I think the whole goal of the state report card is just to slap F grades on every public school to make the case for more money for charter schools and it is disgusting. What is even more hilarious is that the state superintendent is out there saying oh don't pay attention to these grades they don't mean much ..if they don't mean much why are we releasing them in the first place?
You may want to reconsider that comment Paula. Nobody... aside from Brad Lanier... has been an advocate for Winton Woods levy and bond issues quite the way I have been over 10 years..... but even I am viewed as some kind of enemy because I agreed with the statement that a recent alumnus made during the Felipe fiasco. I really wish you would be a little bit more objective. In fact the comments I made on here were in the hopes that somebody would read it and pay attention to what needed to be done to get these buildings built.
If you look at the presentations (and this goes back years), most of the support for bond issues and levy requests comes from "district insiders" and those connected to the school fairly directly. Normally, these campaigns are led by community members. The late Joe Nuxhall always was the "honorary chairman" every time Fairfield wanted to pass a levy or whatever. WW doesn't have their Joe Nuxhall. I think this is fairly problematic and I thought it was problematic when I was holding the signs at Winton/Kemper. While it is true that voter turnout in a presidential election will bring out a lot of voters that probably don't pay property taxes (college students, for example).. it is difficult to see a long term trend of homeowners willing to pay ever higher taxes for much of anything. At some point, Forest Park will have to raise taxes since the commercial tax base can't continue to support the level of services required. This is a result of what we were told 10 years ago by Dr. Ray Terrell (Former mayor of Woodlawn). Poverty is moving out from the City of Cincinnati into the outer ring suburbs.
Mt. Healthy is at 2.00% as is Reading and Woodlawn. It is naive to think that FP won't soon follow suit.. as well as requiring its residents to pay taxes to the town where they work (another 1.5% if you work in Springdale). FP is a fine town.. but is it a cost-effective place to live?
Again, West Chester, Milford, and even the far west side suburbs are growing.. in part.. because of a commercial tax base that can sustain things like new schools. FP doesn't have the market cornered on diversity as Fairfield and even West Chester have significant minority populations. (In WC, there is a significant Indian and Asian population that reflects the many professional businesses out there (P and G, etc.)). I hate to be disrespectful, but what exactly does FP and GH have to offer that other lower cost places do not? Even if you think GH is kick *** awesome, is that the long term thinking? Is that what the business community is telling you?
Places like Hamilton are actually investing a lot of money in turning their business districts into art communities. Everyone wants to be "FOR" something... but being "FOR" something and agreeing to pay for it for 37 years requires a level of faith and confidence in both the community (is this place on an upward trajectory?) and the people in charge of the governmental entity making the request. Some people in the district clearly are in a better position to shoulder such burdens. I can tell you, in my canvassing, that a lot of families clearly are hurting and are looking to fix their broken screen door before they provide WW with a bunch of new doors. Even people that are pretty happy with WW are not happy with the concept of parting with another $20-$30 a month. If options such as "open enrollment" were explored, would that change the stance that building a new school is the only option? What might that look like? Let's take the HS (1100 students). Could those students be divided between Fairfield, Northwest, Finneytown, Colerain, Mt. Healthy? I don't know. I think it would be a pretty interesting experiment to say the least. I think that, in 2016, that the idea that you must attend and support schools that are in geographic proximity to you are not necessarily over, but the concept really can be challenged in a day and age when there are many ways to attain the same goal... IF the community thinks that it is the best option. For some people, this vote is sentimental. You graduated from GH or FP or WW and you want to see that school be there until you die. You want to be able to see your children and grandchildren graduate from there. That's not an entirely terrible premise. You feel that you have an obligation to "pay it forward". In some cases, the community demands and expects that a school serve the people of that community. Yes, virtually every other community around WW approved new school construction.. but what are those bonds like between the people and their schools? Even when I worked there, I lamented the fact that support for anything a WW was event specific. Very few people "bleed blue and green". Contrast that to your typical Colerain or Princeton fan. Am I wrong on that?
