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Middletown Fall 2013 Voter Guide

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    Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 9:14am

Here is a stripped down voter guide from the Middletown Journal for this Fall 2013

Middletown School Board

Marcia Andrew

Lawyer


Web Site http://Www.taftlaw.com

Experience Lawyer for 25 years with Taft law firm in Cincinnati with emphasis on business litigation and dispute resolution, PTO leadership at Central Academy Elementary, board member and campaign co-chair of United Way of Greater Cincinnati Middletown Area

Incumbent Have served as a member of the Middletown Board of Education for 8 years and as President for the last 4 years

Education University of Virginia School of Law J.D. 1988, Williams College B.A. 1984

 

What are your two highest priorities and why? What specific actions will you take to accomplish them?

My two highest priorities are building a culture of high expectations for all students, teachers and support staff and prudent management of the district budget. I will continue to work collaboratively with the other board members, the Superintendent and the Tresurer to focus the district's limited resources where they can be most effective in reaching our goals. It is the board's role to set goals for the district, and then monitor the implementation by the Superintendent and Treasurer of specific strategies and programs designed to meet those goals. The board has encouraged the Superintendent and Treasurer to periodically assess programs and practices to ensure they are effective, and to make changes where they are not. The board has set three goals for the district: to improve academic performance of all students, to improve the climate of the district, and to operate with a balanced budget in a financially conservative manner. I will continue to support Middie P.R.I.D.E., a program of positive behavior development that encourages the character traits of Performance, Respect, Integrity, Determination and Effort. - 

What are your general thoughts on the recent state mandates for education, i.e. Common Core, new teacher and principal evaluation models, new state report cards. What change could have the most beneficial impact on student learning in five, 10 years?

 

The Common Core is a set of new learning standards that the state of Ohio has adopted that will require a more rigorous, deep-thinking style of instruction intended to develop critical thinking skills more so than just memorization of facts. It is well-intentioned but will require teachers to change the way they teach, and the state has not provided funding for professional development that will be necessary for successful implementation of the switch to the Common Core Curriculum. Middletown City Schools has begun the process of moving to these new learning standards. Middletown City Schools has participated in the Race to the Top initiative through which a team of teachers and administrators developed new evaluation models for both principals and teachers. We believe the Middletown model will lead to more informative assessments that will help improve performance as well as aide supervisors in placing the right people in the right positions. The new state report cards provide some additional information that may be helpful to parents and taxpayers, but they fall far short of an ideal model. Most of the measures graded on the state report card essentially grade the socio-economic status of the students in the district, and do not help determine how effectively the schools are teaching the students they have. Value-Added is the one measure that assesses how well a district is doing at providing value and improving the academic performance of its particular students.

What do you think is the most crucial need of the district that would be supported by successful passage of the 3.95-mill bond issue and 0.26-mill permanent improvement levy?

 

The district needs a new middle school to replace the 91 year old current school building. A new building will provide a modern, efficient and safe building for our students. The state facilities commission studied Middletown's school buildings and determined that the current buildings are inadequate to meet the 21st Century needs of our students. The state also determined that renovating the existing building would be too costly. The current bond levy is the second part of the building master plan agreed to by Middletown and the state. In 2003 voters passed a bond levy to replace 6 elementary schools with new buildings and renovate 2 others, reducing the total elementary buildings from 10 to 8. Those buildings were completed on time, on budget, and meeting all state guidelines. If Middletown voters approve this bond issue, the state will pay 26% of the total cost of all phases of the buildings, elementary through high school. If we don't pass this bond issue, the state will not pay for any of the costs of any of the buildings. With the state matching funds, we will also be able to renovate the existing high school, to make it more modern, efficient and safe.

 

What experience makes you the most qualified to serve on the school board?

 

I have served on the school board for 8 years, during which time I have learned about the many complex issues affecting public schools, including state funding, federal grant requirements, state rules and mandates in every area of academics and operations, and the challenges of teaching children from at-risk home backgrounds. I have also learned the proper role of a school board member and how to work collaboratively and professionally with my fellow board members and the administrative leaders to achieve the goals of the district. I have two children attending Middletown High School (and one who graduated from Middletown High School in 2012), so I am intimately aware of the importance of improving the district immediately, but in a way that the results will be sustainable and economically viable for years to come.

 

 

Mark D. McClure

Chiropractic Physician

Web Site http://drmarkmcclure.com

Experience 4 years term 2004-2007 as Vice-President of the Middletown City Board of Education

Education BS Biology/Chemistry MAT Biology/Education DC Chiropractic Doctor

 

What are your two highest priorities and why? What specific actions will you take to accomplish them?

1. Improve communication between the board and community

2. Improve communication between the board and teachers and union

3. Work to remove unnecessary spending

Be visible and be approachable, respond to questions and e-mails in a timely manner, treat everyone equally.

Tighten the belt on expenditures that appear excessive.

 

What are your general thoughts on the recent state mandates for education, i.e. Common Core, new teacher and principal evaluation models, new state report cards. What change could have the most beneficial impact on student learning in five, 10 years?

 

I believe that we need guidelines in education that enable us to meet the expectations of an ever changing world. I want us to continue to evaluate individual progress of students and take into consideration all the variables that effect the success that a student achieves in school. Test results may not give a true evaluation of progress. Students can continue to grow and still not meet the expected goals that the state makes acceptable. Variables can include domestic violence in the home, alcohol and drug abuse, bulling, etc. These factors need to be taken into consideration when evaluating a student.

 

What do you think is the most crucial need of the district that would be supported by successful passage of the 3.95-mill bond issue and 0.26-mill permanent improvement levy?

 

I have never been in favor of shipping students from one school to another. The addition of the new junior high will hopefully eliminate the need for a 6th grade program. The new construction will keep us in tune with other school districts. Both H.S. and J.H.S. will be able to utilize the current track. J.H.S. students will have closer access to the H.S. and will be able to participate in advanced classes.

 

What experience makes you the most qualified to serve on the school board?

 

I have a degree in education and first hand experience in the classroom. I have served as the vice-president of the Middletown City Schools during my term (2004-2007). I was part of the board that successfully passed 3 levies and enabled the construction of the new elementary schools.

 

 

Gregory Tyus

Senior Pastor

Incumbent Over 10 years experience as a Middletown City School District Board of Education member.

Education Associate Degree in Business Management

 

What are your two highest priorities and why? What specific actions will you take to accomplish them?

 

My top five objectives if elected to the board are? 1. Do what I can to assist in our raising our academic scores; by assisting the teaching staff with its needs and encouragement. 2. Get phase two of MCSD building project completed; a new middle school (on high school footprint) and renovating the high school. 3. Get increased parental involvement in the life of MCSD; at all levels of the child's academic career. 4. Remain financially sound and responsible, with tax dollars. 5. Make sure that MCSD, continues to have good representation with Butler Technology and Career Center.

 

What are your general thoughts on the recent state mandates for education, i.e. Common Core, new teacher and principal evaluation models, new state report cards. What change could have the most beneficial impact on student learning in five, 10 years?

 

One of the main areas that has to be looked at is, how competent is the child supported in getting a quality education or are there barriers that need to fixed of solutions found so that the child can succeed on the standardized tests. With that being said, we must seek a team approach in the education of our children, so that no one person on entity suffers. All children must become competent (or ready and able) to receive the quality instruction. Afterwhich, have the ability to articulate that learning. 


What do you think is the most crucial need of the district that would be supported by successful passage of the 3.95-mill bond issue and 0.26-mill permanent improvement levy?

 

Imporved educational environment for our High School and Middle School students, therefore removing one of the barriers that hinder effective teaching and learning.

 

What experience makes you the most qualified to serve on the school board?

