ADD TO THIS THE COST OF THE “NOT SO AFFORDABLE CARE ACT.”
ADD TO THIS THE ESCALATING COSTS OF FUEL, ELECTRICITY, FOOD, CLOTHING AND OTHER TAXES.
Your federal taxes are going to escalate to the above rates. Make no mistake about it. The federal government is approaching the $17 trillion deficit mark. Most of the states and local governments are in an impending deficit condition. Detroit and California are already in bankruptcy. All levels of power are willing to take your hard earned income and redistribute it to where “they” think is a better use of your income. School districts are run by people who think in the same manner.
The Lebanon school board paid for a “community image study” that states that Strategic Visioning, Inc. interviewed 400 people via phone on April 2 and April 12, 2013. Much of the information on this study can be obtained on line. I’m sure any one of us could have called 400 voters and produced a similar “survey.” As with graphs, surveys are designed to give the people that pay for the survey the results they are looking to receive.
In this case, the powers in charge of the schools in Lebanon, have decided that the current schools are just “not good enough.” We need to go on a building spree. Never mind that enrollment is stagnant, never mind that the condition of the nation is perilous and never mind that so many people are working two jobs to make ends meet.
Of course, this “survey” consists of one graph after another. One amazing statistic is that so many people have no idea what is the condition of the schools. For example 42% of those surveyed have no idea of the condition of Louisa Wright Early Childhood Center. Could that be because the district has a lease with the YMCA to use part of the school for Head Start?
I had an opportunity to view the kindergarten rooms a couple of years ago. We were given a demonstration of the $15,000.00 whiteboards that had recently been installed in the rooms. One teacher worked the computer and the principal worked at the board to show how special this system would enhance the “curriculum.” After a few tries a butterfly appeared on the board. My thoughts were that it was too expensive and a waste of money for kids that probably watch too much television. The former kindergarten teacher that was with me agreed.
Bowman is a new school and 29% “didn’t know” anything about that school. What the study does prove is that people with children in school seem to believe that it is important to have beautiful new buildings. People who do not have children in school seem to think that the current facilities are satisfactory.
The same goes for the length of time the person has lived in Lebanon. Many who have lived here five years or less are far more willing to add more taxes (80%) in order to have new buildings. These are the people that have no idea of the history of the management of the system for the past fifteen years. They weren’t here when the “mismanagement” scandals broke out. So nothing the district proposes would be out of line for most of these newcomers.
The survey tells the board that most of the people who have children in school would support a levy. The younger the person, the more willing they seem to be to support new construction.
A very small percentage of people believe that Berry Intermediate needs to be replaced. Only 29% of the people that have children in school believe that Berry needs to be replaced. Yet that school is the target of the board.
They asked how the people received information about the district. Most said the postcards (45%). In my opinion they don’t get much information from those postcards. Every word on these postcards (there are very few words) are directed toward establishing favorable public relations. If people seem them in a favorable light, they will be more willing to pay more in taxes.
The public relations of a school district should be established by the quality of the education that the students receive. It should not be based on levy campaigns and propaganda. A few examples of these cards: July, 2011 speaks to the $6,500.000 levy that the board and administrative team “worked on for several months.” Shouldn’t they be working on academics and programs for the children? Most people expect the schools to provide students with an education that provides a person to be able to critically think for the rest of their lives. This board and administration are on a constant levy campaign; one levy after another.
They “work for months” to put another levy on the ballot after an 8.2 mill levy failed in May of 2011. Put this fact under your hat, they couldn’t live without 8.2 mills in May, but were willing to drop to 3.78 mills in November. Did they find $3 million somewhere? They come to us over and over. They say that it will be ONLY $115.75 additional on a $100,000 home. What about the additional on business property? Is $115.00 so insignificant to these people. Well, it is a lot to some people. Ask all of those who lost their homes.
In September of 2011 the postcard from Mark North is a brag piece about the ACT scores which were very mediocre when compared to districts over the country. They never mention on their graphs that 36 is the top ACT score. They never mention who takes the test. They don’t mention on their postcards that a 33% is passing on the 8th grade reading test. Hard to imagine anyone bragging about a 33%, but most districts do put out P.R. about how well their district did on the 8th grade test. When they tell you they met “the state indicators,” do they give you the actual scores? The state tells the Average Yearly Progress. Lebanon didn’t meet all of those indicators. In fact Lebanon didn’t pass the progress for the gifted and the handicapped. This is unconscionable. The gifted will be the leaders of tomorrow and the special children need special attention to survive in this world.
The January, 2013 card complains about the new state standards. Where were they when the congress and Department of Education were pushing Common Core? They are saying that the Third Grade would have “higher standards.” They should have always had the highest standards for reading, writing and arithmetic. Critical thinking skills are a matter of surviving.
This card had a few words about teacher evaluations. “If the expectations were not met, educators were no longer employed in the district.” Wow! Those are fighting words. We all know that Lebanon bows to the LEA. Does anyone really believe that the board has the power to fire a teacher? I know of a few that were allowed to move to another district. The legal bills to fire a teacher would far surpass those that took the district to the Supreme Court of Ohio against a parent who asked them to abide by the “Open Meetings Act.”