But, and this is key, can you sustain that desire? It's easy for a college student to say "Yeah.. I'll vote for that"... but they won't be around to foot the bill. It is my understanding that apartment managers / leasing companies aren't going to eat any increased property taxes... regardless of source. They will pass along the property tax increase in the form of higher rent or reduced amenities. This is a bad thing... but they have to make money too. I don't think that any of Bass Pro is in the WW district, but a portion of it is in Forest Park. When it moves out, the taxes go away and those burdens will now be shouldered by the homeowner as well.
Katrina Rugless hit the nail on the head. There really needed to be a community discussion after the last defeat showed only 29% approval. Believe me, we worked hard to even get that number. Now, the request has been trimmed by about 20% due to an increased state funding. Okay, but the fundamental request is still the same. I wonder how they will cross the finish line since you have a big NO wall in SFT. They may only have 15% of the students in the district, but they have probably 33% of the vote. Let's say GH is a wash. I wonder how they believe that they will get 2/3 of the vote in FP. Maybe they will, but would anybody lay money on it. In the repair/replace/new scenario, "NEW" clearly wins.. but that is based on the premise that no other options are available. That, to me, appears to be huge. Perhaps the lack of attendance at these conversations suggests that most people have their minds made up. I am not saying anything to disparage the wonderful and awesome administration of the Winton Woods school system.....but I am presenting the "bear" case for all of this from those that I am speaking with.
Christine or Mirth or GG.. do you see real desire to disband the school district? If it were put to a vote, what kind of percentage do you think it would be in GH and SOTL? Has this alternative been marketed to the voter by any group or groups?
Irrespective of the arguments about "doing it for the kids", etc. The demographic of the "I 275 loop" west of I-75 is becoming decidedly poorer as wealth continues to flee to Butler and Warren Counties. Gentrification efforts within the City of Cincinnati (The Banks, etc.) are also attracting people there. In places like Princeton, you have a huge commercial tax base that can shoulder the burden. GH and FP are already two of the highest taxes places in SW Ohio (as judged by property+income tax rates). Even factoring in the benefits of new construction, do they think people will pay a huge premium (considering there is no tax base) to support such a plan? Just a fair question that people are asking and probably the biggest hurdle to a 37 year commitment.
Amen GG.... As you can see... most of their staff gave up years of service and experience because they were tired of it too....its probably why they have such a small base of support...despite the real need for upgrades. One funny story to add to that in a meeting last year the former wwta president challenged all of the Administration to donate $500 to the bond issue campaign... as he pledged to do right there and then. You could have heard a pin drop. One administrator did match him right there and then ...but I know one assistant principal at the high school was like... no no I'm not doing that! Hilarious!
I keep coming back to the thought that this is an administration driven campaign (with a stable of about 25 (mostly white) people from the community).. and always sort of has been. I was probably being generous MB. Even though I have advocated for the new construction .... I keep coming back to a couple of hurdles that WW keeps stumbling on. The same ham-handed approach that the WW "team" has taken with the staff (We don't need you..everyone can be replaced) appears to be the same strategy that they take with the community as well. I don't say that with any sort of glee. I can clearly see that the administration believes that if they "guilt' enough people into voting YES, they believe it will pass. One recent alumni is, like I posted earlier, taking a loud stance on all of this.. as are some of his classmates. I have not called for anybody's firing.. but he did. Guilt trips aren't going to work... even and especially in Forest Park, where you are going to need about a 65% YES vote to get this through. I can tell you that there are many loud opponents to this in that community that will be a lot more effective than anybody working for WW. A number of people take their cue from people like Katrina Rugless (who lives SOTL). She is clearly NOT on board with it.
