pm

    Tammy – I agree that the loss of business/industry has hit Lorain really hard and that the schools have suffered because of it. No question there.

    I’m convinced, though, that this is only part of the challenge in front of us . . . my thoughts about the other big challenge are laid out in the blog post, so I won’t repeat myself.

  • 40. Brian  |  November 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    How many school systems are located in districts of little to next to zero commercial type taxable properties that operate within a budget and have good performing systems? Farmer Brown out in Keystone don’t wanna pay any gosh darn taxes and their levies fail and fail BUT because property taxes are typically stable and don’t fluctuate like the economy, budgeting isn’t rocket science.

    I agree to a degree with Kelly about the trust issue, but I am going to say that the building of trust has to start with the school system itself and they shouldn’t be surprised if they get knocked around quite a bit from their past behaviors and the second they start blaming the community like they have in the past, anything that they may have gained will be lost and more…

  • 41. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 20, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Brian – I agree that the trust building process needs to start with the school district and I agree that it won’t be painless for them. But, I think it’s necessary for us to move forward.

  • 42. Grammy  |  November 21, 2011 at 1:28 am

    We also have to believe – in our leaders, our schools, our students and ourselves.

  • 43. Tracy Boyer Isenberg  |  November 21, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The sad reality is that things can never be “fixed” for the people who were affected in the past. We can only hope that things will be different for the students in the future.

  • 44. Bill Sturgill  |  November 21, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I agree like most that the administration in it self can and should be restructured to fit the times. Grammy hit on something that most should know. The times have changed and there is a lot of governmental reporting and justification. I think the message has been sent and heard. Time will tell ( January and February) just to what extent we will be in agreement.
    Lorain for too long had relied on Grant money. That is slowly drying up. About $9 Million this year.
    I’ve wondered about this since I’ve been on the board for the last 20 months. ” If I eliminated Charleston Center completely would education change in Lorain, as far as its achievement.”. The answer to that is ” No”. It would stay the same. Children who have parents who are caring will flourish in Lorain City Schools and any school they choose. The Children of Tracy, Brian, Kelly and most of any who write on this blog will and have flourished. What we need is parents who care and are involved in their childrens lives.
    I am concerned about the transient population in Lorain city schools, especially in the grades 1 thru Three. I am concerned with the fact that most who come to Kindergarten are not ready to be there. A better foundation in those grades would be a good place to start in righting something that is apperantly inadequate no matter whose fault it is.
    I wish the state would fund pre school and kindergarten. My next concern is with the state and data they use. If a Freshman enters Lorain and then transfers to another school and then drops out after a couple years it is charged to Lorain’s graduation rate. I don’t think that is right. So there are ineqities in the system…The district has a ways to go.. and not even Dr. Ed Branham will be there long enough to solve all that is wrong…I do however believe the step has been taken. We do need your support. I just wish we could do all we have to do and not affect services to children… At this point a person does what they have to do to Limit the effects…..Bill Sturgill

  • 45. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 21, 2011 at 2:22 pm

    I’m open to the belief that this situation can be fixed, but not quickly or easily. It’s also true what Tracy said, re: for some students, it’s too late to fix their situations.

  • 46. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 21, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Lots of good thoughts, Bill . . . thanks. I’m hopeful that we can attend a school board meeting (or multiple ones) in January and February and see something new and encouraging. Please don’t lose this window of opportunity!

    You’re right in that you face many challenges, from being on the grant cycle roller coaster, having a transient population, having a mixed bag as far as parental support and so forth.

    The bottom line is that you need an involved community and the community needs more of the school leadership to step forward to be true, honest and trustworthy leaders. The reality is that you — the school leadership — need to make a change first.

    (And, let me repeat that I am NOT suggesting that ALL of the school leadership is less than trustworthy — because that’s not true.)

  • 47. Peter Potamus  |  November 23, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    ….once again, KBS travels off into fantasy land; to wit, “you need an involved community and the community needs more of the school leadership to step forward to be true, honest and trustworthy leaders.”

    So we get all that and then the levy passes or even comes close to passing?

    My Magic-8 ball says “definitely no”… a levy will not even come close to passing because “economics” is the issue.

