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May levy

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    Posted: Jan 25 2010 at 10:47pm

From the MJ:

Middletown moves toward placing levy on May ballot

By Tiffany Y. Latta, Staff Writer 9:31 PM Monday, January 25, 2010

MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown City School District has moved a step closer toward placing an $18.3 million operating levy on the ballot.

The Middletown Board of Education on Monday night, Jan. 25, unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with a replacement levy for May 2010.

The resolution sends the matter to the Butler County auditor, who will calculate the millage, or cost of the levy to homeowners in the district.

The levy is meant to replace two existing levies — a five-year, $14.3 million renewal levy and a three-year, $4 million renewal levy — which are set to expire at the end of 2010.

The two levies combined represent 26 percent of the district’s budget, district officials said.

Board member Chris Fiora said the levy is not a request for new funds.

“We’re asking to continue a levy that expires this year that provides a huge percentage of our general fund,” Fiora said.

Board member Katie McNeil said the funds would be used for operating expenses.

“It’s always difficult to go to the ballot,” she said, “but we need the community to understand the importance of this levy.”

The deadline to file with the Butler County Board of Elections to get an issue on the May ballot is Feb. 18.

In addition, the board unanimously approved Show Choir Director Marsha Minge’s request for the student group to participate in a national competition in Myrtle Beach, S.C. from April 21-26.

The Show Choir includes 55 Middletown High School students in grades 10 through 12.

Fuzzy wording, but smells of a permanent levy to me!!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Jan 26 2010 at 7:59am
Right you are, 409!!!
According to Mr. D. Duck's comments to The Journal article, the two existing levies are "renewal" levies with expiration dates and which must be renewed periodically.  The replacement levy is a "continuing" levy which goes on indefinitely and the millage rate of which increases if property assessments, or totals revenues fall.  (Which is certain to happen as the city's population ages and more properties are "landbanked" in perpetuity.)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 409 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2010 at 8:41pm
I received my propaganda letter from the school district today.
The third fact says: "The levy will be continuing with no fixed term."
Why don't they just have the gonads to say: The levy will be permanent. Censored
The fifth fact says: "The levy does not raise taxes on current properties."
Oh yeah? For how long?
You know we can trust our board ........Wink
About like the Rosedale / Miller Ridge deal .......Embarrassed ........among others.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2010 at 10:34pm
"The levy does not raise taxes on current properties."
 
Does this mean that the tax RATE on your individual property will not increase?
Does it mean that the DOLLAR AMOUNT of taxes that you pay on your individual property will not increase?
Does it mean that the "assessed value" of your individual property will not increase?
 
Start asking SPECIFIC questions like those and watch them dance around!
 
What it means is that:
  • They will collect a total of $18.3 million annually on all of the property in this school district as they are currently assessed!!
  • If any "current property" is subdivided or developed, it will be ADDED to the tax rolls (that is, it is NOT a "current property"!) and will be an addition to the $18.3 million!
  • If your neighbor's house burns down, or if a business goes bankrupt and abandons their property, or ANY of the "current properties" for any reason get re-assessed downwards or otherwise fall from the tax rolls, the district will still collect $18.3 million from the remainder of the "current properties"!!!
How will they do this???  Ask them, and watch them dance!!!
 
Now, none of this is to say whether I am "For" the levy or "Against" the levy.
However, it DOES mean that I am AGAINST all of the "word games", trickery, assumptions of voter ignorance, and other forms of ethical dishonesty and moral bankruptcy shown by local officials towards the citizenry.
 
Regardless, as has been pointed out here, it doesn't seem to bother very many others very much.  So, keep on re-electing the same old people, to keep trying the same old "new" plans, that have failed over and over--but hope for a "brighter" result doing the same old thing over and over again!
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 11 2010 at 10:44pm
By the way, folks:
Once the City starts buying all of these properties that they plan to demolish, guess what else happens??
 
(CLUE:  The City does NOT pay property taxes!!!)
 
Yep, that's correct!!  Those "current properties" fall OFF of the tax rolls, but the MCSD STILL will be entitled to collect $18.3 million!!!  Now, I wonder how they will manage THAT???
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 7:25am
Mike- you mentioned "keep on re-electing the same old people"...... in the case of the school board this last election, you either didn't vote for the two incumbants (Tyus and Andrew) or you gave them your vote. I chose not to vote for either. Unfortunately, there was no other choices on the ballot/no interest from any new candidates in running and we got stuck with the same old faces with no new ideas.

