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May levy

Printed From: MiddletownUSA.com
Category: Middletown City Schools
Forum Name: School Tax Issues
Forum Description: Discuss past, current and upcoming tax issues.
URL: http://www.middletownusa.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=2581
Printed Date: Aug 12 2022 at 5:08pm


Topic: May levy
Posted By: 409
Subject: May levy
Date 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!!



Replies:
Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date 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.)


Posted By: 409
Date 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.


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date 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!


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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date 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???


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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: VietVet
Date 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.


Posted By: Bill
Date 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.


Posted By: Pacman
Date 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.


Posted By: VietVet
Date 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.


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date 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


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date 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


Posted By: Pacman
Date 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:
 
http://www.middletownjournal.com/news/middletown-news/middletown-schools-keep-state-rating-266155.html">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.


Posted By: VietVet
Date 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.


Posted By: Bill
Date 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.


Posted By: rngrmed
Date 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?


Posted By: Hermes
Date 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 !


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No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date 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



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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 13 2010 at 8:38am

All teachers fired at Rhode Island school

From Randi Kaye, CNN's http://ac360.blogs.cnn.com/ - 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 http://topics.cnn.com/topics/Rhode_Island - 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 http://topics.cnn.com/topics/Labor_Unions - 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 http://topics.cnn.com/topics/Education - 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.



Posted By: acclaro
Date 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.      


Posted By: Marianne
Date 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?


Posted By: acclaro
Date 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?


Posted By: Marianne
Date 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.


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 14 2010 at 1:18pm
NEVER assume, and I bet you did. It also offers a meansof honoring Mr. Levey.


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date 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


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date 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


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 4:50pm
Opposition to Motion to Strike, as Middletown's performance indeed has shown no meaningful statistical performance and has been in continuos progress mode for years. Indeed, while I haven't evaluated every county nor school district in Ohio, I believe this rating is among the lowest, as the State has eliminated I believe most of, if not all, Academic Watch entities.
 
As for either of the two programs, Toledo by the way, was one Dr. Price had referenced, have not germinated as you correctly state. The rationale was clearly associated with the benefits cloaked to the effort to gain the benefit of the land you refer. As there were no benefits to the students as the language requires, that could not possibly yielded a positive outcome as the trier of fact determined, and upheld upon appeal.
 
Finally, I cannot statistically county the retention of Mr. Lambaugh nor Mr. Smith out of the >300 students whom graduate correlating with an ROI in the Middletown dustrict in terms of income nor numbers. And, the perpetal cycle of "open enrollment" continues, although I would have considerable difficukty comprehending the numbers being of import or significance an suspect the high school in particular, is seeing a decline in enrollment. Middletown has a dropout rate > 20%, among the highest in the state of Ohio, and at a level which the trend is not moving in a positive direction. 
 
The real solution to the dreadful performance is state vouchers, where parents can send their students to John XXIII, Fenwick, or other private institutions including Middletown Christian Academy. Of course, the power of the Ohio Teachers Union and NEA lobbyists will prevent that from becoming a practical reality.   .        


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 7:10pm

Ms. Andrew:

Thank you for your response.

You state:

"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."

I have two comments on that.

First, I want to point out that it is the Ohio Department of Education that selects both the “twenty most socio-economically situated districts” (out of all 612 in our state) and the “Performance Index” as a measure of comparison, and not I.

Am I incorrectly inferring that you see the MCSD’s rank near the bottom these last three years as some sort of anomaly? From past research, I recall this to be untrue, but I will reserve further comment until I have time to do the appropriate research.

Next, in your post you state:

"This levy will not increase your taxes" means what it says.
Your tax RATE will not increase. …”

Now you state:

“Also yes, the tax rate for the fixed amount levy could fluctuate slightly, …”

It appears to me that you are moving closer to what I see as “the TRUTH.” With further research, I suggest that you will find that “the tax rate could fluctuate slightly” means “the tax rate could rise 4% per year, every year” under certain circumstances!

Next, regarding my “doomsday example of AK going bankrupt”! It seems that you missed my point. First, recall that I cautioned “As an absurd example (used only to illustrate this point)”. I guess I should have continued by musing that the City would buy bankrupt AK’s property for a buck for redevelopment, thereby removing it from the tax rolls, but, once again, this was a hypothetical, absurd example to illustrate a point!

The point is that thousands of homes have gone through foreclosure in the past year or two in Middletown. I believe that thousands more may do the same in the next year or so. (Call me a pessimist if you like, or, call me a realist.) The City is buying as many as it can. I believe that the City would try to buy the Towne Mall property, if it could, as they believe they know better than all of the professional developers in the world.

This, or other government intervention, would take property OFF the tax rolls. The school district will still want the $18.3 million, and will have the authority to tax the remaining “current properties” for the entire $18.3 million.

Are you now saying that the MCSD is NOT going to do this and will NOT tax for the entire $18.3 million as properties fall from the tax rolls?

Finally, thank you for your kind explanation about the “Value Added” measure. Did you know that everything you explained (and more) is also available to concerned citizens on the ODE website? What I don’t understand, and would be pleased for you to explain, is how the Value Added program can be used to meet the implied challenge in your words:

“Apparently you have not studied the proficiency scores for other districts with comparable socioeconomics…” from your post of 12 Mar 2010 at 1:26pm.

Or from your statements from your post earlier this afternoon:

“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).”

Once again, thank you for your time and attention.

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


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 7:16pm
Ms. Andrew:
My preceding post sounds harsh.  I did not intend it to be so.
My goal is to get the TRUTH out in front of the people.
Then, they can decide on May 4th!
 


-------------
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: Bill
Date Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 7:23pm
I would vote no if this were an increase or if they wanted to build a new high school.  I plan on voting yes because I think slashing funding does not in any way benefit the students or the educational process (such as it is).  Now if you believe the process should change then that is a matter for a school board and your time would be better spent finding new board candidates who want to try something different.  
 
I appreciate Ms. Andrews' explanations and effort but was a bit disappointed in the hiring of the new Super.  I  would be inclined to support more drastic action at this point -- perhaps a specialist in struggling urban districts or something similar to the drastic Rhode Island example mentioned above.  I'm not convinced that Mr. Rasmussen is much more than a capable, competent administrator.  We need more than that right now. 
 
As as aside, how flexible are the salary parameters for the superintendent?  I wouldn't object to MCSD spending $150k if we knew we were getting a top tier candidate.


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 15 2010 at 7:43pm
{quote]I do realize that the comparison that many of you want to make (encouraged by the Journal) is to the surrounding school districts.[/quote}
 
Mrs. Andrews it is not a matter of what I WANT to use as a comparison. it is a matter of what the real world uses as a comparison.  The average citizen does not compare Middletown to Akron, Dayton and Cinci, etc. They compare local districts where they want to live.
 
Now in the world of Education you compare similar districts which is fine for your purposes, but not for the real world.
 
If Middletown obtained 15 out of 30 indicators that would be cause for celebration and a thumbs up.Thumbs%20Up
 
http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/site/c.kqIXL2PFJtH/b.5183373/k.DD8B/FWF_Home.htm - http://www.freedomwritersfoundation.org/site/c.kqIXL2PFJtH/b.5183373/k.DD8B/FWF_Home.htm


Posted By: gemneye70
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 9:08am
I agree with bill.
 
I don't understand Hermes wanting his own levy...
 
Everyone wants perfect schools, but no one wants to pay for it.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 9:29am
gemeye70- Tough call here. I don't want to pay more property taxes to support a continuously poor performing school district. But, in order for the schools to make an attempt to improve performance, they say they need more money to operate and adopt new techniques (?) to help the improvement. It's a vicious cycle.

The only thing that I have observed is that we have had our share of levy rejects and passages and in the last 20 years or so, the schools have had less success in educating the kids than before. The school folks (including Ms. Andrew) offer the fact that the demographics of the town has changed from a middle class working town where parents watched what their kids did in school and participated in the education process, valuing education as a means to have a better life, and a sizable percentage of Middletown today is comprised of lower income people who don't value educational achievement at all and don't participate in their kids education. Too many problems of their own to deal with the kid's problems at school. However, knowing that that has been the situation for the last 20 years, why haven't the schools made the proper adjustments in the schools? Just when we need MORE discipline in the schools for more kids that need to be taken down a peg or two, the schools decide to disband any deterrent to poor behavior in the classroom. Don't know what the schools have done to address the absent parent and working with the legal system to include the courts and police in hauling the parents into court to get them right. If they haven't attempted to work with the legal system as yet, I would ask why not? JMO


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 10:29am
gemeye70 just how much do we need to pay for 5 out of 30 indicators.  I would like perfect but would settle for 15 out of 30.  Currently Middletown spends $11674.00 per year per student when you add Local, State and Federal funds together.  I would say this is probably one of the highest per student expenditures in the State of Ohio Public School System.
 
For some interesting stats on the Middletown School system go here and play with the reports available from the state of Ohio:
 
http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/PublicDW/asp/Main.aspx?server=mstris2&project=ILRC&evt=3002&uid=guest&pwd=&persist-mode=8 - http://ilrc.ode.state.oh.us/PublicDW/asp/Main.aspx?server=mstris2&project=ILRC&evt=3002&uid=guest&pwd=&persist-mode="8 "


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 10:58am
VietVet- you are defeating or contradicting your own initial argument. You state rather consistently that the city of Middletown leaders have allowed too much section 8, lowering socio-economic factors and testing. How will passing the levy then help, does that somehow absorb or turn-around this factor? Of course not.
 
In reality, evaluate the enormity of the overhead in MCSD, and all distrcits in Ohio. Multiple Assistant Superintendants, a Communication Director (PR)- this just floors me, the accounting people. This is a system laden with overhead.
 
Go ahead and throw money at a renewal, it certainly won't turn the system around. My goodness, they seem to have gotten along just fine in the the year they will have no superintendant. The school and its failures, are not associated with demographics, although arguably, one would expect Williams College to have better performing students who recievd 30 or above on ACT's than Wright State, but students still must want to learn.
 
