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New School Facilities Proposal

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VietVet View Drop Down
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    Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 7:13am
Today's Journal...

Middletown schools facilities plan to include community input

MIDDLETOWN — Middletown City Schools is trying to determine its future facility needs.

The district recently closed out the paper work completing Phase I of facility improvements made in 2007 that included building six new elementary buildings and renovating Amanda Elementary, formerly known as Rosedale, and Central Academy. Voters approved a bond issue to fund that project,

“We’re trying to get all our schools into the 21st century,” he said.

The existing Phase II of the plan calls for building a new high school at the current Verity site and remodeling the existing high school site into a middle school, Thompson said


GET READY FOR IT TAXPAYERS. THE GOUGING IS RAMPING UP.

SO, TELL ME, MILT THOMPSON, HOW'S THAT RETURN ON INVESTMENT WORKING OUT FOR THE TAXPAYERS WHO ALLOWED THE RELEASE OF 45 MILLION DOLLARS IN BONDS SO THAT YOU COULD BUILD NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOLS WITH ALL THE LATEST GADGETS TO DO......WHAT? REMAIN AT CI......JUST LIKE WE WERE IN THE OLD BUILDINGS? I HAVE SEEN NO SUBSTANTIAL IMPROVEMENT AS WAS HYPED BY PRICE DURING THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE NEW SCHOOLS. WHERE ARE THE IMPROVEMENTS ON THE EDUCATION RESULTS WITH THE NEW CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT/FACILITIES? SURE DOESN'T PRESENT A STRONG CASE IN YOUR DEFENSE FOR ASKING US FOR MORE MONEY FOR A NEW HIGH SCHOOL DOES IT? PEOPLE WOULD BE FOOLS IF THEY AGREED TO MORE SCHOOL BUILDINGS BASED ON WHAT WE HAVE GOTTEN FROM THE FIRST LINE OF CRAP. JUST PROVES A NEW ENVIRONMENT DOESN'T NECESSARILY EQUATE TO AN IMPROVED RESULT. PERHAPS DOING SOMETHING DIFFERENT IN THE OLD CLASSROOM WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE RATHER THAN BUILDING A WHOLE NEW CLASSROOM TO KEEP TEACHING THE SAME OLD WAY
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No way... I agree with you....No way
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acclaro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 11:14am
What a disappointment in the school board that just doesn't get it. Why do the same people get elected over and over, with the recurring same agenda?
 
Try it this way Ms. Andrew, Mr. Fiora, others.
 
1) Go from CI to EXCELLEMCE
 
2) Raise the student population
 
3) Realize that brick and mortar does not lead to smarter kids and brighter pupils
 
4) Alter your priorities, performance, lower drop out rates.
 
Why, why, why....do the same people get re-elected, goodness, at least one on board thequivalent from starting Kidergarten through 12th grade? No, this will not pass. Stop the smolescreen, schools will improve, with new building, or you have to take advantage of "matching" funds. This is getting old Ms. Andrew, and fast.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Chris Fiora Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 1:25pm
All,
I think that you're missing the purpose of Mr. Thompsons request.  He is trying to determine the least cost method of keeping the buildings in repair.  If the district is planning on keeping a building for more than 30 years he will approach maintenance one way.  If the district is planning on leaving a building in 5 years he may approach the maintenance in another.  It's no different than planning for your home.  For example, if you need a new roof and plan on staying in the home for 35 years then you may spring for an expensive long lasting roof.  If you plan on moving in the next few years, then you may chose a less expensive roof.
 
With the recent changes, the creation of Middletown Middle School, the closing of Verity, and the creation of the Highview 6th grade school, the existing plan may or may not make sense.  Mr. Thompson wants to do the prudent thing and update the master plan so he can have some direction and help the District minimize maintenance cost and insure that any money spent is consistent with our planned direction.
 
The question is, Mr. Thompson wants to hire an architectural firm to help coordinate the excercise.  Since we probably won't be pursuing new buildings until we have improved academic performance and until we come up in the state hierachy for state money for the project...anticipated to be 4 - 7 years from now, is this money well spent?  We won't know that until we get the quotes from the bidders and we compare it to potential maintenance money saved.  However, it can be argued that even if there is little documented cost savings, we may still be better off with a plan than no plan.
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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 18 2011 at 1:41pm
Relax, guys.  The Journal left out a key piece of Mr. Thompson's presentation (available, as always, on TV Middletown).  Any request of the voters for a building levy for a high school and middle school is at least 4-5 years down the road.  We have to wait for the Ohio School Facilities Fund to call our number from the list for matching funds.  This is long-range planning. 
 
The building of new elementary schools was Phase 1 of a 2-part facilities master plan.  A facilities master plan was required by the Ohio School Facilities Fund before the school district was allowed to seek the first building levy.  Phase 2 of the master plan called for a new high school to be built on the Verity site and for the existing high school to be renovated into a combined middle school.  Alot has changed since then, and our turn on the school facilities list has been delayed for phase 2 (originally scheduled for 2010), so it makes sense to re-evaluate and get community input. 
 
