Sorcerer’s Apprentice- Morning Journal and Lorain City Schools

December 19, 2011 at 12:24 am 17 comments

Other posts by the Socerer’s Apprentice
Let’s continue our magical tour through the Lorain City Schools. We will now examine the article that appeared in The Morning Journal on Dec. 15, 2011.

Please keep in mind that this information was given to the public from our local news source, so we have to accept what they are sharing. After all, with the open communication from the current Board of Education, we should feel confident that the information given is in fact what we need to know. Also, this trip will have to be in two parts, A and B, since there is so much to look into.

The Morning Journal reports that

“Facing a $12 million deficit . . . options include borrowing $6million from the ODE, plus cutting an additional $6 million in spending.”

AH, finally a voice of reason says that we need to balance our expenditures with our income. Good thinking. BUT, why in the world would your first thought be to BORROW monies that need to be paid back with interest? BECAUSE YOU HAVE NO CHOICE! It’s gotten so far out of hand that this option is probably the most viable. ALSO, remember that the district will need additional income in order to re-pay this “loan”. NOW, maybe they could negotiate with the ODE and have them give us a credit for all the “unfunded” mandates the ODE has made all the Ohio districts comply with and fund for the last, oh let’s say 15 years. Wonder how much credit we could get from that? Probably enough to reduce some of that $6 million we have to “borrow”.


Also, the same Morning Journal article:

“After making $1.5 million in cuts in October, the school district still has a $10.5 million deficit to address.”

Sooooooooo, we only have to cut another 4.5 million to reach the 6 million we need to borrow. I know where to get 250K; suspend those supplemental payments that were given out on Dec. 14, 2011. Now we are down to 4.25 million to cut.


“Certain programs are not currently being considered for cutbacks. These include . . . the marketing department and TV 20.”

QUESTION? What does the “marketing department” do for the school district?
Do they sell us to prospective residents to bring in more students?
Do they give the news outlets/media information regarding the school district?
Exactly what do they do and how much does it cost?

Most “marketers” (not mouseketeers) sell something. Most news outlets in this area come to us for information, public records and all that. We as a district provide information regarding agendas and other matters to the media. Do we need to have a marketing department? Mr. Bock and TV20 do a great job providing video coverage of many activities for our district, what does the marketing department do?

When transportation of high school students is mentioned, there is such an outcry.

First the public must be made aware that there is NO requirement in a city like Lorain to transport regular high school students exists, it is a courtesy and an extra “service”. This is part of the State of Ohio guidelines.

The hue and cry is that it is too far for students on the south side and the east side to get to the high school. Well folks, when Lorain only had one high school located at 6th and Washington Avenue, all students went to that school. It did not matter where in the city you lived, that is where you went. Granted there was a public transportation system in place, but parents made sure their students got to school, and to use public transportation the cost was on the parents/family. Many, many walked. (Good for them physically and good for the environment.)

In the 60’s when we had 2 public high schools, (of course there was also a public transit system which was paid for by parents/families) students got to their respective buildings and parents made sure of it. {By the way, there were more high school students then than now.} Students will get to school if they are encouraged and/or made to attend. Simple as that! Parents need to step up and get their students to school.In times of economic distress, budgets need to be trimmed:

–The BOE (see agenda Dec. 14, 2011) suspended some teaching and support staff contracts to take reduction action. That was their “right”.

Now, why don’t we do something about reducing the cost of supplemental payments? (that’s part of a “contract”)
Why can’t some sort of fiscal plan include an ACROSS THE BOARD pay reduction? (Business does it all the time AND our schools are a business.) That way EVERYONE takes part of the “hit”; shares the “burden” as well as a part of the solution. Makes us all partners in education. If let’s say hypothetically, there was a 10% across the board reduction in pay, how much would that save? Something I’m sure.

–I know you don’t want to hear about days gone by and the good old days, BUT, what happened to teachers sponsoring clubs without extra pay? What happened to directors directing without extra pay to showcase their students skills? Why do we need an All City choreographer for a presentation? Please, someone tell me!

–Could we not “suspend” contract language for the administrators that are getting an “extra” annuity to cover their contribution to retirement? How much would that save?

These “thoughts” deserve a look, also answers. The district wants input, so here’s some. What do you think you should do with it? Maybe these questions will help all of us get a clearer picture of what is happening. Please don’t expect us to sit by and do nothing or accept only what you have to give us. There are so many sides to this issue, let us be a part. Let’s communicate openly and honestly, not one-sidedly.

