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Help Replace One of Ohio's Oldest Schools?

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Iron Man View Drop Down
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    Posted: Mar 22 2014 at 6:09pm
They're placing levy campaign signs on public property again. There's even one placed at the J. Ross Hunt Tower (county property). Why is this acceptable? Between that, and the school board's architectural firm supporting the levy campaign, they're stooping pretty low (even by their standards).

I hope the counter campaign places opposing signs right next to them.

We already sat back and watched these fools tear down Roosevelet when a charter school would have likely purchased the building in a second, and run it the right way. It's interesting that private schools and companies have no problem making good use of superiorly constructed old buildings. Let's put a stop to this madness, VOTE NO.

“When we build, let us think that we build forever.” –Ruskin










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Iron Man View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iron Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 22 2014 at 6:11pm
What they left us with...

a cheap galvanized chain link fence that would be more fitting wrapped around a salvage yard, and overgrown grass and weeds.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 22 2014 at 8:04pm
Thanks for the memories, Ironman
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2014 at 8:42am
If they are in violation of election laws with the early sign placement, a contact to the Butler County Board of Elections should be made and a complaint filed with the county and state, right?

GOT A LITTLE PURPLE "VOTE FOR THE LEVY" CARD ON MY DOOR ON SATURDAY. BIG SIGN ON THE DOOR, RIGHT ABOUT FACE LEVEL SAYING "NO SOLICITING". LEVY VOLUNTEERS MUST NOT BE ABLE TO READ. THE FLYER MADE GOOD FODDER FOR THE TRASHCAN.

Agree, they should never have torn down a Middletown landmark, but then again, they don't care. They weren't born and raised here either and have no feelings for the city. The beginning of the end for this city was when the locals died off, the younger people and the jobs left for greener pastures and the new breed outsiders came in with their town-destroying gameplan.

THE COMPETENCY OF THE OLD GUARD WAS LIGHT YEARS BEYOND THE PEOPLE WE HAVE NOW. COUNCIL, SCHOOL BOARD, OCCUPANTS OF THE CITY BUILDING, DOESN'T MATTER. WE JUST DON'T HAVE ANY QUALITY LEADERSHIP IN THE TOWN ANYMORE......AND WE ARE PAYING A HUGE PRICE FOR IT TOO AS WE WATCH A TOWN TURN GHETTO AND DIE.

TIME TO PLAY YOU TUBE.......CHER SONG "IF I COULD TURN BACK TIME" COUPLED WITH THE BYRD'S SONG, "I'LL FEEL A WHOLE LOT BETTER WHEN YOU'RE GONE" FOR GILLELAND.    
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2014 at 8:52pm

Few would dispute the progress made in Ohio over the past 15 years in building or renovating about 1,000 public school buildings at a cost of about $10 billion.

In the Mahoning Valley alone, a majority of school districts have undergone remarkable transformations in their physical plants. In Youngstown, for example, the state chipped in 80 percent of the nearly $200 million cost to completely renew and reinvent district facilities.

Today, the Ohio School Facilities Commission is more than half-way along its path toward reconstruction or renovation projects in all 612 public school districts serving 1.8 million students. That mission evolved in part from the landmark 1997 Ohio Supreme Court DeRolph ruling that declared Ohio’s system of funding public education unconstitutional because it fell woefully short of affording all Ohio children a thorough and efficient education. As it applies to OSFC, some students were taught in Taj Mahal settings; others learned in squalor.

But 16 years later, shiny new brick-and-mortar physical plants have done little to erase the more internal inequities in funding education or the ongoing financial crises local school districts struggle through largely because of the state’s overworn overreliance on local property taxes.

The OSFC-funded new buildings may give the appearance of wholesale progress but in some respects they’re little more than impressive-looking smokescreens for lingering inequalities in school funding and student performance among urban, suburban and rural school districts.

Disparities remain crystal clear. According to data from the Ohio Department of Education, in 2011, Youngstown City Schools spent an average of $15,408 on each of its 6,057 students compared with the $8,241 spent to educate each of Austintown Local’s 5,149 students.

Disparities in student performance are even more stark. In last year’s state report cards for example, Youngstown schools received a D; Austintown schools received an A+.