I for one, am exhausted of the excuses. One gets an education to lift one out of poverty, and the rich go because Mom and Dad pay for it, including law or medical school, and that beats the hell out of working and pushing a shovel. The levy should fail.     


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 12:04pm
acclaro- I have not contradicted nor changed my stance on my opinion of this school system nor this upcoming levy. I will repeat my stance in stating that I will not vote to approve an operational levy for a failing school system. I don't believe in throwing more money at an educational system with the lack of success that the Middletown schools have demonstrated. They may have tried different techniques and procedures in the schools as Ms.Andrew has mentioned, but we have not seen any notable, measureable results for years. We are still at 5 of 30 indicators and have been for years. We are still low on the list of achievement in all grades in all categories as noted in published reports. In my post, if you read it again, I said that the school folks use the poor community/Section 8 overpopulation as a reason that they haven't been able to produce better results. This "poor community/Section 8/ low income/HUD/welfare" situation didn't pop up overnight. I merely asked the question- if we have known that we have had a problem with these things, why are we still trying to find a solution after all these years. Where's the urgency for change? Now, for clarity, I have declared that I do not support the levy, and, that IF the reason for the poor performance (coming from the school people, not me) is the "pooring down" of the community with all the low income Section 8 the city insists on having, why haven't the schools developed a plan, complained or offered some resistance to combat the sources of their dilemmas???? Why haven't they re- introduced the corporal punishment system to deal with all the trouble makers that traditionally/ stereotypically come from the low income environment? Why haven't they had the habitual kid removed from the classroom, contacted the legal authorities and involved the parents in the court system? If they have already done so, apparently it ain't working and needs to be revisited more quickly than has been done in the past.

Has been a complaint for years on my part about the top heavy admin. positions in this district. Too many assistants to the assistants. Don't need a Director of Hallways, Director of Coffee Cups, etc.


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 12:43pm
Vet Corporal Punishment was banned by law, signed by Strickland, in July of  2009.  Middletown obviously has a discipline problem that needs to be addressed and not shoved under the rug.  It also leads one to wonder why the BOE hasn't gone to the city and taken a more forceful stance on Section 8 and the poverty issue.  Personally I believe this is the root problem in Middletown.  As the schools become less effective the students that can leave either through open enrollment or by attending Private school as my child does leave.  This causes the scores to go down even more as the brightest flee the school system for a better education.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 2:32pm
OK Pac, if Strickland says we can't whip 'em anymore, we can certainly inconvience them and their parents can't we? How about mandatory Saturday sessions for the problem kids and their parents. If the kid shows but not the parents, haul 'em into court, hit 'em in the pocketbook or take away some of their free time. They're responsible for seeing to it that their kid gets to school and behaves themselves while there, right? If the kid doesn't show, haul him into the juvenile system for mandatory community service after school and on weekends. Take their driver's license. Occupy their free time for "hanging out". Surely some program can be constructed to address the problems, right?


Posted By: Hermes
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 2:48pm
Originally posted by gemneye70 gemneye70 wrote:

I agree with bill.
 
I don't understand Hermes wanting his own levy...
 
Everyone wants perfect schools, but no one wants to pay for it.
 
gemneye are you wealthy ? I want my own levy so I can pay for all the other levies this town keeps asking for because I for one can not afford to keep paying out the nose for all the excrement that keeps spewing out of city officials,school board members & now the library.
 
If your wealthy and living the good life maybe a few bucks doesn't bother some people, but if your on a fixed income & trying to survive it means the difference between eating, medicine, or paying for some idiotic levy.


-------------
No more democrats no more republicans,vote Constitution Party !!


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 3:22pm
Vet how about we turn Roosevelt into the Gray-Bar Educational Ctr. for dropouts and constant troublemakers.Thumbs%20Up


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 3:45pm
OR, turn Roosevelt into a boot camp educational environment for "Tough Love" candidates that can't seem to go along with the programs in school with classes taught by former military instructors including physical education classes tailored after military bootcamp. Those methods seem to change alot of hard liner's minds and attitudes.


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 5:15pm
Thats not a bad idea about the Roosevelt property, but it takes money. Meaning another levy. If you are not willing to pass the one coming up, then stop looking for answers and just vote no. Again like I have said in the past, you are just looking at the bad eggs in the schools. Trust me, there are a lot of great kids in MCSD. Its just that the bad ones that weigh the system down. Pacman, I hope you child is getting a quality education at a private school. My daughter is a junior at MHS and is receiving an outstanding education. She is number 1 in her class. And yes she has parents that care and so do all her friends.
 
We cannot have the district lose 26% of their budget and expect great results. Instead we should pass the levy with the expectation that the new Super is going to do things the right way and not the Price way. I do believe that he will take control of the situation. jmoSmile


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 5:45pm
What a great documentary and positioning piece. Doesn't Barbara Boxer remind everyone so much of city council, city council, and the city leadership for two decdes?
 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJKlc77K5dg - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJKlc77K5dg


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 6:21pm
acclaro,, You have solidified my opinion. You sir or madam are still an idiot!


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 8:09pm
Smartman my child is getting a very good education in Private School.  I pulled him out of Middletown schools once he finished 5th grade at Rosedale. I was not happy with the decision to put 6th graders in with the Middle Schools.
 
I am glad to hear your daughter is doing so well at the High School.
 
Since moving my child to a Private School 3 years ago I can not recall one teacher or parent of a Middle School student that I have met or talked to who did not agree with my decision.  Many teachers, both currently teaching and retired ones have told me that I made the right decision.  I have had a number of parents come into my business and ask me about the Private School and several have placed their children in the same school.
 
Now I am not saying that there are not many great kids in Middletown schools as there obviously are, but the problems of the Middletown School system are weighing on the school system as a whole.  The Middletown School system as a whole has a serious discipline problem.
 
Now just as an example and yes I know I am not comparing like districts here Mrs. Andrew's:
 
Middletown Verity Middle School Disobedience/Disruptive behavior incidents at Verity # Students 635
 
2007-08 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 1441
2008-09 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents  999
 
Vail # of Students 802
 
2007-08 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 631
2008-09 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 737
 
As you can see Middletown has a SERIOUS PROBLEM AT ITS MIDDLE SCHOOLS WHEN IT COMES TO DISCIPLINE.
 
Now lets look at another District I just chose at Random
 
Lakota Plains Jr High # of students 776
 
2007-08 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 26
2008-09 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 53
 
Lakota Ridge Jr. high # of students 683
 
2007-08 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 201
2008-09 Disobedience/Disruptive Behavior incidents 313
 
 
1441 incidents at Verity is just unbelievable to me.  I mean folks who the hell is running our schools, as it sure appears the adults aren't.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 16 2010 at 8:19pm
I hear and appreciate all you comments Pacman. I can only hope that the discipline problems will be reduced with the new Super. Most of those problems were created with Dr Price. All Im sayin is give the new guy a chance, pass the renewal and lets see what he can do. I REALLY BELIEVE IN MY HEART OF HEARTS that we will see major changes. Smile Lets dont deal him a dud hand to start. Thumbs%20Up


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 17 2010 at 7:23pm
 So, Smartan, you call me a idiot because I disagree with your premise the schools are great, and an out of state superintendant will restore discipline (that is not the reason the school numbers are so poor), You need to learn to debate and mak a point, than act childish and argue. Your screen name does not reflect your depth of thought "Smartman".  Lets see: we've gone from the poor demographics, section 8, a misunderstanding racially between cultures as excuses, and now its discipline, which a new Superintendant is going to rectify? What's next---too much dust in the air from brick being destroyed downtown or the system needs to spend more than the $11,300 average per pupil, among the highest in the state of Ohio?  


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 17 2010 at 7:45pm
acclaro, First of all $11,300 per student is correct. Why do you think that is so high?  The answer section 8. You cannot keep the cost per student down when 75% of the student population is on free and reduced lunch. That cost is also high because we have one of the best departments handling special needs children. There are many that come from other districts. That is paid for by the state in the form of grants. But unfortunately it does not reduce the cost per student. I agree that that  figure may be high, but is the schools fault? Do the schools advertise come to MCSD for free lunch? Now I'm not saying the the schools are perfect spenders, but they are trying. Their biggest  problem is our city administration for letting the section 8 problem grow.
 
Discipline went away in the past few years. All I am saying is give the new guy a chance, and give him a full deck to play with. I really believe that we all will be surprised. Thumbs%20Up


Posted By: wasteful
Date Posted: Mar 17 2010 at 9:31pm

So acclaro other than your opinion can you provide some statistical data as to why the school system is failing. You state it is not because of being economically disadvantaged, it is not because of a lack of discipline, not demographics, please provide us some data as to why the system is failing according to you.



Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 17 2010 at 10:15pm
Smartman and Wasteful. the rationale I listed was associated with the reasons cited from Dr. Price among others. Middletown has changed in its shrinkage of middle-class, there is no doubt about that over the years. Can we blame the city for not attracting new vibrant business and the association with higher incomes, the correlation with higher degrees of GPA, ACT, and performance? Of course. So, the city is at fault.
 
By Ms. Andrews own admission, Middletown is unfairly compared to surroundinhg communities, when her view is the proper comparison is Youngtown, mandsfield, and inner city Cleveland, perhaps over the Rhine. Do you realize how that comparison reads to others considering Middletown, who may have higher incomes, when a school board member makes such an admission and indicates it is unfair to compare the city schools to schools which surround it?
 
You argue lower demographics bring down the school scores and performance. I argue virtually every teacher will tell you Middletown has focused almost entirely upon raising the test scores than on general academic outcomes. So, with such effort, the school district is still not making progress. And for you Smartman, your suggestion is the city district should spend what---$30,000. a year per pupil, and then it would turn around? Please, that's good money going down the drain. And, you argue a total number of approximately 1700 Section 8 families, many have no children I add, are bringing the school system down? If you added the total population of youngsters attending the schools from section 8, II doubt it would amount to 15-20% coming from a section 8 family.
 