In the meantime, we have aging buildings as to which the district needs to make decisions about maintenance.  Will they be torn down in 5 years, or will we need to keep them in service for 25 more years?  We need a better sense, in order to properly manage the capital assets of the district and the use of taxpayer dollars.  To repeat, no one is considering putting a capital levy on the ballot any time soon.  4-5 years away at the earliest.  This is for planning what we do in the meantime.
 
As a board and as a district, we don't want to make assumptions about what the community wants, given all the changes that have occurred, both with the economy and in the district (for example, the re-structuring of grades 6, 7 and 8).  It is possible the community will say they want something less expensive.  It is possible the community will say they want to stick with the original plan.  We need to know.
 
As for why the same people get elected "over and over," it's pretty simple. No one new runs.  There are 3 people running for 3 school board seats this year (2 of them incumbents).  Two years ago, Greg Tyus and I ran uncontested for re-election.  When I ran initially 6 years ago, 4 people contested for 2 seats, and the 1 incumbent lost.  If you want new people on the board, then you, or someone else needs to run, and be willing to commit the time necessary to serve your community.
 
Marcia Andrew
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 2:59pm
Mr. Fiora states...

"If the district is planning on keeping a building for more than 30 years he will approach maintenance one way."

I WOULD HOPE THAT ANY SCHOOL DISTRICT WOULD PLAN TO KEEP A BUILDING FOR AT LEAST 30 YEARS. OTHERWISE, THE SCHOOL BOARD IS NOT USING TAXPAYER MONEY WISELY, CONTRACTING CHEAP, SHODDY REPAIR WORK AND YOUR PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM NEEDS TO BE OVERHAULED IF THE BUILDINGS AREN'T GOING TO LAST MORE THAN THAT. ANYONE WHO HAS PURCHASED A HOME WOULD NOT ENTERTAIN THE THOUGHT THAT THE HOME WOULDN'T LAST MORE THAN 30 YEARS. BETTER LAST LONGER THAN THAT OR IT'S NOT WORTH BUYING. THE SAME SHOULD APPLY TO YOUR SCHOOL BUILDINGS MR. FIORA.

"Mr. Thompson wants to do the prudent thing and update the master plan so he can have some direction and help the District minimize maintenance cost and insure that any money spent is consistent with our planned direction"

AND WHAT SPECIFICALLY WOULD THAT PLANNED DIRECTION BE FOR THE USE OF THE BUILDINGS AND THE FREQUENCY THAT THE SCHOOL BOARD WOULD WANT TO GET IN OUR WALLETS TO FUND ALL THESE CHANGES, MR. FIORA?

"The question is, Mr. Thompson wants to hire an architectural firm to help coordinate the excercise"

AND WHAT WOULD THE APPROX. COST BE IN YOUR ESTIMATE TO HIRE THIS FIRM AND IS IT ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY TO DO SO? REMEMBER, YOU ARE SPENDING TAXPAYER MONEY. MAKE YOUR DECISIONS LIKE IT WAS COMING OUT OF A LIMITED COFFER INSTEAD OF A NEVER-ENDING STREAM OF REVENUE.

"Since we probably won't be pursuing new buildings until we have improved academic performance and until we come up in the state hierachy for state money for the project...anticipated to be 4 - 7 years from now"

A NOBLE, OPTIMISTIC PREDICTION ON YOUR PART MR. FIORA, BASED ON PAST HISTORY OF ACADEMIC PROGRESS, WOULDN'T YOU SAY? HOW LONG HAVE THE SCHOOLS BEEN IN THE ACADEMIC WATCH/CI LEVELS? WHAT IF THE PEOPLE IN THIS TOWN DON'T WANT YOU TO PURSUE NEW BUILDINGS....IE....MAKE DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE IN PLACE NOW LIKE WE MUST DO. THAT IS AN OPTION WHETHER THE SCHOOL BOARD WANTS TO ADMIT IT OR NOT. TAKE CARE OF THE BULDINGS ALONG THE WAY AND YOU WON'T KEEP HAVING TO BUILD NEW SCHOOLS. WHY DO WE NEED A NEW HIGH SCHOOL? THE ONE WE HAVE WAS BUILT IN 1970, MAKING IT 41 YEARS OLD, NOT OLD BY BUILDING STANDARDS. MANY PEOPLE ARE LIVING IN HOUSES MUCH OLDER THAN THAT AND HAVE NOT CONSIDERED GOING NEW.
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acclaro View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 3:14pm
I commend and admire both Ms. Andrew and Mr. Fiora for being straightup and communicating in such a forum. Both are highly educated and are anything but "empty suits." And, it is a departure from city hall, you are doing your due diligence now instead of after a decision has been made, so a stark contrast between city and school system. You are to be congratulated on that by all means.
 
The Journal should have done a better job of providing insight as to what this endeavor was being contemplated. But, playing devil's advocate, is it not a few years too early to be running a financial model of costs for maintaining a school building(s) vs replacing them? Are fixed costs such you can put into a spreadsheet a 5% risk assumption, and have an apple and apple comparison which is remotely accurate in a forecast 6-10 yers downstream? And, would it not be better to retain a structural engineer, equipped with sound knowledge of thermodynamics, heating and air, solar, etc., that an architect that will focus upon aspects of the design of a building than economic comparisons? 
 