My son got the letter from the schools urging him to vote yesterday. I never received one. Wonder why?

This "substitute levy" ( I just love this jargon used), was an emergency levy- Emergency levies are always converted into permanent levies which are then converted into renewal levies usually passed using the same propaganda as this one......"won't raise your taxes" This one goes a step further by saying that the term of this levy is basically forever with no defined time limit. Ain't no way my family will vote for a levy with no time limit nor will give any more money to a school district that has had more than 10 years to improve on proficiency test scores and have failed, nor have they improved on indicators with only 5 of 30 met after 10 years. No performance improvement with the money we have given you in the past = no more money down an apparent black hole of waste on future levy requests. Improve....THEN we'll think about giving you some money.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 9:11am
Vet, can't deny the lack of improvement in performance but your last statement is one that is often mentioned but I think is a mirage.  As we've seen in Springboro with numerous failed levies despite an "Excellent" district, I think what may be unsaid in these discussions is a significant portion of the populace do not want to vote for any taxes, period.  If the schools suck, we must vote down the levy to make a point.  if the schools are doing well, hey you don't need our money and we'll vote no anyway.  Isn't what is at play here a refusal to vote for taxes no matter what the result?  It seems that many on blogs skirt around this issue but in the end what it comes down to is that voting for any tax is against the core of that person's being but people talk around it and give other reasons.  Not saying it's right or wrong but I think the hatred of any kind of tax is what is really the issue for many people, not so much the particular performance of the school, library, etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 10:34am
Bill, you may be right for many people, but I also believe this would be a whole lot easier to swallow if people saw some progresss being made in the school system.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 12:03pm
I agree with you Bill concerning the anti-tax voter sentiment. I want to reduce my tax burden, not maintain or increase it, especially in this lousy economy. I do not believe in monetarily supporting a long running track record of poor performance in proficiency and indicators with no improvement on the horizon. The school folks have had over ten years to show the taxpaying public some improvement and it has been business as usual with regard to results. Every year, we can expect Middletown schools to be at the bottom of the proficiencies in all grades and in all categories. My family will not vote for any levies at any time because we want more money in our pocket and we are not pleased that previous levy promises were not kept as to improved results. We will no longer go quietly in our refusal to pump good money into the black hole of futility. If you try a technique for several years and it yields you the same poor results, why wouldn't you change your approach to positively alter the results. We do not support folks that want business as usual while producing poor results using our money to do so. It is not logical.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 1:16pm
Mr. Presta,
 
"This levy will not increase your taxes" means what it says.
 
Your tax RATE will not increase. The substitute levy has been certified by the auditor at 17.51 mils.  It will replace two temporary levies: a $14.3 million dollar levy assessed at 13.4 mils, and a $4 million levy assessed at $4.42 mils; these two levies are a combined 17.82 mils. They expire at the end of this year. If the substitute levy is passed, it will be assessed at 17.51 mils (see above), slightly less than the current levies.
 
Your tax AMOUNT will not increase as the result of this levy.   It could increase from the other taxes that are itemized on your tax bill, and it could increase if your property value is re-assessed at a higher value.
 
The ASSESSED VALUE of your property could go up or down -- the levy does not affect or control assessed value in any way. As reported, most properties have been re-assessed at a lower rate.
 
The letter is very clear and direct.  We did not use any word games or trickery.  The word "continuing" is the terminology used by the state of Ohio to identify this type of levy.  We sent the letter so everyone would be informed.  We did not want people to say, as some did with the recent Madison school levy, that they were not even aware it was on the ballot and the school board was trying to sneak it past them.  The same letter also appeared in the Middletown Journal.
 
The school district is not asking for any new money with this levy. It is just asking voters to continue funding  2 levies that have been on the books for years.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 1:26pm
Viet Vet,
 
Several months ago, I posted at length in response to some of your posts, indicating that the schools HAVE shown some improvement (while agreeing not as much or as fast as we want) and that the district HAS in fact changed many instructional practices, curriculum, and other processes such that it is not "business as usual" at Middletown City Schools.  Yet, you continue to post that the schools have not shown any improvement and have not changed the way they do things.  And then you wonder why those in public office do not take the time to respond to the posters on this board.  You are going to say what you want no matter what facts are presented.
 
