Sunday, March 30, 2008

Feeding at the Public Trough: coming up for air

Let me get this straight: A law, which has a direct impact on the finances of the Olentangy District, was passed three years ago, and it's now news to Andy Kerr, district director of facilities.

According to ThisWeekNews.com, "The law, signed in 2005 by then-Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, is designed to protect and improve the environmental health and safety of students and staff in school buildings." Yet, the cost of the improvements -- likely to total more than $500,000 -- has not been budgeted by the district.

Did you get that? The district just passed a huge bond issue and Kerr forgot to add in the known costs of a law that is three years old. Three years old!

You can read this a couple of different ways: Kerr and the administration are incompetent; or, they are already telling tales of woe in support of the next levy.

Let's look at incompetence: How can Kerr and company miss such a big ticket expense? Amazing, isn't it? Everyone associated with public education knew about this law. Well, let me take that back. Everyone with an ounce of competence knew about the law. Yet, there stands Kerr declaring to the papers that he and the rest of the administration missed it altogether. He built a bond issue but forgot the law. Shameful.

Or, tales of woe: I wouldn't be surprised that the district is about to begin bombarding its taxpayers with tales of woe regarding state-mandated expenditures. Sure, this law is a real waste, but that doesn't excuse the district from missing it altogether. It looks like we will hear three years of how smooth the district operates, and how the mean old state is out to get it. Yet, the district never mentions the fact that it has been on the receiving end of millions in state basic aid due to a flaw in the state funding formula. That's right. Olentangy was considered an impoverished district right before the 2004 levy passed. The result, the district has received over $10 million more than it would have if the formula didn't have a few holes. Of course, it's the tales of woe that sell levies -- plus threats, etc.

So, it's either incompetence, or a tale-of-woe PR stunt. Or, and this is my guess, Kerr and company had to come up for air and finally took noticed of the new law. You can only keep your head buried in the public trough for so long.

note: Of course, the district is flush with residual bonds and investment income. But, for the OFK fanatics, I am assuming that none of that exists; the district is running a tight ship with no money to spare. Huh!

55 comments:

Taxpayer of 3 kids said...

Jim....Big NEWS!!!!

March 31, 2008

OLENTANGY'S TOP NEWS
* OLENTANGY SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
* SUPERINTENDENT ISSUES LETTER TO COMMUNITY

* OLENTANGY SUPERINTENDENT ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT
Olentangy Superintendent Scott Davis announced his intention to retire effective April 11, 2008. Davis was diagnosed last year with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. He is completing his second year at Olentangy and his 15th year overall in education.

During his tenure with Olentangy, Davis continued with the district priorities of pushing for higher expectations for academic standards and he sought and enacted efficiencies in operations. In addition, he saw the opening of two elementary schools and one middle school.

“I knew when I came here that I was so fortunate to be in such a special school district,” said Davis. “The people of Olentangy are what make this district so special, high achieving and welcoming to all including my family.”

Davis continued. “Although I remain resolute in my firm belief that I will be delivered from this illness, the fact is I simply cannot devote the time and energy that this school district and community deserve. I will continue to support the district in every way, as a parent and resident, and thank everyone for all of their well wishes and prayers.”

Board president Scott Galloway concurred.

“Dr. Davis’s leadership has served our students, district and community well. He provided steady leadership, achieved excellent results and was an inspiration to all. He will be sorely missed.”

The school board is in the process of providing Olentangy with an interim leader.

***********************************
Since Andy is going to lead the district again starting 4/11/08, can he discipline himself for screwing up?

Jim...what's your take on the Davis retirement? He obviously had this illness before he came to OLS. I'm sorry for his illness, but is it really the responsibility of the taxpayers to comfortably finance his last days and family's future?

I pay for all my own lift insurance, the next superintendent should also.

Which friend will Dimon push down Scottie's throat this time?

Jim Fedako said...

I always thought that the amended contract was nothing less than theft of the taxpayers.

Anonymous said...

The amended contract will save the taxpayers money. It removes a huge liability for the district and was a smart preemptive move by the board.

Jim Fedako said...

What liability was that? Come on now, provide and answer.

Anonymous said...

For a period of five years, Davis could come back from his disability leave and reclaim his job (or similar job). Olentangy would be on the hook to provide that job and to honor the interim superintendent's contract. We could have ended up paying for two superintendents. This is all according to the ORC. The revised contract removed Davis' ability to reclaim a job.

Anonymous said...

"The amended contract will save the taxpayers money. It removes a huge liability for the district and was a smart preemptive move by the board."

Please explain this nonsense.

(crickets chirping...)

Anonymous said...

I did explain it Mr. Cricket. We could have ended up paying for two superintendents. We would have been in that limbo for up to five years. The contract modification removes that possibility and allows the district to move on after Davis' retirement.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Cricket here.

This is where the district shows itself to be so moronic: they should have consulted a physician instead of their dumb lawyer. Davis has a degenerative, fatal disease with a 100% rate of morbidity and 0% chance of recover or rejuvenation, regardless of how promising the clinical trials of his Riluzole/Lithium therapy appear. With the inevitable outcome of ALS being death, the only hope this therapy provides is to delay it.