I am simply asking questions. I would be interested and perhaps you will share this in the future, what projections do you see ahead for the number of students? What are the most significant costs for operating an aged school building---plumbing, heating? And how does that compare to a building(s) paid for decades ago, which the only recurring costs will be annual maintenance? Of course, one could build the financial model to "justify" the expense of a new building in contrast to maintaining an existing one.
The fact Ohio provides those matching funds is also an incentive, and makes it easier to justify a new building over an aged one, but like an auto, most comprehend it is less expensive to pay for maintenance than a whole building and that capital outlay. Too bad school buildings can't be leased.
 
I also found it amazing so many schools of higher learning love and utilize the >100 year old buildings (or greater), but in Ohio, they need to be torn down, and replaced based upon new economies.
 
Thanks for the clarification, and being stand up board members.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 3:31pm
Ms. Andrew states.....

"Phase 2 of the master plan called for a new high school to be built on the Verity site and for the existing high school to be renovated into a combined middle school".

If we need a new high school because of the condition of the current facility, why is the same facility being considered for a middle school.....given the fact we already have a newly created middle school at the old Vail/Middletown High site downtown? If the building is not good enough for a high school, what makes it good enough for a middle school? What will you do with the current middle school (Vail)? Seems to provide our needs now at the middle school level, doesn't it? To tear down Verity to build a new high school on the site, when the high school we have is good enough for a new middle school site seems unnecessary since we seem to be ok operating the way we are now, doesn't it? Again, you folks are always wanting to build new and we all know what "new" got us in money's worth and performance at the elementary levels........not a significant improvement versus the money spent to improve performance. The big positive impact hasn't happened yet Ms. Andrew.......and it won't until you change the methods.....not going from old to new facilities.

"As a board and as a district, we don't want to make assumptions about what the community wants, given all the changes that have occurred, both with the economy and in the district (for example, the re-structuring of grades 6, 7 and 8). It is possible the community will say they want something less expensive. It is possible the community will say they want to stick with the original plan. We need to know".


OR.....OR.....IT IS POSSIBLE THAT THE COMMUNITY WANTS YOU TO DO WITH WHAT YOU HAVE IN PLACE NOW, NO "ORIGINAL" PLAN, NO "LESS EXPENSIVE".....IMPLEMENT AN EFFECTIVE PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE PROGRAM ON THE CURRENT BUILDINGS AND NOT WASTE ONE MORE DIME ON NEW SCHOOLS THAT HAVE PROVEN THAT THEY DON'T IMPROVE A THING AS WAS SUGGESTED TO THE PUBLIC WHEN PRICE WAS BULL-------- THE TAXPAYER ON THE NEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PLAN.

"As for why the same people get elected "over and over," it's pretty simple. No one new runs. There are 3 people running for 3 school board seats this year (2 of them incumbents). Two years ago, Greg Tyus and I ran uncontested for re-election. When I ran initially 6 years ago, 4 people contested for 2 seats, and the 1 incumbent lost. If you want new people on the board, then you, or someone else needs to run, and be willing to commit the time necessary to serve your community".


I WOULD IMAGINE THERE WOULD BE MORE PEOPLE THAT WOULD OFFER THEIR SERVICES ON THE SCHOOL BOARD. TIME, KID'S ACTIVITIES, SHIFT WORK HOURS, GETTING HOME LATE BECAUSE THEY WORK OUT OF TOWN, TAKING CARE OF VARIOUS FAMILY AFFAIRS, OVERTIME ON THE JOB, A SECOND JOB TO MAKE ENDS MEET, STRINGENT HOUR RULES ON THE JOB-NO TAKING OFF EARLY......ALL THINGS THAT I WOULD IMAGINE PEOPLE WHO RUN DON'T HAVE TO CONTEND WITH. WHO, ON YOUR BOARD, WORKS A SECOND JOB, MS. ANDREW? WHO, ON YOUR BOARD, HAS TO BE CAREGIVERS AFTER WORK? WHO, ON YOUR BOARD, HAVE THE TYPE OF JOB THAT REQUIRES SPECIFIC COMMITTMENTS? YOU, AS A LAWYER, CAN PROBABLY TAKE OFF TO DO SCHOOL BOARD ACTIVITIES AND ARE NOT RESTRICTED TO A FIRM SCHEDULE. TYUS IS CONNECTED TO A CHURCH AND, I WOULD IMAGINE, HAS SOME AMOUNT OF JOB HOUR FREEDOM IN HIS DAILY ACTIVITIES. FIORA IS A LAWYER ISN'T HE?- PROBABLY NOT A STRICT "PUNCH THE CLOCK" TYPE JOB. SAUTER....HE'S RETIRED AND PROBABLY HAS ALOT OF TIME TO DO BOARD ACTIVITIES. IT TAKES A CERTAIN TYPE OF JOB TO ACCOMDATE HOLDING OFFICE. RELAXED WORK HOUR RULES HELPS ACCOMODATE TAKING OFF ANYTIME TO DO BOARD THINGS. LOOK AT MULLIGAN AS A VP OF A BANK. SEEMS TO TAKE OFF ALL THE TIME TO DO "MAYOR" THINGS. MIGHT ASK, "WHEN DOES HE WORK"?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 4:07pm
Thanks again to both Mr. Fiora and Ms. Andrew for the explanation. If I may offer the following, it might be useful. The origianl plan failed, it did not elevate scores, it did not bring in new students. That is the reference you refer of course as Phase 1.
 