 

I have had three children to graduate from Middletown High School, and two of them also attended Butler Tech - D. Russell Lee and received passports. Since being on the Middletown City Schools Board of Education, I have worked with the technology committee, climate committee, Butler Tech career center, reading tutor/volunteer at Rosa Parks elementary school; just to name a few things. And with all of these, I have never quit even when things got tough. I sought out ways to help find solutions, and I am still willing to do that. 

 

 Middletown City Council


Dora Bronston

Procurement

Experience Cooper, Epstein & Hurewitz, Beverly Hills CA law firm in contracts for entertainers where I held the position of a book-keeper; Dataproducts in San Fernando Valley CA where I purchased nuts, bolts screws,iron bar, raw stock, and outsourced for dipbrazing & CNC machining; at Rantec in Calabasas CA, I procured microwave antenna computer parts to land airplanes for Dept. of Defense; at Titan Sesco in Chatsworth CA, I procured computer integrated circuits for tanks, submarines, and airplanes and was promoted as the Deputy Minority Officer; and Fibermux commercial parts for fiberoptic communication lines. My negotiation skills contined through my dissertation project in Gambia & Senegal as a result of Middfest. I obtained a Charter School Contract from the Ohio Dept. of Education where our local past-principal John Rothwell was seated. As the president of the local NAACP

Education MHS graduate MUM two yr. Associate Grace College Bachelor & Master International Apostolic University, PH.D. Administration & Organization

 

The city is projecting to dedicate upwards of $2 million to repave roads in the city. This will be the second straight year the city was able to pool money from various funds. However, city officials have admitted this is not nearly enough to keep up with the demand.

 

Paving the streets of Middletown began two years ago and the streets look & feel wonderful! If City funds are not available to complete every street which needs attention, then we need to focus on those streets which are the main thoroughfares. While paving the streets which move traffic through our city, we may need to consider partnering with a company which has the same job in other neighboring cities for consideration of a cost savings. As a Council member, I would suggest first paving and repairing the streets in poor condition coming off of I75 at our gateway which leads into downtown. Streets such as Roosevelt Blvd., Dixie Hwy., Grand Ave., Breiel Blvd., Marshall Rd., Central Ave., Manchester Rd., University Bld, Verity Pkwy, Yankee Rd, 14th , LaFayette Ave., Manchester Ave., Reinartz Bl., Main St., Tytus Ave., including all hospital, fire and school bus routes. People must be drawn to our City by what we present to them. We need to capture the attention of anyone riding into Middletown from the time they exit the freeway all the way around town so that the beauty of the City would attract businesses and new families who are looking for a new home.

 

The city of Middletown is on the verge of great growth in various sectors – including but not limited to the industrial sector on Yankee, the health care sector in the East End, and the renaissance happening in downtown Middletown. What does the city need to do in order to capitalize on this growth and shed its 2008 Forbes reputation of being a dying city?

 

Middletown is not a dying city. I am excited that we have restaurants opening, hotels establishing roots here, health facilities opening, schools expanding, and community leaders such as myself have been involved in promoting growth. Businesses are expanding such as Akers Packaging and Pilot Chemical. Middletown and Dayton have collaborated to recycle debris. We are forced to change our way of thinking therefore Partnerships have been established such as: Cincinnati State, Primary Health Care, The Middletown City and the Middletown City School District as well as The Greentree Health Science Academy. Avure Technologies Inc., a Swedish company, has signed a 10-year lease in the Midd Cities Industrial Park. Trident Fluid Power expanded it’s facility at the Midd Cities Industrial Park. Downtown Middletown Inc. and the Middletown Community Foundation have helped us beautify Middletown. The Broad Street Bash and the Cross Cultural Bash which have been successful in bringing our community together through music. MidUSA Ohio Hot Air Balloon Challenge is held in July and Middfest International is held the first weekend of each October. Light-Up Middletown and First-Friday has brought life to Middletown. I support all of these downtown activities and encourage all of you readers of this voter’s guide to help our city create a community atmosphere and share in the successes which are available to you locally.

 

The city is working to make expenses match revenues, but city leaders are saying between $1 million and $2 million is needed to be cut between the 2014 and 2015 budgets. That could equate to layoffs. How do you avoid any layoffs, or – assuming they are unavoidable – minimize the impact of any layoffs?

 

The City Council is responsible for all policy matters including enactment of ordinances and resolutions to conduct City business. The City Council adopts the annual appropriation authorizing the expenditure of all City funds. Since I am not seated on Council yet, I will not have a voice in voting on the current annual budget. However, after voting on the budget by year-end, if the Council decides to make further changes to the budget in 2014, I can then have a voice to affect change. In order to do so, I need your vote. I offer my negotiation skills to the Council. My previous employers were: Cooper, Epstein & Hurewitz, Beverly Hills CA law firm in contracts for entertainers where I held the position of a book-keeper; Dataproducts in San Fernando Valley CA where I purchased nuts, bolts screws,iron bar, raw stock, and outsourced for dipbrazing & CNC machining; at Rantec in Calabasas CA, I procured microwave antenna computer parts to land airplanes for Dept. of Defense; at Titan Sesco in Chatsworth CA, I procured computer integrated circuits for tanks, submarines, and airplanes and was promoted as the Deputy Minority Officer; and Fibermux commercial parts for fiberoptic communication lines. My negotiation skills contined through my dissertation project in Gambia & Senegal as a result of Middfest. I obtained a Charter School Contract from the Ohio Dept. of Education where our local past-principal John Rothwell was seated. As the president of the local NAACP, I am a mediator.

 

 

Joshua E. Laubach Production Manager-AK Steel

Experience Ak Steel 2011-Present, Air/Army National Guard 2000-2009

Incumbent -Middletown City Council 2010-Present, Middletown City Council Finance Committee Chairman 2012 2013

Education The Ohio State University 2005 BA Political Science/Minor Economics

 

The city is projecting to dedicate upwards of $2 million to repave roads in the city. This will be the second straight year the city was able to pool money from various funds. However, city officials have admitted this is not nearly enough to keep up with the demand.

 

Given the underfunding for years in regards to infrastructure/road repairs, Middletown needs to dedicate a greater share of local revenues towards these areas. During my current term on council, I have proposed increased spending on roads each year. 2013 was the most significant amount of local dollars spent on road in many years. However, this was not enough. It would take up to 20 years to bring Middletown roads into a respectable standard by spending approximately $12millon in total funds toward repaving. We are currently underfunding these needed repairs and should dedicate more funding in this area. I hope to gain support on this matter from my council colleagues if I am re-elected

 

The city of Middletown is on the verge of great growth in various sectors – including but not limited to the industrial sector on Yankee, the health care sector in the East End, and the renaissance happening in downtown Middletown. What does the city need to do in order to capitalize on this growth and shed its 2008 Forbes reputation of being a dying city?

 

Middletown has a tremendous history and is blessed with a diverse workforce. It's apparent that companies continue to see Middletown as worthy of private investment. We have seen close to 3/4 of a billion dollars in investment into this community in the last 5 years. The City of Middletown should play a positive but restrained role in development and investment.

 

The city is working to make expenses match revenues, but city leaders are saying between $1 million and $2 million is needed to be cut between the 2014 and 2015 budgets. That could equate to layoffs. How do you avoid any layoffs, or – assuming they are unavoidable – minimize the impact of any layoffs? 

Layoffs are not desirable and should be avoided if possible. However, our current revenues in the City of Middletown are nearly equal to what they were in the year 2000. Since that time, we have seen almost a 45% increase in salaries and pension cost. It is understandable that city personnel want to see a rise in pay. But it is not possible for Middletown to absorb this type of increase in cost with the flat and declining revenues Middletown has experience in the last decade. I believe many if not all layoffs in the next few years can be avoided. However, this would require many personnel to take a reduction in pay and operate under different work agreements.