Sad as it is, this is irrefutable, medical fact. But the members of the board already knew this and didn’t want to look at Davis’s case objectively; they were intent on giving him a pity parting gift from the outset. And, let’s face it: contrary to your altruistic depiction of him, Davis didn’t approach the board with his lawyer in tow, with the district’s best interests at heart in order to preclude us from having to pay two superintendents: he was looking to cut the best deal for himself and his family at the expense of the taxpayer. This is as true as it is tragic.

Scott Davis leaned on the board for a payout that was based on a threat that will never, ever materialize. The district should have done the correct and right thing for the taxpayer and rolled the dice on replacing him upon his leaving. Davis wouldn’t have been able to return if he had wanted to.

Good luck, Scott Davis.

Anonymous said...

They would still have to pay him his salary and all he would have to do is walk in the door on his good days to keep it going. Was it a good deal for him? Yes and it was a good deal for the district.

Jim Fedako said...

WRONG!

Per his contract:

10. ANNUAL MEDICAL EXAMINATION

The Board agrees to pay the reasonable and necessary costs for a complete annual medical examination of the Superintendent by a physician of his choice, with the first such examination occurring in calendar year 2006 (and available once each calendar year thereafter). A statement certifying to the physical competency of the Superintendent from the physician shall be provided to the then-Board President.


This provision is based on state law that allows the board to decide if the superintendent is unable to perform his official duties.

I know, in your world the board amended his contract to protect the voters, and Davis pushed for the amendments because it was all about "the kids."

Anonymous said...

What's wrong about it? He can still come back and then have to pass a physical. As long as he is able to function in the job, he would be passing the physical. Steven Hawking in his wheelchair could technically pass a physical that says he could do the job. This is actually a pretty worthless clause since it has no measurable standard to apply.

Jim Fedako said...

I tire of your nonsense.

Read state law before posting your feelings. This is not Kindergarten.

Stan said...

taxpayer of 3 kids,

I get annoyed with some of your thoughts about how everyone in the district is out to get your money. Scott Davis seems to me, from my personal interactions with him, to be an honorable and honest man. I take offense that you state as fact that he "obviously had this illness before he came to OLS." You cannot say this without checking medical records. Don't post things that you do not know to be fact...especially about a person who is dying. That's just wrong and I would love to meet you in person to set you straight.

Stan

Anonymous said...

I reread 3319 and 3307 and didn't see anything where this exam would stop him from coming back. Can you shed some light on what you believe is the controlling ORC section?

Jim Fedako said...

No kidding! Of course you couldn't find anything.

3319.011 Superintendent pro tempore.
If a board of education determines the superintendent is incapacitated in such a manner that he is unable to perform the duties of the office of superintendent, the board may, by a majority vote of the members of the board, appoint a person to serve in his place pro tempore.

Anonymous said...

Whoa--Stan is one mean alias (or is it Jim or Bob or...).

Watch out Taxpayer/3 Kids! Stan The Badass is gonna set you straight with his nonsense.

Stan's weapons of choice: dumb bombs and dummy bullets.

Anonymous said...

Yes, the superintendent pro tempore, that is the second pro tempore. Keep reading, if the first super comes back from his disability, he gets his old job or equal back and we need to honor the contract of the second one. Hence we are paying for two. We are in that limbo for up to five years.

Taxpayer of 3 kids said...

With Apologies to Jim:

Stan, Stan, Stan....

So you have seen the medical records...please share with us!

Perhaps I should clarify for you my overall thought process...."It appears", should replace "he, obviously". I got a bit emotional, like you, and didn't proof my grammar.

Getting out of Morgan County Schools was a brilliant move for Mr. Davis and his family. As I stated in my first post, I am sorry for his illness and wish nothing but the best for he and his family, personally.

However, his illness does not disqualify my opinions on his professional compensation and actions. That is a business matter! My children come home everyday and tell me about school and I wonder, why we have 23 art programs in high school. We we take 3 different mc'language classes for 6-9 weeks a year. Why Mr. Kerr just figured out a 3 year old law that will cost $500k now..and maybe more when they fix it with the next levy in 3 years. Why we spend over $350k, then two years late add new bleachers and a press box for midgit football stadium....come on Stan open your eyes!

I, too, have met and had dealings with Mr. Davis regarding the best of all the children in our neighborhood. Mr. Davis is a very nice man, but had to refer to Mr. Kerr, a former elected board president, on many decisions. At his rate of pay, for his limited experience, I expected a bit more.

Mr. Davis was in over his head and tried to placate the citizens verbally, but many of his actions were direct contradictions of what he told and promised the citizens.

Perhaps after you meet me, or is that beat me up, I can share extensive correspondence to support my positions.

Let me ask you Stan, do you currently have children in OLS? How long have you resided in the district? Are you employed by OLS, or another public body?
And finally, how much have your property taxes increased in the last 9 years? (I just did my tax return, so I know my answer).