As you contemplate Phase 2, you are stating the school board desirs community input. Community input is not a 100% vote of course, but a precursor you feel will set the agenda forward. It is very easy to come up with a financial model and economics to justify any capital outlay. It is as easy to have a study authorized to give you data and feedback which is opposed to the desired proposition, if there is one, that Phase 2, as planned several years ago, should move forward, and more importantly, pass the ballot.
 
Your input, at the end of the day, will yield from those whom have lived in Middletown for generation after generation, move on with Phase 2. They'll want a new sports complex and of course, you'll have the winning football and basketball record to support it. So, its a yes to Phase 2 from the "community." We know whom the "community" to be, the boosters, those who raised $10,000 for a nice rainmaker scholarship for Dr. Owens cornation.
 
You difficulty will be the voters. You hedge your bets out 5-6 years, where is Ohio going, is Middletown recovering, what is the performance of the school system by then, stll CI, or at least up a notch. I do not see the levy passing, as I think Middletown as a community, has so many people wanting to leave, than come in. No one cares that you can buy a once $450,000 house for $200,000 now. Therein, is the problem, will it pass, Phase 2.
 
Get the architect or anyone who will crucnh the numbers which show it is cheaper to move on to Phase 2, that's easy to find and hire. Your "commmunity" input can be called in two weeks, and they will tell you to move on to Phase 2, so plan for it.
 
Then spend the next 5 years trying to sell the deal, as hosuing continues to erode, and there's where pase 2 hits the wall. Hindsight is 20/20, but I would have thought it better to have started with the high school (although it is anything but "aged" and Vail, but everyone thought it would be a breeze after Pahse 1 was passed, because it involved so many schools, and the assumption was more students would be attending.
 
In essence, there is your phased approach. Certainly, there is appreciation for the time both of you have put on the Board. It will be a cake walk getting "community" input for Phase 2, the chasm becomes crossing the "levy."     
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And there Vet goes ....once again.....over the cliff.  While bringing up many valid points on issues you can't help but go all out (110%!) in your criticisms.  So not only are the good, well-intentioned people who volunteer for our school boards and city council subject to a constant stream of negativity and criticism for decisions they make in their roles, now their time and service is minimized because they must have an incredibly flexible schedule (attorney) or be retired (fire chief).  In other words, hey all this public service stuff is no skin off their backs and no cramp to their schedule. 
 
But you also go further and joke (I hope) that our mayor is spending TOO MUCH time on city business and is not at his job enough!?!?  That takes the cake.  It is lines like this that take your (constant) complaints from the realm of thought-provoking and into a place filled with never-ending white noise of a boy crying wolf over and over....and over ...and.....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 5:00pm
Neil, lets be fair and balanced about your comments. I am not a trained psychologist, but I have read enough of Vet's posts to intrnalize and overwhelming love of Middletown, a city he has lived for many years, we all know his age, and is about a 2nd or 3rd generation Middletownian. Like many, he remembers with incredible fondness, as do I and others, what a terrific city was at one time.
He also has made a run for office as a Democrat, so I think it fair to say he certainly has shown an interest  to serve and make a difference. He also served his country in Viet Nam, which I admire, and fortunately, he came home.
 
He deals with an ill wife, time consuming and frustrating, and I assume he, like others, including me, cannot believe how this once proud and thriving city, went down the drain. I assure Mr. Fiora and Ms. Andrew, he did not mean to infer they gave their time as they had nothing better to do. I believe Ms. Andrew has children, works as a litigator in Cincinnati, and is married to an OB/GYN physician. She could easily spend her time doing other action items, easy to figure that out.
 
Mr. Fiora works in town, after moving back, and is a buyer I believe. The same for his time. Surely he has other things he could attend, and I certainly appreciate his time and Ms. Andrew for responding and interacting, most don't.
 
Anyone in a local office has a tit for tat. For some, its a requirement for Partner (been there, done that), Others, they care, want to get involved, make sure their kids get the best education while in school, same on city council. For others, they are retired, and get involved. Their choice, but the rationale for his commment had merit.
 
At the end of the day, I have no doubt, at least for Mr. Fiora and Ms. Andrew, many if not all of Middletown, respect them. Mr. Sauter has a wife whom teaches, so there is some added "benefit" to the position. Mr. Tyus has served forever and a day, not certain what he brings to the table, but it is what it is. A few terms for anyone should be enough. Why others serve 3-4 terms is beyond me.
 
I digress. I get your feelings of "projection" using a psych term, on Vet's comments, but put yourself in his shoes, and I think you'll have more empathy for the "white" noise. I know I do.
 
Wish you were Neil, great guy, really liked Judy, and hope they are having a blast down in Asheville. I always wondered, did he quit smoking? We all have our vices don't we.   
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 18 2011 at 5:50pm
very realistic concerns ,  ?s and answers--all by very caring local citizens.
I made my first visit to the new Fenwick last week--found it very impressive.
I occasionally get in to MHS, and will spend a lot of time there this Saturday helping out with the MU-M Earl Klugh show(we REALLY NEED to sell A LOT more tickets--an Ella F tribute that will be extremely well-done by a caliber of artist rarely seen in these parts).
 