 

Ann Mort Public Relations/Middletown City Council

Experience Small Business owner, Library Extension Department Head, former school board member - 2 years as president, many community leadership positions, event management, photographer, writer

Incumbent Now completing an unexpired term. Running for a full four-

Education Monroe High School - Preble County, Miami University-Oxford and Middletown

 

The city is projecting to dedicate upwards of $2 million to repave roads in the city. This will be the second straight year the city was able to pool money from various funds. However, city officials have admitted this is not nearly enough to keep up with the demand.

 

The City of Middletown staff has been very creative in finding ways to meet the need for street repairs. The various City funds and their restrictions mean that certain pools of money can be used only for certain things. By paving streets where underground sewer and water upgrades are needed, some of the cost can be shared by the sewer and water funds which stretches the paving dollars. I would like to see all the streets paved, however, we also need police, fire and many other services which also require dollars. As with a family budget, there are always more needs than there are dollars but we all do the best we can to meet all the needs of our families and cities. 

The city of Middletown is on the verge of great growth in various sectors – including but not limited to the industrial sector on Yankee, the health care sector in the East End, and the renaissance happening in downtown Middletown. What does the city need to do in order to capitalize on this growth and shed its 2008 Forbes reputation of being a dying city?

 

It takes a long time to turn around a perception. By continuing our positive growth in several areas of the city, we are slowly causing even the most negative folks to see that positive things are happening throughout the community. Middletown, now 222 years old, has experienced rebirth several times throughout its history. From a stage coach and river stop to the canal days, to major steel and paper industries to technology and medical centers along the I-75 corridor, Middletown has changed with the times. We are changing again and we will draw on our rich heritage to survive and thrive. I hope to join with others to speed up the perception change.

 

The city is working to make expenses match revenues, but city leaders are saying between $1 million and $2 million is needed to be cut between the 2014 and 2015 budgets. That could equate to layoffs. How do you avoid any layoffs, or – assuming they are unavoidable – minimize the impact of any layoffs?

 

I believe in involving those affected in finding a solution to a problem. I have suggested that Council establish a budget that balances, then direct staff to work with the individual departments to allow those involved to help find the solutions. We understand that all cities are fighting the same budget battles and many are in more difficult positions than Middletown, however, that is small consolation to those who may be laid off. Most of us have never lived through such a recession as we have experienced in recent years and are unaccustomed to severely cutting budgets. Our grandparents, however, know about the depression era and learn to “make do” or “do without.” Yes, we may have to cut some services which will be painful to our citizens. In today’s world there are more ways to consolidate, reconfigure or change services to meet a smaller budget. I look for those ways.

 

 

Daniel J. Picard Attorney

Experience Attorney for 31 years. Member of numberous Bar Assoications. Part Owner and Vice President of a manufacturing facility employing over 100 people. Present and former member of numerous Boards of Directors of many service organizations. Chairman of the Middletown United Way Campaign.

Incumbent City Council since 2009 including two years as Vice Mayor.

Education B.S. Political Science Miami University; Juris Doctor University of Dayton School of Law

 

The city is projecting to dedicate upwards of $2 million to repave roads in the city. This will be the second straight year the city was able to pool money from various funds. However, city officials have admitted this is not nearly enough to keep up with the demand.

 

Given the financial condition of the City and the continued lack of growth in revenues to the City, the only avenue available to expand the City’s repaving projects is to reduce revenues devoted to other areas of the City. At the present time, the spending priorities for the City should be in the area of Public Safety which should not be compromised for additional repaving of streets. The citizens of Middletown expressed their support for Public Safety with the passage of the Public Safety Levy last year and the City leadership should respect this vote by not reducing the funds expended on Public Safety in exchange for repaving streets.

We need to continue to be creative in our efforts to locate additional funding and we need to expand our efforts to obtain more grants, particularly from the State and the Federal Government to assist us in our repaving efforts. Grants of this type are simply the return of tax dollars which the citizens of Middletown have sent to these governments and we should do all that we can to reinvested these dollars in our City.

The only other alternative is to attempt to pass a levy devoted entirely to the paving of streets. This has been attempted in the past and it has failed. Only if the citizens expressed their willingness to approve such a levy, would I be willing to consider placing this type of levy on the ballot.


The city of Middletown is on the verge of great growth in various sectors – including but not limited to the industrial sector on Yankee, the health care sector in the East End, and the renaissance happening in downtown Middletown. What does the city need to do in order to capitalize on this growth and shed its 2008 Forbes reputation of being a dying city?

 

The City must continue to partner with the private sector and other public sector entities on future projects to move the City forward. In fact, if anything, the City must do all that it can, within its authorities, to expand our efforts to assist potential investors in our City to expand our job base. Expanding the job base is the only way to increase revenues to the City which will then enable the City to provide additional services to the citizens.

Projects such as Greentree Academy, Pendleton Art, Cincinnati State and Coon redevelopment of the Rose Furniture building and the adjoing building, have been extremely successful partnerships which are leading the way in the revitalization of Middletown. These projects, coupled with the City’s continued support of our manufacturing sector, which has invested over Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($750,000,000.00) in our City and created over One Thousand (1,000.00) jobs during the past four years, will ensure the continued rebirth of our City.

We must continue to reach out to the private sector to encourage developement within the City and we must be willing to utilize all of our resources to encourage growth and expansion withn our City by partnering with private enterprise and by reducing or eliminating any and all obstacles to their continued growth.

 

The city is working to make expenses match revenues, but city leaders are saying between $1 million and $2 million is needed to be cut between the 2014 and 2015 budgets. That could equate to layoffs. How do you avoid any layoffs, or – assuming they are unavoidable – minimize the impact of any layoffs?

 

I will be reviewing every expenditure which will be presented to Council in the upcoming budget process and, keeping in mind that Public Safety is my highest priority, I will be looking to reduce our expenses in all areas to avoid the necessity of layoffs. The City budget has been reduce through layoffs over the past several years and we should do eveything we possily can to reduce our expenses while retaining our employees to provide services to our citizens.

The easiest way to avoid layoffs is to increase revenues received by the City. The greatest impact on revenue growth will occur with the addtion of good paying jobs for the citizens of Middletown. To this end, we must continue to partner with both public and private entities to assist them in their efforts to commence new enterprises or to expand existing ones already located within the City.

If layoffs must occur to maintain the City on sound financial basis, I will be looking to reduce staffing in every area other than Public Safety, which I believe is the most important service provided to our citizens by the City. Ultimatley, we must look to the outsourcing of a number of departments. If services can be provided by other entities, at a lower cost, while maintaining the level of service, we must explore every possibility to reduce our expenses. 

 

 

Middletown Schools bond issue and tax levy

A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage 

Shall the Middletown City School District, Counties of Butler and Warren, Ohio, be authorized to do the following:

(1) Issue bonds for the purpose of new construction, improvements, renovations and additions to school facilities, and providing equipment, furnishings and site improvements therefor in the principal amount of  fifty-five million dollars ($55,000,000), to be repaid annually over a maximum period of thirty-seven (37) years, and levy a property tax outside the ten-mill limitation, estimated by the county auditor to average over the bond repayment period three and ninety-five hundredths (3.95) mills for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to thirty-nine and five-tenths cents ($0.395) for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, to pay the annual debt charges on the bonds, and to pay debt charges on any notes issued in anticipation of those bonds, commencing in 2013, first due in calendar year 2014?

