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STAFF TURNOVER

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Vivian Moon View Drop Down
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    Posted: Aug 08 2014 at 4:51pm

Updated: 4:03 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, 2014 | Posted: 3:34 p.m. Friday, Aug. 8, 2014
MIDDLETOWN

Staff turnover in Middletown similar to other districts, officials say

By Michael D. Pitman
Staff Writer

MIDDLETOWN —

Middletown City Schools are looking to fill vacancies due to teachers leaving for a variety of reasons, including retirements and higher-paying positions at other districts.

Superintendent Sam Ison said the retirements are happening because of changes in the State Teachers Retirement System. As of July 1, 2015, the number of years to be calculated for retirement will lower the amount of money public employees can receive. Currently, a teacher’s retirement package is based on the best three salaried years. However, next July, the state will base retirement packages on a teacher’s best five years.

“So obviously, you’re going to lose money,” Ison said.

The district had 60 teachers leave. Twenty-four teachers retired while the balance offered resignations for various reasons. As of Friday, there were 39 new teachers for the 2014-15 school year, 28 of whom will be first-year teachers.

As of earlier this week, school officials said there were still a few positions to fill, including special education and math teaching positions, as well as some support staff, such as tutoring and aide positions.

“People are leaving for different districts for a variety of different reasons,” said Eric Gearhart, the school district’s human resources director.

Yearly turnover is typical in a school district, he said. Most of the turnover is due to teachers cashing in on retirement, but other educators are leaving for higher pay with other districts, either because they are getting an equivalent of a promotion or are being paid more by another district, Gearhart said.

“Some of our teachers have left for administrative positions, leaving for promotions,” he said.

Others are leaving for higher paying jobs with another school districts, and some are leaving to work in the school district where they live.

“I’ve been on the phone with other human resources directors in Southwest Ohio, and they are experiencing the same thing,” Gearhart said. “It’s not a Middletown thing.”

A breakdown of why educators are leaving Middletown outside of retirement is not fully known, he said, as they were not able to conduct exit interviews with all teachers.

“We’re always concerned, we always look at those issues,” Ison said. “This is an organization about people, and we always want to look at how to cultivate an environment that retains the best people, and the ones that are productive that help our students.”

Classes for the Middletown City School District begin Wednesday, though freshmen start on Tuesday. The first day for full-day kindergarten is a week later on Aug. 20.


BACK TO SCHOOL

The Middletown City School District returns to school next week. Here are some key dates to note for the upcoming school year:

Aug. 12: First day of school for freshmen

Aug. 13: First day of school grades 1-12

Aug. 20: First day of all-day kindergarten, though some kindergarten students report on Aug. 18 and 19

Dec. 22-Jan.5: Winter break

April 3-10: Spring break

May 19: Middletown High School graduation day

May 21: Last day of school

 

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote enough is enough Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 08 2014 at 9:25pm
Sam and Eric
You can try and sugar coat the situation all you want. The Bottom Line teachers are leaving because of the way they are treated by their superiors. The administration has no clue how to cultivate anything. Intimidation and bullying are not forms of motivation. Lets also not forget the fear of retaliation for any teacher who steps forward or disagrees with the establishment. It is almost laughable that we are to believe that discipline is improving in the district. Administration is just getting better at covering up and sweeping things under the table. I now of several teachers who wanted to leave for other districts but were denied even though teachers are heading back to school without a contract this year. School starts Monday just how many positions need to be filled? I am not sure what it is going to take to wake up the school board. You need to take a hard look at how the district is being run. Just maybe the problem is within your administration! 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2014 at 2:15pm
We have two administrative people giving reasons for the loss of teachers in Vivian's post and we have a teacher in a following post giving their opinion as to the losses. This teacher mentions that the school board might be clueless as to the alledged hostile type of system that is in place as it relates to the workers (teachers) and the suggested intimidation that is in place. This teacher also suggests that the workers are under a "my way or the highway" type of management within the district.

Question: Have the teachers, who share these same opinions, organized and gone up the chain of command, starting with the super and then the school board to voice their objections? Or.....is the super and school board the problem? We all know from the working world, be it private or public, that you can't talk to the problem about the problem. The problem-child management never self-judges, are incapable of bettering themselves by voluntarily changing their approach to subordinates, and will fire people who disagree before they will take a step back and do a self-evaluation to preserve a manager/worker relationship. Have seen it many times in over 40 years. It has never changed and I doubt that it ever will.

