2010-09-04 / Editorials & Letters

Writer sees Lakewood’s future in Little Miami fiscal emergency

Editor:

I am not quite sure how the premise behind ensuring an education for our children turned into a modern day Witch hunt, but WOW! I guess I am in the thick of it! Reflecting on the letter from Mr. Kenmir on August 21st, the only true facts he offered were about voter turnout. May I caution readers on complete hear-say and let us not lose sight of what really matters; preserving a school system so that we will be able to educate our children in the future.

I am not sure where Mr. Kenmir obtained his “Facts”, but in following up with the Lakewood Local School Board, there has been no retiring and re-hiring of a Principal. One Principal did resign due to the constant struggle of not knowing whether or not he had a job, but his position was NOT filled. No “double-Dipping” here.

Students who participate in a technical field specialty through C-Tec do qualify to obtain a certification. If they choose to further their education and training after graduation, that is at their own expense. You are not paying for it at all.

As I deliberated over the devastating loss of the levy, I wondered if there were any other school systems in the state of Ohio that were currently operating under state mandates, or would this be a record for the Lakewood Local school district that it certainly does not want to hold.

I contacted the Ohio Department of Education and these ARE the facts! There are currently 9 school districts in “Fiscal Emergency.” They are: East Cleveland City, Youngstown City, Springfield Local, Federal Hocking Local, Jefferson Township Local, McDonald Local, Bellaire Local, Beaver Local and Little Miami LSD. So Lakewood Local would be the only school system in Licking county under Fiscal emergency should the levy fail in November. The last Licking County School system to hold this honor was Northridge Local, who was finally removed from that list in 2002.

In reviewing the Little Miami Website, who declared Fiscal emergency on 7/13/2010, I found some valuable information that I feel voters should know before we follow in their footsteps.

Fiscal emergency means the state will take over operations of the school. The state will make decisions on the operations and finances of the school system. The main goal is to keep the district functioning even if it is at a level below present standards. State control does not mean that the state is now paying our bills. The state’s goal is to ensure that local control can be reinstated at a later time. It means that the state will make further cuts that are needed in order to continue operating, such as closing buildings, vastly larger class sizes, elimination of all extra-curricular and outside activities and changes to busing. Final approval for personnel/staffing, spending and levy decisions will rest with the state.

Most importantly though, is that this is not a “Free Ride”, the appointed commission would demand repayment of any cash advances spent to redesigned the existing school system so monies needed for repayment will be far larger than the original sum that was requested from the voters in the first place. Bankruptcy is just not an option.

I know many families have already expressed grave concerns about the current bus stop redesign. This was just part of the first step in budget consolidation. But with 88 miles of bus stops daily, there are very few options without gas money.

I encourage all citizens to visit the Ohio Board of Education website for answers to their questions. I wish to extend respect and sensitivity to our citizens, but we must not cling to the belief that our problem is not real or that it will just go away.
Cheri Carlton
Hebron

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