Stan...I write the checks, and I vote...so I have the right to speak out. I am not afraid to tell people I voted against the levy and why. My reasons are logical and fiscally sound. Perhaps we can discuss those merits as we wait for the police and paramedics to clean up your fit of rage against me.

It is important for our education system and our community that the Board find someone who has experience and can stand on their own feet. The taxpayers cannot allow Dimon to jam another candidate down our throats without proper vetting.

Jim Fedako said...

8:36 --

You are lost ... realy, really lost. The law is written at the 8th grade level, and you are lost. Amazing!


Just one little aside: the contract runs out in THREE years (four years when the changes were signed).

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer of 3 kids
The district has an extensive art program because many parents appreciate that the district recognizes that not all kids are all about math or social studies. One of the benefits of the district is that it offers kids numerous opportunities to explore their interests and strengths while also getting an excellent education in the core classes as well. Parents actually want these classes available for their children, and colleges look for kids who are well rounded. Have your children hit the college application process age yet? If not, you will soon see that college want the whole package, not just a kid who can test well.

The district offers language exploration at the middle school because it offers kids an opportunity to learn something about several languages before they spend an entire year taking a language they have no affinity for. They can then earn high school credit in middle school in a foreign language in 8th grade, just as they can take high school math in 8th grade if they are ready for it. It then opens their schedules later to take AP courses.

You may not want these opportunities for your children, but many of us do. That is why they exist. I guarantee you would hear a huge public outcry if all of the opportunities disappeared. Kids come in all kinds of packages, not just those that are geared toward the 3 R's. We should recognize that they are individuals and that some will shine in the arts more so than academics, but that the skills they learn there can be applied in other areas as well.

Jim Fedako said...

Interesting. Parents want these classes for their children, so they force their neighbors to pay. And, they force retired widows too. Nice.

What a wonderful system. One that rewards parents for voting taxes on others. This used to be considered theft, now it is called "the public good."

I have come to realize that this -- the redistribution of wealth within school districts -- is the singular reason for our country's slow drift to socialism and away from personal responsibilities.

"I want it, and I want you to pay for it." Childish.

Whatever happened to parents having the personal pride to pay for these activites with their own money? Lone gone I suppose.

7:22 -- The next time that you are in Wal-Mart, thank the elderly who now have to work an additional 150 per year to pay for fluff on your child's transcript. I know, I know ... let them eat cake!

Anonymous said...

It's obvious that Dr. Davis is on this string. Hi, Dr. Davis--hope your therapy is going well. It's also pretty easy to see what the trend in public education has been the last few decades:

Electives go up
Learning goes down

Our schools have moved from education to edutainment to the point where teachers are now instructing our kids on how to falsify federal documents on Photoshop and waste valuable classroom time discussing ways to eliminate stereotyping.

Last year the Chairman of AT&T committed to bringing many jobs back to America that had been offshored. He stated at a recent symposium that the company is having a very difficult time finding Americans who have the skill sets to fill these jobs as they're bringing them home. It's a problem.

Keep giving 'em cake, Olentangy. Keep giving 'em cake.

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer/3 Kids,

I got your back, bro. No central office weeny is gonna touch you!

Anonymous said...

Frankly, if my kid as a particular interest in art or music, I'm going to seek professional quality instruction outside of the school for him/her; that is, instruction from people who make their living as practitioners in that discipline, not public school teachers.

Anonymous said...

taxpayer--

If it's turns out to be Raiffe or Brown threatening you just give him a wedgie and mess up his hair. That'll send him home crying to momma!

taxpayer of 3 said...

Stan hasn't answered my questions...don't members of the board and adminstration refuse to answer questions too....hummmmmm coincidence?

taxpayer of 3 said...

Amen 6:16...

So I'm not the only one who shells out 4k plus + equipment, annually for private instruction that the public school system benefits from when they win awards! That's why our kids are in the front row!

7:22pm Art Sympathy Advocate

I have never met anyone who received a free college ride, or was "well rounded" by taking the blow off pottery class (or whatever else is offered). The ones who excelled took Saturday classes, every week, in sculpting at CCAD on their parents dime to perfect their craft.

I don't discredit art at all...but do you offer that variety of social studies,literature, etc that you do in art???? That's for the even better funded universities to offer. Teach them to throw and catch before explaining the intracacies of the spread offense! (Ask the football coach to explain the analogy)

I have a recent college/OLS graduate that has worked for me on and off for 5 years. A fine person, very smart, who can't write proper grammitical sentences. Their comments on the art classes..."easy A...no effort required. I would've been an idiot not to take them".

I get the explore mc language year...but why the second year...why change it from 6th to 7th grade next year...didn't you all just get another $90m to pay "for the children"?

Give me results not psychobable!

Open up your process to people with opposite views and ideas if you want to make the kids "well rounded". You would all be more successful if you did!

Anonymous said...

Taxpayer of 3: How's this for results? WHy don't you ask the kid from Liberty who just got a free ride to college on a music scholarship if the music instruction he got there did him no good? I'm sure you will give all the credit to someone else, though, so I guess it won't be much use to give you the results you asked for.

stan said...

Taxpayer of 3 kids...sorry I didn't reply....I have been out on a business trip all week...but I would be glad to reply now....