As for my solution, I've expressed it. The state should allow families to have voucher credits, and send their students where the parent may choose. If they can cut it at Fenwick, great, let them go there. By the way, how much does open enrollment contribute to this decline? Is it worth the added funding vs the negative impact?
 
You expect property owners to support the overhead and continued poor performance under the cloak its for the lids, they need it. In reality, which is perfectly understandable, the real reason Smartman someone like you spits nails as those whom expect and demand accountability, is you want the expenses amortized over the greater population. Springboro finally got it right, and its time Middletown made some changes which have an impact and produce results.
 
I'm not the ED for the city of Middletown, why don't you both call Mr. Robinette and inquire as to why Middletown isn't attracting business and a school board member puts the current economic affairs, and correctly so, in the same category as Mansfield or Youngstown. From my recollection, the administration at the high school level didn't even believe it was right to give homework. Ask a Fenwick kid or MVS student how much they have each night- about 5 hours worth, 4 nights a week, all through the school year.         


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 5:31am
acclaro,,,my daughter has just as much homework and up until midnight getting it done. You may want to re-read my post. I never said anything sbout $30,000 per student. Im now done with you!Censored


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 7:02am
A got a good laugh at those of you who suggested using the historic Roosevelt Middle School building as a gathering spot for all of the "students" who need a little "extra motivation"!! 
 
Perhaps you've forgotten one important thing about the hallowed grounds of that historic structure, that would be restored to its original glory in a hearbeat for use as an "Olde Tyme" playhouse of some sort (if public funds were available to hire all of the local experts that would necessarily supervise the effort) under better economic circomstances.
 
It is now less than a stone's throw away from our fair city's newest "Historic District"!!!
 
Those folks would suddenly find that the entire structure is nothing but a dangerous eyesore, and probably themselves foot the bill for its immediate blasting to smithereens (and the grounds possibly napalmed, and then salted with toxic waste) before they would allow those sort of hooligans to be allowed so near THEIR neighborhood!!!  I mean, horrors!!!  The ruffians might even want to use THEIR streets "en masse" when they were let out of school to make their ways home.  We can't be having that,now, can we?
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


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 7:31am
Smartman, you state, "We cannot have the district lose 26% of their budget and expect great results". Likewise, we haven't seen great results when they have had their full budgets either, have we? If it is true, that we are spending more than $11,000 per student in this school district, and if it is true that that amount is one of the highest amounts in any surrounding district, and if it is true that Middletown isn't exactly the highest performing district around, the most logical conclusion to make is that money spent per pupil doesn't necessarily guarantee that kids will be educated properly. New schools don't necessarily guarantee a good education either or the school district would have been bragging about how the new elementary schools have drastically improved the performance of the elementary students. Haven't seen any articles comparing the performance of the elementary kids in the old elementary schools versus the newly built schools, have you? The idea of the highly publicized pre-bond approval "better education in a newer school" must not have materialized, right?


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 7:43am
I was insulted when Price declared that kids "can't learn in old buildings!"  However, I am reconsidering the issue.
 
I believe that Harvard has some of the oldest university buildings in the USA.  Have you noticed the performance of some of their graduates???  Yale is really old, too, and some of ttheir alums haven't seemed much better.
 Wink 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


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 9:17am
acclaro let me help you with your Math.
 
We will just use your 1700 Voucher Section 8 number.
 
Consoc's 2.5 persons per voucher
 
States 6500+/- Students in Middletown School system.
 
1700 x 2.5=4250 persons on Section 8
 
4250-1700 adults = 2550 students
 
That is roughly 40% of the Middletown student population.   Taking into account children under school age I think we can roughly say 35% of the children inMiddletown come from Section 8 families a far cry from your 15%.
 
But of course these numbers don't include the Public Housing and other reduced housing figures which bring it up to about 3600 housing units.
 
Lets see:
 
3600 x 2.5= 9000
 
9000-3600=5400 children
 
5400-1000 children under school age=4400
 
or 67% of the student population.  No matter how you slice it, it is a HELL lot more than your 15%.


Posted By: Bill
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 9:41am
This is one of the tougher issues for me to see a clear solution.  While I understand all the arguments about the MCSD poor performance and lack of discipline, I also think it is unrealistic to think that Middletown will ever be able to greatly increase their performance.  Maybe some gains can be made but not a huge movement upward.  So I agree with Ms. Andrews' "excuses" about the students they are dealing with.  But that does not mean that they should shy away from more daring approaches or
take further tough love measures with both the students and  the teachers' union.
 
MCSD is an elderly patient with significant health problems.  The upcoming levy is like continuing CPR to keep the patient alive.  Yes, the doctor needs to look for alternatives to stabilize and improve the patient, but to withdraw CPR at this point is counterproductive.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:05am
Bill- OK, question for all of the levy supporters. If we approve this levy and give the schools another injection of operating money, how long do we wait to see any improvement that would be deemed "measureable"? We have given the school folks what they have asked for in the past 20+ years and have seen no appreciable increase in performance. How long would the "positive thinking pro-levy folks wait before realizing that it may be a futile effort on the taxpayer's part to continually finance the current way of educating the kids in town? Shouldn't we reach a point of forcing the issue and telling the school people, change the way you're doing things because you have not produced results or we will cut you off at the money tap and we'll let the state take over? OR....do we keep going on for months and years, as we have been, watching and talking about the same dismal results and hearing the same reasons (excuses?) on a repetitive basis? When is enough.....enough and when does the accountability start?

How long does one stay with a stock that is continually losing money before they tell their portfolio manager to dump it? OR, how many times does one put down money on a horse at Lebanon Raceway and see the horse lose, before they quit betting on that horse?


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:05am
Yer pal and fellow revolutionary, spiderjohn(me!), has been recruited by the school levy committee.
I have agreed to participate, and attended my first meeting last night.
Despite my "Starve the Beast" philosophy, I am excepting this levy from my blanket "Vote NO" intentions.
It is basically a never-ending renewal of the last emergency levys, and accounts for 26% of the system funding. Obviously this monetary loss would cripple any school system. I simply do not want to go through the threats and cuts that were held over everyones' head during the last vote. We don't need that stress or division, though if that is the public choice--so be it.
 
The error on the millage was straight from the auditor's office, and caught by the local treasurer. The responsiblily for this lies ompletely with the county, and is being revised. There is also discussion on whether a levy approval could actually raise your $$ commitment IGF/when property values are revised upward. An accurate clarification will be up-coming. The "Will not raise your tax/$$ commitment" may have to be eliminated--maybe not. My understanding was that passage COULD eventually call for an increased $$ commitment.
 
Believe me--I see Council/Admin/ED as a much larger threat to our community(particularly the citizens), and remain 100% committed to starving the city into conciliation.  
As stated--the city has no real reason to be involved in this land transaction, or providing $$$$ for it AND moving expenses. This should be a completely private matter. If the city wants to create a separate deal to acquire the Vail property, then bring it through the proper channels.
 
So--flame me for siding with the school levy group if you choose.
Fair enough.


Posted By: Marianne
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:20am
Originally posted by VietVet VietVet wrote:

Bill- OK, question for all of the levy supporters. If we approve this levy and give the schools another injection of operating money, how long do we wait to see any improvement that would be deemed "measureable"? We have given the school folks what they have asked for in the past 20+ years and have seen no appreciable increase in performance. How long would the "positive thinking pro-levy folks wait before realizing that it may be a futile effort on the taxpayer's part to continually finance the current way of educating the kids in town? Shouldn't we reach a point of forcing the issue and telling the school people, change the way you're doing things because you have not produced results or we will cut you off at the money tap and we'll let the state take over? OR....do we keep going on for months and years, as we have been, watching and talking about the same dismal results and hearing the same reasons (excuses?) on a repetitive basis? When is enough.....enough and when does the accountability start?

How long does one stay with a stock that is continually losing money before they tell their portfolio manager to dump it? OR, how many times does one put down money on a horse at Lebanon Raceway and see the horse lose, before they quit betting on that horse?


Vet, just curious: if the levy fails and the school district must make cuts to programs, staff, etc., and the performance of the district gets worse, then what???

I don't see how cutting school funding will enhance MCSD's performance in any way. I think you're guaranteeing that performance will suffer.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:29am
Way to go Spider. So now you're on THEIR side now, huh?


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:32am
Pacman, let me respeond to you. I realize of course, and won't disagree, Middletown has ruined the city by the explosion of Section 8. The % is too high, I know that, the city knows that, you know that. Now to the math. 2.5 persons per voucher could correlate and I assume does, 2 adults, non school participants, and .5 student. Hence, 1700/ .5 is 850. That's about 15% of the school population.
 
That point is moot from my perspective. I simply believe there are students regardless of economic condition, who can learn, have a desire to learn, and will learn when motivated. You seem to want to pin all of the problems on Middletown on Section 8. I agree it is too high, but it is just one of many factors associated with Middletown's decline. My point is, where is the cut-off for blaming families and incomes associated poor performance? Is it < than $200,000., < $150,000., < than $80,000? Its not ethically right nor accurate, to blame a whole system's performance on Section 8. And with 8, the problem began with city council allowing the huge numbers to begin.
 
The school district is not Oakwood, I get it Pacman. Oakwood has a different demographic. But what about Franklin- do you think Franklin has a medium income above $100,000? Their students perform. This debate keeps falling on excuse after excuse, and I comprehend you don't like Section 8 and the high numbers. I don't disagree with you, but I disagree that is the sole problem for Middletown's decline. In Oakwood, just as an example and minor solution, the students are paired with a mentor from Grade 9-12. Why could not MCSD have caring parents work with those less fortunate, inspire them, mentor them in the value of the education?
 
