CANFIELD Parents get chance to voice concerns

Topics discussed at the forum could 'run the gamut,' the superintendent said.
CANFIELD -- Doug Hiscox says he wants to give Canfield parents something they typically won't get at a board of education meeting: discussion.
Tonight, Hiscox, superintendent of the Canfield schools, will hold a public forum designed to encourage local parents to discuss the issues facing the school district.
"There needs to be another venue, another place for that to happen, and that's what this is for," he said.
The forum will be at 7 p.m. in Canfield Presbyterian Church on West Main Street. It will be the district's first public forum of the year. Future public forums for the district will be held once a month beginning in October.
Hiscox noted that he believes some local residents come to school board meetings to see if the board will discuss the issues facing the district. The board meetings, however, feature little discussion.
Instead, the board members spend most of their meetings approving resolutions.
Speak up: During the forum, local residents will be "given an opportunity to involve themselves in any topic they want to discuss and help set the tone for the year," he said.
The board may decide how to act on some issues based on the discussion at the forum, Hiscox said.
Among the issues he expects to discuss are the status of the district's strategic plan, the future of professional development in the schools, and the ideas for use of district property.
"We could run the gamut on a lot of things," Hiscox said.
Some local residents also may use the forum to discuss the recent suspension of six high school athletes from their respective teams for attending a party where alcohol was served to teens.
In addition, some parents may want to discuss the board's decision not to bring junior varsity baseball coach Sam Pitzulo back for next season. Several parents attended past board meetings to criticize the board for not rehiring Pitzulo.
Reassurance: Hiscox said he wants to tell local residents that despite publicity surrounding the Pitzulo decision, "folks, we're not a bad school district."
"We're held in high regard in the state of Ohio," he said.
Hiscox added that he also held monthly public forums in 1998. He said at first, about 50 local residents attended each forum.
The forums were canceled after attendance dwindled at the end of the school year, Hiscox said.
"It was good when we were doing it. We need to go back to it," he said.

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