...I has been posted in the comments section several times on this blog that Scott Davis "obviously" new about his condition before he came to this district. I'm not saying he did or didn't...I just find it very offensive that you would say something like that without knowing about a person who is dying.

...I would also like to address the guy/gal that posted as anonymous, yet basically called me a liar about my name. Stan is my real name....hasn't changed since I was born in 1956. Would give you my name and address...but yea...I have heard about the people on this site and the things they have done to peoples' houses....

Anyway...back to taxpayer...

Unfortunately or fortunately...when I write something...I proof my grammar so what I say is what I mean...I think you actually meant what you said and you actually believe that he knew this before he came to the district. I haven't seen his records...its really none of my business. But neither have you...so you shouldn't make it seem like you have inside information. Isn't it just possible that he wanted to come to Olentangy to better his career like many others do?

I'm not speaking any on his professional abilities...I didn't say anything about that...and neither did you. You made him sound like a liar by making it seem like you know for a fact that Davis had this disease and knew about before coming here. That is your own opinion and should be stated in such a way.

I would also like to address some of your other issues with the education system. Especially those about art/music/world languages. First of all...there are many people who receive scholarships for taking art/music classes. My niece received a full ride to Ashland University two years ago on art. She never took any extra lessons like you suggest, but what do I know? I only lived it. Also, many colleges and universities give grants and scholarship for students who participate in the college bands/choirs. That doesn't include music majors. If parents choose to get extra instruction for their students...that's great...but our students get a very good art/music education at Olentangy. Many of the music teachers do still perform and give private lesson (this sentance was to whichever anonymous said that the teachers don't practice what they teach any more). Also...maybe you haven't heard, but the district is doing away with your hated second year of world language. And also general music, some pe, some art, some health...so I guess the district listened to what you all say and are starting to just focus on the core subjects...when in actuality, students enjoy coming to school because of the other classes which makes them work hard in core subject...something that you all don't see. This new schedule won't help test scores at all. Lets wait two years down the road...and I will post those results...

I am not connected with the district at all. I don't know why you all think that. I am a private citizen who supports his school district. Unlike most of the people on this blog. I do have children in the district. I have lived in the district for 4 years so I don't have a long tax history. Actually...as I look back at the history...my taxes rose about $200 over the past four years. That sounds a lot different than all of the estimates of 7% per year. I'm not really a money person...I just pay my taxes because I support my schools....

There is no fit of rage..and I never said anything about physical harm...I just said that I would like to meet you in person to set you straight. I am just disappointed that someone would speak about another human being in that sort of way. Would you say that to his face? Well...probably...because he couldn't do anything about it. I just think you are a sad person for the things you say. Maybe your parents just didn't bring you up very well..

I don't know anything about football stadiums or how much it cost the district when they updated OHS...but I do know that the stadiums are packed every friday night. Obviously the stadium was needed to house the large spectators...since you all on here don't believe in football in public schools, you have probably never been to the football games...but they are packed.

As far as the next supt, I too believe it needs to be someone with experience. Hopefully they can find someone who knows what education is about...what is best for students. Something many people on this blog and the district don't understand.

Stan

Anonymous said...

So...the tens of millions we have spent on all these bands and orchestras over the years has yielded one music scholarship? Only an administration dolt can claim that as good ROI.

If there was a tradition of Olentangy grads going to, say, Juilliard, the New England Conservatory or Berklee College of Music then I could support a $600,000 strings program and the millions more spent on the various bands and orchestras currently offered but, alas, there is no such tradition in the OLSD. The only tradition Olentangy seems to have is low OSU admittance rates and a 24% math/English college freshman remediation rate (24% of Olentangy graduates require remedial (read "high school") math and/or English instruction upon entering college).

I'm sorry...what was the value-add nonsense you were saying about our music program?

By the way...playing guitar is one of my life passions, having played for more than 30 years. I had all private lessons.

taxpayer of 3 said...

oh 8:40....fast ball down the middle.

Tell me that the child had no private instruction, didn't play in local youth orchestras or symphonies...then I will concede that 1 child got a $100m benefit of OLS. Otherwise be careful who you slam....You have no clue the investment in private lessons for child musicians. We start our children as young as 3 or 4...not 14.

I am one of 6 children of professional musicians. Yes, classical musicians and teachers who funded a family. 5 of the 6 children received college scholarships of some sort for music. If my parents depended on the school systems to help my family, my siblings would have had more student loans.

We all studied privately with the finest musicians in a one of the 3 largest cities in this country. My sisters played in that city's youth orchestra from 7th-12th grades. They received 5 year (including masters) full rides for their ability and one currently, plays one of the highest chairs in one of the finest symphonies in the world.

Guess what..it was pedigree, instruction, discipline and perciverence. It had nothing to do with the high school "arts program". All 6 were accomplished prior to high school.

Recall my earlier post...I said ART...not Music! When the district threatened everybody 2 months ago...it was the strings program...not the art or football program! We are contemplating pulling our child from the orchestra program because they are far more advanced than what they are teaching...not because of the district, but because of privately paid for instruction.