We don't HAVE to have a new hs at this time, nor do we need new athletic facilities(not a  priority), though Wade E dressing rooms/offices are cramped, dated and embarrassing to our visitors. The court and stands are wonderful. Same situation with Barnitz, though the field needs to be replaced. Can it wait for a better time--absolutely!
 
I am very thankful to be represented by open, stand-up  BOE members, particularly Ms.Andrew and Mr.Fiora  for being accessible on this site while not dodging any issue or ?. A wonderful example of real discourse on touchy and difficult topics. The beauty of the anonymous blogging.
 
I also appreciate the sacrifice involved in assuming these public positions. Very few have it easy these days, or an abundance of free time.
 
We have a tremendously challenging student body. Many are lacking in necessary support outside of the facility. They come in un-prepared and unfamiliar with an ethic of dedication towards a positive, constructive goal to achieve. Teachers and administrators are in a difficult position to make this work beyond their school day. I see the issues all day every day, and how our community has changed. On another hand, I feel the same level of frustration shown in the posts of VVet(a very caring citizen). I don't know how we take control of the direction other than in tiny steps--one at a time without falling backwards.
 
It has taken a long time to get this way, and it will take a longer time to get it right.
We have lost a few generations, and little can be done to change that fact. W may lose a couple more as casualties to our demographic mind set.
We may have to start from the ground up to concentrate on children before they ever enter into the system.
So much easier to do it right when you start off correctly.
We have to take the necessary time to help and teach our children, our neighbors' children, and every child that we encounter. We must lead them by example--every day--every action. We must be the type of person that we expect to see in others. Children must understand from the beginning what is proper and what is not. Eventually they can actually change their parents and other community members as THEY lead us by actions and example.
 
As Aretha says:
R-E-S-P-E-C-T
Find out what it means to me
It means everything
 
off the box--my 3 minutes are 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 18 2011 at 6:41pm
sj, if there is a Will Rogers in Middlteown, by golly, you are him! Bright, commonsense, net it on the mark everytime.  Both Mr. Fiora and Ms. Andrew are top notch, and besides the school board, driving 45 miles each way, Ms. Andrew also is driving wih her husband, the United Way campaign, so Bravo, Bravo, for efforts which extend far above the call of duty. I just wish they both were also on city council, then maybe they could back out the car out of the ditch.
 
Wrath on occasion, has a purpose and a target, but these two are not it, and both have really have carried the load without the excuses. As the coach used to say in college hockey, they "tape up" even when injured, (or the odds unfavorable) to win, to make a difference. That's an exception to be sure. 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 7:07am
Originally posted by Neil Barille Neil Barille wrote:

And there Vet goes ....once again.....over the cliff.  While bringing up many valid points on issues you can't help but go all out (110%!) in your criticisms.  So not only are the good, well-intentioned people who volunteer for our school boards and city council subject to a constant stream of negativity and criticism for decisions they make in their roles, now their time and service is minimized because they must have an incredibly flexible schedule (attorney) or be retired (fire chief).  In other words, hey all this public service stuff is no skin off their backs and no cramp to their schedule. 
 

But you also go further and joke (I hope) that our mayor is spending TOO MUCH time on city business and is not at his job enough!?!?  That takes the cake.  It is lines like this that take your (constant) complaints from the realm of thought-provoking and into a place filled with never-ending white noise of a boy crying wolf over and over....and over ...and.....


Ok Barille.....here goes.....

Yeah, I'm "over the cliff" again. 110% criticism. Hell 120%. Must be the PTSD from Nam. Alot of anger issues for alot of reasons.....anger issues because as time goes by, nothing noteworthy happens in the schools even though we have had all these new "innovative" programs introduced, gone through a number of different superintendents with new ideas, given mega-bucks over the years in levy approvals, new schools built, new admin. regimes in and out, new teacher turnovers in the last 3 decades, new teaching programs introduced, promises not fullfilled......and we're not even making "baby step" progress stuck at CI for how many years now? If this was a manufacturing facility, the whole crew would have been fired and the place shut down as it would have been non-profitable.

Time and volunteering....

As to their time and volunteering..... you totally misread my post. The message I sent was that, IMO, the reason why alot of people don't run for office (in response to what Ms. Andrew posted) was that they didn't have time to afford the attention to the duties of the elected position. It is a fact that, depending on the type of job one has (IE- if you work shift work, if you punch a clock at a factory, etc.) you may or may not be able to accomodate the needs of being on the school board or council. In other words, Barille, YOU MAY NOT BE AVAILABLE TO ATTEND THE MEETINGS BECAUSE YOU ARE WORKING THE EVENING SHIFT OR SLEEPING BECAUSE YOU ARE GOING IN ON MIDNIGHT SHIFT. MERCY! How in the hell did you arrive at the conclusion that I was attacking people for giving their time to an elected office? I was willing to do the same in the 90's with the school board. You blew it big time in your interpretation of what was said. Oh, and Mulligan taking time off? Let's face it, he's a VP and most VP's call their own shots as to hours worked, whether it be public or private sector. How long have you been in the work force not to have known that? For the most part, they are their own boss. Never attacked Fiora or Andrew on a personal level. Have done a major search and destroy on the results of decisions made, the direction of the school system, and the progress to date. Yeah, I'm "guilty" of that. It deserves scrutiny and criticism IMO.

