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School Facilities Conversation 9/27

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Posted · Report post

I agree the College Credit plus is great funded state program and one that benefited my son along with many others, but the point being is the education received by WW allowed our students the opportunity to pass the admissions test to participate with this valuable program offered within our public schools. 

 

Regarding Inclusion, I do believe this is hugely relavent topic and important to incorporate input from each for the benefit of our district's children. I like the suggestion for greater involvement.   One of the main reasons for the location of Pre K- 6th grade was a central location from ST and FP. The High school site already has ready made sports facilities and reasonably sized  property for new campus construction that meets OFCC qualifications with minimal interference  of current housing of students during construction. 

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Posted · Report post

Talk is plentiful and easy as demonstrated on this site, but true, meaningful action for constructive, positive change is hard work. 

Agreed -- so why are you guys taking the easy way out?  Nothing -- but we have to build new building!  No real plan, no review of options or alternatives - NOTHING! That's where the real work comes in.  It's easy to say "we need new buildings, the state will give us money and we'll take the rest form the taxpayers".  If it impacts the communities "we'll deal with that later -- or not at all".  Meaningful action for positive changes requires an open mind and doing the homework.  You guys have already made up your minds that this is the only option -- it's not.  And when the levy failed, you just put it back up.  Zero analysis of why of why it failed, or reviewing alternatives, or taking other options into consideration. That's called "taking the easy road" -- nothing meaningful or constructive about it.   

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Tragically I think at this point, the only hope for the Winton Woods School system would be for the State Department of Education to take it over. I say this with great reluctance because I like the idea of local control, but it is obvious from the academic results we are consisting getting over the last  10 years the local system is too broken to effectively fix.

Perhaps with a stronger, more active Board of Education, more could be accomplished, but Board Elections are too far off and the current ineffective Board is unable or unwilling to really delve in and get their hands dirty. It is easier to sit up on the Board at meetings, like so much window dressing, and get Photo Ops for running for another office than to do what they were elected to do, and the law requires them to do. Rubber Stamping every request made by the Administration is not effectively doing a responsible job.

Democracy will only work if you have truly informed voters who vote. It seems that in the Case of our District, the voters did not pay attention and now were are all paying the price as are the children in the system.

State control would have many uncertainties, but I suspect that at this time, those uncertainties would be preferable to the certainty of non performance we are now getting out of the system. We pay the fourth highest tax rate in Hamilton County and yet our latest test scores put us third from the bottom academically in the county. YOU DO THE MATH.,, ARE WE REALLY GETTING OUR MONEYS WORTH AS TAXPAYERS. NOW THEY ARE PUSHING A CONTRUCTION BOND ISSUE AGAIN THAT WILL NOT IMPROVE TEST SCORES, BUT IF IT PASSES,WILL DISRUPT STUDENTS AND CLASSES FOR AT LEAST 4 YEARS WITH DEMOLITION NOISE, CLASSROOM MOVES, ET CETERA.

 

Cicero

Edited by Cicero
grammer

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Posted · Report post

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend in Columbus who knows a lot more about school funding than I do, and he wondered why Winton Woods wants to accept less than half funding from the state for new buildings when some districts get more than 80% in state funding.  Can you answer this, Paula, to give us the school board's perspective? 

He said that considering the state has already upped the amount they are willing to kick in for new buildings for Winton Woods, there's no reason to think they wouldn't do it again, since there are many other school districts in Ohio getting a higher percentage of state funding.  He said the state funding is not going away, so why is Winton Woods willing to accept a lower amount from the state than other school districts, which puts a higher burden on the taxpayers? 

Could Paula, or someone from the board, please respond to this with any information you have regarding this?

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Posted · Report post

GB you raise a legitimate point, but do not expect any action by the Board or the Administration to investigate or actively pursue that option. It would take initiative and work.

 

Cicero

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Posted · Report post

GambierGal, as Christine has stated above, Paula et al have not looked at any alternatives.   Paula is fixed on new construction, nothing will change that. These are individuals who demand solutions without regard to the obligation they place on others.

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Posted · Report post

I just had an interesting conversation with a friend in Columbus who knows a lot more about school funding than I do, and he wondered why Winton Woods wants to accept less than half funding from the state for new buildings when some districts get more than 80% in state funding.  Can you answer this, Paula, to give us the school board's perspective? 

He said that considering the state has already upped the amount they are willing to kick in for new buildings for Winton Woods, there's no reason to think they wouldn't do it again, since there are many other school districts in Ohio getting a higher percentage of state funding.  He said the state funding is not going away, so why is Winton Woods willing to accept a lower amount from the state than other school districts, which puts a higher burden on the taxpayers? 