Cut the band, where many kids learn and flourish...I'll have you for lunch. There are 3 music programs..strings, choir, band...still 20 less than ART.

So with a district where one school last year had a pregnant teacher that caused a cancellation of the performance...the principal who could've planned for it 6 months in advance, cancelled the performance cause he didn't get of his rear and hire a replacement said, "Sometimes kids have to deal with disappointment". I know then the district doesn't care about my kids development.

For the record, I was the only kid in my family not to receive the best musician award in high school. I played 1st chair in our symphony and jazz band, but was the MVP in several sports as well. No thanks to the school system ...and all thanks to my siblings and parents.

I did make a clay mug in junior high...I still have it in my workshop. I would be very poor if I relied on that 2 year public school experience.

Jim Fedako said...

Funny thing about Stan (Stan Bulcher in previous posts) is that he made this comment a while age:

Here's the rub Jim...I was been a teacher for many years (not in the Olentangy district) and have been thoroughly impressed with the programs at Olentangy Local Schools for my own students. We moved from the Worthington Schools where I taught because I realized that Worthington, who's motto is "Where excellence is a tradition" should really be "Where excellence used to be a tradition."

Now, there could be two Stan's out there, but I doubt it.

So, while Stan is no longer a public school employee, he does have a strong history in that area.

By the way, the stadium is never full.

Jim Fedako said...

And, you have to love this remark from Stan:

I have heard about the people on this site and the things they have done to peoples' houses

Calls everyone a liar and then throws out that whopper.

Is reality on vacation, Stan?

taxpayer of 3 said...

Stan:

Thank you ...I appreciate and respect your response. You are as impassioned as I.

My name tells you I have 3 children in the district..so please don't infer I don't. Oh I do support the district..but trust and verify is something Ronald Reagan taught us all. Please read my post regarding the music programs.

I want children learning language..not sampling it for 2 years. It is to tough to really learn it in 9th grade..start young and emphasize it. My middle schooler has to repeat mc language next year...sorry Stan...reality in this house.

Stan...I said middle school football stadiums, specifically Orange Middle..$350k according to Andy..where admission is free and no one goes at 9:00am on Sunday mornings. And I played football through college.

I agree on the new supt. Davis was not a good choice. There are many issues with the district which they (the board) won't discuss. The community needs to keep the pressure on the board to take back the control they ceded to the Sup't, who is our employee, not vice versa.

Get involved and see what many here see who are involved..or have been like Jim.

For the record...my taxes have increased gross 103% since 1999...majority of it schools!

taxpayer of 3 said...

oh my...did I back off too soon!

Anonymous said...

Page A2 of today's Dispatch (Sat 4/5) shows a student of Pickerington Central playing a violin in preparation for a performance today at the Southern Theater with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra, which consists of 20 area high school students.

Are any OLSD students in this orchestra? Are any OLSD strings students involved in anything like this outside of their school? Do their teachers encourage, provide or otherwise inform their students of such opportunities outside of the classroom?

$600,000 annual cost, folks. For what return?

Anonymous said...

Excuse the length of this; I just have a lot on my mind after reading this string of posts and others.

I have noticed an unfortunate trend on this blog for people to disparage others whose opinions they disagree with through a variety of means, including sarcasm and name calling. I understand that people have passionate feelings about these issues, which is commendable, but name calling and such is simply unproductive, and quite frankly, immature.

Mr. Fedako clearly is well read and does research, and though I disagree with him on some issues and agree with him on others, he is at least well informed, which cannot be said of many others who regularly post on this blog. I support Olentangy Schools, and he does not, but as a parent I respect his passion and his decisions with regard to his own children; it would be my hope that he would respect mine as well despite our disagreement. For the record, I am not a fan of how Ohio funds its schools, so essentially every school district in the state can claim many of the same issues that OLSD has.

Many have posted comments such as paying for private instruction in sport or the arts, or not being able to afford private school, etc. It raises questions in my mind such as "what about the people in the district who cannot afford private instruction?" NOt everyone who lives here is well heeled, and some are "house rich and cash poor." I also wonder "Are those who can't afford it simply out of luck if public schools don't offer opportunities in the arts (all arts) and athletics because they can't afford private instruction?" What if their children have talent that they can't work to foster privately? I agree that it is not the public's place to pay for the wants of others, but I do feel for those who can't afford it otherwise.

I completely understand that many people don't want to finance such things. Though it is not an exact correlation, I kind of feel the same way about some other entities our taxes support. For example, I have never needed fire or police protection, and I see the firefighters out grilling their brats sometimes or sitting in chairs with nary a run to go on during an entire shift. My taxes pay for that, but though I have never used those services, I am glad they are there for those who do need them. Maybe one day I will, maybe not, but the odds are that I won't. The same goes with senior services, as I am a long way from needing them, or services for the mentally retarded; I don't mind paying for services that others need. Clearly not everyone feels that way.