To VV---right on, new schools did not improve the schools, they did not bring in new students. The system needs solutions, instead of lazily making constant excuses. Deal with the hand given, and make them better. If its too much work, bring in teachers and adminitrators that can do "turn-arounds"- qualities I did not see in my opinion in the lone candidate left for the "replacement" position for Dr. Price.
 
To Mike Presta---right again. Add William and Mary to that list, and countless other colleges and universities across the country who have buildings that are 70-100 years of age, and are well taken care of. Lee's Chapel on the campus of Washington and Lee has been there since the early 1800's. I won't even mention the vault and the city's inability to repair it, so tearing down seems to be easier than restoring and taking care of. Of course, this was the Master Plan. New schools bring new students. Bike paths and dog parks bring new and hip residents. And build it, they wil come- aka- the bullet train on its way to downtown Middletown.
 
 


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:50am
Marianne-"and the performance of the district gets worse, then what?" We are already in the bottom tier or on the bottom as to performance. I don't understand this thinking as to the continued support of a poor performer. It is not logical. Question for you Marianne.....when you buy a car and it becomes a high mileage car with numerous maintenance issues and is no longer reliable, how long do you keep socking money into it before you pull the plug and get rid of it? Somewhere along the road, one must make a decision on whether their investment is worthwhile or not. It has reached that point for me. More than 10 years has gone by and can anyone honestly say that measureable progress has been made? Baby steps have been accomplished by this district but nothing appreciable. Surely, you are not suggesting that we go on in an endless manner with the same failed methods of the past, are you? Time to pull the plug on this patient, unless, of course, you want to try a competely different treatment for a cure. Then, it might be worth funding.

"I don't see how cutting school funding will enhance MCSD's performance in any way". Again, when the schools had the full compliment of funding, did you see a noticible, positive indication of "enhanced performance". No.... the performance has remained constant whether the district was fully funded or incured reduced funding. ie- Poor.

Performance has and will continue to suffer, not necessarily because of the money situation but rather because of the same repetitive failed methods of operation that have occured the last 20 years and the fact that the school authorities are stuck in their ways and won't try new changes to improve the system. At least the results have proven this to be the case.


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 11:16am
spiderjohn, it is certainly your right to vote how you please, but its dishearteing to see how easy you change your position. You have been one of the strongest critics of the public sector, the extremity of overhead, waste, lack of accountability, and unwillingness to negotiate. You made no argument as to why you support the levey other than you were asked. I'm sure Ms. Andrews is a very nice, engaging person, but to flip your position has been a pretty consistent stance. Maybe the city manager will have you down for coffee and you'll tell us how great the city is ruin.
 
My point is only this: you have a right to vote, to join whatever group you want, but to fold on principles espoused to me, makes one have no credibility. I appreciate you have a business and have been in Middletown many years associated with it. But, you surely flip on a position, so its difficult to know if you really hold a position on anything. Your position is your position, and you are entitled to it. But to consistently state the unions are killing everything and not look at the school district as a union, is staggering in my opinion. The district is filled with overhead. Its the equivalent of the Postal Service, going bankrupt, but instead of holding indivdiuls accountable, its always, keep the status quo.
 
Its this mindset that has ruined Middletown.    


Posted By: Bill
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 11:20am

Vet, this gets back to my point about the anti-tax position.  Your position sets up a scenario where it's heads you win, tails I lose.  If the schools improve then you say they don't need funding.  If they struggle then you withhold funding as punishment.  I believe that we are talking about a district and a population of students who will not realistically become a top-tier district.  Find me a top district with our demographics -- they are few and far between.  I think that while we are not a top district, there is learning going on in MCSD, there is some value to what these kids are learning, even if they generally are not Harvard bound.  I think a community should provide a base level of funding for their schools, nothing extravagant, as long as the schools are educating the vast majority of kids.  Insisting that Midd. students don't deserve funding because they aren't top of the line and most aren't college bound seems to me to be quite a high bar to set to meet your demands.  I don't believe, in general, our teachers and staff are any less qualified, dedicated, and competent than those in Lakota, Springboro, etc.  But they're working with students who already have one hand tied behind their back. 

I think the schools, absent fraud and utter incompetence, deserve some support.  In an analogy many on this site probably relate to regarding health care, you don't pull the plug on grandma just because she is not as young and productive as she once was!


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 12:13pm
Bill- if money (levy) is the topic here and better education results are tied to the spending of that money per student, how do you explain why Middletown is spending over $11,000 per student and producing what we see now and the Little Miami (or New Miami ????) ....the poorer of the two districts, spends considerably less per student and has a decent success rate? Could it be that the money spent is not as crucial as the techniques used to get the educational message through? And, if we give this some thought, could we ask the question why the Middletown school officials haven't tried more drastic methods to replace what has been proven not to work?

You say in your statement, "if they struggle then you withhold funding as punishment". There's the difference in the way we are looking at this. You think I'm "punishing" the schools for poor performance. I look at it as holding them accountable for something other than lackluster results at best. I want them to change the way they operate to find a solution to improve performance, not just keep operating as "business as usual". And, to keep trying until they reach a point where we can honestly say that we are convinced they are making a difference in a progressive way.

Find a way to untie the students hand if you know that that is the problem. Put steps in place to aid the student learn. Adapt, overcome, find a way to combat the one hand tied behind the back syndrome. You're intelligent people.

When do we reach the point when we realize that grandma isn't going to improve and make a final decision on her future? Anybody?


Posted By: spiderjohn
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 12:33pm
My "type of mindset" has ruined Middletown?
lol acclaro
I
I really can't find any up-side to rejecting this school levy.
26% loss of funding pretty much cripples the school system, and I am weary of the program cuts, extra-curricular losses, pay-to-play and all of the dissension/division that comes with it.
In no way do I support the public benefit/retirement programs, and have NEVER changed my stance on that issue. I have posted warnings on that impending disaster for years. I still believe that we over-built the new schools. Haven't changed my thinking from day one.
Like Popeye--I yam what I yam, and am comfortable with my position.
Call me a flip-flopper, I see myself as flexible(a good thing).
I have hope that a new superintendant MIGHT make a positive difference, and I don't see a levy rejection leading to anything positive. It will only drive more talented students out of the system, dragging it down even more.
 
Vet--as always, I am on NO side.


Posted By: Bobbie
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 12:48pm

Acclaro - you are assuming that 2.5 vouchers means that there are 2 adults and one child.  Alot of the cases they are 1 parent with multiple children.  Not to mention the school voucher is not just for individuals on section 8, it also include families of low income based on the number of children in there home.  I would assume that it is public record to know how many children are in the MCSD that receive the vouchers. 



Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 12:52pm
Bill, while I enjoy your debate, I disagree with your points and analogy. Of course, Middletown has good students, I have nephews and nieces among them who graduated near a 4.0 GPA who went on to top state schools and did very well. But your analogy is completely off the mark. You use life support for grandma because she's aged. I don't see the comparison with students, because you somehow are equating performance with economics. By the way, Obama's rationing on age and health will be exactly what will happen to grandma, so one could argue that should be so in the school district.
 
Lets use a real analogy. I am a shareholder in a company, and I buy stock and expect a return. I am a shareholder in the school system, and have a large % of my property tax go to the system. After years of the company not growing, not producing revenue, and losing marketshare, the company is on the verge of bankruptcy. So, the shareholders revolt, dump their stock, and take a loss, and occasionally, sue for neglect and incompetence.
 
Your point is the school needs money, just to stay afloat. Of course money is required, but the schol systems in the United States are failures, even the federal government makes such a statement. Middletown happens to be even worse than most in Ohio, we'd agree on that.
 
So, instead of bringing in a bankruptcy expert, its the continuation of the status quo, the "Middletown way", instead of the "Middletown Promise." If its a problem because the students don't care, then there need to be administrators whom have a different approach. How can you reinforce the value of an education when one doesn't appreciate it? Isn't that why they don't do well? Its not through money, although that has been tried.
 
What you, the school board, and others fail to realize is the current method for over 7 years just isn't working. You can blame it on discipline, poverty, section 8, whatever you wish, but its not improving. Money won't make it happen. There are two choices: 1) You haul away all those poor students who don't want to be in school, and then everything is just fine right? 2) You bring in leadership that has expertise in urban schools that have had turned around drop-out rates, inspire students, give them hope. These are pretty simple solutions, as well as the voucher system.
 
Sorry about grandma, but the true analogy is a company underperforming. We are shareholders and we want results. We recognize the problems, and poverty and other factors contribute. But, when the company fails, you either fold it up, restructure it, and bring in a team that can turn it around from proven results in districts that were under-achieving.
 
Of course, the other manner is to have Middletown bring in affluent people, raise the quality of life, and have motivated students in the schools making good grades. The problem is, the current problems in the school and perception of Middletown hinder that, so its on to the current population, having lost enormous value in their property because of enormous errors made in the city, to absorb the load.
 
For the lifers in Middletown, or those tied to the community through a law firm, a grocery, a physician's office, following the path that's easy is always the chosen path. As the CEO pf P&G recently said, real leaders are willing to make a hard turn right, than follow the easy turn left.             


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 1:06pm
acclaro states "The school district is not Oakwood, I get it Pacman. Oakwood has a different demographic. But what about Franklin- do you think Franklin has a medium income above $100,000? Their students perform. This debate keeps falling on excuse after excuse, and I comprehend you don't like Section 8 and the high numbers. I don't disagree with you, but I disagree that is the sole problem for Middletown's decline. In Oakwood, just as an example and minor solution, the students are paired with a mentor from Grade 9-12. Why could not MCSD have caring parents work with those less fortunate, inspire them, mentor them in the value of the education?"
 
acclaro you are in denial for some reason.  No one has said that "economically disadvantage' kids are the sole problem in MCSD but you.  It is however a significant factor in the performance of the school system.
 
Franklin contains 36% of its students that are economically disadvantaged, Middletown 67% according to the 2008-2009 State of Ohio information.  That is almost 2 to 1.  Your continual denial that this is even a minor problem and one that needs to be dealt with just doesn't make any sense.
 