(2) Levy an additional property tax to provide funds for the acquisition, construction, enlargement, renovation, and financing of permanent improvements at a rate not exceeding twenty-six hundredths (0.26) mill for each one dollar of tax valuation, which amounts to two and six-tenths cents ($0.026) for each one hundred dollars of tax valuation, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2013, first due in calendar year 2014?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 11:00am
In looking at the profiles from the School Board candidates, it appears that all three support levies, from operational to bond levies. They all support getting the new middle school built. Ms. Andrew says the elementaries are meeting all state guidelines......at the lower echelon on grades/lower echelon on indicators. Has the cost been worth the 45 million spent on them? You decide.

"In 2003 voters passed a bond levy to replace 6 elementary schools with new buildings and renovate 2 others, reducing the total elementary buildings from 10 to 8. Those buildings were completed on time, on budget, and meeting all state guidelines"

I like the phrase.....

"A new building will provide a modern, efficient and safe building for our students". Not quite saying what we have heard in the past from the Price regime where his group eluded to new schools would improve academic results with all the new bells and whistles included. Ms. Andrew used a little more "generalization" here......but

McClure? He had his time on the Board. Can't remember him giving us any more than all the others that have occupied the desk. Don't think we'll see any difference nor new offerings from him if elected again. Standard production line answers and thoughts. Nothin' new. Pass a levy....gotta get better......

Tyus?

What do you think is the most crucial need of the district that would be supported by successful passage of the 3.95-mill bond issue and 0.26-mill permanent improvement levy?

"Imporved educational environment for our High School and Middle School students, therefore removing one of the barriers that hinder effective teaching and learning" Hey, almost the same as Ms. Andrew, imagine that. Almost eluding to new schools will improve results. New schools help teaching and learning....I thought teaching CONTENT, CONTROL OF CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT and DELIVERY METHODS did more for effectiveness.

All three, there to get levies passed, doing their jobs despite the economic climate of the city, the lack of employment and the overtaxation of the residents, both from the schools and the city. None seem to care how much hardship it causes the people. Just tryin' to get what THEY need and want for their respective environments.

If the levy is passed, the state will pay 26% of the cost? Not even half? Is that a good deal? So, if the state pays for part of this and we have a red tag sale, we should do it no matter what?

"With the state matching funds, we will also be able to renovate the existing high school, to make it more modern, efficient and safe".

The high school is not as safe anymore? It is not efficient enough to educate the kids? Specifically, how would it be made more efficient and safe? Modern is easy to explain......you school folks want newer digs....and the high school is 43 years old and just "too old" to be acceptable I guess. Why renovate....tear it down and build new also. New rules.......Lifespan on any building in the Middletown school system can't be over 30 years old. New high proposal on the horizon from the school board? Why sure! Then what will they ask for? Does it end at some point or does it come full circle with new elementaries in another decade or two?

CITY COUNCIL

Bronston.....

She is excited about the downtown. She wants the principal roads repaved to make the city more attractive. Dunno about the excitement about the downtown. I think downtown development ought to come AFTER all the more desirable areas of town are squared away. IMO, the downtown is down the line in priority when all other areas have had the attention they need. But, we all know why the downtown is getting so much attention don't we?


Don't know about all of her "negotiation" skills and how they would fit into the council seat.

Josh Laubach tells it like it is as to the money situation in town. Revenue from 2000 isn't keeping up with demand in 2013. City leaders over the last 13 years haven't planned correctly to raise revenue while knowing the cost for the city would keep rising. Big mistake by past and the current council and city admin. Finally, an honest, real answer from a candidate.

Mort?

"The City of Middletown staff has been very creative in finding ways to meet the need for street repairs. The various City funds and their restrictions mean that certain pools of money can be used only for certain things"

Certain pools of money can only be used for certain things....

But, Ms. Mort, aren't you aware of the magical mystery financing where money is moved from fund to fund with the greatest of ease? Has been for years. Carolus did it quite often, didn't he? Try asking another council member to follow the bouncing ball from fund to fund and see how quickly you get lost.

"I would like to see all the streets paved, however, we also need police, fire and many other services which also require dollars. As with a family budget, there are always more needs than there are dollars but we all do the best we can to meet all the needs of our families and cities".

That's right Ms. Mort, we all do the best we can......the city hss been doing "the best we can" since the 80'a on the poor roads, and has never seen fit to re-establish the street repair fund to this date. Nice "off the hook for blame" comment here.

"It takes a long time to turn around a perception. By continuing our positive growth in several areas of the city, we are slowly causing even the most negative folks to see that positive things are happening throughout the community"    


And just why do you think there are people who are "negative" in the city? Is it because some of us "don't go along with the program you're shovelin'"? Perhaps you and your MMF buddies have been doing things that irritate us to no end? Mort is associated with the MMF to do their bidding and as such is not good for the city IMO. Alot of surface fluff but no content.

Picard?...

"Expanding the job base is the only way to increase revenues to the City which will then enable the City to provide additional services to the citizens".

I like that statement. What has Picard done with his time on council to work toward that goal?

"I will be reviewing every expenditure which will be presented to Council in the upcoming budget process and, keeping in mind that Public Safety is my highest priority, I will be looking to reduce our expenses in all areas to avoid the necessity of layoffs. The City budget has been reduce through layoffs over the past several years and we should do eveything we possily can to reduce our expenses while retaining our employees to provide services to our citizens.

The easiest way to avoid layoffs is to increase revenues received by the City. The greatest impact on revenue growth will occur with the addtion of good paying jobs for the citizens of Middletown. To this end, we must continue to partner with both public and private entities to assist them in their efforts to commence new enterprises or to expand existing ones already located within the City.

If layoffs must occur to maintain the City on sound financial basis, I will be looking to reduce staffing in every area other than Public Safety, which I believe is the most important service provided to our citizens by the City. Ultimatley, we must look to the outsourcing of a number of departments. If services can be provided by other entities, at a lower cost, while maintaining the level of service, we must explore every possibility to reduce our expenses"

EXCELLENT Mr. Picard. Finally, a ray of hope for you. Decent paying jobs Mr. Picard.....decent paying jobs. Still, can we trust this candidate?


Middletown Schools bond issue and tax levy

Do you feel you received a good deal with the elementary school bond levy approval for 45 million? Have the new schools really improved the academics and made a difference versus the money spent? You decide.

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: Oct 28 2013 at 12:00pm
The Paradox of Picard
 

"We need to continue to be creative in our efforts to locate additional funding and we need to expand our efforts to obtain more grants, particularly from the State and the Federal Government to assist us in our repaving efforts. Grants of this type are simply the return of tax dollars which the citizens of Middletown have sent to these governments and we should do all that we can to reinvested these dollars in our City."

"The only other alternative is to attempt to pass a levy devoted entirely to the paving of streets. This has been attempted in the past and it has failed. Only if the citizens expressed their willingness to approve such a levy, would I be willing to consider placing this type of levy on the ballot."

"The City must continue to partner with the private sector and other public sector entities on future projects to move the City forward. In fact, if anything, the City must do all that it can, within its authorities, to expand our efforts to assist potential investors in our City to expand our job base. Expanding the job base is the only way to increase revenues to the City which will then enable the City to provide additional services to the citizens."

"Projects such as Greentree Academy, Pendleton Art, Cincinnati State and Coon redevelopment of the Rose Furniture building and the adjoing building, have been extremely successful partnerships which are leading the way in the revitalization of Middletown. These projects, coupled with the City’s continued support of our manufacturing sector, which has invested over Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Dollars ($750,000,000.00) in our City and created over One Thousand (1,000.00) jobs during the past four years, will ensure the continued rebirth of our City."

"We must continue to reach out to the private sector to encourage developement within the City and we must be willing to utilize all of our resources to encourage growth and expansion withn our City by partnering with private enterprise and by reducing or eliminating any and all obstacles to their continued growth."