The same, though, is true of public schools. Most will use them, some will not, and they are funded in ways that not everyone likes but which no one seems to be able to solve. Some say they can't afford private school because they have to pay taxes,but if one has three kids, private education would cost at least $15K a year, much higher than the average of what one pays to educate three kids in OLSD. For example, I pay taxes on 300K of valuation, about $4,200 a year. I couldn't educate my kids privately for that. If one can't pay private tuition because of taxes, that person probably couldn't afford private education anyway, but that isn't really the point. The point is that most of us were educated publicly, and most of us are productive citizens. There always have been, and there always will be exceptions, no matter whether people were educated privately, publicly, etc.

My taxes have gone from $2,800 to $4,200 in 7 years, but I believe that the education my kids are receiving is an excellent value. Some may not believe their kids receive a quality education in the district; when the economy improves and it is again a seller's market, those people then have a choice to make.

Mr. Fedako has stated that there is no appreciable difference in home values between BV, OLSD and BW. Why, then, did people not move to those districts when they originally bought their homes? Taxes are probably lower there, but is the quality of education as good? And, when the economy recovers, which history tells us that it will, will people move to those districts? Probably not. These are all questions that I think about when I see some of the postings on this blog.

People also discuss remediation rates, etc. Those rates come from extrapolation of data from only public colleges, so it is not really an accurate indicator, as many OLSD students go to private institutions as well. To say that private schools always produce a better result than public schools do is not an apples to apples correlation either because public schools do not have the luxury of picking and choosing the students they educate as private schools do. Some public school students will, indeed, require remediation as some have learning disabilities which make it difficult for them to learn in given areas such as math and reading. There are also private school students who will require remediation, though, too, and to say otherwise doesn't make sense.

I understand that the intent of a blog is to share opinions, but it would seem that the most beneficial thing to do, rather than bash teachers, superintendents and each other, would be to work toward productivity and solutions rather than simply spout off at one another.
I

Jim Fedako said...

There's a lot here, so I'll hit issues one at a time.

Mr. Fedako has stated that there is no appreciable difference in home values between BV, OLSD and BW. Why, then, did people not move to those districts when they originally bought their homes?

Let me flip this logic around: Why would anyone ever buy a house in the city of Columbus. Yet, houses in Clintonville, etc., appreciate in value despite low-quality schools.

When the economy recovers, Clintonville houses will once again appreciate. By the way, history also shows that Victorian Village houses appreciate faster than those in Olentangy, poor schools and all

You made a decision in buying your house and then attribute your valuations to others. You can't do that. Well, you can, it's just an invalid argument.

... it would be my hope that he would respect mine as well despite our disagreement.

You can read this blog or not, the choice is yours. I must pay the new levy or I will lose my house. Can you see the difference. Your support of the levy means that I must pay the new tax.

Do you realize that schools love to subsume every parental activity. Why? Because, by doing so, they turn what was once a private cost into a "public good." Those who gain from the new "public goods" become constituents beholden to the district.

So, activity A that was once private, and is now public, can be cut as a threat to force support for a new levy.

And, in fact, the schools will state as much when they threaten pay-to-play. They tell parents that pay-to-play is more expensive than the new levy (at least in the short term). So, parents vote yes to gain a dollar advantage over their neighbors. Don't you see something wrong with this picture?

But, you agree with this situation. How can I tell? Your focus is always on "you." You only care about your advantage. Oh, sure, you bring up the marginal student to defend you point, but you never bring up the marginal resident -- elderly, single parents, etc. -- in the balance. It's all about you.

Serve on the board and listen to folks talk about losing their houses because of increasing taxes. These are real folks and real situations in the district. And, this is the point that you need to ponder, you pass some of these folks as you walk into area supermarkets. As they smile while stand on aching feet, at least smile in return, they are working to pay your child's art class. You should REALLY appreciate them.

taxpayer of 3 said...

11:18am

Let me check on the numbers..there are a few Youth programs operated by the Columbus Symphony. They must be auditioned for annually. Oh, and it isn't free!

On the first day of strings in 4th grade, the teacher hands out a list of instructors in the area that can specifically teach the child said intrument, as they are,"generalist and don't have the expertise that private instructors have".

That $600k number is interesting..what is that and where did it come from?

If our district WILLINGLY shared the line item budget with the public...we could answer that question ourselves.

Anonymous said...

I've seen the $600K figure several places, but I believe I first saw it in the State Operating Standards Analysis that Jim so kindly has posted. This is the "third party input" that Mr. McFearsome so loudly touted in order to prove to skeptical residents that the board "continually seeks efficiencies". They commissioned the report and then used it as a central office table decoration. I challenge McFearsome to recite a single recommendation from the report. God knows he can't recite a single reduction enacted from it, because they didn't do any.

It outlines millions of dollars of crap that the district loves to spend money on. It's a real eye opener.

Stan said...

As a former music teacher...many of you don't realize that even though there are programs outside of the district such as Columbus Youth Symphony, Junior Winds, Columbus Youth Jazz etc. You MUST be a participant in your school music program to participate in those extra activities.

And yes Jim...I attend the football games every Friday and our stadiums at the high school are full. The stadiums at one middle school that I attend the football games is also typical full.

