Lorain City Schools- Cut and Paste- Back to Wonderland?

December 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm 20 comments


And so the trial starts as Alice (Taxpayer) continues her journey through LCS Wonderland….

Reports from the media BOE meeting Wednesday Dec 14th-2011
Lorain Schools announces cuts: 27 to be laid off, more than $6M in cuts planned – Evan Goodenow
Chronicle Telegram

http://chronicle.northcoastnow.com/2011/12/15/lorain-schools-announces-cuts-27-to-be-laid-off-more-than-6m-in-cuts-planned/

Branham said charter schools — privately run, but publicly funded schools that have underperformed academically in Ohio compared to traditional schools — have been a major drain on the district……..


Each student lost to charters costs Lorain Schools about $5,700 annually. In 2010-11, charters cost Lorain Schools $11.4 million, open enrollment cost the district $4.5 million and school vouchers cost it $1.4 million.

Facing a $12 million deficit, Lorain Schools is likely to implement a financial recovery plan next year that would include up to $6 million in borrowing from the state and between $6.1 million and $7.6 million in layoffs and program cuts.

Among the cuts:

•$1.5 million: Layoffs of 18 teachers and nine teacher’s aides approved Wednesday.
•$1.5 million to $3 million: Lay off 50 to 100 more employees next year.
•$947,000: Eliminate fine arts programs.
•$737,000: Reduce kindergarten to half-day kindergarten.
•$295,000: Eliminate academic enrichment programs.
•$240,000: Eliminate high school busing.



Illustration Sir John Tenniel (1820-1914) for Alice in Wonderland

Morning Journal

Lorain schools look at cutbacks, borrowing to handle deficit – Alison Strouse
http://www.morningjournal.com/articles/2011/12/15/news/mj5440892.txt

A total of 10,024 students live within the Lorain School District, however, 2,432 of them attend other schools through open enrollment or vouchers. Those 2,432 students represent $17.2 million in revenue lost by the Lorain Schools because that money flows to the outside schools those students attend, according to Branham

Now I am the product of another educational experiment gone wrong $*#* NEW MATH!!!*%# and my math is not adding up if I multiply the number of “lost children ” 2,432 by the number $5,700. I don’t get 17.2 million – I get $13,862,400 dollars- there seems to be a discrepancy of $ 1,372.00 per student. Or is that just my ‘New Math” 😦

The Plain Dealer article from November 2011 has an in-depth article on ” suburban schools and charter schools” part of which states

In a January survey of ECOT students, “nearly 50 percent of those who responded said they had experienced bullying in a previous school setting,” Wilson said in an email.

Suburbs must pay for every lost student

Whatever the motivation may be, every child who moves to a charter school takes money with him. And that’s a huge frustration for districts that have lost state funding and can’t persuade tapped-out residents to vote for more taxes.

Charter schools have money complaints of their own. They get roughly $5,700 per student in basic state funding — plus special education and other targeted aid — but they don’t get a slice of local property taxes or bond issues for buildings.

Who does get that money( local property taxes etc. ) is that part of the 1,372.00 I wonder???

But the part I found most interesting was a chart from the Ohio Dept of Education Please note this chart DOES NOT reflect the 5.9 million ( open enrollment and vouchers money )

District – Lorain
County – Lorain
State Ranking – Continuous Improvement
District Enrollment – 7,585

(NOTE: Good job the chap ( Gary Brantly) that
left to go with Dr. Atkinson –
around 8,200 students are enrolled in Lorain schools. That is an increase from around 7,600 students this time last year, according to Gary Brantley, the district’s chief information officer.
Maybe he and Atkinson were the product of the new math too 😉 However, Atkinson’s math was fuzzy,

ALL CHARTER – 1,198
ON LINE CHARTER STUDENTS – 282
BASE FUNDING SENT TO CHARTERS – $6,541,472.00

Charter schools draw students and money from high-ranking suburban districts – Edith Starzyk, The Plain Dealer

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2011/11/charter_schools_draw_students.html

If my math is correct then the numbers are still “squiffy”…. so clarification please did we lose 17.2 million to the lost children or $13,862,400 or going by the ODE figures of $6,541.472 for Charter Schools plus the 5.9 million in open enrollment and vouchers approximately 12.4 million . HELP!!!!

I am sure there is a formula I am missing somewhere- but LCS remember the majority of us whom you will be asking to pay will be using basic math so how does this work?