SUCCESS IN ITS TARGETED MISSION

Despite the ongoing disparities, the OSFC has succeeded to some extent in leveling the playing field by creating a fresher more appealing learning environment for students, particularly urban students whose schools were among the most decrepid and the first to be modernized.

The gargantuan building program, however, has been no complete panacea toward remedying the precarious state of public education and its funding in the Buckeye State.

And some have raised legitimate concerns about the very visible OSFC program. As The Columbus Dispatch reported in an investigative project earlier this summer, some question the planning prowess of the commission and its staff and contractors. According to The Dispatch, the majority of schools built over the past several years have opened their doors to overcrowded or overcapacity student enrollments, including those in Hubbard and Niles last school year.

In Youngstown, the opposite problem arose. Now, four years after the district completed construction of all its buildings, officials are set to close two new buildings with a combined price tag of $19 million because they have been woefully under capacity.

Some question the priorities of OSFC spending. Could some of the $10 billion spent on new facilities have been better spent on enhanced curricula, updated teacher training or improved educational aids?

Some also question the fairness of OSFC spending. Some districts in which property owners are taxed most heavily find themselves low men on the totem pole of OSFC priorities.

Despite such questioning, the work of OSFC has improved Ohio’s school landscape.

ANOTHER ROCKY YEAR AHEAD

But it has done little to ameliorate Ohio’s longstanding school-funding dilemma. That dilemma is not diminishing.

As we stand on the threshold of the 2013-14 academic year, school districts are again pulling out all the stops. Despite a modest increase to public school funding in the recently adopted 2014-15 state biennium budget, the gains won’t be shared equally among school districts. Some won’t see a dime in new state revenue. And none of the increases will make up for the massive $1.3 billion in hits that education took in the 2012-13 biennium budget.

What’s worse, this year also promises even more hardship to schools as the effects of the federal sequester — aka as irresponsible inaction in the U.S. Congress — will force a loss of about $66 million in federal aid to Ohio public schools, most of it hurting poorer students or those with special needs.

The growth in community schools and voucher programs will also siphon away increasingly more dollars from public school districts.

Collectively, the challenges loom large. And while the state-of-the art buildings may motivate some students to higher performance, in and of themselves they merely crack at the edges of Ohio’s more structural struggle to improve its long-standing dysfunctional system of funding public education.

'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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acclaro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2014 at 8:59pm
I was driving and saw signs someone intends to tear down Cutter Hall at Ohio University i n Athens, built in 1816 and still functioning.

Why?



 
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Iron Man View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iron Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2014 at 9:20pm
Excellent article, thank you acclaro! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 23 2014 at 10:31pm
The oxymoron; broke city facing financial turbulence  that selfishly avoids putting cash into its infratsructure, but thinks its a good deal to spend $ 1 Mm to get $ 1 Mm from the state to tear down houses.

A terrible school system espouses it needs taxpayers to pay $55 Mm to get $40 Mm because the cowardly state politicians have a broken funding system, which is partially remedied by the state running an unconstitutional system, augments its guilt, by partial funding of new buildings that do nothing to advance student education....but it obviates guilty conscious by using the taxpayer dime.

Amazing.

   
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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processor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 1:10pm
Iron Man. You're wrong about Roosevelt. It was offered and would have been practically given away had there been someone interested in purchasing it. There were no offers and no interest for over two years. Should the board have let it sit for another two years and let it turn into an eyesore, or spent a lot of money keeping up a building they had no use for or tear it down? After a lot of effort to sell/give away the building there was no interest and the board chose to tear it down. Not a good outcome but the only feasible option.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugh jape Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 1:44pm
Everyone may want to review Superintendent Isons contract.  I understand that he receives a bonus if the Bond issue passes.  So....if you successfully raise MY taxes you get a bonus paid for by MY taxes?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Iron Man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 1:46pm
Originally posted by processor processor wrote:

Iron Man. You're wrong about Roosevelt. It was offered and would have been practically given away had there been someone interested in purchasing it. There were no offers and no interest for over two years. Should the board have let it sit for another two years and let it turn into an eyesore, or spent a lot of money keeping up a building they had no use for or tear it down? After a lot of effort to sell/give away the building there was no interest and the board chose to tear it down. Not a good outcome but the only feasible option.


The school board never marketed the property, so that's not surprising.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 2:12pm
The school levy should be DEFEATED because:

1) Middletown's student population is shrinking.

