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Austintown school cuts concern parents



Published: Wed, April 22, 2009 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Elise Franco

AUSTINTOWN — The school board’s decision to eliminate 37 nonteaching jobs as a precautionary measure raised concerns with parents of special-needs students.

The board voted Tuesday night to remove 20 bus drivers, 16 paraprofessionals and one mechanic at the end of the 2008-09 school year, due to a projected $3 million deficit. Superintendent Doug Heuer said the union contract requires the district to notify employees of any staff potential changes by April 30.

Heuer said the combination of a failed levy in November and a state education budget that is still up in the air has made it difficult for the district to know how much money it will have for next school year.

“This is necessary for the board to maintain options,” he said.

Heuer said if the funds are secured after the final budget comes in June 30, some or all of the employees could be asked to come back.

“It’s unfortunate,” he said. “We certainly don’t want to create any more anxiety for anyone in the district, but this can’t be avoided.”

Union President Bonnie Grantz said she has dealt with these types of job losses for eight years.

“It’s never easy letting my people know they’re going to lose their job as a precautionary measure,” she said. “I have to think positive and fight to get them all back.”

Heuer said he doesn’t think the loss of bus drivers will affect the district drastically.

“We bus 79 percent of our students, which far exceeds the state minimum,” he said. “Even if we reduce down to the state guidelines — busing out two miles for students in kindergarten through eighth grade — we’ll save approximately $1.3 million.”

For parents, the bigger concern is the loss of paraprofessionals who aid students on special-needs buses.

Jennifer Polcha, who lives on South Raccoon Road, said her 10-year-old son benefits from the help of bus aides on a daily basis.

“People are already cussing and honking because of the time it takes to get him on and off the bus,” she said. “I see an extreme problem when bus aides are eliminated.”

Polcha said it could take nearly 20 minutes to properly load her son onto the bus each morning without the help of an aide. She said it will have to be done by the bus driver.

“The driver will have to literally park the bus, go out to put the ramp down, strap my son in and go out to put the ramp back up,” she said. “They’ll be leaving the other kids on the bus unattended. It’s also a safety issue.”

Karen Fritz, who lives on Winslow Drive, said her 9-year-old daughter also uses a wheelchair. Fritz said she wishes all buses had aides.

“As a parent, I think every bus should have an aide, not just special-needs buses,” she said.

Fritz agreed with Polcha, saying leaving elementary kids on a special-needs bus alone is very risky.

“These are preschool kids and kids with Down syndrome and autism,” she said. “They could get sick or get out of the bus and run. There are a lot of runners.”

Several board members expressed their sympathy to those who will be losing their jobs after the school year is over.

David Ritchie said he’s sad to see any employees lose their job.

“To those of you who we’ve kicked to the door temporarily, we’ll be working to bring you back,” he said.

efranco@vindy.com


Comments

1AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

It amazes me that everytime there is a deficit that the board responds by either cutting busing for the students or requiring home owners to pay more taxes. When are the teachers and administrators going to take a pay cut and make their contribution to help the deficit? If you are not willing to dig into your pocket and give something up, what makes you think that I want to dig deeper into my pocket??

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2AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree. I would rather see a 10% wage cut from the administration then a cut in busing, but that would have little effect on the sympathies of the township if they did that. Cutting busing hits the parents and taxpayers that hardest with a lot of parents working in the township. But lets be real, they pull this stuff every single year. They only do it to balance the budget and then they call everyone back. This move is only to stir up emotions, which it clearly is doing.

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3AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I agree Atown.

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4commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I find it interesting that the first thing this administration wants to cut is bussing all while talking about eliminating our neighborhood schools and ensuring the fututre of bussing 100% of the students from K-10th grade.

So how does it make our district better to have to rely on this district to bus 100% of the students?

So how can we vote for a new Giant Elementary building and rely on this district to ensure bussing is going to be there once the building is in place?

Are we as tax payers going to be held hostage for the unacceptable spending habits of this administration because they will threaten our bussing if we dont go along?

Why were athletic positions filled while bus aids and school nurses positions were cut?

How serious is this district to make the necessary financial adjustments when athletics and administrative positions are not on the table?

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5Level_Headed(30 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Atown.. Are you suggesting just to cut teacher/school admin salaries? What happens next time the district needs money, do we do that again? I'm not sure that a highly qualified, top-notch teacher would rush right in to Austintown knowing that the district doesn't (or won't) support the school system. You are correct, though, most parents wouldn't blink if the school said they would cut salaries if it meant no add'l monies paid out by the residents, strike that, property owning residents of Austintown.