You are also simply incorrect when you state that the district is "at the bottom of the proficiencies in all grades and in all categories."  Apparently you have not studied the proficiency scores for other districts with comparable socioeconomics, such as Cincinnati, Dayton, Mansfield or others.
 
However, at least you were honest in your last post, stating, "my family will not vote for any levies at any time." Pretty much proving Bill's point. 
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 2:30pm
Mrs. Andrew, while I understand your comparison, the comparison that most of us look at is this one:
 
State%20report%20card%20results%20for%20local%20schools
As a business owner in Middletown this is the comparison that matters to me and many others.  What Mansfield, Cinci, Dayton etc. do is immaterial to me as a business owner and a father.  This tells people not to move to Middletown, as a schools performance is probably the most important factor when many people move to a new area and people are not moving into Middletown unless they are poor.  The Middle Class for the most part is bypassing Middletown altogether.
 
I also understand that the School Board has its hands tied and must deal with the hand it is dealt from the Cities policies to basically cater to the less fortunate shall we say, rather than get a grip on the poverty situation and work to decrease poverty.  The businesses in Middletown must also deal with the Cities unfortunate policies which don't seem to be getting any better as time passes.  As long as the City is tied to excessive Section 8 and the funds that go with it and the love of HUD monies, Middletown will lag well behind the rest of the area in any recovery once it starts.  Unfortunately it appears the city doesn't understand that.
 
Hey lets run another ad in Hamilton, maybe we should also hit Dayton and Cinci, for some more prospective Section 8 recipients for Middletown's waiting list.Thumbs%20Up 
 
Yes, I am being very sarcastic on that last remark.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 2:44pm
Ms. Andrew- I have old Journal articles with the charts that show comparisons of all the grade levels and all the categories tested. The charts show that Middletown is listed as last in percentage passed in all categories in all grades on a consistent basis when compared to surrounding schools THAT INCLUDE RICH (Lakota) TO POORER (Franklin/Miamisburg) to POOR like Little Miami. They all have better results. The latest chart, published by the Journal revealed the same scenario. IF you have changed the curriculum, the processes, the instructional packages,etc., the fact is, the performance hasn't changed enough to have made a major impact on impressing the general populace revealing that you changes aren't working. It may not be "business as usual" in your schools, as you say, but it certainly is "results as usual". The Middletown school district still suffers from a reputation as a poor performing district, so much so, that people are pulling their kids out and sending them to charter schools, parochial schools, or schools that will accept new students. That, in itself, must tell you something as to the confidence level that your schools present.

Your last comment about "not voting for any levies"...."proving Bill's point".....yes, and I agreed with him too, didn't I?

Ms. Andrew, I went through the Middletown schools in the 50's and 60's when they were top notch and provided a quality education. It has been hard to sit here all these years and watch as it has regressed to the condition it is in now and the adjustments to the town's demographics were not made by past school boards and school officials. You, are a relative newcomer to town by comparison, and have not had the priviledge of seeing it in it's heyday. You haven't captured the rage that some have for the difference of what was and what is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Bill Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 3:15pm

I heard a story the other day about a district that was in a downtrodden area -- Detroit, maybe?  Anyway, they got rid of all staff and brought in a group that specializes in turnarounds.  I don't know if that would have been a for-profit company or something else.  Major discipline was enforced, new methods were used, and results happened in one of the worst areas in the country.  I think we might benefit from this type of drastic change.

I want to thank Ms. Andrew for her comments.  Those that volunteer for boards and council should be commended for, if nothing else, their interest and effort.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rngrmed Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 5:08pm
So if my taxes will not increase under any of the circumstances that Mr. Presta listed, will they decrease at the end of the year when the levy expires?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hermes Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 12 2010 at 5:18pm
I'd be more than happy to help the school pass a levy.....just as soon as a levy is passed for me. Unlike the school I don't need $18 million a year, I think $750,000 would do me just fine. I would probably even drop that request to $400,000 per year. Anyone who has ever raised a garden knows that you have to have seeds to grow vegetables & I am one of those seeds. You can plant me, but you also have to water me and take care of me until I produce something worth picking. If I don't produce and I die & wither you get nothing. You starve.
 