 - Dan Picard Quote

_________________________________________________

What an amazing paradoxical display of message and thought by Mr. Picard.

Consider: Paragraph 1- "taking money from state and feds for roads." Mr. Picard, neither the state nor fed pays for a municipal infrastructure repair and maintenance, the municipality does. You are more inclined to pay a salary than simply maintain infrastructure. Also....why do you advocate the return of state and federal taxes for roads that you don't support for local taxes? Paradox of staggering nature.
 
Consider: Paragraph 2- "only success is to expand job creation for revenues". Successes include Greentree Partnership, Coon project, Cincinnati State. Mr. Picard, revenues come from payroll and city taxes (residents, businesses). Greentree provided a few nurses aides and professionals for the Atrium to mitigate their recruiting expense, Coon will be what....a Subweay, employing 10 part-time workers, and Cincinnati State employs what- five employees to date in Middletown? 20 people or so, will not make up $ Mm needed.
 
Consider Paragraph 3- "the city continues to support our manufacturing sector." But Mr. Picard, wasn't Middletown a rust belt community, that city leaders and council were focusing upon change, the new paradigm sectors such as biotechnology? My....we are going back to the roots now? Downtown initiatives are centered around arts and entertainment.
 
What amazing contradictions leaving many 'dazed and confused.'
 
For those having an inclination to pay these pizza/ cost of a cup of Joe daily taxes incessantly:
 
Consider this:
 
The difference in the hit you take on your $150,000 tax assessment and a $400,000 house sitting on Thorn Hill is about $3,000. annually. The difference is they make > $350,000 annually to your $75,000. Better wake up and study the records, and see why a few get these levies passed, when their pain vs yours, is negligible.  
  

 

The city is working to make expenses match revenues, but city leaders are saying between $1 million and $2 million is needed to be cut between the 2014 and 2015 budgets. That could equate to layoffs. How do you avoid any layoffs, or – assuming they are unavoidable – minimize the impact of any layoffs?

'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 Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 12:50pm
Viet Vet wrote (re: school board candidates): "All three, there to get levies passed, doing their jobs despite the economic climate of the city, the lack of employment and the overtaxation of the residents, both from the schools and the city. None seem to care how much hardship it causes the people. Just tryin' to get what THEY need and want for their respective environments."
Oh, my, Vet, thanks for a good laugh to start my week.  I mean, seriously????  Over the last 5 or 6 years, you are on record in your posts as being against every single tax issue put on the ballot by the city, the schools, the library etc., EXCEPT the Senior Center, because, as you openly admitted, you did not want to lose the transportation they provide your wife to her doctor's visits.  I don't recall you expressing any concern about the hardship the senior levy might impose on anyone else. 
For the record, I will get no direct personal benefit from new school buildings.  My children will have graduated before construction is complete.  I believe I will benefit in general, along with everyone else in the community, from better property values.  I believe that several generations of Middletown children will benefit, beginning with current 9th graders and younger.  I believe that taxpayers will benefit from $40 million in state funds to help pay for the project, rather than eventually have to replace the old Vail with only local funds.  I believe that local companies and construction workers will benefit from participating in a $95 million construction project.
 
So, who is "just tryin' to get what THEY need and want" ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 2:09pm
Ms. Andrew; I disagree with your argument.
 
Brick and mortar will never increase Middletown property values. Demand will. Demand will be created, at least from the school system, when the school system hits EXCELLENCE standards, which appears to be an impossible goal, also part I add, of the strategic plan and Vision/ Mission by the district articulated for at least 9 years, perhaps 10.
 
On the contrary, it is illogical. If the city cannot maintain its infrastructure, most importantly its streets, that DO benefit everyone, including all residents, students, adults, and the aged, you present a position new schools have a higher valuation to the majority, than new streets and sewers. You cannot honestly see the failed logic in such assertion. Would property values go up when the streets and sewers crumble? Hardly. Furthermore, the higher taxes will cause a lowering in property valuation, correlated directly with lowering demand. You simply CANNOT have an elevation in valuation without desirable demand. If that be the case, property values would have increased when the new elementary schools were built; they did not, and many have sat for years. It further is driving many top residents out of Middletown, with the escalation of other problems, crime, school reputation, and constant taxation.
 
The rationale for moving the middle school, and I received this from a Board member, is to be more central to the interstate, to get more open enrollment students. As Middletown population has declined, Monroe left to build its own structure because of its perception of Middletown, the city school system cannot grow. To compensate, the movement to a more interstate friendly site was/ is desirable. Additionally, doesn't everyone really enjoy being in a new building, especially the teachers? It certainly won't effect academic testing performance.
 
Additionally, if brick and mortar drove property values and academic achievement, why is an excellent institution such as Georgia Tech enrolling students in an MSc of Computer Science for $7,000 (two years), changing the paradigm for affordability? Simply put; because they comprehend learning is not mandated by buildings and structure. UC has an MBA entirely online, Old Dominion offers PhD's in Business, Nursing, Economics, and Public Policy entirely online.  
 
Your statement respectfully, is misguided in my opinion. Only in Middletown would a school levy actually pass for such a dismal rating, while the streets and sewers crumble.           
'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 VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 2:20pm
"Oh, my, Vet, thanks for a good laugh to start my week"

Glad to be of assistance Ms. Andrew.

"Over the last 5 or 6 years, you are on record in your posts as being against every single tax issue put on the ballot by the city, the schools, the library etc., EXCEPT the Senior Center, because, as you openly admitted, you did not want to lose the transportation they provide your wife to her doctor's visits".

100% correct Ms. Andrew. I have stated that I voted for the Seniors Levy because we have a need for the hydraulic lift van that takes her to her appts. If I had 30 grand laying around, I would have already bought a mini van with a lift and would not have voted for the Seniors Levy. How's that for being selfish?

"I don't recall you expressing any concern about the hardship the senior levy might impose on anyone else"

Just like me, all have the gift of free speech and can express the hardship just as I have about your constant levies draining our wallets and the lack of real improvement for the money already spent on your schools. No one hears us when we tell you we can't afford your nonstop wallet raids. All people have an opinion and can express it on forums like this. That what a forum is for. I don't need to be their spokesperson.

"I believe I will benefit in general, along with everyone else in the community, from better property values".

I respectfully disagree. You can build all new schools. You can have the Rolls Royce of physical amenities in your school system. BUT, if your schools have developed a reputation of producing lackluster results and the school district is (and has been) rated as continuous improvement for many years, with no indication of moving to the next step in the forseeable future, the property value increase will not happen if people looking for a home aren't willing to look in Middletown, much less pay the asking price. Property in Middletown will not increase until there is a dramatic change in school performance, more higher paying jobs come to town and the town is free of the stigma of low income and poverty. Gotta present success for people to come and in none of those categories have we done so. You have to be, at the very least, as good as Franklin or, at the very best, Fairfield to attract any buyers. I didn't mention Lakota, Mason or Springboro because they are beyond reach and Middletown is not at all like West Chester, Mason nor Springboro as to status nor wealth.

"I believe that several generations of Middletown children will benefit, beginning with current 9th graders and younger".

Not just by building new schools Ms. Andrew. No matter the time period, if you don't change the way you operate the teaching aspect of the schools, you will still have the same results you do now when the younger ones hit the upper grade levels. New schoola are the shell. The content is what is important. Just can't seem to convince the "let's build all new and things will change" crowd that new schools alone will not change things. Gotta change what goes on INSIDE the new schools to make a difference.

"I believe that taxpayers will benefit from $40 million in state funds to help pay for the project, rather than eventually have to replace the old Vail with only local funds"

Doesn't matter who pays for it, be it the state or local, if the schools don't make a substantial improvement in performance, no one wins and the money is wasted. Ms. Andrew.