Could Paula, or someone from the board, please respond to this with any information you have regarding this?

Just some preliminary info- OFCC funding varies from school district to school district based upon several factors and calculations including wealth and need - rankings from ODE are used to determine local and state contributions. 

The fact this co-funding program started around 1996 and there are 600+ districts of which 400 have taken advantage of this co-funding to offset local burden will naturally bring this program to close at some point. Also new governors and legislators play a key point determining if this program continues or is cut. 

Time is of the essence as this one initiative works to solve the issue of facility costs- this is the simple decision - plain and clear. To effectively manage our money that will deliver the best value for our community, the solution is to build new schools. This is the best overall plan for education and our community.   

 

http://ofcc.ohio.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Resources/Ranking Lists/2017/FY2017-Equity-list.pdf  

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Posted · Report post

GambierGal, as Christine has stated above, Paula et al have not looked at any alternatives.   Paula is fixed on new construction, nothing will change that. These are individuals who demand solutions without regard to the obligation they place on others.

The only "fixation" is for solutions that work for children and our community.  This deal makes sense economically, fiscally and educationally providing lasting benefits for our entire community. 

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Posted · Report post

"Tme is of the essence as this one initiative works to solve the issue of facility costs- this is the simple decision - plain and clear."

In other words Paula, you are fixated on new construction without regard to the uneconomical obligation you will place on others. Period. Has the prior or current BOE ever consided territorial transfer? Do you know if that is better or worse fiscally? How do you know if an alternative direction could offer a better educational outcome? You don't.

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Posted · Report post

Tragically I think at this point, the only hope for the Winton Woods School system would be for the State Department of Education to take it over. I say this with great reluctance because I like the idea of local control, but it is obvious from the academic results we are consisting getting over the last  10 years the local system is too broken to effectively fix.

 

If you did not supply any tragic ideas, I would have been surprised. Perhaps this would account why you finished last out of a field of 6 candidates for the last school board election.  

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Agreed -- so why are you guys taking the easy way out?  Nothing -- but we have to build new building!  No real plan, no review of options or alternatives - NOTHING! That's where the real work comes in.  It's easy to say "we need new buildings, the state will give us money and we'll take the rest form the taxpayers".  If it impacts the communities "we'll deal with that later -- or not at all".  Meaningful action for positive changes requires an open mind and doing the homework.  You guys have already made up your minds that this is the only option -- it's not.  And when the levy failed, you just put it back up.  Zero analysis of why of why it failed, or reviewing alternatives, or taking other options into consideration. That's called "taking the easy road" -- nothing meaningful or constructive about it.   

 

This new school bond measure is only one of so many programs and creative solutions augmenting the tireless work of our educators. Our community is worth the hard work and effort to build and strengthen the education afforded to our district's children.  

 

Demanding good stewardship of our resources and assets along with the work to align goals, implement new programs, harness the intellectual resources and communicate openly with our community are just a few of the missions of the school board. Each of the 5 board members takes this responsibility seriously and professionally.    

 

Edited by paula

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Posted (edited) · Report post

"Tme is of the essence as this one initiative works to solve the issue of facility costs- this is the simple decision - plain and clear."

In other words Paula, you are fixated on new construction without regard to the uneconomical obligation you will place on others. Period. Has the prior or current BOE ever consided territorial transfer? Do you know if that is better or worse fiscally? How do you know if an alternative direction could offer a better educational outcome? You don't.

 

 I do know the obligation is covered by $48.8 Million from the state lowering our local contribution for new facilities AND is substantially lower cost than renovation for our tax payers.  I do know it will cost you and me more money if our community does not take advantage of this cofunding opportunity. How more obvious can it be? 

 

Our local share will be $20.27 per month per $100,000 evaluation that solves the plaguing  facility issue.  

 

Our enrollment is growing for past 3 years and with new academic programs, this number will increase. Currently mobile classroom had to be added to Primary North and South to handle our growing younger student population. 

 

We have the golden opportunity to create the educational outcomes our district craves and our children deserve.

 

 

 

 

Edited by paula

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Posted · Report post

Paula's analysis : new construction or renovate. You are well familiar with the quote below. You, as an elected member of a board of education, have not nor will you look at any option that does not lead to new construction, period. You do so without regard to the financial obligation you place on others, period. This is a real world problem is it not? Your presentation is biased, it leads only to your intended outcome, new construction. There is no fixation on solutions for the community or child, simply on new construction.