The criticism?????

The criticism is well founded and supported by the downward trend of the Middletown schools since the 60's. That is a fact. I have said many times that in the days when I attended Middletown schools (50's and 60's), they produced positive results and the bar was considerable higher on expectations than it is now. Discipline was a constant and expected. Not the "kid glove" crap of today. The Midd. schools were a respected aspect of this town and were recognized by surrounding areas as a good performer. Not anymore........and that's my frustration and out of that frustration comes the criticism. I refuse to sugar coat the performance of this system. It is what it is and the rose-colored glasses crowd aren't doing the schools any favors by looking the other way. Problems never get fixed by ignoring them, talking around them, continuing the ways that caused the problems in the first place and by constantly defending a system that is stagnant and has been for years. Hell Barille, somone's got to play the bad guy here and I'm willing to be the ogre. We all can't be rosy, "ain't it wonderful", "feel good about everything happening in the schools" people. Some of us just call it as it is- no rainbows, no sunshine, just what is there. As soon as they stop blowing smoke is as soon as we start fixing problems. Until then it will be business as usual and you will be defending a stagnant performer.

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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 19 2011 at 1:48pm
I can't sit quiet while you guys repeat over and over that the schools have shown no improvement. That's just not true. I refer you to several long threads on this topic from just a month or two ago; I am not going to repeat it all.  However, I thought we had gotten to the point in that conversation where several of you had, very grudgingly, admitted that MCSD showed some good improvement last year.  We all agreed we are not at the finish line yet. Now you are back to saying that the schools continue to get worse???
 
Vet, the master plan does not say that the current high school is in good enough shape to serve as a new middle school--just the location.  It would require substantial renovations to bring it up to current code.  Also, while Vail is serving as the new combined middle school, it is in very bad shape, the worst building in the district. Obviously, the voters can choose to build nothing in phase 2 by rejecting the levy at that time. They would need to understand there are costs to that approach as well.  The new elementary schools are far more energy efficient than old buildings like Vail and have already saved us upwards of $1 million in utilities costs in just the first few years of operation.
 
Nobody is talking about constructing a building that will only last 5 years. We are asking, do we expect to use this 100 year old middle school building for 5 more years, or 30? Do we expect to use this 40+ year old high school for 5 more years, or 50? Asking these questions is the responsible thing to do.  Asking for public input, rather than what 5 people on the current board think, is good representation.
 
Acclaro, the district tried at first to pass a bond levy that would have buillt a new high school and middle school first, and it was rejected.  The plan was then re-structured to do the elementary schools first, followed by hs/ms, and that plan was approved by the voters.  Student enrollment projections would be part of the scope of this long term planning.
 
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Vet, I think it might save you some time if you type out one long rant and then just cut and paste it every time this topic comes up.  You obviously never change your tune on this subject, despite any evidence put forth.  No one is saying that all is rosy with MCSD, but there is some improvement here and there (though I believe Mr. Rasmussen needs to answer for his approach that covers-up much of the misbehavior of some students).  There are also school topics other than the state report card that deserve critique and discussion, but in your world it all comes back to the same complaint of terrible performance and the way things were when you were in school in the 50's and 60's.  No one wants to read the same diatribe for the 716th time.  Change it up.  Or like the boy crying wolf, people will tune you out.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 3:16pm
Ms. Andrew, I say again, congrats and job well done---get it and agree, due diligence is proper planning on a building albeit for 5/50/100 years. I even went further. You and I know the financial model can be done to
 
a) Justify a new school building(s)
b) Justify existing buildings and maintenance
 
Lets blame the Journal for the context of their article, it started with "new building", so the dissent was spirred at the onset by ""new", not LIFO techniques for cost benefit analysis. I appreciate your comments, I did not know the high school and junior highs were shot down.
 
I also said make this painless. If there wasn't a desire for new brick and mortar, using and paying for an architect would not be needed 5-7 years out. I can say knowing how houses even on da Vinci have dropped, ask Sawyer about the $499,000 one down to about $230,000 now, property values aren't going to rebound. Sou can easliy justify them, I could in a week without a problem in Excel, move on to the levy campaign.
 
You think more residents want to pay more for schools when their property valuation is dropping? And you need community input for that? Its a no. So get the numbers out that show the new buidings show the savings that is better than maintaining an agde  building, and then gather the majority vote in five years or more. Fast track Phase 2, you know, as do all board members, no one is immune to Middletown's -65% plummet in housing value, no matter what private neighborhood they live, no matter what their name to be nor profession. 
 
As for the improvement in performance, this is like stating although the jury voted 5-3 on all counts against my multiple civil legal claims, it was better than my last trial that was 7-1 against my client, so I am improving. You lose a case, you lose a case. CI is CI, regardless of "getting closer." Sorry, that's the measure in my F100 gig, so why should that deviate for a school system? It doesn't. You perform, you improve to the next metric, or you inch forward, but have the same rank. Who cares is a 40% is worse than a 63%, an F is an F, right? It is to home buyers and businesses, I do know that. 
 