Education is one of the greatest gifts we give our children. Let’s not short change them again.

To be continued …………….

Entry filed under: city of lorain, education, personal opinion. Tags: , , .

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice -” ON “the BOE Agenda – Lorain City Schools Guest Blog- The Sorcerer’s Apprentice- SPORTS FUN(ding) cha ching

17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Peter Potamus  |  December 19, 2011 at 12:51 am

    This is a very sobering assessment… which of the 50 US States fund their schools with no property taxes and no voter involvement?

  • 2. becky smith  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:38 am

    These are all great questions that all revolve around contracts. The LEA has contracts that bind the district to paying teachers for the extras that they do. Although it may seem like a lot of money. It is time after the regular day that the teachers are getting paid for. Most of the contracts are within reason. It is a very hard thing to give of oneself after your have put in a full day. I had many a supplemental in my day that took time and energy. The amount of money for most supplemental contracts is really not close to the actual time put into the job. Most of the teachers take the contracts because they are interested in bringing students to a new level of thinking and opportunities for growth. There are many of these contracts that are civic in nature and teach children to cooperate and grow in a group, team as well as individually. These are the areas that may lead children to a career choice. There is not time during the academic day to reach children in this manner. Although most say that a teacher’s day is short and full of fun I can tell you that is not the case. It is a long day with a great deal of responsibility and a constant demand of attention. There is no down time as a teacher, as you are always on stage and have to have your antennas on to catch every little event that takes place. When that day comes to an end you take a deep breath and thank god that no one was hurt and you actually had students gaining knowledge. Then you start your planning and grading and paper work to stay on top for the next day. So, for a teacher to take on an extra curricular activity is not a cake walk after you have put in your day. I do not believe that it is a requirement to have the extra curricular activities but for many children it is there only chance to get involved as their parents can not afford the costs and or just do not care. It would be a shame to see these activities cut.

  • 3. Brian  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:29 am

    I said it before, and I will say it again. The “system isn’t going to do what is needed until it has no other options. You think things are bad right now? Wait till the bury the district in the ground because they have no idea how to save it.

  • 4. Brian  |  December 19, 2011 at 2:47 am

    I sorta chuckled when saw the comment about the across the board pay cut. While it is ONE of the thing that needs to happen, it won’t, just like the administrators won’t give up funding their own pensions.

    The super or one or more of the board members would have to make that motion to consider that and I don’t believe any of them will, unless the schools are going to provide them with a body guard.

  • 5. Kalin  |  December 19, 2011 at 8:44 am

    $16,629,258 is what Lorain city schools got from the “stimulus” American Recovery Act. Already delivered and the checks cashed.

    How come nothing has changed?

  • 6. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 19, 2011 at 1:16 pm

    Kalin I think that money went toward the Success For All program but having researched that program it should be called Success for Some . I hate these catch all program names – No child left behind- ha how did that work out for us- according to Mr. Sturgill if we cut the bussess the attendance will go down- sad but true probably- so maybe the govenment should fund the busses so no child is left behind………….I know I am being sarcastic but since I am the result of a failed educational experiment in Canada ( New Math) I know all too well the ripple effect…….. instead of another ” special program” funded by grants and all that entails the hiring or overseeing of a grant person and tracking etc. maybe we need to say enough- this is where we need to put this money in our particular school system – we are grant heavy and grants run out……… and the programs then have to go away or be picked up by the system ………

  • 7. Kalin  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:04 pm

    $ 560,182 Investing in Innovation
    $2,770,947 Race to the Top
    $2,324,199 Special Education
    $3,281,784 Grants to LEAs
    $ 78,352 Special Education – Preschool
    $7,522,759 Fiscal Stabilization Fund

  • 8. Grammy  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Great work Kalin! What in the world is a Fiscal Stabilization Fund? What are the grants to LEAs? Think there need to be “some ‘splain Lucy!”

  • 9. Grammy  |  December 19, 2011 at 10:55 pm

    meant” “splainin Lucy!”

  • 10. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:13 am

    I agree what is the FSF ( sounds rude 😉

  • 11. Brian  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:21 am

    Thought about the supplemental contract and the cost, but then cutting that cost now would just create another reduction of income later…

    The supplemental contracts have student participation in the hundreds if not thousands. If those programs are cut now, those kids have time to open enroll or transfer out to a school that has football or whatever the contracts cover.