"I believe that local companies and construction workers will benefit from participating in a $95 million construction project"

Yes, the new construction will create work for the construction industry and bolster the local economy temporarily. That's a good thing. But what about after the dust clears on the new construction and the workers have left the area? The residents of Middletown are left to see the end result of the money spent. Will it be a good experience for them, or will they get nothing for their money? I will guess the latter based on past history.

"So, who is "just tryin' to get what THEY need and want" ?"

We all are Ms. Andrew. I'm trying to get the levies defeated because I don't think we are getting a good deal for the money spent as the district seems to be stuck in neutral as to any upward progression.(and has been for a long while IMO) Others, like yourself, who believe in new schools, and think they will make a difference, are trying to get your levy passed. Still others are so apathetic, they don't seem to know nor care about anything outside of their lifestyle comfort zone. They get mad about having to pay more taxes, but don't care enough to even take sides- for or against the levy. They just simply don't vote. At least we both care.....opposite sides, but we are interested enough to take part in the debate....... checks and balances.

And that ain't all that bad. Have a good one.









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: Oct 28 2013 at 4:44pm
I agree with Ms. Andrew's, Acclaro's and Vet's views and don't find them inconsistent. 
 
I agree with Acclaro's statement that only demand will increase property values and that infrastructure is a large component of increasing demand.  However I would include the schools as part of infrastructure.  Why are crumbling roads bad...I think that they are...but crumbling schools...Vail...not bad?
 
I also agree with Vet that unless the schools significantly improve academic performance new schools won't increase demand for real estate in Middletown.  However, I do think that BOTH components, re-habbed/new schools and improved academic performance are required to improve real estate demand.  Just accomplishing one of the two won't get the city where it needs to be.  Since the state is offering to pay approx. 50% of the cost, and since the buildings are one necessary component of improving real estate demand, I believe that the board would be foolish to not pursue the new buildings as the state money likely won't be there in a few more years.
 
For the betterment of Middletown's citizens I support the levy and hope that it passes.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 5:13pm
processor, I agree you have made a reasoned statement, but take just a few, although critical exceptions.
 
If the argument is new schools increase property values, then the Renaissance residential area should be exploding, but it is not, and its located right by Bishop Fenwick. Furthermore, the districts around Middletown already have new buildings, and the construction simply offers yet again, nothing but parity for the district, not a game changer.
 
Also, it is difficult to find an association/ correlation between student performance and new buildings. 
 
We are left then with the rationale because the state provides a match, its a good deal. While I disagree with the expenditure, I will accept that as a honest answer and motivation, than anything related to building a new school will improve property value; it won't.
 
This position is exactly what the city did with the Ohio AG's matching grant position to eliminate housing stock; what wonderful ROI to invest $1 Mm to get a Mm. I simply find it a bad decision to spend money simply because there is some sort of a matching fund or contribution when the net sum gain is really $0. If the money is not spent, its not lost; if it is spent, albeit matched, but no return, it has - COCD and - ROI.
 
I understand the school board and supporters rally around the mantra, "got to take advantage of the gift horse when staring in face." Again....that on face, is an honest position, rather than the notion playing parity in building, which won't enhance enrollment, nor raise scores, will drive property values forward. It will actually do just the opposite.
 
We agree to disagree....respectfully of course.     
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 28 2013 at 8:06pm
Money For Decline In Enrollment? Illogical.
 
By Ed Richter

Staff Writer

All but one of Butler County’s largest public school districts have seen enrollment declines this year, according to attendance data recently released by the districts to the Journal-News.

Lakota, Middletown, Fairfield and Talawanda all saw declining enrollment in 2013, according to preliminary Average Daily Membership figures gathered by the school districts during Count Week. Hamilton City Schools was the only one of the county’s five largest districts to see an increase in the number of students in attendance.

Count Week, which was October 7-11, is the week when schools establish a head count used to determine the amount of money districts will receive from the state. The state uses this Average Daily Membership figure to set the state per pupil aid.

The figures released this week by Butler County districts are only preliminary numbers, said John Charlton, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Education. School districts have until Jan. 31, 2014 to submit their attendance numbers, which won’t be finalized by the state until early February, he said.

Lakota schools reported an enrollment of 17,049 students for 2013-2014, which is down from the 17,320 students enrolled there last school year. Since 2010, enrollment in Lakota schools has declined by 1,553 students. The district reported 18,602 students in 2010-11 and 17,868 in 2011-12.

Randy Oppenheimer, Lakota schools spokesman, said a key reason for the decrease in the district’s enrollment is the children of baby boomers are graduating.

“When you look at the numbers, the enrollment decline is slowing down,” Oppenheimer said. “Two years ago, we decreased by 734 students. One year ago, it was 548 students. And this year, the reduction in enrollment is 271 students.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton City School District’s enrollment has been steadily increasing since 2008-2009, said Joni Copas, Hamilton schools spokeswoman.

She said the district’s enrollment for 2013 is 9,611 students.

In 2008-09, the district reported an enrollment of 9,051. Since then, Copas said the district’s enrollment has steadily increased. In 2009, enrollment was reported at 9,253; in 2010, it grew to 9,301; in 2011, enrollment increased to 9,436; and in 2012, enrollment went up to 9,559.

Copas said the district believes the construction of new schools may have helped fuel the increased enrollment. Hamilton City Schools opened up four new elementary schools in 2009 and another four elementary schools in 2010.

Middletown City Schools is experiencing its fourth straight year of declining enrollment. While not as pronounced as Lakota’s losses, student enrollment at Middletown schools has dropped by roughly 250 students since 2010.

Middletown schools reported an enrollment of 6,450 students for the 2013-2014 school year, down slightly from the year before, said Gracie Gregory, district spokeswoman. In 2010, Middletown reported 6,700 students in the district; in 2011, enrollment dropped to 6,500; and in 2012, enrollment was just under 6,500 students, Gregory said.

“With a few exceptions, Middletown City School District’s enrollment at each grade level declines slightly as students progress through the grades,” she said.

Enrollment in the Fairfield City Schools has remained mostly steady, but has experienced some slight decreases during the past few years, said Gina Gentry-Fletcher, district spokeswoman.

While the district has not completed its count for October 2013, the enrollment for 2010-2011 was reported at 10,103 students. Enrollment went up to 10,118 for October 2012 then dropped to 10,053 the following year in 2012-2013.

“The changes in our enrollment could be due to a number of factors from parental job changes that take families out of the area or bring them here, to a high transient population at some schools,” Gentry-Fletcher said. “It is typical for large school districts to see enrollment fluctuations such as these. We don’t let those numbers distract us from doing what’s best for students in the district.”

The largest enrollment for the Talawanda school district was in 1969 during the height of the baby boomer years, said Holli Morrish, district spokeswoman. At that time, Talawanda High had an enrollment of more than 1,200.

Since then, she said enrollment has declined.

“Over the past 10 years, Talawanda has had about a 1 percent growth in enrollment,” Morrish said.

The district’s enrollment was reported at 3,098 students for 2012-2013. That was less than the 3,152 students enrolled for 2011-2012 but was slightly higher than the 3,145 students enrolled in 2010-2011.

“We don’t anticipate any large or small decreases in enrollment as we are expecting enrollment to remain flat,” she said.