Commy.. Not sure where the unacceptable spending habits come in.. unless, paying staff is one of them.. Great point about the busing.. not sure how much my kids learn on the bus, except for song lyrics from the radio.. Only reason I can think of to justify sports hiring would be sports make money for the schools, or at least their school program, charging admission (for most events) and raising some funds on their own.

AKA.. Don't you think by the concessions made during the last contract renewal by the teachers on different issues should be considered helping to "...make their contribution..." and "...giving something up..." for the kids?

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6AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I am not talking about teachers. How about if the administration even gave back their 1% raise they got last year? Or, better yet, we cut some of the top heavy administration as it was suggested in the state audit. And our school board members who have employment outside the school district, they should offer to give back their compensation and benefits for the better of the school district. All I am saying that if the BOE and Administration is truly that concerned about the district, its children and their education, safety and well being, then they should be the first ones to step up and give concessions, not automatically cut something that is crucial for many working parents in the township. The busing cut is always made to force the hand of voters. That is not the way to bring the community and the school administration/BOE into harmony.

As for unacceptable spending habits, there are numerous ones that have been brought up over and over again. The district has made it clear they are not going to change those habits.

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7AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

And just as a side note, these cuts are to keep the district's budget in the black so that they can obtain those funds from the Ohio Facilities Commission to build the new elementary school. If they do not have a positive budget, they can not get the funds.

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8metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

That only covers for 46% of the funding anyways. We the taxpayers will have to come up with the other $50 million,that is even if it passes this November! all of this and the is no gurantee that the voters will approve of their stupid plan!

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9AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Level_Headed unless the concessions were a reduction in wages, they are not giving anything up. Simply not receiving a pay raise is not a concession. Especially when they continue to earn step increases.

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10metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

so you think the teachers there earn big bucks huh? Really where did you get your numbers from the BOE?

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11Level_Headed(30 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

AKA
Wasn't one of the concessions made by the teachers a reduction in their contractual pay raises? If so, that would be a concession. I believe the whole point of that whole negotiation period was both sides making "concessions".

Atown.. Still wondering about the "unacceptable spending habits".. Just saying there are a lot of them doesn't describe any of them.. Why should a board member with a 2nd job have to give back any money?? Do teachers that tutor have to give back money they make? I don't get that part..

Metz.. Can't trust the voters in A-town any more than anyone else. All I heard at Board meetings last year was "If you vote down open enrollment, we will absolutely pass the levy on the ballot".. Yep, saw what those comments led to.. more bad-mouthing from the same people that promised to pass the levy, then complained about why it was on the ballot. Some people have short term memory about these things.

People make it sound like Austintown is the only district in the country with any types of issues, and the only place where times are tough..

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12AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

They never voted on it last year, the discussion was tabled for good reason. Open enrollment was happening with or without that levy and many of us knew it and they definitely would not have gotten a levy passed if they had voted for open enrollment last year.

Lets talk about not informing the public of the 3 million left over from the construction of the new AMS and saying there were not enough funds to keep Davis open. The roof needed repaired, yes, but not exactly at that moment. Lets talk about spending money on the turf and letting taxpayers think it was all repaired by donations (that was even said to people at Davis). Lets talk about sending our kids to Canton and Massillion for the Federal League and all that gas wasted when they could find a league locally. Lets talk about approving a 1% retroactive raise for a man who is not in the district full time. Lets talk about not spending money to repair schools, but spending it on a Gator. Lets talk about how consolidating the cafeteria expenses to have it all cooked out of the new AMS would have saved tons, but they did not follow through. Lets talk about not reducing a planning period and saving the district 1.5 million. Should I go on?

If cuts are to be made in this district, why wouldn't a member with a FIRST JOB (remember, this BOE thing is a SECOND JOB to some, not first) be the first to save this district money. All they talk about is how we are making cuts, but the only people that they sacrifice in those cuts are the kids and the parents. Make that sacrifice yourself.

Oh and in case you have forgotten, our lovely Superintendent pointed out that over half of our students receive free or reduced lunch, so I would say that yes, times are extremely tough for the residents of Austintown more so than surrounding districts.

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13commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Hey levelheaded, Austintown is not the only community hurting economically BUT this is the one we are discussing. If you want to discuss problems in other districts, then go blog on their boards. We are discussing Austintown.

Sports do not make any money for this district. I cannot prove it because of our treasurer and her backward book keeping practices. There is not a readable version of the district finances available for the citizens of this district to analyze.