When it comes down to it...everybody has the right to vote. The taxpayers spoke out loud and clear on the issue and overwhelmingly voted yes for our schools...even better than in 2004. The reason? Our community members support the schools.

No their are not two Stan's...I am the same one. I never contradicted myself. I said in my previous posts that I used to be a school teacher...that never changed. Taxpayer asked me if I was connected to Olentangy as a staff member where I said no. The truth. Don't try to make me look like a liar. Jim, you call the district a liar and that they use fuzzy math..but you too also manipulate things to show your point of view...fuzzy or just arrogant? I think a little bit of both.

Taxpayer...yes...my niece is one student who received a scholarship for her art skills...but I am sure there are there are other...I just can't speak on that because I don't know...and neither does anybody on this blog. Music scholarships happen all the time. That is ridiculous for you all to deny that. How many times do you see someone getting a scholarship or a full ride for having a good government grade? Not very often...scholarships for academics typically come from overall GPA, ACT or SAT scores. Most full ride scholarships come from specialized area...art, music, sports etc.

There is no school that can say "We have a tradition for our students going to Julliard." It is only reserved for the best of the best. Lets cuts math, science, reading because we don't have a tradition of sending students to Harvard. Silly logic there anonymous.

I don't know where you get millions spent on the bands and orchestras...but you obviously have a child in choir because you never mention that money spent on choirs. Much of the budget for the band program comes from parent organizations like the music booster as does the money for the choir and orchestra. The school district probably funds about 15% of the budget for the band program. Not very much at all.

Stan

Jim Fedako said...

Stan,

Define "full." That doesn't mean, "Hey, look. There's a lot of people here." Those stadiums have never been full. Never.

The community did not pay for your niece's music courses, it was individuals such as me, along with your neighbors, the elderly working at Wal-Mart, etc., who paid those bills.

Can I assume that your niece received a scholarship from a state university? That means I am once again paying for her classes.

And, is her intent to be a public school music teacher? Then, I will continue be paying for her.

When will this cycle of redistribution end? Answer that, Stan.

taxpayer of 3 said...

Jim:

Warning...Stan's niece was an art student, not music...at Ashland U.
Don't want Stan picking on you!


Stan..you are somewhat correct in the specialty scholarship statement...but as a former music teacher you have to conceded the only music students that go to the next level compliments of the university, are the finest and best trained....and your best musicians in the band studied privately!

The dollars spent on music compared to football are a pitance. Music lasts a lifetime...football...one hit to knee and better study harder young man.

Jim Fedako said...

taxpayer of 3:

Thanks. I tend to nod off while reading Stan's nonsense.

Anonymous said...

This from Stan:
"There is no school that can say 'We have a tradition for our students going to Julliard.' It is only reserved for the best of the best. Lets cuts math, science, reading because we don't have a tradition of sending students to Harvard. Silly logic there anonymous."

You don't get it, Stan. A music program like Olentangy's goes far beyond the state minimum standards. It's funded to the gills which, to the logical person makes no sense unless there is a special reason for doing so--and that reason should not be "because strings is fun!" or, what appears to be the case here, vanity. There should be a reason, a tangible benefit, why we spend what we do on music and art.

And, yes, there is "tradition" in schools sending kids to the "best of the best" music or art colleges, or otherwise preparing them to become professionals in their chosen fields. In the case of music and art, there are performing and fine arts schools, of which Columbus has several. This doesn't help us here, in Lewis Center, but you can find performing and fine arts high schools in every city that, yes, do have a tradition of sending their kids to the "best of the best".

My sister had a special interest in art. She took classes at art schools during her high school years in order to nurture her talent and won a scholarship to the NY School of Visual Arts--the 'Jiulliard' of art schools. And, having graduated from such a school, she had access to career opportunities that few people with art degrees are offered. She would never have gotten into SVA had she relied on her high school art program to develop her talent.

taxpayer of 3 said...

8:41...

Excellent post and thanks for validating my music rant.

If I may add fuel to the fire...I never played high school football..I was in the band..guess what..I played top 20, Division 1 football without putting a helmet on, except my Hutch set!

Stan said...

8:41

First of all...lets talk about state music standards. After elementary level, there are no state minimums for music. Every school district in Ohio that has a band, choir or strings program is going above and beyond the state minimum. So that point is invalid.

Jim...

To define full (when talking about high school) I have seen this on several occasions. Times when there are so many people sitting in the home stands that home supporters must sit in the visitors stands and/or stand around. We have done that....Do you think students would perform better on their tests if there were no "special" courses or activities. It is my view that they would perform worse. Who wants to come to school all day just to do math, science or reading? The students enjoy coming to school because they can participate in band, art, choir, strings, foreign language, technology...etc. The "special" programs always have to advocate for themselves or they will get cut, but typically, those turn into careers for students. But you probably don't see graphic design as a "real" career.

Like taxpayer said...my niece is an art student at a private university. And no...she is a commercial art major...

Taxpayer...I will not concede about music scholarships. There are many fine students who get scholarships without ever having studied privately. I never kept track of that when I was a band director...but I would say it was a 50/50 split.