No it is not the only issue, no it won't be fixed overnight and no one has claimed it will be.  But ignoring it as you do sure doesn't help.
 
I don't recall anyone on this site claiming that Middletown should be a top rated school district, that is not going to happen, but I would expect it to move up, over time, to an average rated school district and not be constantly at the bottom.
 
The city ignores the socioeconomic mess they have created, many of the citizens turn a blind eye to the same mess and the MCSD sees the mess but is powerless to try and effect any change in it and Middletown muddles on to extinction eventually, waiting for the train to nowhere to come by.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 1:06pm
Spider- excellent self assessment on your part. You sound like you are campaigning for an upcoming office with your neutral stance as to listening to both sides before forming an opinion. Fair enough as to neutrality. Still though, we have brought it to your attention that at times, you seem to "waffle".

You stated, "I really can't find any upside to rejecting this school levy". I can in a selfish way. My property taxes will be reduced and I will no longer be contributing my share to a district that I find as non-performing with no end in sight of any change. With this re-injection of money, are you convinced that anything will change or will it be business as usual? I'm picking the latter. I'll ask you, as a levy supporter (since no levy supporter has responded to the direct question- when is it time to pull the plug on the financial support for a historically poor performing system? Anyone? Why haven't the levy supporters asked the question of the school officials, as to when they think the schools will improve to the point when we can see some real positive news? Or, do the levy supporters just blindly go through the motions of voting for a known stagnant system and believe all the stuff the school people are shoveling? If so, how naive and how sad to see denial of the reality of the situation. Or, is approving the levy just the "civic thing to do" regardless of the known situation in certain circles? Accountablility to earn the taxpayer money means nothing then?


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 1:20pm
Well, did I step on a nerve spider? Involvement? Kidding me right? I couldn't make one city council meeting a quarter, let along weekly. That doesn't mean I don't get involved or offered ideas---many, but this city is reactors not proactors. I appreciate you have your business in town and can attend meetings, I applaud you for that. Don't get bent out of shape---you vote is your vote, my vote is my vote, your opinion your opinion, my opinion my opinion.
 
You surely aren't doing my bidding sir. If an idea so rudimentary simple as reversing an ordinance that has allowed for 20 years, infrastructure funds to be used elsewhere can't be embraced by all those "change agents" you championed, Paradise Is Lost in Middletown. No one has brought that up, and yet the debate is why more affluent incoming individuals won't move to Middletown. I think having streets which are driveable might be a start wouldn't you agree?
 
As for the house, it would be like those on da Vinci, Manchester, or your area, which sat for 5 years and counting. Who's buying in Middletown spider? No one. Look around you, and the houses sitting. 
 
Sorry my point on your contradictions upset you- I'm not trying to change your position, vote anyway you want. I just pointed out your contradictions. Hmmm, I thought it was you who said this blog forum was a healthy start for initiating change, and the message was getting through. I obviously misunderstood you and you are correct, this benefit is solely cathartic to let off some steam as it surely provides no impact in altering Middletown's course of action.  Don't worry aout telling anyone it might make sense to change the ordinance back to where it was 20 years ago. Better to keep the streets in disrepair, so residents don't come to Middletown filling schools with better achievers so the system improves.     
 
 


Posted By: Pat
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 8:31pm
acclaro-Get your facts straight!  If you want to discuss the pros and cons of the school levy you must educate yourself on the FACTS first!  Research shows that students that come from poverty stricken backgrounds do not learn the same as middle class or upper middle class kids.  Everyone, at least I assumed, was aware of that FACT.  And yes, it is a fact.  It is not an excuse Mrs. Andrew or anyone else is making up.  They are behind the 8 ball before they even enter kindergarten.  Look at MCSD "Crawl" (sp?) scores.  The kids are assessed before they enter kindergarten and are each given a score.  MCSD scores are terrible.  By far the worst in the county and I'm guessing some of the worst in the state.  Again, It is a fact that these kids take far more resources to learn ($$$) and have a much harder time learning.  MCSD is 70plus% free and reduced lunch, which means that 70plus% of the kids come from a poverty background.
 
Also, your argument about Franklin and the poverty rate.  You must be living in the past when Franklin was an "arm-pit".  If you would look at the FACTS Franklin's demographics do not even compare to Middletowns anymore.  Franklin is not "poor" as you state when compared to Middletown.  That was true in the past, but Franklin's demographics far exceed Middletown now.
 
Also, you do not like Mrs. Andrew comparing Middletown to Youngstown and the others that have demographics similar to M-town.  Well, you may not like it (none of us do) but it is a FACT M-town does compare with the cities she named, in fact M-town is on the bottom end of most any city in the state of Ohio.  I mean, how many other cities have the poverty rate we do and the amount of section 8?
 
You are not comparing apples to apples.  Educate yourself on the facts first, please.  What you are saying is not true.  And remember if the state takes over the school system they will assign a millage and tax rate to you and you don't get to vote on that!


Posted By: Pat
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 8:49pm
PacMan-I agree wholeheartedly with your post (today at 1:06pm).  You are right on, especially on your last sentence in the post!!!  When are people going to wake up and realize it?


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 9:27pm
Pat, I think you are using the poverty perception to give a push for the levy as a continued excuse for performance. Let me put what you have stated in perspective. With an acknowledgement Middletown is among the most poverty ridden cities in the state because of the illustrious city council allowing all those vouchers they didn't know about (the dog ate my homework), then we need to spend more money to educate the student...as its the fault of the student and the poor that have brought the school down. What a convenient excuse now for performance which has been a continuation for five years now. 
 
You miss the point. The point is---the school is laden with overhead, and because of the economic problems you stress, it makes leadership with experience in this area that much more important. The school system has too much overhead, and now with all this poverty, it will be an impossibility to rectify. In other words, youi are defeating your own argument. If the school performance is attributed to the poor, then why would anyone with higher demographics desire to move here? And without those demographics, the system continues to perform horribly. Raising taxes doesn't fix this problem---that is the point you are missing.
 
And that is the reason the houses in Middletown sit, and no one can get out. But you expect those stuck in this mess, to continue to pass these levies and tax increases for the city, when the city created the problems you are speaking, but yet not one school board member or others, are attacking city hall as to what a mss they have created. Instead, its keep the overhead in place, and have those left in the city who can't get out, to pass levy after levy because of the problems you describe on poverty. And we wonder why anyone is not buying a house? Go figure. 


Posted By: Pat
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 10:56pm
Oh Boy Acclaro, where do we start?  First of all yes, it is the poverty stricken children that are, as you state "bringing the school system down".  It is not an "excuse", as you like to state, it is simply a fact. 
 
Secondly, the school district is not laden with "overhead" like you state.  What facts do you have for this?  The central office is down to bare-bones.  They just had a state audit on this and they are not top-heavy, in fact just the opposite is true.
 
Next, you state, "If the school performance is attributed to the poor, then why would anyone with higher demographics desire to move here?"...duh?  They don't desire to move here...you got that one right!  And guess who are they only people that can fix that?  Do you think that the school system can just turn down the poor kids?  No, of course not, they have to take anyone who enters their doors.  But, who can fix this???  One guess!
 
And I am not saying to "raise taxes" like you stated.  I am saying to keep the districts taxes the same by renewing the levy.  Remember, this is not new money.  If you go back and read my post it is a fact that poorer children require more resources ($$$) to educate them.
 
Finally, I'm not saying pass levys for the city.  We're talking school district here.  They are two very seperate entities and one does not rule the other.  And if you think this town has problems now, wait till a renewal for the schools doesn't pass- that would be the nail in the coffin. 
 
 


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 18 2010 at 11:31pm
Pat, the school system is down to the bones? Come on, lets be honest engines here. They have a communications Director, spent $250 kk on a wasteful attempt for a land grab, paid for an interim superintendant whom has been ill, paid for a retained search firm, and they are down to the bones? This is beginning to sound like an Obama spin cycle on healthcare reform.
 
And its going to get worse if it doesn't pass? Drive down Currier and look at the house sitting for nearly 5 years, or those by the hospital you can't give away, and it could be worse? What if AK is acquired, then its really bad.
 
I'm sorry, this levy should fail on it merits. Butler County is just as bad, its pathetic to see the joke of commissioners going on about an Assistant HR Manager, making $92, 500. The city has made no cuts. The school built new schools, and enrollment has not increased. Middletown is the worst appearing city in Ohio.
 
Money is not the solution on the levy. Improvement is, and bringing in a change agent that fits the demographics.    


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 4:32am

Perhaps I can shed some light on some of the confusion over the financial data in question.

(Please bear in mind that this data is directly from the Ohio Departmentf Education, and NOT from me.  I am merely the messenger.)
**********************************************************************************************

OHIO DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

CENTER FOR SCHOOL FINANCE - SIMULATION, FOUNDATION AND ANALYSIS UNIT

DISTRICT PROFILE REPORT FOR CITY, EXEMPTED VILLAGE AND LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICTS

IRN: 44404 DISTRICT: Middletown City SD COUNTY: Butler

    CITY, E.V.        
                                                                                                   SIMILAR            & LOCAL S.D.        
                                                                                DISTRICT          DISTRICT         STATEWIDE        
                                                                                      DATA            AVERAGE             AVERAGE       
   

A - DEMOGRAPHIC DATA:                                                                                                              
      1) SCHOOL DISTRICT AREA SQUARE MILEAGE (FY10)                                26.00             15.19             67.71        
      2) DISTRICT PUPIL DENSITY (FY10)                                            281.72            393.09             43.08        
      3) TOTAL AVERAGE DAILY MEMBERSHIP (FY09)                                   7,324.72          5,971.25        2,916.83         
       4) ASIAN/PACIFIC ISLANDER STUDENTS AS % OF TOTAL (FY09)                    0.55              0.59              1.62        
      5) BLACK STUDENTS AS % OF TOTAL (FY09)                                       17.97             31.55             14.59        
      6) AMERI INDIAN/ALASKAN NATIVE STUDENTS AS % OF TOT (FY09)               0.14              0.18              0.14        
      7) HISPANIC STUDENTS AS % OF TOTAL (FY09)                                     4.03              3.06              2.65        
      8) WHITE STUDENTS AS % OF TOTAL (FY09)                                       70.29             57.18             77.35        
      9) MULTIRACIAL STUDENTS AS % OF TOTAL (FY09)                                  7.02              7.45              3.64        
     10) % OF STUDENTS IN POVERTY (FY09)                                            7.46              9.66              5.13        
     11) PBA INDEX (FY09)                                                           1.46              1.88              1.00        
     12) % OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITY (FY09)                                      17.30             15.47             13.53        
(Sorry about formatting. this was best I could do copying from State web site.)


