Letters to the Editor 5/16/13
Schools and Ohio
In his article, “Looking for Mr. Right,” (May 9) James Krohe Jr. makes several valid points regarding the failings of the school board as well as the problems inherit in searching for a new superintendent. However, Mr. Krohe ignores the largest problem facing District 186 – a lack of adequate funding. It’s simply impossible for any superintendent, no matter how capable, to create lasting change absent an infusion of cash. Right now, schools are simply unable to provide basic services to meet student needs; there are too few student support professionals (social workers, e.g.), not enough resources dedicated to arts education and too many overcrowded classrooms, with the result that students are simply not being served. The school board does not seem to be interested in addressing those concerns, as is apparent with the previous board’s decision to close Capital College Preparatory Academy, a school which successfully addressed problems of inequity.
At CCPA, students, primarily from lower-income backgrounds, were afforded a quality education with smaller class sizes and an emphasis on college preparation. This approach succeeded, as is evident in the students’ ISAT scores. Yet the decision was made to close the school, despite its success, out of concern that the funds allocated did not reach all students. While this argument is technically correct, it remains to be seen how the middle schools will handle the additional students.
What’s needed is a property tax increase so that we can adequately fund our schools and spend money, not on superintendent or administrator salaries, but on additional teachers, social workers and improved facilities. Some way, somehow, District 186 needs to raise funds to adequately administer services and a property tax hike seems the only avenue for this transformation. Given recent history, negative opinions of the superintendent and the school board, this seems unrealistic. However, we can dream can’t we?
Substitute teacher, Springfield Public Schools
EYE ON SPENDING
I am greatly encouraged by the first District 186 school board meeting with newly elected members and chairman Chuck Flamini. A majority of four board members voted to turn the page on six years of the Dr. Walter Milton experiment. With some board members in tow, Dr. Milton tried to make his grand plans in education work in Springfield when what was needed was a return to basics with an eye on spending. Milton was not a good fit for Springfield. That should have been clear after two years. Sadly it was not. So we struggled though another four years with a manager who was not able to manage and a board unwilling to pull the plug.
Now we have at least four board members willing to move ahead and fix a huge mess left by Milton. District 186 is broke after not balancing their budget for six years. Teachers without proper certifications were hired, meeting minute tapes erased, Milton and some whom he hired and trusted have resigned. The new board needs to continue cleaning house. District 186 management is top-heavy. Let the new board work and do not push them to bring in another superintendent with grand ideas when all that is needed is a manager who knows the district and how to work within a budget.
SEEING IS BELIEVING
Everyone is watching the case in Ohio, of the three women who were held captive for 10 years. There was a situation next door to my home, about seven years ago that this reminds me of. Late one evening, I saw a police officer knocking on the door of an empty apartment in a two-unit building. I asked could I help and the officer said that the mother of the female tenant in the front apartment had called and asked them to do a welfare check as she could not reach her. However, when the police knocked on the door of the front apartment, a man screamed ‘if you don’t have a warrant, you’re not coming in.’ At that point, the officer went to the back empty apartment and knocked on that door. Did the police demand to see the female who could not be reached by her mother? No, they left. The female tenant could have been restrained or lying dead in the apartment.
I think policies need to be revised. If a report comes in of screams or a person in danger, I think they should at least demand to see the person and do a visual inspection of the home – get a warrant if needed. Maybe this would avoid someone being held captive for 10 years.