    In his US Senatorial Campaign, Jerry Springer stated that much of the senior population have their monthly finances figured out to the last penny.
    Even if they WANTED TO there is no more money for them to give to libraries, fire, school, police.

    So that puts what percentage of the regularly-participating electorate in the “vote ‘no'” camp. 15% maybe?

    Old Chicago Mayor Daley’s political machine only had some 90 votes out of the 1300 needed to secure the Democratic nomination for POTUS…. doesn’t sound like a lot until you realize that those 90 votes could make or break you.

    What is being attempted here is to make sure that those who are most informed WITHIN the Lorain City Schools System don’t get punished for exposing the shenanigans to the light of day…

  • 48. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Peter – I never said that was all that was needed. In fact, I mentioned the economy before I mentioned any other reasons.

    When you say, “What is being attempted here . . .” do you mean here, on the blog?

  • 49. Peter Potamus  |  November 24, 2011 at 6:57 am

    Yes, you did mention the “elephant in the room” regarding the economy and then immediately jumped into the “needle in the haystack” of what if it was not the economy but lack of trust in the leadership of the LCS….

    I’ve got an even SMALLER needle than the “LCS Trust” issue that any subset of the willing could opine on….

    My Magic 8-ball thinks the reason a school levy won’t pass is because of the 20 MPH Speed Limit in school zones…. although personally,

    I believe the reason a school levy won’t pas is the “revenge factor” of adults remembering Beef Marzetti being served every Wednesday in the school cafeteria.

    What about it, Bill Sturgill?….. you think macaroni noodles, tomato sauce, salt, green pepper and a microscopic amount of hamburger could have been the culprit all along for levy failures state wide?

    I asked my Magic 8-ball if LCS decided Wednesdays would now be reserved for [b]Shank of Lamb w/ mint jelly [/b]would a school levy pass and my Magic 8-ball said, “Why not have KBS start a new thread on the topic”

    48 posts into the discussion, we’re not discussing why a school levy won’t pass but how to ensure that those who enlighten us are not punished.

  • 50. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 24, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Actually, I didn’t say “what if it was not the economy.” Instead, I acknowledged that the economy WAS a reason, saying:

    “My intent is to try to figure out why the levies aren’t passing in Lorain – and perhaps suggest the start of a solution.

    The answer, I think, is twofold – and the first part is straightforward: the economy.”

  • 51. Loraine Ritchey  |  November 24, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    The ecomomy of course plays a major part as Kelly has stated- we can’t fix the economy but LCS and those she serves can do something about the other problems – one of which Kelly has shed light upon… communication- acknowledging the problems of the past and making an effort to change for future students.

    Also this is just part of the issues – the “bad” will be coming up on Monday and followed by the ugly( maybe lunches and having mint jelly ( yuk) instead of mint sauce with that lamb 😉 . and I hope that after the “series” is published we may have the dialogue that will benefit the community ………. stay stuned it isn’t over yet…..

  • 52. Kelly Boyer Sagert  |  November 24, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Staying tuned!

  • […] bloggers viewpoint at least – and that is worrying. As Lorain City Schools is finding out TRUST is paramount in any relationship : 1. The Foltin Fiasco and the Open Mike Plain Dealer Blog where Foltin was […]

  • 54. Bill Sturgill  |  November 29, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    I know there is a lot to fixed in the Lorain School district. I believe like most and I would like to say this. I’m not going to take any trips to China. I still believe the best site for a high school ended up in the right place. I voted against it on the first vote. I felt I had my say and was outvoted.
    I believe there is a lot we can do to right this system. We need to put free speech back in the board meetings. I don’t think anyone should be punished for speaking there mind. I do hope when they speak it is constructive and doesn’t focus on furthering their own agenda. Lets be truthful, who out there doesn’t feel like things could be a lot better if we had some honesty and felt like they were included in the process’s that make up a good system. I am truly sorry that this board comes accross that it is all about money. It is my hope that some day we are talking about achievement, and better methods to educate children, not the latest grant we recieved to prop everything up. I’m tired of just changing things. I think something has to be said for plain hard work. No schemes, just start talking to each other and buckle down and get to work. We should have one agenda, how to best educate children with what we still have….Bill

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