Not to play the "race card".. but you have to do that in a place like WW. What respected African-American leaders in the community are making this a priority? Where is the mayor of Forest Park? Where are the church leaders like Bishop Bobby? K. Rugless is opposed and you don't really hear too much from Dr. Viola Johnson. I'm sorry. It can't always be the same group of (mainly white) people to make the case to a place that is only about 48% white (and largely opposed to the bond issue). Even in the pictures of the volunteers on the warrior bond issue fbook page, again.. about 2/3 white. I noticed that when I was canvassing. Where the hell is the community? It bothered me to no end. I don't think that your typical African-American voter in FP is going to be wowed by Mr. Smith. They base their judgement on the education that their child is receiving and what their teachers are telling them about the place. Sure, you have a few "dynamic" teachers right now in WW, but they wonder what happened to the "dynamic" teachers they had there 3 years ago. If the district is as advertised, why does F M-T want out? They aren't buying the spin because F M-T actually developed a bond with those people. The framework of this "community conversation" (and its hour duration) suggests to me that they merely want to bring out their "base" to make the case that THEY are doing a good job... spread the word, etc. Sure, they may highlight a few teachers that will use the forum as an opportunity for PR (I doubt F M-T will be there this go around), but a successful campaign can't always be about the vision of people like Mr. Smith. You really do have to get down to hard numbers and the tradeoffs. You should want to stay as long as anybody wants to stay. WW is reluctant to listen to what other districts are doing to solve their problems.. but a page from Princeton's notebook might be helpful. How did THEY get their bond issue passed?
If it is just an opportunity to get people in to hear the WW gospel... I fear it will be a waste of everybody's time. People have heard too much already. Folks get it. NTN, Rowing team, fine arts.. yadda yadda. If you want to have a "Community Driven Conversation".. I'd tell people like the district's lawyer to STAY HOME. Steve Denny should absolutely be there.. but not the whole band or the PR spin machine. Don't flood the place with staff. No more than 2 admins and 2 teachers. Keep your comments brief and let the people speak their piece. Let the COMMUNITY speak to the COMMUNITY. People like John Pennycuff and his associates should be speaking at the meetings while.. well.. anybody on Junedale can speak about property values and trust in the leadership. This is a huge issue. You can't just assume that the people of FP are going to vote for it out of some sense of duty to Mr. Smith. People are being asked to give up $20 a month for 37 years. Not a small request.
Yep. GG is correct. It is a "community conversation" not a push for the bond issue.. of course.. we all know that it is a push for the bond issue.
My question is.. why is it only one hour? One of the recent graduates (WWHS C/O 2015) recently called out on facebook for Mr. Martin to be fired. A number of people in his class (apparently) are disgusted with WW's leadership and the constant turnover of staff. He has been invited to have his own personal conversation with the high command next week. I believe others were called out there as well and will probably be told to "fall in line" and not be "tools" for people that have axes to grind.. that sort of thing. There is a difference between a "community conversation" and a "community presentation". If this one hour time frame is basically a presentation where Mr. Smith gets up there and rambles on about AGS, the band (probably won't talk about Orchestra), or whatever... leaving 9 minutes for questions... then it's not much of a conversation. Having been to a number of them, I am willing to bet it is 70% staff and 30% community there anyway. They probably have a "swat team" to deal with certain people that are branded troublemakers. I have no doubt. A few years ago, I facilitated one of these conversations. One gentleman (who has a relative that works for the district) absolutely tore the place up and said many of the things that are said on junedale. He didn't live in GH. I doubt he belongs to the Tea Party. Since then, I can tell you, his relative has seen (their) support erode from the high command.
Outside of the usual Greenhills crowd, I don't see any real support for the new construction from the community. Katrina Rugless is a "NO" and.. like it or not.. she has a lot of influence. Most of the money and manpower will be from out of the district by people that have connections to the district. This.. again.. is nothing new. Your Chinese students and your "open enrolled" students can't vote on it either. I hope they hang around for a little longer than an hour to re-enforce the troops that are needed to get this done. They need everybody that they can get.
They have very little margin for error with the parents. I think they are so used to taking a hard-line stance with their staff they but they do not know how to switch that off when dealing with the community.
To be fair I think that WIP was speaking to the mold issues in the school as well as the other environmental hazards that are causing people to get sick. The district's needs are well beyond a Habitat for Humanity type project. That being said... the administration seems to believe that guilt tripping the community is going to be the strategy....as opposed to getting down off the high horse when someone questions them. Last time around they really guilt trip this staff into working on the campaign... one administrator was very vocal and I think it had an opposite effect. People dont like to br voluntold. There really is a need for big fixes and new construction may be the most cost effective way to do that... but it may never get done if they keep going back to the iron fisted approach they have used...too often...with the staff.