-------------
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 4:39am
NO, I don't agree with the poverty %-age either.  However, perhaps the camparison between MCSD, Similar District average, and statewide average is of some value...or, maybe not.
 
I copied and pasted this directly from the ODE website.  I think that the webmaster's name is Helen Waite.  If you have any complaints, do NOT complain to me!!!  Go to Helen Waite!!!


-------------
“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 7:20am
Pat- you state, "it is a fact that poorer children require more resources ($$$) to educate them". Nope.....not necessarily. There are communities that are as poor as Middletown that are providing a quality education for their students on less money per student than Middletown is spending, which is around $11,000 per student. Little Miami (or New Miami) ...one of the "Miami's" is poor and performing better with less dollars than Middletown. It can be done without constantly throwing money at a problem and without breaking the backs of the taxpayer by throwing away failed education methods of the past, visiting successful schools, taking notes and emulating procedures that work. We have seen poor test results FOR YEARS and the indicator has been stuck on 5 of 30 FOR YEARS. If we know this, the school folks have to know it......so why would you continue to use the same failed educational procedures, year after year, if you knew the outcome was destined to fail? Then, the ultimate irony.... you expect us taxpayers to finance more of the same. Not logical. Just reluctant and stubborn to change. If you want more money, change your ways. You show us some improvement and we'll show you the money.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 7:35am
The school system is down to the bones on cuts? What about Alberico? Do we need a spokesperson for the schools as infrequently as she is needed? Can't someone answer the phone call from the Journal and make a statement? Does it take a special position (and high salary) to do that? How about a Director of Curriculum? Do we need a highly paid salaried position for that? Can't we incorporate some of the duties into other retained positions? How about the football coach being hired to monitor truancy? How about working that into the assistant principals job? Why do we need multiple assistant principals at these schools? As I understand it, Middletown High has at least 3 or 4 assistant principals. Why? What do they do all day...every day to occupy their time? Some fairly high salaries here, right? How many psychologists/counselors are in the system? If many, are they busy on a consistent basis? If not, why are we paying them that high salary?

And on and on.....


Posted By: Marianne
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 8:16am
Originally posted by VietVet VietVet wrote:

Little Miami (or New Miami) ...one of the "Miami's" is poor and performing better with less dollars than Middletown.


Auditor Places the Little Miami Local School District in Fiscal Watch

Auditor of State Mary Taylor placed the Little Miami Local School District in "Fiscal Watch" on Thursday, March 11, moving it one step closer to state takeover. The declaration was made because the district is projecting a deficit that could climb to as much as $10 million.

"Little Miami Local School officials face some tough financial decisions in the weeks and months ahead," Ms. Taylor said.

The district has already implemented extensive cuts over the last several years, totaling approximately $7 million. However, a decline in state funding has meant troubling times for the growing district.

"Little Miami is gaining attention around the state," said Superintendent Dan Bennett. "We are an excellently-rated, growing district, but we aren't surviving financially. We are an anomaly, and we've gotten the attention of the Governor and State Superintendent."

The Auditor of State's office completed a performance audit for the district in November 2009, offering recommendations on improved efficiencies and an estimated cost savings of $399,500, which represents about 1.3 percent of the entire district budget.

According to the audit, "Overall, LMLSD is a high functioning District operating with solid management practices. Administrators have exhibited prudent fiscal and operational decision-making in managing its projected General Fund deficit. Prior to, and during, this performance audit, the Board of Education and District administrators were proactive in making difficult decisions to deeply reduce overall expenditures and lessen future operating deficits."

"We are interested in decreasing costs, especially those outside the classroom, but reducing expenses by nearly $400,000 won't eliminate a multi-million dollar deficit," Treasurer Shaun Bevan explained.

The Ohio Department of Education initially placed the Little Miami Local School District in "Fiscal Caution" on November 14, 2009 following the results of a five-year financial forecast.

Since the declaration placing the district in "Fiscal Watch," Little Miami officials must submit a financial recovery plan outlining steps they will take to eliminate the deficit. An acceptable plan for the Auditor of State must show a balanced budget and cannot include revenue from anticipated levies.


Posted By: Smartman
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 8:20am
Kinda sounds like Vet wants to return to one room school houses. Or maybe he has taken a trip in the Hot Tub Time machine and never returned. Vet times have changed but apparently you haven't. You can't keep living the past. Things will never be that way again. You keep talking about $11000 being spent per pupil. That figure takes into consideration the students with disabilities. Mr Presta's chart shows 17% in our district compared to a state average of 13%. The state gives the district grants to cover the cost to educate those children. Unfortunately the grants do bot come off the cost per pupil. So the actual cost is lower than $11000. Sorry I do not have the exact figure, I suppose that downtown could give it to you. MCSD has a larger number of students with disabilities because our program is recognized as one of the best!
 
Everyone on this blog has issues with the city, myself included. This levy is needed to preserve our schools, keep exiting programs. As I have said before we have a new super coming in, lets give him a chance to show what he can do. Lets pass the levy, he may have new insights that can save the district money in the long run. Our district will most certainly will be destined to fail if they lose 26% of their budget. Vote Yes!


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 8:24am
Vet, I agree with your comment about the need for the Communications Director/ PR expert. The actions of the city of Middltown make Obama's deem and pass campaign look tame. I read the news about the Stae of the Union. Mr. Mulligan says we need to think efficiencies. How and when did this city get lost to cit hall? I75% of the budget is police and firemen overhead, yet they boast about these phantom cuts they make. AJ Smith makes a comment, better to not go back in history and assess the past problems, got to move forwad, and jut txa people who can't get out of the city to do death.
 
Now we have a new levy coming down when Middletown is sinking, associated with street? Can anyone believe this! The city neglects the streets and infrtastructure, has the former city council member down saying how positive Mr. Mulligan was, who was instrumental in giving $5 mm in infrastructure funds away and the ordinance still has not been changed, so they spend dedicated funds, and gas and license tax from the state anyway they please, and that's the basis of a new levy?
 
Property values have plummeted, the streets have been neglected so the city could feed the beast called city hall employees using diverted funds for 20 years, and that justifies a tax levy? And because of Section 8, and poverty, and that is the consistent message I'm reading here why the school performance is not improving, and no one is attacking city hall.
 
I just have to ask, with all this tea party talk on this site, the disgust about taxation, waste, and progressive rule, what makes the citizen in Middletown just sit down, and be run over by these constant levies? We are in one of the worst periods since the Depression, Greece and Spain are about to topple the global market on defaults, and Middletown has created all these enormous problems which have ruined the schools, ruined the city, destroyed our property value, and BOTH the MCSD and now city, want levies passed on a shrinking population? What is wrong with this community, to take this and on one hand, talk about a national tea party and the other, sit back, listen to these timeless excuses and lack of ownership from the people whom caused the problems, and expect the shrinking population to give more in taxation?
 
Its appalling, numbing, and can someone pinch me and wake me up from this nightmare called Middletown. And change agent AJ Smith, was the first to say, its a good thing to not dwell on the past mistakes. Well, from what I've read, the school district blames part of its problems on the poor. That's attributed to Section 8, and the asleep at the wheel city council. But, instead of focusing upon that, its much easier to have council parde the good students out, have Mr. Mulligan give a few awards, and show Middletown, city council- the creator of the problems the school district says is its problems, smile and know the city supports the levy, just like the school supports the city levies.
 
This city is going to be one of the highest taxed in Ohio, with few if any amentities, ridled with an inability to attract new residents, while those who can't get out, get stuck with these constant levies just putting the spiral of failure and financial ruin on the back of the tax payer. I've had enough..           


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 9:16am

PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES AND PEOPLE WHOSE INCOME IN THE PAST 12 MONTHS IS BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL

All families

13.5%

+/-2.9

(X)

(X)

With related children under 18 years

23.5%

+/-5.6

(X)

(X)

With related children under 5 years only

21.0%

+/-11.6

(X)

(X)

Married couple families

7.0%

+/-3.0

(X)

(X)

With related children under 18 years

15.0%

+/-6.8

(X)

(X)

With related children under 5 years only

22.2%

+/-17.7

(X)

(X)

Families with female householder, no husband present

32.7%

+/-8.4

(X)

(X)

With related children under 18 years

41.3%

+/-11.6

(X)

(X)

With related children under 5 years only

38.7%

+/-28.3

(X)

(X)

 

All people

19.0%

+/-3.0

(X)

(X)

Under 18 years

28.6%

+/-7.1

(X)

(X)

Related children under 18 years

28.2%

+/-7.1

(X)

(X)

Related children under 5 years

32.5%

+/-10.6

(X)

(X)

Related children 5 to 17 years

26.5%

+/-8.2

(X)

(X)



Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 9:29am
Economically disadvantaged and living below the poverty level are two different matters.  You can be labeled as an economically disadvantaged child and eligible for free or reduced lunch if your family income is 185% of the local poverty level.
 
Now when you talk about Section 8 housing:  a PHA must provide 75 percent of its voucher to applicants whose incomes do not exceed 30 percent of the areas median income.  For the Middletown area the median income is $69200.00 so for a family of 3 on Section 8, 30% of that would be $18700.00.