"Project-based learning (PBL) is at the heart of New Tech Network’s (NTN) instructional approach. In PBL, students start each new unit of study with a complex and authentic task to complete. Learning often occurs in integrated subject-area courses, like English and Social Studies, where students collaborate with their peers to investigate a real-world problem. This demands mastery of subject matter content, critical thinking and problem-solving skills, oral and written communication skills, and individual agency (work ethic). The student inquiry process is supported along the way by NTN practices like Entry Events, the Need-to-Know (NTK) process, engaging with content area experts, skill building workshops, and authentic assessment.  Projects culminate with the development and presentation of a real-world product, which is evaluated by community experts, educators, and peers."

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Posted · Report post

Time is of the essence as this one initiative works to solve the issue of facility costs- this is the simple decision - plain and clear. To effectively manage our money that will deliver the best value for our community, the solution is to build new schools. This is the best overall plan for education and our community.   

This is merely your opinion Paula.  And, many of us strongly disagree.  In fact, it has been voted down twice.  So instead of getting to work and looking at alternatives -- you guys decided to push it once again.  Nothing has changed.  This Administration and Board is incapable of thinking "outside the box" and they have no desire to obtain input from taxpayers -- or review any other options.  This has been going on for the past 20 years.  At this point I'd rather have the state come in because there is clear evidence that the WWCSD has no clue what they are doing.  The last thing I would do is entrust 61,500,000 of our tax money to them.    

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Regarding the question as how to best handle the costs for aging facilities, there are several options. We can either fix existing building, renovate existing buildings, or take advantage of state co-funding.  The option to do nothing costs more than all other 3, and not just financially, but educationally.  The State of Ohio, as an independent agency, had stated that the cost to renovate existing buildings is greater than their formula of 67%- actually several buildings would be about 82% to renovate as compared to new construction, With the contribution from the state, this amount becomes more manageable locally. 

Guess the "real world" solutions realized by over 400 school districts in Ohio represent no imagination or poor insight?  Northwest schools recently passed their new school bond as another district who realized state funding is vital to offset the costs to our local taxpayers. 

Edited by paula

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Posted · Report post

This is merely your opinion Paula.  And, many of us strongly disagree.  In fact, it has been voted down twice.  So instead of getting to work and looking at alternatives -- you guys decided to push it once again.  Nothing has changed.  This Administration and Board is incapable of thinking "outside the box" and they have no desire to obtain input from taxpayers -- or review any other options.  This has been going on for the past 20 years.  At this point I'd rather have the state come in because there is clear evidence that the WWCSD has no clue what they are doing.  The last thing I would do is entrust 61,500,000 of our tax money to them.    

 

You are incorrect. There has been several significant changes- namely the increase from state from $33 Million to $48.8 Million further lowering the local share and a question most worthy of new, vigorous debate.

There are many who do support, do trust and do honor the importance of strong public education. 

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Posted · Report post

The buildings are worn out and should be replaced. The communities have gotten their money's worth from these buildings. The cost to maintain is nearly as much as the cost to build new. New buildings will carry the needs of the children of the district forward for the next 50 years just as the current buildings have done for the last 50 years. The buildings in place cannot hope to provide the infrastructure needed for these children to be as successful as they can into the future. Not passing the bond issue while spending millions to maintain old and out of date buildings is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. It is irresponsible to not take advantage of this opportunity.

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Dear all,

We are missing the point.  In order to improve Academics we need to improve from with in, NOT from the outside.  If the opposite would be the case, the private schools St. Xavier, Roger Bacon, etc. would not be able to teach and maintain the Academic Performance and the Merit Scholars that they do...because their building are TOO OLD to teach their students.  

I think the failure to communicate with the communities is a prime example of a whole School system failure.  I feel that the re naming from building two buildings to "improvements" is misleading the voter on purpose, and the fact that the advertisement has omitted this time the length of payments of 37 years is SHAMEFUL.

The Mad Botanist 

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Posted · Report post

The buildings are worn out and should be replaced. The communities have gotten their money's worth from these buildings. The cost to maintain is nearly as much as the cost to build new. New buildings will carry the needs of the children of the district forward for the next 50 years just as the current buildings have done for the last 50 years. The buildings in place cannot hope to provide the infrastructure needed for these children to be as successful as they can into the future. Not passing the bond issue while spending millions to maintain old and out of date buildings is a poor use of taxpayer dollars. It is irresponsible to not take advantage of this opportunity.