So you see it's so simple, take care of me and you can eat your vegetables & enjoy !
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 4:26am

Ms. Andrew:

First, I agree, in principle, with you regarding the point that the comparison should be made with “similarly situated socio-economic school districts”. As some of the long-time posters may recall, I made those comparisons before the last few levy attempts and posted that information, along with the pertinent facts from the State’s website. While there is merit to the argument that we are “competing” against nearby districts for new, high-income residents, I believe that it simply is futile at this point to try to use our schools as a selling point. However, IF our schools could be shown to be improving, I believe that we could use that (coupled with things such as the extremely attractive pricing on relatively high-end homes) as a draw for upper middle-class families. But can we show that our schools are, indeed, improving???

I have not researched the above-mentioned data since the last levy, BUT a quick sort by the “Performance Index Score 2008-09” reveals that the MCSD’s Performance Index score was 592nd out of 610 districts.

As far as the twenty other similarly situated socio-economic districts (as selected by the Ohio Department of Education), MCSD placed HIGHER than these districts:

Springfield City, Mansfield City, Euclid City, Lima City, Maple Heights City, Youngstown City, and East Cleveland City;

But placed LOWER than these districts:

Elyria City, Hamilton City, Sandusky City, Whitehall City, Newark City, Norwood City, Canton City, Garfield Heights City, Barberton City, Zanesville City, Massillon City, Washington Local, and Marion City.

Perhaps “Performance Index Score 2008-09” is not a fair basis for comparison. I am not be qualified to decide that, but it was the quickest one that I could find. I speak only for myself, but whether compared to the entire state, the near-by districts, or the twenty similarly situated socio-economic districts, I cannot find much improvement to sell to prospective residents here. We may disagree, Ms. Andrew, but “Continuous Improvement”, as used by the Ohio Department of Education, is a fabricated term used in a manner that would not be understood in any other English-speaking society on this planet (except perhaps inside “The Beltway“).

Next, let’s move on to the “tax rate” issue. The information I laid out was provided to me by a trusted friend who also happens to be an Ohio attorney and man of high integrity, but a resident of neither Butler or Warren Counties.

I assure everyone that I will either cite the controlling legal authority, or admit my error very publicly well before election day. In the meantime, I ask Ms. Andrew the following:

If the levy passes, isn’t it true that the district will have the legal authority to tax the “current properties” within the school district that are on the tax rolls a total of $18.3 million per year???

If the levy passes, isn’t it true that the district will have the legal authority to tax the “current properties” within the school district that are on the tax rolls that very same total of $18.3 million per year, even if there are properties that fall off the tax rolls or are significantly devalued???

As an absurd example (used only to illustrate this point), if the levy passes, then AK Steel went bankrupt and no one bought their Middletown property, isn’t it true that the district will still have the legal authority to tax the “current properties” within the school district that remain on the tax rolls that very same total of $18.3 million??? And if that were to happen, how would that work???

I look forward to your response.

Best personal regards,

MDP

“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Pacman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 8:38am

All teachers fired at Rhode Island school

From Randi Kaye, CNN's AC360°
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Board votes to discharge all teachers, other educators at Central Falls High School
  • District, union fail to reach agreement for teachers to spend more time with students
  • Union president says teachers scapegoated, union will fight to reinstate them
  • Terminations will go into effect in the next school year

(CNN) -- A school board in Rhode Island has voted to fire all teachers at a struggling high school, a dramatic move aimed at shoring up education in a poverty-ridden school district.

In a 5-2 vote Tuesday night, the board approved the plan by Frances Gallo, superintendent at Central Falls School District, to discharge the teachers, administrators and other personnel at Central Falls High School.

The firings, which will be effective at the end of this school year, came after the district said it failed to reach an agreement with the teachers' union on a plan for the teachers to spend more time with students to improve test scores.

A union spokesman called the firings drastic and cited a 21 percent rise in reading scores and a 3 percent increase in math scores in the past two years.

The school district said 93 people -- including the principal, three assistant principals and 77 teachers -- were fired. The teachers' union said the firings affected 74 classroom teachers plus a number of other educators such as guidance counselors and reading specialists.