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 10:29am
Marianne- Little Miami....functioning at a high level operating with solid management practices (different from Middletown schools) and hurting for money. So, sounds like this district is doing a fine job of educating, producing positive results, with an excellent rating, while being starved at the money well with no levy approvals. They have managed to perform, despite the lack of money. Another example where a good education does not necessarily require alot of money. Unlike Middletown, this is a school system that the people should support as they are producing and have earned the the right of levy passages. Sad to read that the people don't support this. Different scenario than ours, IMO.


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 10:53am
The same occurred in Franklin, the best thing that ever happened to them. Brought in a first rate former Assistant that turned the district around performance wise, and restored trust. If you review Mr. Mulligan's presentation, this is the constant solution to all the problems Middletown's leadership cause---raise taxes! Its astounding he talks about 20 years of money being diverted, and what would that anount of money be over $20 years---$100 Mm, and has the audicity to state the the residents need to be able to vote as a right, to riase taxed when values are almost worthless, probably 50% of what they were (just look at the assessed tax rates on Currier as an example), and he proposed a levy for the streets. He doesn't address the diversion, when the ordinance will be restored, but makes a campaign speech that the new 25% increase I suspect will be requested, will now be for infrastructure? Is this the strategy, just dismiss ever reversing the previous ordinance, so that money can be spent to feed city hall, and a new 25% or > is used for dedicated streets and sewers. All this done with the knowledge and intention to let the roads crumble.
 
I ask again...how on earth did Middletown succumb to this level of apathy and acceptance? Smartman, I realize you have a disadvantaged child in some capacity which I appreciate your point of view (even though throwing nails isn't an effective way to gain support). I just had to comment on your post- you said we should keep funding to give the new superintendant a chance with the new funding so he has a cahnce which he may, emphasis added on may, be able to turn things around.
 
That's the other strategy in play here with the MCSD---fire Dr. Price, pay him well, give him great recommendations, and use him as the fall guy, so the new superintendant could be given a cahnce-that's why Dr. Price was fired, to put up this veil we need to start fresh, give us a chance. There is no other city in Ohio that would tolerate this mindless continuation of taxation, just as Mr. Mulligan has laid out and the school district, but in Middletown, both will probably pass.
 
Anyone predicting when Middletown ever comes back?      


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 10:54am
Smartman- No. I don't want to "return to one room schoolhouses" and I am reminded everyday that the world has changed. While I can't "live in the past", I can also see that taking certain time-proven methods of the past and applying them to today's world may improve things compared to the cluster we now call "current times". Look, regardless of the make-up of the $11,000 per student, the fact is that Middletown is one of the highest taxed school districts spending some of the highest costs per pupil in the state with some of the lowest performance results in the state. Not something to be proud of is it? I am pleased that MCSD is "one of the best" with the disabilities program. That's fine. Would like to be able to say that for the general population of the school as well, but at the rate of improvement in the last 20 years, won't happen in my lifetime.

"this levy is needed to preserve our schools and keep existing programs"......WHAT?????.....that was my question from the other post......WHY, do you want to keep the existing programs????? THEY DON'T WORK OR THEY WOULD BE PRODUCING POSITIVE RESULTS SMARTMAN!!!!! If what you are trying isn't getting the job done.....for god sakes......CHANGE WHAT YOU ARE DOING until you find the successful way of doing those things. Where did the logic go???????? Furthermore, why would you want to preserve the schools given the current state of affairs? Surely, you are not content with the way they are operating, are you???? The schools need a total revamp in operational guidance, planning and implementation. Very little has worked or we would have all been feeling warm and fuzzy about now.

I'll ask again for the third time....when is enough... enough? When do we pull the plug on what we are currently doing and start with a new game plan? How bad do the results have to get and how long do we have to see those bad results before we finally say....we need to change what we're doing here? Again, for the third time....anybody???


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 1:36pm
Viet Vet posted: "so why would you continue to use the same failed educational procedures, year after year, if you knew the outcome was destined to fail?"
 
Vet, do you have a short-term memory problem?  You repeat this same allegation over and over, without any basis (you do not work for the schools, have children currently in the schools, or volunteer in the schools, to my knowledge), despite my several posts that MANY "educational procedures" have been changed at the schools.  We have changed the top leadership.  You may disagree with all of my opinions, as is your right, but I would think that you would have to agree, that as I have been on this school board for 4 years and have kids in the schools for the last 10, I know a little bit more than you do about whether the schools have made any changes in recent years. So when we ask the public to renew the levy to continue the same funding, it so we can continue these efforts at reform and improvement, not your non-existent scenario of "same old thing for 20 years. "
 
There is no magic bullet that will produce brilliant results overnight.  We are dealing with people here -- students, teachers, parents -- who are all resistant to change.  The district has implemented changes that go to the fundamental culture of the schools and the way we teach and hold people accountable.  It takes time for them to be fully implemented and for people to buy in.  Changing programs every year if they don't produce results the first year would be a terrible management strategy.
 
State takeover of the schools is also no magic bullet. What happens is that a special committee is appointed to oversee the school board. It has all the powers of the school board.  The district still has to provide an adequate education to each child. If the taxpayers of the district will not agree to fund the schools sufficiently, the oversight committee will force the schools to borrow money, which must be paid back so eventually the taxpayers will have to fund the schools.  The oversight committee has no more power over the unionized workforce than the school board does.  They can RIF teachers and other staff to reduce the budget, but they must do so by seniority rules, and they cannot replace them with new teachers --any new hires would have to be first from the RIF list.  They also are limited in that they must keep enough teachers and other staff to meet the minimum state requirements, which are detailed and numerous. (As an example, remember the law that was just passed requiring schools to teach about dating violence and prevention in health class). All of this state regulation, which is constantly changing and growing, requires administrators to be aware of it and comply.
 
Marcia Andrew


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 2:45pm
Ok. Ms. Andrew.... let's assume you have made changes as you claim. Changes can be made in many subtle ways so as not to produce much of an impact. What have your changes produced toward significantly improving the performance of the district? Haven't seen it in the indicators numbers as yet. Haven't seen it in the proficiency test score numbers as yet. Are your kids coming out of high school ready for the working world yet or to continue on to college? Why do colleges (MUM and others) have to set up remedial classes to prepare high school graduates for the freshman year of college if that is so? Please tell us something about the school system that will convince us to embrace your enthusiasm for the changes that you claim to have made and tell us the overall impact that those changes had toward making the district more promising.

No. I don't have kids in the school system. No, I don't volunteer at the schools as I work out of town and return to Middletown long after the school day is done. And no, I certainly don't work for the schools. BUT, Ms. Andrew, I can read a chart that outlines results on specific performance criteria for this district. Heck, I'm even smart enough to discipher what the charts say on a good day. Don't try the condescending approach. It won't work.

No, I don't have short term memory. Just don't look at things through rose-colored glasses. Are you wishing to do verbal battle here?

"no magic bullets that will produce brilliant results overnight" What? You and other school board members have had more than 20 years (yes, I'll use the 20 year thing again, much to your chagrin) to work on the problems and, to date, the schools have gone down the perverbial toilet since the 60's. How much longer will it take, Ms. Andrews. Our patience and money are running out. What do you need....another ten years or so?

Bingo....THE statement...."we are dealing with people here-students, teachers, parents- who are all RESISTANT TO CHANGE. Read my previous posts on CHANGING THE SYSTEM IF THE CURRENT ONE IS FAILING. The students are not a problem for change. New rules are set up all the time for them. The parents.... I would bet that change would be welcome by alot of parents as they want to see some actual positive movement in the education process also. The teachers- what is the problem...the ability to change is contingent on employment in today's working world. Can't change, we'll find someone who will. That's the employers attitude nowadays.

Changing programs EVERY YEAR....What? Who suggested that a new program be given just a year to work or not???? I agree, it takes a year for everyone to adapt to new expectations and learn the new rules before ever deciding whether it will work or not. Kinda jumping the gun here, aren't you?

Don't tell the former union AK workers that they can't be replaced. AK did it and it can be done in any union situation. The teacher's union isn't invincible. Ok, you have explained what is needed to deal with the union seniority, hirebacks, RIF list,etc. Let's make it happen, bite the bullet, work through it and come out of it in better shape with regard to dealing with the teacher's union if, indeed, they are in the way of making this a better district. Whatever it takes....changing operational modes, removing the teacher's union influence, reducing unnecessary positions within the district, firing the superintendent....whatever.... do it instead of waiting for years producing the same results. More drastic changes, not subtle ones will get us to where we want to be quicker, won't it? At the current pace, real change will not occur for another 20 years.





Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 4:27pm
Ms. Andrews, if I may interject as you made reference to "management strategy" and leadership, you'd agree your former academic colleagues at Darden in Charlottesvile would learn in case study review, no business or entity makes a strategic mission/ vision statement which can't be fulfilled. Its been what...6 years or more, that the illustrious goal of being rated EXCELLENT was put on the MCSD website, printed, and disseminated throughout the community. So the school set these unrealistic expectations to begin, and yet you reference sound management strategy. I see a fatal flaw in that assumption.
 
Secondly, change takes time? It certainly does not. Its re-engineered, driven through leadership, and adopted. What's the paradigm which teachers and administrators can't relinguish---union seniority? The changes I recall were associated with racial culture clarities, discipline- or the lack thereof, and the elimination of homework. Granted, there may be other programs which have been added or eliminated, but to state it takes 7 years for the paradigm and cultural impediment to be altered is not only non sensical, respectfully stated, but unreasonable to expect such a period of time would be the norm for it to be accepted.
 
It would appear the state does an excellent job of coming in, thinning out a school district, and turning it around. Its quite obvious the rate of progress you and the Board feel reasonable are simply out of step with what I would call any reasonable and responsible individual provided such illustrious and lofty goals as MCSD set years ago. The state has the expertise to make that happen, and usually produce exceptional outcomes.
 