Neil, give it a rest. Point made. We all are dealt a bad hand. My brother- killed at 40 driving to Miami U on day of his son's graduation in auto, mother died at 55, contaminated needle while giving blood bank, hep C, Dad had massive heart attach a foot away from bed with angioplasty scheduled next day. Knocks hit us all.
 
Candidly Neil, I don't know why you use the former Economic Director's name. Do you have that much admiration for Neil, or do you think you are fooling anyone, Neil has been retired for at least 7 years, with a wife also retired who ran Miami's MBA program, living in Asheville, kids that went and graduated from IU. Do you think Neil or Judy gives a damn about Middletown, a former home now sitting empty after the renter the past year bolted after a home invasion a house down, about city council and MCSD schools?
 
Come on, credibility also goes with a name and reputation my friend.       
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 3:44pm
Barille says....

"Vet, I think it might save you some time if you type out one long rant and then just cut and paste it every time this topic comes up"

The proficiency test results can also be "cut and pasted" as they don't deviate much from the previous year, Neil.

"You obviously never change your tune on this subject"

And why should I? The situation never changes with the report from the school either. Change the tune in the classroom, show us something good and we'll change our tune......but then again, I just like to argue too.

"No one is saying that all is rosy with MCSD, but there is some improvement here and there'.......

Still at CI after how long? Just a year or two out of academic watch, which the schools were at for how long? Still at the bottom of the list in proficiency testing when compared to other schools in the area, low graduation rates, high absenteeism rate.....for how many years now Barille? Where is the improvement? The numbers given each year in each grade in each testing category are approximately the same.....IE- many percentage points below the rest of the pack. Show me some meaningful evidence instead of defensive smokescreen talk and I might agree with you and the other optimistic people. Like I've said 716 times before (your tally on my repetitious nature), I have test results from the frikkin' 90's that show the same percentages in the same grades compared to the same schools. THEY HAVEN'T CHANGED NEIL. Show me some data that shows there has been some significant, eye opening change in the last 10-15 + years.

Until then......until there is a measurable difference greater than a few percentage points, I guess you'll have to endure repeat criticism number 717........or, as with most everything else, you can choose to ignore my impatient nature to expect the system to improve in a manner that is quicker than at a snails pace.

"There are also school topics other than the state report card that deserve critique and discussion, but in your world it all comes back to the same complaint of terrible performance"....

Again, change the performance and I'll change the message. Give us something other than "baby steps" to be proud of again. What do you want me to tell you bud?

"No one wants to read the same diatribe for the 716th time. Change it up. Or like the boy crying wolf, people will tune you out"

LIKEWISE BARILLE......

No one wants to read the same test results for the 716th time. Change the failed methods used all these years if the end result is poor performance. Try something different. Tuning out......I got news for you Neil, alot of people have already "tuned out" this school district which has incurred decreased enrollment. Charter schools, open enrollment....anything to get their kids out of this system, including leaving town. The "repeat message" you are laying on me also applies to the very system you are trying to defend.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 4:26pm
Vet, this helps me sleep at night, I just recite it over and over:
 
Humpty Dumpty sat  on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Cannot place Humpty dumpty as he was before.
 
Change what you can, live with what you cannot (know the boundaries). Tried tapping the heels twice, and no return to Kansas. You won't be able to return to Mayberry, Middletown is no longer what it was, and never will be. Can't blame Mr. Foira, Ms. Andrew, many school members. Dealt a bad hand by city leaders, and a smoke and mirrors "politically corrrect" super making 2.5 times what he did in Middletown. 
 
GM was once a great car company. DEC once made great computers. Montgomery Ward once was a great place to shop.
 
Middletown was once a terrific school district and city. Paradise Lost, just like many others. The pretty prom queen that aged, gained 100 pounds, and is suffering from chronic health problems, including dementia.
 
Take two aspirin and call your physician in the morning, but don't recite: "there's no place like home, there's no place like home." Its a faded memory. 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote VietVet Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 4:58pm
Originally posted by acclaro acclaro wrote:

Vet, this helps me sleep at night, I just recite it over and over:
 

Humpty Dumpty sat  on a wall,Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;Threescore men and threescore more,Cannot place Humpty dumpty as he was before.

 

Change what you can, live with what you cannot (know the boundaries). Tried tapping the heels twice, and no return to Kansas. You won't be able to return to Mayberry, Middletown is no longer what it was, and never will be. Can't blame Mr. Foira, Ms. Andrew, many school members. Dealt a bad hand by city leaders, and a smoke and mirrors "politically corrrect" super making 2.5 times what he did in Middletown. 

 

GM was once a great car company. DEC once made great computers. Montgomery Ward once was a great place to shop.

 

Middletown was once a terrific school district and city. Paradise Lost, just like many others. The pretty prom queen that aged, gained 100 pounds, and is suffering from chronic health problems, including dementia.

 

Take two aspirin and call your physician in the morning, but don't recite: "there's no place like home, there's no place like home." Its a faded memory. 