That is just the way these glad handed good old boys on the BoE want it to be. I am ashamend to see a district this size with NO financial transparency.

Real and effective school districts have their financial statements available online for all to see just where the money goes. Real, effective school districts who want to pass levies, build new school buildings and have community buy-in on the process have transparent finances.

Austintown has one woman and her abbacus! God help us!

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14metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

Those finanical record should be avalbiabe for the public.

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15kipper(3 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I know we pay taxes for the up keep of schools, but in this time of need where are the parents and grandparents who can step up to the plate and volunteer for some of the services needed. I feel it is a great way to keep an eye on your child/grandchild and what goes on in the schools and on the buses and to let your children know we care about their safety and let the educators know we are interested in all of it!

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16commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

It is a lovely sentement to want to volunteer to work in the local schools. PTA has a lot of great programs and members assist the schools in variety of ways.

As a person who does volunteer work, I can tell you itcan be a problem to get enough people to step forward. So what does our special needs child do on the day there are no volunteers available to assist her on the bus?

I am volunteering my time to work as the superintendant of the Austintown Local School District. I can save this community $150,00 a year.

I believe I am as capable as the person currently holding the position because I actually live here and I have children in the school system. I am a stakeholder. Mr. Heuer is a carpetbagger.

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17KLee(18 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

"I know we pay taxes for the up keep of schools, but in this time of need where are the parents and grandparents who can step up to the plate and volunteer for some of the services needed. I feel it is a great way to keep an eye on your child/grandchild and what goes on in the schools and on the buses and to let your children know we care about their safety and let the educators know we are interested in all of it!"

- Please don't blame the parents, kipper. Blame the union. There is no way on God's green Earth that they would permit parents to perform a duty for free that was previously done by a union worker. I recently heard of a school where their library is closed due to funding cuts. PTA wanted to provide volunteer staffing so the children could use the library again. The union pitched a fit, the parents were rebuffed and the students were the big losers. Unions have their functions, but I feel bad for the kids.

I think it is a great idea to involve parents & grandparents, even at a high school level. I mean, if you knew your grandmother was monitoring the halls & bathrooms, would you smoke in the stalls or make out with your boyfriend? Can you imagine the embarassment?

On the other hand, I would be surprised if people came out in droves to volunteer on a regular basis. Maybe it's a generational thing.

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18ziolkowski4wa(1 comment)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

As the parents of a special needs child with autism, we reside in the state of washington, we are seeing the affects that the budget cuts will have as well. They may eliminate our bus service due to the fact we are within a mile of the school. We do have so many that have lost jobs, their cars have been reposessed and they are teetering on losing their homes. It will be hard for them to get their child to school. I think more thought needs to be put into exactly what is being cut. Out in Washington we are looking at ways to trim the shrinking budget, we are coming up with creative ways to still be able to do the things, just in a different way, yes some things will be done differently, but you don't have to eliminate them, I would be willing to take a turn and ride the bus and help out with the kids, that may be an alternative that you folks may want to think about. This goes for some of the aids that may be eliminated, It also gives you time to see how your school is doing and your child and get a great opportunity to contribute to your school and community. Best to you all in Ohio. The Ziolkowski family Woodland Washington

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19teedee(5 comments)posted 5 years, 6 months ago

I think one of the biggest problems in the Austintown schools is that the Board of Education and the administrators are doing whatever they damn well please and not held accountable to anyone. They moan about having a deficit but yet at least 4 people who work in the board offices got $10,000 BONUSES before Christmas. For what?? The superintendent does not even live here but commutes from Columbus. There were at least two bad days this winter when school should have been canceled and he wasn't even here to see the road conditions. I agree with the person who volunteered to be the super., that person is just as qualified and probably wouldn't get a 5 or 6K gas allowance and just as much for a clothing allowance. And now there is talk of promoting Caloluca to asst. super. for a $28,000 raise????? What qualifications does he have??

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20dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

This is such a crock! I am so sick of these school boards using scare tatics to get people to vote yes! I also do not get why they always cut bus drivers and the special needs positions! I mean come on why not cut the tutors they pay full time, and make the teachers actually do what should be part of their job description. I mean the teacher are who tutored back when I was in school! They close a school, as a money saver, then are having OE, to create more money. Now they want to cut people's job to save more money! I think the super needs to take a pay cut! I laso think that NO bonuses should be be given at all! Also if anyone got a bonus they should give it back. All I see is a bunch of people only worried about themselves, and not look out for what matters, THE CHILDREN!