Over the years the demographics have changed.  You can't just replace the old with the new -- it doesn't work that way.  It's like saying your home is 50 years old and the family got their money's worth -- it's now time to destroy and build a brand new one.  You fix, or build, according to the market and demographic.  If you find the worst house in Mariemont would you buy it and remodel it?  Probably.  Would it be worthwhile to tear it down and build a new one?  Maybe.  If you apply that same concept here your answer is "perhaps" and "definitely not" respectively.  

What's irresponsible is people not doing their job.  It is the responsibility of the WWCSD administration and board to do what's best for these kids and their communities.  And, they have no idea what's best because they haven't done the work.  They only have one proposal -- and that proposal may not even be a solution to the issues the district faces.  In addition, I have not seen a forecast analysis on what enrollment will even look like in the next 5, 10, 15, 50 years.  That's basic information in any decision making process.  When analyzing you also need to consider the impact higher taxes will have on prospective families moving in with children.  If that analysis were complete, my guess is that you would see a decline in enrollment (fewer kids in the community) -- due to better education with lower taxes in other communities.

Vote NO -- hold the WWCSD administration and Board accountable -- force them to go back to the table and review other options.  If they can't do that -- let the state do it for them.

 

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Posted · Report post

Over the years the demographics have changed.  You can't just replace the old with the new -- it doesn't work that way.  It's like saying your home is 50 years old and the family got their money's worth -- it's now time to destroy and build a brand new one.  You fix, or build, according to the market and demographic.  If you find the worst house in Mariemont would you buy it and remodel it?  Probably.  Would it be worthwhile to tear it down and build a new one?  Maybe.  If you apply that same concept here your answer is "perhaps" and "definitely not" respectively.  

What's irresponsible is people not doing their job.  It is the responsibility of the WWCSD administration and board to do what's best for these kids and their communities.  And, they have no idea what's best because they haven't done the work.  They only have one proposal -- and that proposal may not even be a solution to the issues the district faces.  In addition, I have not seen a forecast analysis on what enrollment will even look like in the next 5, 10, 15, 50 years.  That's basic information in any decision making process.  When analyzing you also need to consider the impact higher taxes will have on prospective families moving in with children.  If that analysis were complete, my guess is that you would see a decline in enrollment (fewer kids in the community) -- due to better education with lower taxes in other communities.

Vote NO -- hold the WWCSD administration and Board accountable -- force them to go back to the table and review other options.  If they can't do that -- let the state do it for them.

 

Christine,

They will not listen to reason.  They will not even consider the 71% who voted NO.  You know that they keep repeating the same practice hoping for a different outcome in Academics.  We all know that Winton Woods have a tremendous Music program, yet the orchestra teacher, Mr. Morales quit.  Oh yes and the Band director still at Winton Woods, but do you know how hard it is for some one to find a job after so many years of experience?  Let's be realistic.  How many of those students will be performing to earn their supper?  What is the % of students in any of the students in Hamilton County who will be hired by the Cincinnati Symphony?  Same goes for performers in plays.  In 35 years of teaching. I know of one student who sang Mme. Butterfly, one in New York working as a Commercial Artist, one who joined a touring group from Boston and came to perform "Inherit the Wind" at Playhouse in the Park.  We cannot allowed the rest of the students NOT to be able to join the working force.  Again the Department of Corrections check all the Third grade reading scores to project how many jails are they going to build in the next 10 years.  And yet they are not listening. 

I know right now three families who have purchase elsewhere in this past week because of WW academic performance.  One bought in Mason, one in Amelia ,and the third one in Loveland.

I also know, a thought of some proposing a brochure promoting the Village housing and also promoting alternative schooling.  ( Home Schooling,  all church affiliated schools, and private schools in the area.

That shows that there are people who have totally given up!  You should listen to the last Council Meeting on Waycross.  There was a young lady, home schooled, with tremendous insight, delivery, poise, and a powerful message.  I wish she would also consider addressing the School Board.

The Mad Botanist

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Posted · Report post

Wow, a lot of discussion has happened in the past 24 hours since I've been away from Junedale.  A lot of diverse opinions and viewpoints.  I am not "sold" on any viewpoint at this time, because I am still trying to gather the information necessary to form a well-educated opinion of my own.

A big question for me, that has remained unanswered, is this - Is this really the last chance to get state money kicked in for new buildings?  Or, as my Columbus friend suggests, is there the strong possibility that the state would kick in more, thus reducing the amount that taxpayers would be asked to pay?  If so, this would make the proposal more appealing to the taxpayers and would garner more votes for a future bond issue.