Ms. Andrew, realizing this is an internal personnel issue, would you have any preliminary comment on this situation? Is the school board aware of the potential divide between teachers and administration and if so, what has been done about it? Taxpayers may be interested to know what is going on inside their school district.

OR, is this little episode going the be labeled by management as just another (I love this word when describing a worker who has an issue with any unfair treatment) DISGRUNTLED. The old "if you don't agree with how we're treating you, it's not us, it's YOU" label put on someone who doesn't blindly go along with the program like sheep to slaughter because the program is wrong. It would seem, in both private and public workplaces, the old "It is unjust,unfair and discriminatory but the worker is not allowed to communicate freely how they feel" theme seems to be alive and well.

Only one thing worse than the Teacher's Union and their influence.........vindictive management.
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 Vivian Moon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 09 2014 at 4:25pm
Vet
I have head that Dr. Lolli may be part of this problem, seems to have a  tyrannical approach, my way or the highway.
therefore teachers are not happy. 
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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: Aug 09 2014 at 4:31pm
"Vindictive Management" that's been going on for years in the city building. Has this "cancer" spread to the school administration since they moved into the city building? We are all well aware of Judy's method of administering.
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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: Aug 09 2014 at 8:31pm
Let me set the record straight. I am not employed by MCSD, however I at one time did work within the district for 7 years. I chose to leave because I did not agree with how the district was being run. It amazes me that MCSD continues to hire administrators that have been let go from other districts. 60 teachers leave the district in one year and just how many of the 60 actually did an exit interview? If the BOE does not think this is an alarming number then we have a bigger problem than test scores. If you choose to sit on the board and you truly want to know what is going on within your district. May I suggest that you the BOE members contact those teachers and find out why they left. My  guess there will be a common theme and one that you can remedy in order to get the district moving in the right direction, or you can choose to sit and do nothing and continue to see a mass exodus from Middletown. I believe this is Sam Ison's 35th year I hope you think long and hard before choosing your next super. Keep in mind that Libby Lolli almost destroyed Monroe before they were able to give her the boot. You do not have to take my word for it contact Monroe.
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As I understand, Ms. Lolli has been retired for a number of years. I also hear from a number of teachers----consistently---that she is a HUGE problem in her dealings with staff. Why is she still on the payroll? Time to cut ties and move on.    just 1chmoore.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Neil Barille Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 10 2014 at 8:40am
Vet,

On one hand you want MCSD to be accountable and raise the performance of the students with a tough, take-no-prisoners environment from long ago. You then assume with regard to disgruntled staff that the problem must be management. Could it not be that Ison, Lolli, etc. are trying to implement a state mandated curriculum and get students prepared for the increased testing by demanding more of the teachers and holding them accountable for following the district's plan? Isn't that what you want -- so which is it?
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If the district is going to hold teachers accountable then lets hold students and parents accountable as well.  A case in point. The district holds conferences twice every year.  Two evenings from 3:00pm-7:30pm my experience with these with a student load of 70 students 20 parents showed up. Parents will show up when their child is in trouble to explain that it cannot possibly be the child's fault is must be the teacher. Could it possibly be the lack of parent involvement.
 Time after time the child is excused from any discipline. Teachers have become the scapegoat for everything that is wrong in society.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 10 2014 at 5:24pm
Neil:

"On one hand you want MCSD to be accountable and raise the performance of the students with a tough, take-no-prisoners environment from long ago."

That's right Neil and I still hold that position.

Neil:

"You then assume with regard to disgruntled staff that the problem must be management."

I was just responding to enough is enough's post concerning their comments about administrators and how they may be the problem. However, as a side note, I have NEVER been a fan of management in the eight companies and 40+ years I have worked. IMO, they are not the friends of the working man and not to be trusted. Stands to reason.....officers weren't on my favorites list either in the military. Just don't like authority I can't respect.

Neil:

"Could it not be that Ison, Lolli, etc. are trying to implement a state mandated curriculum and get students prepared for the increased testing by demanding more of the teachers and holding them accountable for following the district's plan?"