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Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, city of lorain, education, notorious opponents of exactitude, Open for Discussion, Uncategorized. Tags: , .

On your knees —–Lady Stuart and I—- Chris Ritchey The Sorcerer’s Apprentice -” ON “the BOE Agenda – Lorain City Schools

20 Comments Add your own

  • 1. parent  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:45 pm

    “Branham said there are 76 administrators at the Charleston Administration Center compared with 103 in the 2006-07 school year.”

    We are down apparently 27 administrators according to the article in the Chronicle in this school year. My question is did we go down in expenditure along with the loss of administrators ? How much is going out now as opposed to the 2006-07 school year for the remaining 76 administrators?

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 15, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    Sorry I really don’t know but I will note the question and forward it and others to the LCS . I am totally confused with the way things are “figured” and I am awaiting more information on the “way of the money” .have a feeling I am going to need some expert help 😦 Loraine

  • 3. Bill Sturgill  |  December 16, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I think if you revisit what was said is there are 76 people in Charleston Center, down 8 administrators since 06 – 07.. Jim Smith requested that information to the board. 17 of those positions are grant funded and 59 are general fund. Obviously not everyone at Charleston Center is an administrator. I think its a constant vigil to keep that number going in the right direction. We don’t want to end up with to many chiefs and not enough indians. There is a couple key positions at Charleston that will go unfilled as long we are in a deficit or until reorganization demands it and a choice has to be made. Our challenge right now is to show the public we are frugal with the monies that we do have no matter where it comes from. All monies go into the same pot called the budget be it local, state or federal no one is going to believe we are being conservative if we take trips to China, hold seminars at Saw Mill Creek for professional development etc. I really believe Ed Branham was the right choice and next person will be even more critical…I’m sure all board members will encourage Ed to stay as long as he is willing and I’m saddened at the fact that he wasn’t chosen a long time ago…Bill Sturgill

  • 4. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 16, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    The definition of administrator also includes principals etc. “outwith Charleston” am I correct and reading comments in the mj this morning there was this comment : Is this accurate???

    ” Well if you take a look at the LCS website and go to the empolyement section, you will see ANOTHER administrative position open! We watch as our fellow teachers are losing their jobs and more administrators are being hired. The Chronicle story said there were only 76 administrators at Charleston, well does that include a principal at each building, multiple assistant principals and SFA people who are also considered administration? In reality, there are over 100 members of the administration, that is approximately 1 administrator for every 4 teachers. WOW! Let’s take our chances with a state oversight committee, lets see where they make cuts. How about the security officer at New Beginnings that is making $65,000 a year? Maybe he could be cut to save 2 teachers jobs! “

  • 5. becky smith  |  December 16, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Wow, a security officer making more than a teacher of many years. Hmmmm. If that is true how in the world did that get approved? The past administration played with funds, job descriptions, titles as well as the minds of the staff. There was a real sense fraud with no regard to the public and accountability. The scars are deep and I feel for those who are left behind to clean up the mess. Good luck to Dr. Branham in his efforts to uncover the mess and try to reassemble what was once a great system. This job is a monstrous one at that!!! I believe in time he will do it!! It took 4 years to make the crater and it will take a long time to fix it.!!We must give him support to do that job for the sake of the students of Lorain City Schools.

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 16, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Well Becky – I honestly believe Superintendent Branham is trying to sort the wheat from the chaff…… I am not sure he will have enough time to turn things around…. that is why it is so important that the next Superintendent is not just another “overpaid silver bullet save us please” candidate. imho. and if the 65,000 is an accurate statement wellllllllll that needs to be explained………..

  • 7. Brian  |  December 16, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    I can see the “why is this person workin when they are gonna cut my job” attitude already going on. This is EXACTLY WHY a third party, in other words the state, needs to come in.

    Filling buildings with teachers, janitors, lunch ladies, and gym and music teachers isn’t rocket science. We pay our teachers and administrators based upon the education that they have so why does it turn into a childish play on words?

    I believe that part of it is the educated adults throwing the students, our children and futures under the bus so to say, just to get what they want instead of thinking about what is in the best interest of the kids.

    All these college educated individuals running around with their noses stuck up in the air and not a one of them with an ounce of common sense.

    I am not trying to put anyone down, but even Mr. Sturgil is already playing the word games about how the residents are being TOLD “looky at us, we are being responsible NOW by making some cuts so maybe you can give us more money.”