But what is the truth, and where did the information come from?  Is this our last chance, and if so, on whose authority?  Or is there a chance for a larger contribution from the state, and if so, on whose authority?

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Posted (edited) · Report post

GG,

Good luck on getting any answer at all. 

People should not forget that since this is a  New Bond Issue, senior citizens will NOT get a Homestead exemption where the State reimburse the local entity for taxes abated.

The Mad Botanist

Edited by Mad Botanist
Added on.

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Posted · Report post

Wow, a lot of discussion has happened in the past 24 hours since I've been away from Junedale.  A lot of diverse opinions and viewpoints.  I am not "sold" on any viewpoint at this time, because I am still trying to gather the information necessary to form a well-educated opinion of my own.

A big question for me, that has remained unanswered, is this - Is this really the last chance to get state money kicked in for new buildings?  Or, as my Columbus friend suggests, is there the strong possibility that the state would kick in more, thus reducing the amount that taxpayers would be asked to pay?  If so, this would make the proposal more appealing to the taxpayers and would garner more votes for a future bond issue.

But what is the truth, and where did the information come from?  Is this our last chance, and if so, on whose authority?  Or is there a chance for a larger contribution from the state, and if so, on whose authority?

Right now this is the deal on the table. Since we can not know what the state may choose to do in the future it makes economic sense to make the deal that we know. The fact we can have new construction for about 60 cents on the dollar is a good deal in anyone's book. The state may offer more or they may offer less or they may offer nothing at all. Can you imagine if the community decided "no" today and "yes" 10 years from now and the taxpayers had to pay 100 cents on the dollar? They would wonder how foolish we were in 2016!

Factor in that the district is paying in maintenance very near the cost of new buildings and this bond issue makes the best sense for the communities. Interest rates to borrow have never been lower. If we wait how much more will construction cost if interests rates creep up a point or two?

The buildings are outdated and worn out despite the best efforts to maintain them and should be replaced.

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Posted · Report post

The argument makes me uneasy - sounds like scared rabbits - like we better grab it while we can, because it might go away.  It's never a good idea to make business decisions based on fear - usually leads to regret.

Everyone I've talked to with any insider knowledge has said the state will offer more if we don't take this deal - and our own district's history backs that up - so why are we caving to less than half from the state when other districts have gotten much more?

You mention that we would feel foolish in the future if we don't take this deal now, but don't those who were pushing the deal the last go-around feel very foolish for wanting to take that low-ball offer from the state back then?  At that time, it was the same argument - we have to jump on this or it will go away (and I must admit, I fell for it too at the time) - but look at how worse off we would have been if the voters had taken that deal back then.  By not taking it, the state offered to pay for more.  It seems like everyone is ignoring how wrong those people were who were saying "This is our last chance" back then.  And considering the many districts who have gotten so much more kicked in from the state - I've heard that some have even had their new schools paid 100% by the state - why are we running scared?

Is there anyone with any real knowledge and not just speculation who can comment on this?  While I would like our students and communities to have beautiful new buildings, I'd rather wait a year or two and have the state pay for it than have taxpayers pay for it.  And that scenario would have the taxpayers' and community's support, rather than the divisiveness that is now going on. 

While I don't have a set-in-stone opinion on this yet since there are so many unanswered questions, it seems to me that the most beneficial thing for our district, and for our students, is to have a unified support system in place, and anything that can bring about unity and goodwill in our district and our community is what is needed most.  The goodwill generated by asking for less money from the taxpayers due to more funds being kicked in by the state is more valuable to the school district than having new buildings one year earlier.  In this case, the phrase "Patience is a virtue" may apply.  But as I said, I'm not sure since there is too much muddy information and some clarity is needed.

 

 

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GG,

The many unanswered questions is your answer.  Yes, they offered more the second time.  No they will not wait and ask for more.  No they will not take comments from the taxpayer. 

This is like when you are at the car service department and they come back and tell you that the repairs are $1,000.00.  The salesman is right behind him and say " do not worry about a thing, just sign on the line and you get a new car and start your payments again.  You are entitle to say:" just one cotton picking second".  Then you check the Blue Book and the Black Book.  You then say: 1.  This car is paid for.  2.  Can I buy my car for $1,000.00?  Of course not if you check the Blue Book.  3.  Perhaps you want to get a second opinion as to the repairs.

NOT SUCH LUCK HERE!

The Mad Botanist

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