    If 50 kids have to option to move to a district or school that has that programming, there’s your quarter million there. Cut a quarter million here, lose another quarter million or more somewhere else. They won’t be announcing that sports and the supplements are going to be cut until it is too late for the kids to transfer out of the district. Remember, this is all about the pawns, umm, I mean kids.

  • 12. Bill Sturgill  |  December 20, 2011 at 1:25 am

    I’m not sure if the comment about the pay reduction is a take off on what I said at the board meeting on the 14th but here is what was said. I think the board should support as far as contractually possible a pay freeze in the entire district. I’m aware some things are contractual but I’m also aware some yearly raises are policy driven and shouldn’t happen . This was pertaining to the non represented staff at Charleston Center. I can’t see anyone getting a raise while the district is in the financial state it is currently in.
    Loraine I did like your comment on the busing and no child left behind. I am going to ask about the fiscal stabilization fund…..

  • 13. Grammy  |  December 20, 2011 at 2:33 am

    Brian–FYI: If a student chooses to leave the school district he/she is currently attending, there are STATE Athletic rules that HAVE to be followed. The student MUST obtain a waiver in order to participate in athletics in his new district IF he has not attended there for an academic year. If, the district he/she is leaving does not grant the waiver, they cannot participate in athletics for one academic year. So, if they choose to leave for athletic reasons and no waiver is granted (Lorain’s district has a previous track record of NOT granting waivers when money is on the line) no athletic participation can happen. Therefore, the quarter mill only leaves with a waiver.

  • 14. Kalin  |  December 20, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Ohio House Bill 136 has left committee and will more than likely pass both houses. The Bill known as “Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship Program” is essentially a voucher program for any child in a household with earning less than $95,000. You can read the bill here:


    Creates the Parental Choice and Taxpayer Savings Scholarship (PACT) Program
    providing students with scholarships to attend nonpublic schools, for which
    eligibility and scholarship amounts are based on family income.

    Finances PACT scholarships by counting scholarship students in the enrollments of
    their resident school districts for state funding purposes, and then deducting
    amounts from the districts’ state education aid.

    Permits students who currently receive Ed Choice or Cleveland scholarships to
    transfer to the PACT program.

    Phases in, over four school years according to grade bands, eligibility for PACT
    scholarships for other students who already attend Ohio nonpublic schools without
    a state scholarship, if they meet the family income requirement.

    Limits the number of PACT scholarships that may be awarded statewide each year
    to the difference between the total number of Ed Choice scholarships authorized for
    that year and the number of Ed Choice scholarships actually awarded.

    Limits the number of PACT scholarships that may be awarded to the students of a
    single school district each year to the number that can be financed by the aggregate
    amount of the district’s “state education aid” for that year.

  • 15. Grammy  |  December 20, 2011 at 4:03 am

    OH MY!

  • 16. becky smith  |  December 21, 2011 at 1:36 am

    LEA’s are Local Educational Agencies, meaning any local school districts. That is code in grants. Most grants specify if the money can be used by LEA’s or other agencies. I just copied and pasted from Gov’t website, the following:
    The State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (SFSF) program is a new one-time appropriation of $53.6 billion under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Of the amount appropriated, the U. S. Department of Education will award governors approximately $48.6 billion by formula under the SFSF
    program in exchange for a commitment to advance essential education reforms to benefit students from early learning through post-secondary education, including: college- and career- ready standards and high-quality, valid and reliable assessments for all students; development and use of pre-K through post-secondary and career data systems; increasing teacher effectiveness and ensuring an equitable distribution of qualified teachers; and turning around the lowest-performing schools.

    These funds will help stabilize state and local government budgets in order to minimize and avoid reductions in education and other essential public services. The program will help ensure that local educational agencies (LEAs) and public institutions of higher education (IHEs) have the resources to avert cuts and retain teachers and professors.
    I believe this money is almost gone at this point. I am pretty sure this is the last year for these funds. The formulas are designed to help the lowest performing schools and are based on the number of free and reduced lunches/low income poverty levels. Lorain received much more than say Amherst based on its poverty levels.

  • 17. Loraine Ritchey  |  December 21, 2011 at 3:02 am

    Thanks Becky

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December 2011

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