Central Falls High is one of the lowest-performing schools in Rhode Island. It is in a community where median income is $22,000, census figures show.

Of the 800 students, 65 percent are Hispanic and for most of them, English is a second language. Half the students are failing every subject, with 55 percent skilled in reading and 7 percent proficient in math, officials said.

In a proposal based on federal guidelines, Gallo asked teachers to work a longer school day of seven hours and tutor students weekly for one hour outside school time. She proposed teachers have lunch with students often, meet for 90 minutes every week to discuss education and set aside two weeks during summer break for paid professional development.

A spokesman for the union said the teachers had accepted most of the changes, but wanted to work out compensation for the extra hours of work.

The superintendent said the two sides could not agree on a pay rate.

Under new federal requirements for school reform, low-performing schools have several options. One is called the transformation model, which includes a series of changes that teachers agree to adopt.

When the negotiations on those changes failed at Central Falls High, the superintendent switched to another option: the turnaround model, which means firing every teacher at the troubled school.

Kathy May, a teacher at Central Falls High, said she's disheartened. "I feel like, after 20 years, I can see some progress beginning to be made. And I'm sad that we're not going to be around to follow that through, to push that forward."

Gallo, who said Rhode Island law says notice must be given by March 1, said the problem isn't solely the fault of teachers and it wasn't her preference to make the move. She indicated that some of the teachers might be rehired.

"When we had to move from the transformation model, the next best move was the turnaround model. And that requires us to remove the teachers and rehire, of those who reapply, up to 50 percent," she said.

"This is a major move, for a very significant reason, and that being that we couldn't hone in on the assurances we needed for the transformation model."

Asked what would happen if the teachers' union accepted the original terms, Gallo said it would be very difficult to go back, but can't be discounted.

"And if ... as we move forward, if indeed something of that effect comes around, then I still think we have a lot of doors that could be opened."

At a community rally before the school board meeting on Tuesday, supporters of the teachers slammed the plan.

Jane Sessums, president of the Central Falls Teachers Union, said teachers have been unfairly targeted and scapegoated and the union will fight to have them reinstated.

"We want genuine reforms, not quick fixes that do nothing but create a wedge between teachers, our school and our community," said Sessums. She added that "teachers have agreed to numerous solutions and reforms."

George McLaughlin, a guidance counselor who was fired along with his wife, a chemistry teacher, said the school has been inaccurately cast as a place with low graduation rates.

"We have the most transient population in this state. Nobody comes close to us. So when they say that 50 percent of the people graduate, a very high percentage of our students leave our school. They return. They leave again. They go back to other countries," he said, noting that three times as many of the school's students are accepted to colleges now than they were five years ago.

He also knocked the superintendent, saying she "has been with us for a little more than three years."

If Gallo were willing to negotiate and listen to former Sen. Lincoln Chafee, who has offered to mediate, "maybe we could resolve this instead of causing more trauma to us."

McLaughlin said the negotiations were about job security, not pay, and said the teachers are ready to resume talks.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 2:17pm
Ms. Andrews, as you make consistent attempts to argue as an attorney and present to the "trier of fact" I will make the same argument in the process you prefer. Isn't it true Middletown has had as a stated strategic goal and mission statement, to be the first urban school in the state of Ohio rated EXCELLENT? And is it not a fact, Middletown City School District has failed in that OBJECTIVE? And as MCSD has failed in that objcetive, isn't it true citizens should question the login and indeed, sanity, of voting for a levey which maintains the status quo, and no meaningful statistically, performance has been made? And is it not a fact MCSD wated nearly $250,000 in attempts to absorb land which it lost? And is it not a fact, a simple review of the caselaw would have shown the "land grab" was entirely a waste of time? And was it not you Ms. Andrews, who offered the response" one has to spend money to make money"? And isn't it fact, the money spent did not yield money?
 
In summation, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the school district has failed. It has indicated for years, it was improving, it was the fault of Section 8, it was the fault that parents and students didn't care, while also stating the goal was to be the first in the state to reach an EXCELLENT rating? As your property values fall schools were built on the fasle premise new students would increase enrollment, and MCSD was associated with both Miami University and University of Toledo to attract students to the district as a "partnership" that never came about, it was a sham, a cloak, to get the state to believe MCSD offered some benefit to students which Franklin could not meet. This levey must fail because we've been duped and mislead, and students whom graduate from Middletown provide no redeeming benefit back to the community, as greater than 90%, never return upon college graduation to call the failed city home.
 