Might be, but Ison, Lolli and the rest of management could do it in a much less abrasive way (IF what enough is enough is saying is accurate that is) Neil, there are a number of ways to motivate the subordinates to buy into a program. One way is the "my way or the highway" approach, which seems to be what enough is enough is telling us here. IF TRUE, it is an approach that ALWAYS alienates the subordinates and fosters a divide between the boss and the workers. If it gets bad enough, the workers start jumping ship .......and the dam company NEVER replaces the problem boss, they just start with a totally new, inexperienced group of workers. Rarely is a boss disciplined for losing workers due to a lack of management skills. As a matter of fact, I have seen lousy managers PROMOTED just to move them up and out of the way as a result of their lack of people skills. Private companies (and public organizations like schools) need to fire that type of manager IMO.

Neil:

"Isn't that what you want -- so which is it?"

Neil, I want the schools to take responsibility and actually improve something.......anything, instead of years of talking about it but producing the same old same old......for DECADES, and the always popular promise to the taxpayer, "wait until next year, things will improve if you approve our levy" nonsense. I want the managers to back off the hardass approach (if that is really what is happening) and start treating and working WITH the subordinates with a little respect and a valued attitude. I want that for EVERYONE in the dam workplace nowadays. The mutual respect in the workplace, between management and worker, left decades ago

Said by many people, many times.....EVERYONE, including administrators, teachers, parents and students need to be held responsible and they all need to play their part to make the entire program work. It ain't happenin' in alot of districts these days, especially Middletown.....and we all see the results of a disfunctional system in place here. So, why haven't the admin. cleaned up their act by now? Why hasn't the school system come up with a plan to haul the parents into court if they don't attend the conferences? We know why parents don't place value on education. The further down the social economic ladder you go, the less emphasis is placed on education. Why hasn't the school board replaced the problem children, be it teachers or admin. like Lolli? Dunno.   

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 itsamee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2014 at 9:35am
Neil and Vet, 

Have either of you considered that it is mostly monetary?  Most teachers hired in over the last couple years took a pay cut after their first year, others had pay frozen.  With funding cuts everywhere, some teachers have to risk being unemployed and laid off if things go crazy.  I, like many others, would leave if I could get into a more financially stable district. 

Or at least one that didn't give me a 1-2% pay cut after the first year.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2014 at 11:37am
Originally posted by itsamee itsamee wrote:

Neil and Vet, 

Have either of you considered that it is mostly monetary?  Most teachers hired in over the last couple years took a pay cut after their first year, others had pay frozen.  With funding cuts everywhere, some teachers have to risk being unemployed and laid off if things go crazy.  I, like many others, would leave if I could get into a more financially stable district. 

Or at least one that didn't give me a 1-2% pay cut after the first year.  



OR, OPTION 2.....to eliminate the possibility of being unemployed, as you state, and considering your post above as you weigh your uncertainty in the vocation as a teacher, rather than wait for a downsizing or taking multiple years of pay cuts in this or any other district, you do have an option of pursuing another career in communications, perhaps a managers job in manufacturing (Neaton Auto hires many former teachers and incorporates them into their manufacturing operation as managers). As a college graduate, there is always the possibility of entering the medical field as an administrator of records perhaps.

Bottom line. There are other possibilites for you if things start looking bad in the educational field.
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: Aug 11 2014 at 2:32pm
I don't know specifically why the teachers in Middletown are retiring, but there will be a change in the teacher pension calculation that favors teachers retiring now. Teacher turnover is not limited to Middletown. It's happening state wide due to the change in the pension calculation. My guess is that this is the impetus for many of the retirements and NOT some of the theories advocated above.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Neil Barille Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 11 2014 at 4:18pm

Didn't the district get a continuing operating levy a few years ago that has no expiration?  This would seem to provide a continual source of operating funds without the need to pass another levy every few years.  Whether at some point in the future an increase is needed on top of that is another story.  So wouldn't this seem to mean the district is relatively stable financially?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote itsamee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 12 2014 at 8:15am
Neil, 

That was a levy designed to make temporary tax revenue permanent. That levy basically provided funds at the districts current levels back in what, 2009? 

Full disclosure: I worked for a contractor at Middletown Schools for a number of years. Before then, I did similar work at other districts in Ohio. 

I am not taking sides here. I am going to try and present simple facts about school districts in Ohio, so hear me out and please understand I want to present a whole picture.  Thanks.