8:19...you don't get it. Many of those arts schools are alternatives in the public school system...still funded by the public taxes. I'm sure you would not like to see that here. I would love to have a music fine arts school in Olentangy. But I'm sure Jim would fight against that too....maybe the "overfunded" music program would then be at a position to achieve the next level. I don't know where you all have been, but Olentangy has fine music programs. Olentangy Liberty is nationally recognized in several areas of music and Olentangy High School is well-recognized around the state.

8:41...you obviously have something against the strings program. I can't speak to that because I don't have any relatives in that program. We are a band family. I have address the "funded to the gills" comment in an earlier post. The music program is not highly funded or even respected. In fact, next year at the middle school level...music took a huge hit. Now middle school students will never have a general music course plus students now have to choose between P.E./Art/Technology/Health vs. Band/Choir/Strings. Funny...a program that is so funded is being put on the back burner...the high schools won't feel this punch, but when you see 40 students in the high school program in about four years from the district's intentional hit to the music programs, thank the administration. By the way...this was all done to get test scores up although when you look at research...you will see that music helps raise test scores. Students who participate in school music programs get into better schools and receive better scholarship (music or non-music). How backwards does this district think?

I think sports are great. Builds school spirit and camaraderie in the student body. It doesn't take a lot to play a sport, but it is good for the school.

Stan

Jim Fedako said...

Stan,

Just wondering ... Is there anything a school would do that would cause you to question it, or no longer support it?

Should there be publicly-finded bicycle racing teams? That is the sport that I participated in during my youth. Shouldn't the public (my neighbors, etc.) also kick in for an Olentangy cycling team?

Anonymous said...

Stan's 5:28 post has revealed him to be an administration stooge.

taxpayer of 3 said...

Stan:

What kind of band director were you..my father taught for 42 years in the same school and could name exact numbers who went beyond h.s and received scholarships...and who they studied with.

Don't get me wrong I support the music program and the funding cuts are silly. But, why don't they offer 23 music programs...like the 23 art programs.

You defend the art programs and spread concern about music funding..Jim's point....you can't fund every whim. Cut back the art..help pay for something else, like music.

"It doesn't take a lot to play a sport" Awfully bold comment when you are sitting in the bleachers.

Come be an athlete with either Jim or me...we'll show you how easy it really is!

Jim, I like the cycling idea. Teach kids a life skill in fitness and it would be cheaper to run than a lot of other school funded programs.

So we can put this all to rest for Stan...let's make everybody happy in the everybody gets an opportunity school district and put an annual surcharge of 5k on every house in the district...then everybody gets everything and everybody is happy! (Mostly the happy spending Administration)....Then give taxpayers the choice of where they want to use their own tax dollars.

I hear Academy has a great Orchestra..I could use that money to offset the tuition. Gee...interesting concept, huh, Stan!

Anonymous said...

Computer Science courses: 1
Jewelry making courses: 3


Maximum Entertainment for Every Student!

Anonymous said...

$33K for band uniforms.

-------------------------------

When I was in school, we sold subs and contributed 4 plus years of community service to pony up the money ourselves for new uniforms. The district didn't pay for it, the band did.

However, here at OLSD, the district pays for it. Hmmmm.

Someone please tell me that was only a portion of the cost. Then again, maybe I don't want to know that either.

PS: Isn't life full of doing fun things that you want to do vs. what your boss tells you must be completed? When I talk with people working at the local steel plant, they tell me they love stamping the same metal part 8 hours a day.

Stan said...

To be honest...I would love to see cycling as a sport in the school. It is the best exercise you can get. Don't say that I don't know what it takes to play a sport just because I am a musician. I ride the TOSRV and do cross-country rides. I know exactly what it takes. Unfortunately...there is not enough interest to make it a school sport...plus who would you compete with?

I would also like to say that band...although mostly music is something that does require just as much physical stamina as a football player does. Ever hear of drum corps? Its considered a sport...

Jim...I question things that the school does every day. Just not the same things you do. I always wonder why music is the first thing to go. I wonder why this district insists that adding more CORE time to its middle school schedule will change test scores. Wait for two years...you will not see a change. Test scores will stay the same.

To the anonymous post that complained about band uniforms. When you open a new building...you have to buy new uniforms. If there is no booster organization to raise funds at a new building, most districts buy the first set then fund raise for replacements.

Jim Fedako said...

Stan,

Why don't we cut out the middleman and settle up between ourselves? You split the cost of new bikes for my kids. Split, half and half. My kids get teh bikes and you get the "public good" benefit.

Actually, I expected you to say that the public purse should pay for cycling. Why? You do not understand the concepts of scarcity and the margin.

Plus, you feel good voting other peoples money.

taxpayer of 3 said...

Stan....this is your quote...."I think sports are great. Builds school spirit and camaraderie in the student body. It doesn't take a lot to play a sport, but it is good for the school."

Hence, why I offered you the opportunity to join Jim and I...perhaps I took, "it doesn't take a lot to play a sport" out of context?

I'm glad us middle age guys are doing something...otherwise our hearts would explode and we wouldn't be able to watch over OLS!