Your witness counselor.      
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marianne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 4:44pm
Originally posted by acclaro acclaro wrote:

Ms. Andrews, as you make consistent attempts to argue as an attorney and present to the "trier of fact" I will make the same argument in the process you prefer. Isn't it true Middletown has had as a stated strategic goal and mission statement, to be the first urban school in the state of Ohio rated EXCELLENT? And is it not a fact, Middletown City School District has failed in that OBJECTIVE? And as MCSD has failed in that objcetive, isn't it true citizens should question the login and indeed, sanity, of voting for a levey which maintains the status quo, and no meaningful statistically, performance has been made? And is it not a fact MCSD wated nearly $250,000 in attempts to absorb land which it lost? And is it not a fact, a simple review of the caselaw would have shown the "land grab" was entirely a waste of time? And was it not you Ms. Andrews, who offered the response" one has to spend money to make money"? And isn't it fact, the money spent did not yield money?
 

In summation, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, the school district has failed. It has indicated for years, it was improving, it was the fault of Section 8, it was the fault that parents and students didn't care, while also stating the goal was to be the first in the state to reach an EXCELLENT rating? As your property values fall schools were built on the fasle premise new students would increase enrollment, and MCSD was associated with both Miami University and University of Toledo to attract students to the district as a "partnership" that never came about, it was a sham, a cloak, to get the state to believe MCSD offered some benefit to students which Franklin could not meet. This levey must fail because we've been duped and mislead, and students whom graduate from Middletown provide no redeeming benefit back to the community, as greater than 90%, never return upon college graduation to call the failed city home.

 

Your witness counselor.      


Watching too many Law and Order reruns this weekend, acclaro?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 4:57pm
Marianne, no, just presenting a case in chief in a format Ms. Andrews prefers. I am surprised my deliberate attempt to spell levy with the extra 'e' escaped your attention. I do occasionally read John Grisham,  A personal favorite- The Summons. And you?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marianne Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2010 at 1:10pm
Originally posted by acclaro acclaro wrote:

Marianne, no, just presenting a case in chief in a format Ms. Andrews prefers. I am surprised my deliberate attempt to spell levy with the extra 'e' escaped your attention. I do occasionally read John Grisham,  A personal favorite- The Summons. And you?


Yes, I missed your "deliberate attempt." I assumed it was another typo.

I read occasionally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 14 2010 at 1:18pm
NEVER assume, and I bet you did. It also offers a meansof honoring Mr. Levey.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 2:46pm
To Viet Vet and PacMan:
 
I do realize that the comparison that many of you want to make (encouraged by the Journal) is to the surrounding school districts.   I have tried to suggest that this is not a fair comparison, because none of these districts has the socioeconomic problems Middletown has.  Even the towns you describe as Poor and Poorer have nowhere near the percentage of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch as does Middletown (over 70% now). For example, you cite Franklin as Poor. It has just 36.5% of its students on free and reduced lunch.
 
Mr. Presta's comparison to other simularly situated districts as selected by the ODE is more relevant (although those socioeconomic statistics are not always clearly comparable, either). Looking at the Performance Index Score data he posted, Middletown is definitely not at the bottom of that group.
 
Vet, thank you for the historical perspective.  All of us, even those of us who did not grow up in Middletown, want to be able to be proud of our schools the way you were then.  My son attends Middletown High and I believe he is getting a good education there.  However, the City of Middletown today is not what it was in the 50's and 60's, in so many ways.  We have to work with what we are today.   Isn't there a way to capture the "rage" you mention for positive change, not just negative energy?
 
Mr. Presta:
 
Thank you for posting with information on the Performance Index for the last school year, 2008-09. As you note, this is just one of the many measures used by the State of Ohio on the district report card.  It is a snapshot of the combined proficiency test scores for all subjects/all grades in MCSD for that one year only. 
 
To determine if the district is improving, we need more than a static snapshot.  We could compare the performance index score for MCSD for the latest year to previous years --- this shows a small increase, followed by a decline in 07-08 when the district was required to shorten the school day and other cuts in response to the levy failure -- followed by another small increase last year.
 