Problem One: I think we can all agree that it is unfair for both schools and tax payers the way schools in Ohio get their primary funding (local property taxes). This starts a cycle where schools need to rely on the dollars of those who own property in their region.  Meaning, home owners share the bulk of the responsibility for paying for kids education.  The BIGGEST problem with this method is, the schools do not get an inflation adjustment unless they go to another levy. So, think about this:
School District A passes a levy in 2010 to generate an additional $10 million a year to run schools. It actually costs the district $15 million a year to run, but other monies from the state help make up the difference.  
District A is now told they have more requirements and must pay for testing materials, technology upgrades (some are state-mandated) and hire additional staff to fulfill more roles.  Add inflation to this and it now costs $20 million a year to run the district. Now, in 2014, they have to go back to the voters because they have a $5 million hole to fill that is beyond their control.  
The state refuses to pay for many of the things they force school districts to implement. 

Problem two: Districts are top-heavy.  While I have no problem with someone making six figures, it does seem districts could save money by evaluating the top earners pay scale. In 2013 there were four people making more than six figures, and 18 people making $80-$99k a year. 
I understand that you need to pay out more to get good people, but I do not think that is always what happens. I would be in favor of caps on payout (maybe based on enrollment) to curb this. If you take an average salary of say, $90,000 among the above 22 people, you will see their are almost 2 million (1.98 million) in salaries going out to a smaller group (as of 2013). If you knocked their pay down by even 10%, you would have $198,000, or, enough money to hire 4 teachers at $49,500 / year. Meanwhile, those 22 people are still making more than the average Middletown resident, and even more than the average Ohio resident.  

Problem three: Instead of cutting at the top, the bulk of cuts to save money are at the bottom.  Sure, last time around the administration took the same 1% pay cut as everyone else, but teachers and staff took the brunt of the unemployment.  Ratios in classrooms are maxed out (meaning the number of kids to teachers per grade level is high) which hurts education. Remember those teachers we could have hired had we cut the admin pay 10%?  This could help this problem as well.  

What I saw at MCSD.  I saw many great teachers. But I saw many more getting screwed out of money and positions at every turn.  To save money, health benefits were cut or costs were raised. Pay was cut, and jobs were cut. Things got outsourced to places that couldn't care less (once Sodexo took over the custodial staff, things got pretty bad). 

Many teachers wanted to leave due to not being able to keep up with the costs of living and constantly having to give up more pay to work there. I saw four great teachers go to other districts simply because they knew they would not endure another pay cut the next year. 

Problem four: The board and administration seem like a money pit in themselves. During my time there, I found out many administrators had two computers and an iPad. Why? How connected should one person be? The Board, which we elected, also had brand new laptops, while teachers had 6 year old computers.  

Just my two cents, funding is deeply flawed, the administration is full of people who seem afraid to make an actual change to the way things are. While these problems persist, there will be problems.  Things really do need to change. And part of the change needs to come from Columbus (Ted Strickland really put districts behind the 8 ball), and others need to change at the local level.  


 

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What about the fact that the way we fund our Ohio schools is unconstitutional. No one seems to want to tackle that situation either. Any other business declared unconstitutional would be put out of business. We continue on this path for decades and no one wants to change it. Why?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 12 2014 at 12:41pm
Assuming itsamee's info. is correct.......

Problem One:
itsa mentions that the schools pass a levy based on current requirements both locally and at the state level, burdening the property owner in the process. Itsamee then brings to our attention that the state sometimes changes the ballgame requiring more funds after a levy has been passed.

Just wondering.....since this happens, apparently on a recurring basis, why haven't the schools banded together, scheduled a meeting with the Gov. and the state legislature and told the source of the problems about the problems they are creating locally? Haven't read a story where the schools have taken a pro-active role in problem solving on this, starting with a trip to Columbus, and seem to want to complain and "live with the problem' blaming the state politicians for all of the problems. If ya don't do something, things are guaranteed to stay the same. Get in the car and go north on I-71. The statehouse is downtown.