The reality is the district and city are caught in a trap; the proverbial "chicken or the egg", which comes first. The city has fallen asleep at the wheel on development and allowed an additionally high % of the "cast-aways" as some may call them, to migrate to Middletown. That has impacted school performance as some argue. But, would a solid school system with the stated mission/ vision statement, alter performance and raise standards to the school pulling residents like a magnet to Middletown. I realize that is quite a challenge, even if the school was rated EXCELLENT. So, which will perform against its stated standards forst- the district or the city of Middletown, although i don't believe they have standards or measures, and that Strat Plan they boast, well, its a little too "glittering generalities", no substance. Give credit for the MCSD at least having some meat in the plan, granted, an unrealistic and unobtainable goal state as its target which will not be met, without change and pruning.
 
The district set the bar too high, and is stuck. $$$$ just won't solve this problem. Its like a misbehaving child- it calls for tough love. But that's my opinion. I realize the unions will do a quid pro quo, pull in the MUM support, get organized, which the adversaries never will do, and its back to status quo. In other wods, the demographics which are your nemesis will stay at home, not vote, while others gather mass, and it will be another 55-45 win in May. Gosh, the city can't relinguish the golf course for its employees and retires, you don't seriously think the majority will give up Middie sports? And that's how it will play.     
 


Posted By: Pacman
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 5:59pm
acclaro the Mission statement of MCSD was changed several years ago.  Probably because they came to realization that the old one was unattainable, my opinion, maybe someone in the know can state otherwise.
 
The new mission statement is:

"The mission of the Middletown City Schools is to provide our culturally diverse students with highly-challenging and engaging school work, which assists them in gaining valued knowledge and skills. We will continue to operate the district in a fiscally responsible manner with a priority of student achievement."



Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 6:51pm
Thanks Pacman. The VISION statement has not changed, I pulled it from the website a minute ago. It still reads:
 
Recognizing the need to prepare students to become productive members of a democratic society, we envision that the Middletown City School District will:

• Raise achievement levels of all students
• Eliminate achievement gaps
• Earn a rating of "Excellent" on the school district's state report card
 
You are correct though, a good management team would alter this lofty but unachieveable goal. There are five assistant principals just at MHS, and yet, they are cut to the bone? Public education is so laden with wasted overhead. 


Posted By: Marcia Andrew
Date Posted: Mar 19 2010 at 11:33pm
Okay, I'm going to sign off this thread because Viet Vet and Acclaro so clearly have all the answers.
 
We are going to re-write our vision statement because we set our goals too high.  We are going to set a really low goal and then trumpet that we've met it. That will really fool people.  Then they will pass levies because we will have earned it.  Only kids who are already doing well in school should have the right to a good public education.
 
We are going to "re-engineer" and "drive down" change through leadership (wait, didn't we just hire a new leader??  Never mind, I'm sure it is still fair to criticize us for not doing something we just did) and the students who don't want to learn and the parents who don't care that their students don't want to learn will all jump on board, even though it will require them to work harder  (the ones who are open to change are not the problem, Vet).  If any of the changes would require additional manpower, we will just tap into the vast network of Middletown citizens eager to volunteer in our schools.  As for the teachers and other staff, if they don't like it we'll just fire them, and if we can't do that because of the union contract, we'll just lock the teachers out for over a year, following AK's model, because that really "broke" the union at AK.  The kids won't learn anything for the time of the lockout/strike, but due to our lowered expectations we will still exceed our achievement goals.
 
Gosh, it's hard to understand how our city and school district got into the difficult situations they are in with you guys willing to help with your advice.
 
(For the avoidance of any doubt, in response to the inevitable person who will take the above literally, this is SARCASM).
 
Good Night
Marcia Andrew


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 4:21am
Originally posted by Smartman Smartman wrote:

... Mr Presta's chart shows ...
Please, let me point out AGAIN that this is NOT "my chart!!!"
I copied and pasted it accurately (except for the formatting) from the Ohio Department of Education's website!!! Stern%20Smile


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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: Mike_Presta
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 4:34am
Originally posted by Marcia Andrew Marcia Andrew wrote:

(For the avoidance of any doubt, in response to the inevitable person who will take the above literally, this is SARCASM).
 
Good Night
Marcia Andrew
Angry SARCASM???  How DARE you use SARCASM!!!
 
Wink Just kidding!!  I am just kidding!!! LOL LOL
Ms. A:  I really do understand your frustration.  I think that all sides feel it often, as this problem has no simple solution. 
 


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“Mulligan said he ... doesn’t believe they necessarily make the return on investment necessary to keep funding them.” …The Middletown Journal, January 30, 2012


Posted By: wasteful
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 5:16am
acclaro I see nothing wrong with the Vision or Mission Statment as they are stated.
 
Vision Statement
A statement giving a broad, aspirational image of the future that an organization is aiming to achieve.
 
Mission statement
A formal short written statement of the purpose of a /wiki/Company - company or /wiki/Organization - organization . The mission statement should guide the actions of the organization, spell out its overall goal, provide a sense of direction, and guide decision-making. It provides "the framework or context within which the company's strategies are formulated.
 
Both the Mission and Vision statements above  follow the above definitions of each.
 


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 9:27am
Ms. Andrews, I appreciate the debate and your comments. For what it may worth, I'd be pleased to be a mentor to anyone (student) at Middletown High or the middle school. I admit my kids went to private schools K-12. I admit I have about 5-6 direct generations of school teachers, administrators, and college profs and a President whom are family members. I also admit one of my father's best friends was former superintendant Deacon Diehl (spelling with apologies), so I I can emphatically state no one in this town realizes the value and benefit of getting a solid education than I. One of my ya's went through W&M 'B" school, so we know how competitive schools are today to get in, with ACT's near or exceeding 30's. 
 
Perhaps the easiest strategy is to formulate a campaign that begins something as simple as this. There are more communities than Middletown that value the obtainment of an education. In those communities like Oakwood, where the students feel there is not only hope, but a mandate from their parents, to do well, reach for the next level. These parents had Mollie's and Joihnny's tuition paid for at Dartmouth by the time their kids were age 10. While in Middletown, the majority one assumes, helps keep the car running when it breaks down once a week, or can't find a job at a local Kroger's---and all the $$$ goes to paying gas just to get around town.    
 
In Middletown, because of changing demographics and other factors, that hope and motivation is not there for all of our students. We have to find ways which our students recognize there is a better quality of life and future, armed with a good education. That's a tougher task in Middletown than other communities where the family circumstace prevents that recognition. As for motivation, I can tell you, and lets assume MHS has a quality guidance counselor, an A student coming from poverty or middle-class, with a 28-30 ACT will get a full ride to a number of great schools, including your former at Williams, rated in top 5 liberal arts, Middleberry, Washington U, Vandy, Gettysburg, Swathmore, Wabash, and countless others. The reward is there, and you don't have to have rich parents to get there.
 
The key is motivation, not intellectual deficiencies necessarily. How do you motivate? Well, there is a whole surrounding infrastructure of mentors and others put in place. Not all parents aspire kids to achieve. Not all teachers do, nor administrators. Many privates are very rigorous and don't cuddle the student, they either perform or they don't, its an A or a D.  
 
As for V/M statements wasteful, both are indeed aspiration statements, but always tuned usually within 5 years, as Fortune 500's strategically plan no more forward than 5 years. They are constantly refreshed. If you haven't changd that goal, then its altered, mayve a new niche focus. But, no company, no school, no hospital, no governmnet entity, sticks to a V/M that is unobtainable after about 5 years of effort. That's like putting on a cv my goal is to be CEO of a company, for a 25 year middle manager.           


Posted By: VietVet
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 9:43am
Your choice Ms. Andrew. Goodbye then. Never claimed I had all the answers, just a different perspective, tired of the years of excuses, tired of waiting for good things to happen, reluctant to give more money to the schools and different standards of expectations as a taxpayer, that's all. Perhaps I asked too many questions that had no answers. Perhaps, by not agreeing with you, and by throwing up some resistance to your levy renewal, I frustrated you to the point where you did not wish to debate the topics anymore. I am sorry if I discouraged you. I allowed you to make your points and I countered. I thought you would welcome debate and be good at it as a lawyer. I encourage you to stay as I value your opinions and it allows me to read another's viewpoint. Disagreement with this complex issue is expected I would presume. I believe you contribute many good things to this forum providing information that we may not be aware of.

Thank you for providing an example of the definition of sarcasm. I had no idea what that was. Oops, that's sarcasm too, isn't it?

Thank you for your contributions.

Goodbye and best of luck on your renewal levy passage.


Posted By: acclaro
Date Posted: Mar 20 2010 at 10:29am
Vet, I believe I understand Ms. Andrews to mean she was being sarcastic in her response, but perhaps she is signing off from the debate which would be surprising. I give you an A for effort Ms. Andrews &  encourage you to stay active and debate the issues here and elsewhere. You'll find far more constructive and objective debate in this circle than in the community who will simply nod, and say everything is fine...the light will be shining bright when the train arrives and the computer engineers move in and start riding the Gary Fisher 30 speeds around the new bike trail.
 
I personally think the only hope Middletown has as a community of the funding of a program such as the Middletown/ Miami Promise. The problem is the schools are wrapped up in the dismal entitlement, "me go, not we go" mentality of the city leadership. When the city is Rome Burning, there goes the school district. As Vet said, I recall attending Manchester for two years, and the quality of instruction and caliber of student demographic was fantastic. Those were the days when the school district was terrific, and the middle-class strong and upper-class. The days are gone, so the intersection merges failure of a city with a school district. So, how to fund it? Well, there has to be some out of the box thinkers aound the town who know how to get some funds with all the other $Bb Obama is throwing around. Make Middketown a federal beta site, and pull in population and students. That's a start. It has a better chance at getting funded than Middletown getting a bullet train and being a 100 MB google backbone for high speed internet, when I doubt with >50% of the population in poverty, there are many desktops and laptops sitting around the homes.  



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