'An appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last.' - Winston Churchill
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My paycheck keeps buying less and less now they want more tax money for a house that I'm 25% upside down in? I'm about a chicken hair away from tossing in the towel on this land of illusion of a city. Why do 95% of all elected officials make no sense these days? Does getting elected to an office cause ones brain to permanently fly off into lala land ?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 9:02am

Acclaro, the reason we are seeking funds for a new middle school and renovated high school is NOT to expand capacity; it is to improve safety and efficiency and to modernize classrooms to meet the needs of the 21st Century.  The state has done studies to forecast enrollment and predicts basically flat enrollment for Middletown.  The plans for the new/renovated buildings would keep student capacity about the same as now.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 9:38am
Originally posted by Marcia Andrew Marcia Andrew wrote:

Acclaro, the reason we are seeking funds for a new middle school and renovated high school is NOT to expand capacity; it is to improve safety and efficiency and to modernize classrooms to meet the needs of the 21st Century.  The state has done studies to forecast enrollment and predicts basically flat enrollment for Middletown.  The plans for the new/renovated buildings would keep student capacity about the same as now.



Ms. Andrew, realizing your response was to acclaro, I would like to offer some thoughts in relation to the subject matter......

To address the enrollment in the Middletown schools- the article in the Journal yesterday informed us that the Middletown district, along with others, has been seeing a decline in enrollment for years. It does not suggest a "flat enrollment" but rather a decline. If declining enrollment, why are the schools being designed for student capacity as it is now? Do you expect enrollment to increase at some point in time and why do you think it will?

For informational purposes, could you elaborate on your comments concerning the safety, efficiency and the modernization of the classrooms? Specifics on your reasons as to why this needs to be done? What would be some needs for the 21st century? Thank you in advance.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ktf1179 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 10:24am
The real questions are the following: 
What can the Schools, City Government, Business and the Citizens do to help improve the test scores?

How can we help children succeed in a city that has major issues of Poverty, drug use, crime, abuse and a foreclosures?

How can we get parents to be active in there children's academic performance?

Yes I do agree a new school would be nice, and maybe help attract some more people to Middletown. However, if you do the research on Zillow.com or look at the state scores, you should ask your self, Would I want to send my children to Middletown City Schools, or should I enroll them in to a private school, or just move to another city that have much better scores, even though it may result in longer drive, or a higher housing price?

The main reason we moved to Middletown was mainly because we were not married and we have no kids, we like the conveniences near I-75, it is located in between both places we work, and we got a good sized house for a real cheap price in the safer Ayrshire neighborhood.

We have been living at our place going on 2 years now, granted we love our home, we find it sad that we have to fight to get any city service to be done. We find it sad that the City takes care of Downtown, than the rest of the city. We find it sad that the schools systems performance is so bad that the School Board feels to improve academic performance  they need a new building.

We find it sad the the crime and drug problem in Middletown is so bad that we hear nothing but problem is so bad, that all we hear anymore besides the trains, it the Police and Fire sirens at all hours of the day.

We find it sad the people who live in Middletown don't care about the city they live in. Instead the people of Middletown leave junk in the yards, don't cut the grass, and throw trash in other peoples yards without caring. And even let their pets go to the bathroom on any yard that is near by without picking it up.  Also there are cars parked on the streets that never move.

We also find it sad that home sit vacant or don't sell for years at a time.

Finally we find it just pathetic that the roads in middletown have not been maintained or repaved in over 40 years, instead the city clowncile would rather pour money into Weatherwax, Downtown, south Main Street, and putting up pretty lights instead of maintaining its infrastructure.

Our house won't be able to be put up for sale until year 5, If things stay the way they are we may just pack up and move out of Middletown.  I have hope that things will change for the better, lets just hope we put the right people in charge.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ktf1179 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 10:30am
Sorry for the Grammar error, I didn't catch it until after the 5 min. edit timer was up ><
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 10:37am
Ms. Andrew, I appreciate the position you take as with all Board members, regarding the school. You are their advocate.
 
In that regard, on the levy, we will disagree.
 
I attended Darden at the time you were in Charlottesville. I went in many classes in buildings that were aged, and the only aspect of being in the 21st century required, then, now, and forward, is high speed data bandwidth, fast cpu's, and knowledge of interactive capabilities. I have been in Frank L. Wright buildings, ultra modern, high efficient ones, and also in classrooms and dorms (my uncle had 6 kids go through UVa, all lived on The Lawn), built in the early 1800's.
 
There is absolutely no correlation between buildings and academic performance. None.
 
These expenditures protect payroll tax, fuel expenditures for construction, and that's about the extent of it. While you and Board and the city state you are joined at the hip, the city espouses downtown, while the district desires to move out of downtown, and you have admitted at best, enrollment will be flat. Of course, that also confirms a school building (new), does nothing with raising property values, especially so when enrolment is flat.
 
So....we have a flat or declining number in the district, no correlation with new building and bringing school district to excellence, and technology only, brings an academic institution into the 21st century and beyond.
 
Lets be frank; the Board thinks as it was told by families they'd like to be closer for a middle school to be more Central to east end, that is reason for building. Okay with that....if it drove numbers in, raised scores to excellence, and provided benefit. Put $45 Mm- $60 Mm in roads, not a 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 (0) Thanks(0)   Quote processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 11:01am
Acclaro,
I totally agree that there is little to no correlation between new buildings and student performance.  I haven't heard anyone in the district make that argument.  To try and turn around demand for property in Middletown and improve property values, as you point out, infrastructure improvement is one necessary condition; roads, sewer lines, and school buildings.  In an ideal world academic improvement would come before buildings, but it's not an ideal world. 
 
I also agree that just because the state is offering money doesn't make the decision to build/rehab school buildings the right choice.  The buildings need to be done sometime in the next few years and, unfortunately, the state money will not be there in the next few years...it's here now.  So even though the timing is not ideal, given the buildings need to be done I support taking the state's money and getting them done now. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 11:20am
processor, I understand your position.
 
My netting this out is this; if there is a requirement to fund infrastructure, and the costs are high, and these include roads and sewers, school buildings/ add-ons/ improvements, and basic expenses which any business or resident would demand, then expenditures have to be prioritized. The highest priority begins with roads and sewers, as it is self evident to any resident or business, a community that would build a school building while letting its road structure and sewer system decline, has the wrong priorities. They are inter-twined. One cannot have just school buildings, and not the accompanying roads and sewers in an acceptable state.
 
Likewise, in an ideal and reasonable, well thought world, positive school scores, increased demand for students and growth, would lead to buildings, not simply having tax payers pay their portion of funds to match the state %, which would still be significant to pave the streets , and benefit a far number of individuals and businesses. Simply supporting a levy because state money is available is akin to loading the American Express card with debt simply because Saks is having  50% sale for items not needed under the circumstances..  
'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 processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 11:47am
Acclaro,
Apparently we disagree about the need for a new middle school and it's benefit toward improving demand for Middletown property.  I strongly think that Vail needs to go.  Given it's location I don't believe that re-habbing Vail makes any sense.  To me, given that we need a new middle school I can accept the poor timing.  To use your analogy it's like buying your winter coat on sale in June.  Don't need it for 5 more months, but will need it and might as well save the money.
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:10pm
processor, I believe brick and mortar provides little benefit. I understand Ohio dictates under the statutes/ articles, guidelines for sq ft utilization, students in rooms, and so on.
I believe in accountability and performance against expenditure. The results have not been there associated with the initial strategic plan.
My analogy is more akin to this:
I am cold, and outside often and winter is approaching. My boots have holes in them, falling apart, and my socks are wet.
That is the condition of the streets and sewers.
The new school and moving it to a central locale is nothing but 'window dressing'. It has not benefit to test scores, enhanced enrollment, nor property valuation. In fact, it without doubt, will lead to decreased demand and lowered property values; residents and companies don't want to be saddled by high taxation with limited or no benefit.
The school building, in the clothing analogy, is a belt. When I am cold, have poor shoes, and no socks, that takes priority over a belt holding the pants up.
I find it to be a complete oxymoron the city relishes history, aged buildings, and the school district wants Vail moved to east end, with the hope and prayer, more residents will move in. There are too many other crucial elements missing, that negate that from occurring.    
All things being equal, I believe most would benefit from better roads, and putting those funds at work, than a school building for the reasons discussed. Lets call it a 'stack rank' of expenditures. 
I do like out of season sales though, when I have a future need. I see Vail movement at the bottom of a very long list of needs. The voting blocks probably will disagree. 
'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 spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 12:30pm
Hate to butt in----but
Vail has to go, unfortunately Wade E with it, though outside of the court and stands, the behind the scenes part is an embarrassment. That building is toast, and the update is really not possible.
I hate to see everything shift east because I favor balance within our community--
balance in location of schools creates pride in neighborhoods and community--moving everything east is inconvenient to many, and will lead to the old schools areas being ignored more than they are now.
Another reason that I still disagree with the elimination of the ward system.
To imply that each area is not capable of producing quality city gov representatives is somewhat a slap in the face to many. All current leaders are east-enders, with the result being less than impressive. They don't seem to be that much more aware or on the ball imo.
 