Problem Two:
itsa states districts are top heavy. Some of us have been seeing and saying this for years, yet school districts seem to continue to create asst principles, directors of curriculum, directors of learning, directors/assist. of this and directors/assist. of that, incurring large salaries for apparently no reason. Top heavy indeed.

itsa:
"I understand that you need to pay out more to get good people, but I do not think that is always what happens"

Paying people more to get good people isn't always the case. Sometimes ya just don't get what you pay for in a negative context. Sometimes poor performers miraculously work their way to the top with surface fluff rather than actual talent and content and demand high salaries for doing so. Look no further than Steve Price for an example. The man was all show and no go.

Problem Three:

The worker bees always take the hit at downsizing time. Has been said many times.....you can cut one director and save 3 or 4 workers......and still cover the directors day to day job responsibilites by portioning out the duties to the remaining directors kept. Hell. it might generate real work for them instead of attending endless meetings every day, producing little to no results.

The lower position people always get the shaft when the cuts begin.

Problem Four:
"the administration is full of people who seem afraid to make an actual change to the way things are"

It would appear it is all in the family between the admin.,the school board and the others within the academic community. None want to put forth a real effort to totally gut a disfunctional, non-producing, poor performing school system and retool with new people with new ideas that actually care about the overall outcome as to positive progress. Perfectly content to stay in the continuous improvement level until the end of time, and, in Middletown, don't have to worry about citizen pressure to change. Like dealing with the antics of council and the city leaders and demanding some city building firings while electing competent people on council, the people of Middletown are apathetic toward the school board, the school district and the lousy results they keep producing.....for decades. Nothing short of a complete gutting of council and the school board and the subsequent firing of city leaders and school administration will change a thing around here. Gotta have people running the city and the schools who want more than complacency and are just in survival mode to make a difference now. Fresh faces......fresh thinking....logical people, logical thinking.
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 itsamee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 12 2014 at 1:27pm
"Just wondering.....since this happens, apparently on a recurring basis, why haven't the schools banded together, scheduled a meeting with the Gov. and the state legislature and told the source of the problems about the problems they are creating locally?" 

A couple things, and I forgot to mention, is that some of this comes from the federal level as well (remember No Child Left Behind?). I think Strikland did the most damage with his programs, and he did it hoping to get more votes. "Ohio schools are failing! We must do all of these things to make it more rigid! We have no money to do it....so we will charge the schools for it!" 

"Paying people more to get good people isn't always the case. Sometimes ya just don't get what you pay for in a negative context. Sometimes poor performers miraculously work their way to the top with surface fluff rather than actual talent and content and demand high salaries for doing so." 

I 100% agree, and that was my gist.  

As for some of your points toward the end, some of those people are paid via grants to do whatever it is they do. As for others, yes, they are almost a waste of space, resources, and money. 

I would argue along with you that the Board needs an overhaul. 
Itsa me, mario!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 12 2014 at 7:31pm
OK--we lose "old school" teachers with bigger salaries/bennies/tenure to be replaced by younger entry-level lower salary/new tier bennies who grow in to the system along with new buildings, bringing new/younger thinking to children.

Maybe we trim "old school" high $$/tenured admin also--combining responsibilities and moving younger minds in to admin.

We become a new/progressive energetic system

What is wrong with this thinking?

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Aug 13 2014 at 5:58am
Originally posted by spiderjohn spiderjohn wrote:

OK--we lose "old school" teachers with bigger salaries/bennies/tenure to be replaced by younger entry-level lower salary/new tier bennies who grow in to the system along with new buildings, bringing new/younger thinking to children.

Maybe we trim "old school" high $$/tenured admin also--combining responsibilities and moving younger minds in to admin.

We become a new/progressive energetic system

What is wrong with this thinking?



Not a thing wrong with this thinking Spider, UNLESS, the newer, younger admin/teachers retain the same old thinking, stay with the historically failing current mode of operation in place and keep the performance bar in the same place. I believe we have a problem if that were to happen.

I like the new progressive energetic system idea. I hope that it will occur at some point in time. As it is now, we have had personnel in place for many years and have seen little to no improvement with stagnation as the accepted goal. Time for a transition from the old guard to a new mindset. Gotta get people on the school board who will foster a change. Tyus, McNeil and the other tenured school board members have run their course and repeatively stay with the same old failed format. The school board is a complacent group.....much like council as to the introduction of new, logical plans for direction.
I'm so proud of my hometown and what it has become. Recall 'em all. Let's start over.
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