2) It let its roads and infrastructure fall apart driving out residents and businesses.

3) It will have no effect upon enhancing enrollment or MCSD ever achieving a SATISFACTORY rating, let alone an EXCELLENT.

4. It will drive housing demand further; SEE houses that sold because owners wanted out- Slagle, Bidwell, Nerman, others.

5. Ison or any super should not be compensated financially for campaign abilities or lack thereof.

Sidebar- No effort was spent in marketing any Middletown school building.   
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote hugh jape Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 3:29pm
I am rather insulted that the schools want to raise my taxes when they are doing so poorly academically.  Ison, Lolli and the gang need to focus time and MY tax money on educating the students much better than they currently are instead of running a campaign and building new schools.  Why should I give MORE tax money to them when they are doing a poor job of educating our students as it is now?  New buildings with the same teachers and superintendent will mean the same results in new schools while I am paying for both with higher taxes. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote enough is enough Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 24 2014 at 9:57pm
There are many wonderful teachers in the district. I have on many occasions witnessed this myself. Our BOE had the wonderful wisdom to bring Lolli into our district after Monroe had became wise to her tyrannical approach of its my way or the highway. Stop blaming teachers for all that is wrong with this district and put the blame on the BOE for hiring poor administrators. Price, Rasmussen, Lolli and the lost could go on and on. If the citizens of Middletown really knew what was going on with this administration they would be demanding that heads roll. The BOE chooses to believe that what Lolli says is the gospel truth. I would not hire Lolli to walk my dog, she might bite him. Do not be fooled, Lolli running the district. A BIG NO VOTE from me.
Enough is Enough
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chmoore1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 12:33am
Somewhere, Mrs. Andrew is monitoring this blog. Where do we stand with Dr. Lolli? Where is she on her contract---first year, second year, third year? Does the board realize the negative impact that she is having on the staff (teachers) and the district. Why was she even considered for her position? I have heard that she is/has been very mean-spirited in her dealings with staff. Can she go?   What do I know, I'm just 1 chmoore?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugh jape Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 9:22am
I agree that we have a number of wonderful teachers.  Lolli is a major problem.  She is a tyrant and as you said its "my way of the highway".  She needs to go! Ison is at fault as well as he allows her to act this way
 
Is it legal to have levy signs on school property?  I don't think it is yet MCSD has them on their school property
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 10:12am
Why does this school district keep hiring Monroe's problem children? Don't they read the news? Are they not informed as to the baggage these two Monroe people bring with them? Did they not see what Lolli and Thorpe did to the Monroe school district? Why even consider them for hire? Aren't they asking for potential problems?
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 11:09am
Enough is Enough, chmoore1, Hugh Jape,
Interesting comments. I agree that we have some wonderful teachers, but we also have many who are not wonderful. Also some of the wonderful teachers are very nice, helpful, concerned, but are not effective in teaching our students. In order for the district to improved it's test scores, the teachers will HAVE to CHANGE their approach AND be Held ACCOUNTABLE for their results, or lack of results. Lolli and others are taking a lot of flack from teachers who are set in their ways and are unwilling to change. Of course those teachers who are resisting changing their approach will claim that the Admin is a bunch of tyrants. Change is hard but is necessary for the district to improve.

Enough is Enough, I agree that Price was not effective but completely disagree about Rasmussen. Rasmussen made many changes that are starting to help the district's performance. It's too early to know about Ison.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 1:00pm
My father's best friend was Deacon Diehl (sorry if I have misspelled his last name), whom was superintendent when Middletown actually commanded some degree of respect both academically and socio-economically. obviously pre 1985 era.

Undoubtedly, there are bad teachers in every district; same with administrators.

It appears Middletown suffers from an administration that hires its admin staff from top school districts, ergo, Monroe, Lebanon, that aren't equipped for the demographic alteration inflicted upon Middletown and the MCSD. If a company is bankrupt, or close to it, a Board would go out and find a turn-around expert. Instead, MCSD, and the city, goes out and finds a Google or IBM equivalent; ergo Lolli, Gilleland, current council members, that are not equipped with the skills, particularly leadership, that are necessary with the conditions in the district similar to an under-performing company.

The state has a curriculum, including Common Core, which Pence in Indiana recently abolished, that doesn't give a teacher much latitude to make changes to an approach to teaching.