    The schools are going to cut bussing, the arts, and allow the kids to sit in filth and let new buildings fall apart before they make the cuts that are most necessary.

    It never is about the kids, its only about not having to explain the real problems…

  • 8. Alice  |  December 16, 2011 at 10:49 pm

    The new buildings are already falling apart. Every single roof leaks and has since opening day. Our custodian has to hide the buckets in the drop ceiling so that the visitors don’t see them. Don’t even get me started on the black mold in the main hall.

    You know the teachers that were “laid off” on the last board agenda? They’ve already been told that they will probably be called back to work through the end of the year after some finagling of funds. More smoke and mirrors from the district that is incapable of telling the truth.

    This district is a disaster and I no longer believe that Dr. Branham is the man to turn it around.

  • 9. Grammy  |  December 17, 2011 at 12:44 am

    Brian: check before you call for the State. They will only oversee a plan put together locally, will not tell us what or how.

  • 10. Brian  |  December 17, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Grammy,
    Look at where we are today with the school system and then I will quote your own words. You said ” They will ONLY OVERSEE A PLAN put together locally, will not tell us what or how.”.

    What sort of plan is or has been in place without the threat of oversite from the school system? I heard they borrowed money from future tax collections after the last levy was renewed instead of making a plan then, so what is it going to take for the administrators and educators who are all highly educated to put their agendas away and actually do something productive for the kids?

    Alice,
    I am aware of the issues that the schools have concerning maintenance, but maintenance costs money and let me tell you a little thing that peeves me a little. I was reading that the teachers union agreed to forgo a raise and pay for some of their health care saving the district 2 million dollars. Where in the world does it make any sense whatsoever doling out raises when the buildings that our children are in for several hours a day are already falling apart?

    I believe that all these “smart people” know what needs to be done if it was truly an issue about it being “for the kids”, but it is not.

  • 11. Brian  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Maybe I should explain my peeve with how the teachers union said they saved the district two million. ( I read this in todays paper). Here is an anology.

    If I thought it would be nice to give Loraine a new car because I thought she deserved one, no one would have an issue with that. Suppose that after the fact, I found out that Loraine couldn’t afford the insurance for the new car, but could get by with what she had till her financial picture improved, what does the smart educated person do?

    Now Loraine might not like the fact that under the circumstances it would be foolish for me to give her the car, me not giving her the car is actually SAVING LORAINE MONEY, not vice-versa.

    The “actual money” that was sacrificed by the teachers was that they are paying more for their insurance. That’s it. I am not saying it was nothing, but it isn’t more than that. It allowed the system to SAVE SOME JOBS of teachers that may have been cut had they not agreed to this. That was the savings.

    Now I know Mr. Sturgil and Mr. Smith have both commented on this blog, but they know why LCS has one of the highest cost per student ratios in the state and also know why there ain’t poo that they can do anything about it.

    The one and only thing they can do is beg for more money and let our new school buildings and equipment collaspe around our children. That’s what is happening, and it is nobody elses fault but our own.

  • 12. Alice  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    Brian, please take a few minutes to read this document from the State Auditor’s Office:

    http://www.auditor.state.oh.us/services/lgs/publications/GeneralPublications/IntroToSchoolDistrictFiscalEmergency.pdf

    Maybe they will choose you as one of the local members.

  • 13. Brian  |  December 17, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    Alice,
    I am honestly going to inform you that I did not read the link. If there is something in the link that you want me to know you could have left it in your comment.

    I myself no longer involve myself with politics. That is what is going on with the schools, and regretfully for some, and to the delight of some others, I keep myself shielded and away from the egos and agendas of others.

    This mild mannered dim-wit doesn’t have a thought or idea worth standing up for, or going to jail again for speaking up. I have learned that life isn’t fair, and much less so when politics is involved.

    There is a solution to the problem, but it is going to hurt some people egos, and others agendas, and EVERYONES POCKETBOOK, not just the taxpayers.

  • 14. Alice  |  December 18, 2011 at 2:32 am

    You know, Brian, you don’t have to keep being a jerk about it. It’s simply an explanation of what can be expected when the state comes in. I thought you might like to know and maybe some others will find it interesting and helpful. For someone who doesn’t think that he has a thought or idea worth standing up for, you sure don’t hesitate to speak of and defend your thoughts and ideas here.