Another comparison which tries to measure improvement, used by the State, is the relatively new Value-Added measure.  The Value-Added measure shows that Middletown is improving.  Value Added looks at proficiency test scores for a particular student this year versus that same student's proficiency test scores for the prior year, to measure that student's progress.  A "plus" score means that student made more than one year of academic growth in that year.  A "check" score means that student made one year's academic growth in one year.  A "minus" score means that student made less than one year's academic progress in one year.  Of course, ODE does not report the results of individual students.  It aggregates the growth results of all students in the district to give the district (and school buildings in the district) an overall Value-Added grade. 
 
MCSD earned a Value Added "plus" for 2008-09, meaning overall, students made more than one year's academic growth in one year.  This means students are learning, and are catching up on what they haven't learned in the past.  When I say the schools are improving, I am referring to this measure (among other things), not to the "continuous improvement" label.
 
On the tax levy issue, yes, if the substitute levy passes, it will allow the school district to tax a total of $18.3 million each year.  The substitute levy is a fixed amount levy, just like the existing temporary levies are.
 
Also yes, the tax rate for the fixed amount levy could fluctuate slightly, just as it can go up or down slightly under the existing temporary levies that we want to replace.  The fact is, that with an aggregate assessed value of taxable property in the district of almost $1 billion, there is a very minimal effect on any one property owner if a few properties "fall off the tax rolls" (to use your terminology).
 
With your doomsday example of AK going bankrupt, I believe that the pain would fall on MCSD, not the remaining taxpayers. Here's why. If a company goes bankrupt, it is still assessed its share of property taxes. Collection of those taxes, on the other hand, would be difficult to impossible.  But the tax rate to other taxpayers is not adjusted to make up the shortfall.  The district is entitled to TAX a total of $18.3 million each year; it is not guaranteed to RECEIVE a total of $18.3 million each year of the levy. (This is my understanding but I have not researched the Ohio Revised Code on this issue).
 
Not to mention, if AK goes bankrupt, this school tax levy will be the least of all of our problems.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Marcia Andrew Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 3:19pm
Acclaro,
 
Yes, MCSD's mission statement is to be the first urban school district in OHio to be rated excellent.
 
It is true that MCSD has YET to achieve this goal. It is still our goal, so the district has evaluated what is working and what is not working, and has made many adjustments.
 
Since you are in lawyer mode, I "object" to your next question because it contains false assumptions (1) that the district has made no meaningful performance -- see Value Added discussion in previous post -- and (2) that voting for the levy would be voting to maintain a failing status quo -- district has put in place many improvements in curriculum, instruction and otherwise, and a vote for the levy would be a vote to continue these efforts at improvement.  The question cannot be answered yes or no as phrased.  I do question the sanity of voters who think that they can expect good results from MCSD if the levy fails and it must operate with 75% of its current operating income.
 
The district did spend around $250,000 trying to correct the injustice of Franklin receiving the benefit of all the improvements to the Renaissance area that have been paid for by Middletown taxpayers. 
 
It is true that this effort was not successful.  I disagree that it was a waste of money.  If successful, it could have saved Middletown taxpayers millions of dollars.  I really, truly and honestly do not understand why Middletown taxpayers would be against spreading the tax base, and receiving a return on the investment that the City of Middletown has made in Atrium and surrounding property.
 
The University of Toledo does offer free tuition to any Middletown High graduate with a specified GPA.
 
The Middletown Promise effort is not a sham.  A dedicated group of community members has worked on this idea to give free MUM tuition to MHS graduates.  The main problem is funding.  It will require millions of dollars to get started, and no private donor has stepped forward.
 
I have no idea where you get your statistic about the percentage of MHS grads who return to Middletown. However, to say MHS grads provide no redeeming benefit to the community is highly insulting to the many MHS grads I know who live and work in Middletown.  To name a few well-known and recent grads, Josh Laubach and A.J. Smith.  Also, the kids who DON'T graduate are highly likely to stay right here, and much more likely to be a drain on the local economy.  Innovative programs of MCSD that are achieving success keeping dropout risks in school and helping them graduate, like Success Academy and Freshman Academy, are in jeopardy if this levy fails.
 
Marcia Andrew
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