Additionally, supers are hired to be rain-makers, just like university Presidents, for fund raising, and below college., to pass levies.

Lolli is a COO, Ison, is a CEO, supposed to be the fluff and buff guy, that gets votes for levies. Instead of replacing aged buildings, perhaps it is time to replace aged school board members, tenured (K McNeil, others), and bring in turn around administrators. Something tells me the super in Indian Hills or Oakwood would struggle in Middletown, other than coming from a stellar district. 

My biggest problem and issue with the BOE is its tethering approach to the city council and city leaders. One doesn't tether with the entity that brought forth demographics that caused the performance problems as friendly chums.

While teachers get the blame, whom rarely double nor triple dip, after years of instruction, the true enemy is the city leaders and council members, whom have stood by and watched a once decent system and city crumble, and all ask.... why?

Its the leadership void.          
'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugh jape Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 1:44pm
Again, Ison or fluff and buff gets a bonus to pass levies,  I find this insulting.
If ison is fluff and buff then Lolli is huff and puff for he treatment of employees.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 4:00pm
Hugh Jape -- Ison's contract does not provide for a bonus if the bond levy (or any other levy) passes.  I negotiated and signed the agreement, so I know.  You have been given wrong information.
 
Acclaro -- Rasmussen came from Wichita, a school district with very similar demographics to Middletown (just much bigger).  Lolli, before Monroe, was Superintendent in Barberton Ohio, a district considered by the state to be one of 20 comparable districts demographically to Middletown. Ison moved Lebanon HIgh from Continous Improvement to Excellent in I think 8 years.  They are proven leaders.
 
All -- the levy campaign committee made a mistake on the timing of the signs.  They were focused on getting signs up before early voting begins April 1st, and didn't realize the 30 days runs backward from election day, not early voting.  It was not intentional.  It is not illegal to place the signs on school property.  If any of the big signs have been placed improperly in the right of way, if you leave a message with the location with the superintendent's office, he will see that the sign is moved.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote over the hill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 5:41pm
But will they take the signs down until the proper time? Probably not! Will they be cited by the city? Probably not! If I did that with a sign you can bet id be cited! MMMMM
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processor
Can you please give me a couple of examples of the programs that Rasmussen implemented that have proven successful for the district? Thank you in advance.
Enough is Enough
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 25 2014 at 7:06pm
Upon reflection, I was contemplating how many beautiful buildings just in Ohio at Kenyon College there are where my sibling attended college. Kenyon was founded in 1827, the oldest private school in Ohio.  It also has numerous buildings in use including a dorm, built around 1830. Isn't it astounding a college can provide housing 24/7 in a 150 year old building, but purging Vail for 95 Mm is on the ballot? Yes....I know, its "our turn" to put the hand in the state fund cookie jar.

Buildings don't teach and instruct.

Enrollment down.

Continuous Improvement rating playing for a decade or longer, like a record stuck on one song spinning aimlessly.

As for Price, Rasmussen, Ison, others to come, my crystal ball sees CI on the distant horizon for years to come.

Spending $95 Mm for a broken record player is simply fool hardy.

Gee....how does Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyen, Miami, OU, ONU, Wittenburg, and others  do it, having students and faculty in aged buildings and maintain exceptional rankings? 

Paraphrasing Bill Clinton mildly...."its the teaching stupid, not the building."

I for one can't wait for the mass signs to be placed on the weekend before the election in May, the "levy surge" as it is fondly called. The Wolves on Wall Street (strike that), Main Street come out in force.


'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chmoore1 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 26 2014 at 12:22am
Acclaro: just a couple of corrections: Deacon Diehl was never a Superintendent in Middletown Schools (maybe Dean of Boys). Second: replacing the Middle School isn't $95M; it's estimated at $40M (coincidentally, the amount the state owes MCSD); third: "Gee....how does Kenyon, Ohio Wesleyen, Miami, OU, ONU, Wittenburg, and others do it, having students and faculty in aged buildings and maintain exceptional rankings?": completely different funding mechanisms ("apples to oranges"). Those universities might spend $90M on total renovation of a comparable building to MMS, not $40M. Then raise tuition to cover the salaries, etc.     But, what do I know? I'm just 1chmoore.

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