  • 15. Grammy  |  December 18, 2011 at 2:46 am

    Thank you Alice, the link was very eye opening. I’ll leave it at that until I can read it again and get a clearer understanding.

    Thanks again.

  • 16. Brian  |  December 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Alice,
    How am I being a jerk. I expressed my opinon, and I’ll stand behind it until convinced otherwise. You asked me to read some information and all I am saying is why should I?

    I think that most can tell by my comments that I don’t believe anything is going to be done by the school system itself to right the sinking ship until it absolutely has no other options but to do so. They are the largest procrastinators at doing anything because I feel that they still believe they can “win”.

    One more shot at passing a levy, so lets borrow and beg and play the word games because winning levies is like winning an election for office. Anyone or anything thing can be elected or passed as long as they play the game by the rules that we are told as they make them up. No one speaks of the real dilemmas because in short, as long as there is going to be another levy on the ballot, the game is on. I know, along with some others, that even if the levy had passed, the state was still coming in, so this isn’t a bullet that the schools are going to be able to dodge.

    It is nothing more than a game, and the children are ALWAYS the pawns. The first to be sacrificed. I am but a spectator and my participation at this point is to observe. I have watched the game long enough that I am getting pretty good at guessing what some of the next moves are going to be. The king of the game is the teachers union, and the queen is the administration because they can move easily any direction they want. The other pieces are the various “lower less influencial unions” and the nonunion employees. Their heads will roll in a heartbeat because their pieces have little to no power because they don’t influence as much.

    The queen is generally considered to most powerful piece of the game, but as long as the king is in the game, the game can be won if there are enough of the other pieces left. Any of the pieces can return if lost earlier in the game as long as there is a pawn or two left that can safely make it to the other side…

    Why read the new rulebook? The game is still pretty much the same at this point.

  • 17. Bill Sturgill  |  December 19, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I think it doesn’t matter how much the district cuts because the trust isn’t there that the best is being done for the children. Maybe Brian is right that a third party should come in and take a look. I don’t at this point believe the district has many choices left. If we apply for a loan from the state the state will come in and a panel will be set.
    This district is always the same when it cuts. It looks at programs not mandated by state curriculum, like Art, Music, and PE. I don’t like it but then the question becomes if not them then who. I understand that people want to see Charleston Center downsized and I think it is happening over time. Not fast enough for some. Not to defend anyone but last I heard SFA is a grant funded position to help increase reading and I really don’t think they can be used for administration functions.
    As for cutting busing I believe that is 4 buses cut, not complete high school busing, the wording may have been misleading. Busing is not mandated by the state or federal gov’t at the high school level. If we eliminated complete high school busing I think we would have a real attendance problem. Who knows what will happen if the state comes in. I would very much like to solve these problems but the money issues are very real. We could eliminate all of Charleston and its salaries and it still wouldn’t solve our problems. These are trying times for everyone. We just have to work it out…Bill

  • 18. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:05 pm

    Bill the purpose of these posts on LCS is get thoughts ,opinions, dialogue and information out there – not the most ideal way to get input from those involved and the taxpayer but in many cases people are more comfortable. I hope people are listening because even if one disagrees remember no one is ever completely wrong and we may all learn something or understand a specific we hadn’t realized before.

    Let us take Brian for example he spearheaded the “gathering of concerns” for LCS in 2007 put himself on the line….and now like many of us – he was burned by life and people too…. and trust is lost as well as desire to be more involved …….. and I believe that once again trust is one of the core issues if not the issue

    Does the public have “trust ” in what LCS are saying- Do they trust that LCS will do the right thing? Do we trust that our children are getting the best education? Do they trust that an open dialogue is really wanted …….trust??????????????

  • 19. Bill Sturgill  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:06 am

    Just to post some more information. I checked on what the safety Compliance officers and they are paid $43K per year. I have no idea where the $65K came from. Loraine I’m not upset about what anyone says one bit. I would say most of the criticism was earned a long time ago. A lot of people got burned in 2007. The difference between now and then is it isn’t a suprise to anyone and everyone seen it coming. Hopefully we can work our way out of this and someday move on. I just wish I could see it from here.

  • 20. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:11 am

    Maybe overtime??? I don’t know … but thanks for checking

    This is the sort of dialogue that is healthy checking and making sure the information is accurate ………

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