<SUP id=cite_ref-1 =reference><SPAN></SPAN>

 


As much as it pains me to say, you're probably right. Just don't understand why people keep seeing the same thing I see (in this case the data year after year) and fail to see that this whole situation is much the same way it was when it started to go to hell in a handbasket. Mercy! What the hell are some people seeing anyway? Same with some members on council and the people in this town that support the current pace, direction and priorities of past/present MMF sponsored agendas. Again, what are they thinking when they agree with the way things are? It is not logical for me, therefore, it doesn't compute with me. Even when it is in black and white, and the events support the data, the people are in denial. Don't understand people who will not admit there are major problems and resist fixing them. Maybe that's why problems never get solved around here. Looks like that has been the theme for this town on council and for the schools with the past school boards. Business as usual as the town sinks to new depths and the schools are saturated with stagnation.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 5:37pm
Vet, everyone sees the numbers. Lets separate city council and city hall, from the school board and the system. It has been explained that the testing and ranking from the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, 00's, changed. Did Middletown have a better overall performance record then? Of course. What changed then. The school board has admitted demographics, they know the hand they are playing. Did council help that with section 8, other failures? Of course not. Do students still graduate from MHS and knock out a 32 on the ACT and attend Brown? Sure they do. Do kids that come from good homes, or even those that don't, make it to college from MHS and excel? Sure they do.
 
You are stuck in a category of a rank vs the demographic change. Did I used to get a full meal when I flew Delta Airlines, than a small coke and peanuts today? Of course. Things change, conditions change. Did Mr. Fiora and Ms. Andrew run the city of Middletown the past 25 years, handling city budgets, making urban planning moves? Not to my knowledge.
 
So can you change it, bring back Mayberry? No. City hall is even worse. Can council change it? No, they just say yes or no on what city leadership wants to do.
 
Ever see Fiddler on the Roof Vet. And if so, recall the ending, when they are purged out of their village, sent to eastern Europe, New York, Chicago, elsewhere? How does the father survive?  He has the "fiddler" playing to him on his journey, in good times and bad. The wise ones just realize its time for the "journey", to get out, cut the loss. Find your "fiddler" to make the journey merrier.
 
You can't change, what is immune to change. You'll find that out in a few weeks when the election results come back. At least you've been given 5 years heads up, to get a For Sale sign out. Or join the ranks of the others, who will be in their homes until the nursing home becomes necessary or the Prince of Darkness comes knocking.
 
The best business in Middletown will be real estate, because of all the estate sales coming.
 
 
  
 
       
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mike_Presta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 19 2011 at 5:53pm

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall:

All the king's horses and all the king's men,
Said "Forget him, he was just an egg!!!"
 LOL LOL LOL
“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 spiderjohn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 20 2011 at 7:30am
thanx 4 the compliments, acclaro
same 2 u, since I sadly agree with your opinion on our city
tough 2 vwatch though--seems we r digging ourselves in deeper every day
 
We start the recovery in small effective personal actions
 
We must talk properly--walk properly--be compassionate--help those who NEED help instead of the who WANT(and expect ) help
We must re-prioritize back to the basics of public safety, infrastructure fairly maintained, and allowing the private sector to create our new local economy with even-handed support from what is left of our city govt.
 
Few govts. have ever created a privately sustainable business community, and it is very obvious that our local govt. is not capable of doing so.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote acclaro Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: Oct 21 2011 at 9:43pm

You can't have this Joe:

 
Without:
 
1) .5-1% tax rate
 
2) Excellent school rating
 
3) Excellent quality of life
 
4) Excellent roads and infrastructure
 
Having a hospital when docs lived next to the hospital isn't necessary when your Lexus will cruise easily at 80 mph up. down 75. 
 
 
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The school folks keep on trying to convince all of us we need new schools. The latest effort from today's Journal.....

Middletown schedules second facilities forum

MIDDLETOWN — The Middletown City School District’s facilities committee will meet for the second time at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the high school’s media center, 601 N. Breiel Blvd.

A tour of the high school begins at 5 p.m. It is open to the public. (LET ME GUESS....THEY'RE GOING TO SHOW ALL OF US JUST HOW BAD A 40 YEAR OLD HIGH SCHOOL CAN LOOK, RIGHT?)

Phase I — which called for six new elementary schools and two renovated elementary schools — was completed about a year ago and cost $71 million, which was all generated locally.

Phase II includes renovating the current high school and converting it into a middle school, and building a new high school.

The cost to complete Phase II of the district’s original 2003 Master Plan could be about $80 million.

Half of that would be generated locally, while the other half would be provided by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission. The OSFC’s contribution, though, may be several years down the road.

The entire project was estimated in 2003 to cost $152 million, with the local share 74 percent and the state’s share 26 percent.

WONDER WHAT PERCENT OF 1% OF THE PUBLIC WILL SHOW FOR THIS ONE? DOES ANYONE CARE OR DOES EVERYONE GET THE GAME THEY ARE RUNNING HERE AND JUST STAY AWAY? PAYING 75% FOR THIS WHILE THE STATE ONLY PAYS 25% SEEMS A TAD BIT SKEWED IN CONTRIBUTION LEVEL, DOESN'T IT? ARE THEY ACTUALLY ASKING THE TAXPAYERS OF THIS CITY, IN THESE DIFFICULT TIMES WITH HOME FORECLOSURES AND MANY LOSING THEIR JOBS, TO CONSIDER THIS? INCREDIBLE! THEY ARE IN THEIR OWN LITTLE WORLD AREN'T THEY? TIMING FOR ANY LEVY COULDN'T BE WORSE.
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