As a small business owner(getting smaller every day!), the mid-city losses from the hospital move and multi-school closings hve been devastating(not to mention drawn-out road closings). It has changed the whole flow of our community, and probably not for the better. There is not much flow any more.
 
I like the school board members and the new super
I am impressed with the faculty dedication
I expect results to slowly improve, though it will be tough and take time due to overwhelming demographics
We already over-payper pupil with property taxes and per student cost. Passing the levy won't cure that, and add to it. There has to be a property owner/public payback somewhere in this.
We read often about lesser areas moving to academic improvement/excellence--it HAS to start happening here quickly--no more excuses--only positive results or it will all be wasted.
 
Our image to those outside of the city is terrible.
We must become a desirable community/destination.
Art has only been a blip on the screen so far.
It will only attract a few, and will always need to be subsidized.
I have lived here for my entire life--I am happy here in my own little world, and can function on any street in town without worry. Others aren't that fortunate. Now with the city threatening to cut 12 more police officers, we are headed towards a real $$ crisis. As acclaro states, our city has spent us into a deep hole. If we lose fed HUD $$ and keep the Sec 8 vouchers(or maybe INCREASE them) and cut public safety, it is hard to see things getting better any time soon.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 1:38pm
Very well stated sj.
 
I believe Middletown is at a tipping point. The city is throwing favors and money to keep residents in the city, including attorneys who support the court system, residents in key locations (ThornHill is a mess, but with new fire hydrants, new paved roads, and the new extention, escape route to Rosedale, maybe that will help a few from leaving), its an effort focused upon keeping the core from falling from within.
 
My suggestion: all or none. Suck it up and hit the residents with the tax increase, or make cuts, start improving efficiencies, and the district----start producing results.
 
The drip, drip, drip, of the occasional tax hits, school levies, is taxes is only the true solution for Middletown, unless the federal government starts paying the city for streets, fire and police, and such. 85% of expenditures for to salaries and benefits for public safety. No one is willing to make the cuts.
 
I would respect a leader who would simply state the obvious, and get it over. Raise taxes to 2.25%, state things will only get WORSE if Vail is not built, moved to east end, and pass a levy to repair roads. Middletown right now, is like Russia. Too much body mass, and too little capital based upon what it owns (so unfortunate it could not just function on its core duties), than revenues flowing in. Living in Middletown is headed towards the risk associated with boarding an Aeroflot jet, which Russia cannot maintain. Really unfortunate for all.
 
As sj states, art is not the magic pill; it is a sleeping pill, a mood elevator. Time to step up and take hit on taxes, or bolt. There is no alternative....other than carving out your own micro world.
'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 processor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 1:41pm
Well said Spider.  I disagree with your point about the elimination of the ward system but other than think you're right on.  7 people were just too many for council.
 
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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: Oct 29 2013 at 3:11pm
SJ I am with you in that I seem to be the eternal optimist. I still want Midd to be a good place to live.Like you I guess I'm happy here in my own little world. I wish their was a magic wand to wave but there isn't . So we just hang on and hope for the best. I would like to do whatever I can in my own little way. But I think "it takes a village"!!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 29 2013 at 3:27pm
Vet--The state forecasts student enrollment over 10 years, looking at population trends and other data.  The estimate a slight drop followed by a slight increase, with the end result after 10 years being basically the same numbers as now.
 
My reference to safety at the high school is to the fact that, due to hundreds of students crossing between the two buildings every class period, the entrances cannot be locked down effectively against armed intruders.  No, there have not been any undisclosed incidents of that sort, but I hope you are not suggesting that we should wait to act until after there is a tragedy? Unfortunately, shooters seem to be targeting schools with increasing frequency. There is a similar problem at the middle school, between the annex and the main building.  Both buildings have dozens of entrances and exits.  New/renovated buildings would allow for modern security/lockdown systems.  I am not saying that this was the main motivating reason for the building plan; but it is a significant benefit that can be achieved.
 
My reference to efficiency is primarily energy costs.  We spend 1/3 of the district's energy costs on the middle school, which is one of 10 school buildings. The high school is also very energy inefficient.  The systems in the new elementary buildings have allowed us to save hundreds of thousands of dollars every year since they were built.  There also are opportunities for efficiencies having the middle school and high school on the same campus, in transportation, athletic facilities, and high school level classes for 7th and 8th graders.
 
Modernization--one example is constructing classroom spaces that allow for more flexible configurations, to permit the team work and collaboration that schools are now required to incorporate into the curriculum as part of the new Ohio state standards/21st century learning skills.  Another example is the science labs.  I'm sure at the time they were built 40+ years ago, they were considered state of the art, but not so any more.  These are just examples.
 
ktf--I agree with all of the issues you identified that impact student achievement.  The schools are doing what we can, but we can't control all of these factors and I agree that it will take a larger effort.  It does seem that many people in Middletown don't care or try.  Why not send a message to the children of Middletown that we care enough about them to invest in modern, safe efficient schools, and give them hope and a reason to make the effort to learn and succeed?
 
When you researched student test scores, did you see that Middletown ranks 21st in the state (out of 800+ districts and charter schools) on its rate of improvement, as measured by what the state calls Value Added? Middletown scored an A on this measure.
 
Acclaro--I do not understand your point about Darden and Charlottesville. After I graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law in Charlottesville, the business school (Darden) built an entirely new modern building, and the Law School took over the adjacent business school and renovated the "old" law school and the business school to such an extent that you can't even recognize them.  Obviously both the business school and the law school valued new buildings -- even though the buildings they replaced were relatively new; they were not from the 1800's when the original campus was built by Thomas Jefferson.
 
Processor--you are right, we are not arguing that new school buildings will improve test scores. We have put in place several key initiatives that will--and have already started to--improve test scores. But, if we keep having to spend money patching up old buildings and heating them, etc, that is money that could have gone to improving teaching skills or buying new technology for the classroom.
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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: Oct 29 2013 at 3:32pm
I do not want to see our fire and police decreased in numbers. With the increase in crime and drugs we cannot afford stretching our safety to the breaking point. There has to be more cuts that can be made in the city building. Why do we have so many "assistants" to this and that? Can't we double up on some jobs? Reduce some more waste? I keep thinking back to when Judy came and immediately "lobbied" for changing the city logo,what kind of expense was that with all the letter heads being changed the water towers being repainted the signs being redone? Now we have the lawyer expense from the HUD fiasco. Stop funneling money else where. Council needs to reinstate the road fund. There has to be more ways to cut waste to save our safety!!! She focuses on "fluff" instead of "substance"!! JMO
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