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21metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Amen to that! the have not cared about the kids for a long time!

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22KLee(18 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

3327.16 Volunteer bus rider assistance program - program for pupils offered school bus transportation.
Notwithstanding division (D) of section 3311.19 and division (D) of section 3311.52 of the Revised Code, this section does not apply to any joint vocational or cooperative education school district or its superintendent.

(A) The superintendent of each school district may establish a volunteer bus rider assistance program, under which qualified adults or responsible older pupils, as determined by the superintendent, may be authorized to ride on school buses with pupils during such periods of time that the buses are being used to transport pupils to and from schools. Volunteers shall not be compensated for their services, but older pupils may be excused early from school to participate in the program.

Volunteers may be assigned duties or responsibilities by the superintendent, including but not limited to, assisting younger pupils in embarking and disembarking from buses and in crossing streets where necessary to ensure the safety of the pupil, aiding the driver of the bus to maintain order on buses, assisting pupils with disabilities, and such other activities as the superintendent determines will aid in the safe and efficient transportation of pupils.

Volunteers serving under this section are not employees for purposes of Chapter 4117. or 4123. of the Revised Code. Nothing in this section shall authorize a board of education to adversely affect the employment of any employee of the board.

-This is an interesting excerpt from the Ohio Revised Code. Who knows if this is where we are heading?

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23commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The math tutors are necessary for the students who need extra help. In the past, before Heuer (B.H.) the intervention teachers handled the duties of tutoring the children who required assistance. The intervention teachers had a seperate classroom and the students would go for assistance. Also, class sizes were smaller than now....and with open enrollment coming, they are goingt o get larger.

Now that we have one less elementary building, there isn't any room for seperate classrooms for the intervention teachers, or a gifted program or anythig extra.

Remember Austintown, we are paying the same amount of money for less services, unless you count our ever popular Curriculum Director! His position is necessary with our current carpetbagger superintendent.

Maybe we should consider getting a full time superintendent and dumping the director of curriculum position. Maybe we can get rid of Math Investigations and get an effective math curriculum. ( ? If M.I. is so good, why are our math scores dropping every year since it has been in use?)These changes might make us a more effective district...maybe even an Excellent one!

Check out the state of Ohio District report card. It has Austintown rated as MINUS for cost vs. return compared to districts of the same size. This is an indication that our test scores are lagging behind. Our children are not getting an effective education.

Spiffy new school buildings are not going to change the effectivness of the education experience in this town. Removing necessary supports however could bring it down quicker.

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24metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

New schools jsut make you look good. as for education the don't do a thing and they cost money,sometihng they say we don't have but elt's spned it anyways then ask for more,some nerve!!

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25dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I will be voting NO on any levy in Austintown. That is until they make the CHILDREN the number 1 priority! I think so many people are just greedy and all about me, me, me. Get rid of the super he is a joke and only about himself!

Back to the full time tutors that they need so bad! Come on! Give me a break! The teachers should be tutoring students after school and on their free periods. That is exactly what teachers did when I was in school! They were always accessable to the students. They actually cared about us! Also if we needed extra help outside of all that, our parents had to find a tutor, and pay them to help up. The tax payers' money was never used for that!

The residents need to open the eyes as wide as they can, and start protesting the way the students are being treated in the Austintown schools! Why do you think parents are choosing open enrollment? To have their children in a school districts that DOES care about the students, unlike Austintown who seems to give two craps less!

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26metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah we should They seem to care more about their own personal goals then the students who if no one would show up the teachers would have nothing to do.

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27dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Hey metz87, for once we are completely on the same page, lol!

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28AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

This administration has not been concerned about the children for a long time. We should have had an excellent rating a long time ago. The educational goals our school system should have set are no where to be seen. The only concern is to make sure we have new schools, new bus garage, etc. What about books that kids can actually take home? What about computers that are up to date? Heck, the school doesn't even fund new books for the libraries, the PTA does!

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29atowngrad(21 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

DMETS is on the right track and I 100% agree about any levy, so should all of the other residents in Atown.

When they passed the levy for the New Middle School a few years ago, the previous board stated that they would be receiving a partial refund from the OSFC for the construction cost. They have applied, and recently been DENIED because the district did not follow the appropriate design guidelines.

Also, do most of the taxpayers know that the board signed a supposed $500,000.00 change order on the middle school to add a new board office that was not included in the original construction documents that were competitvely bid in lieu of performing capital improvements to the other buildings (Frank Ohl, Watson, etc.) The new board office was tacked on after the bids were opened. If this was signed as a change order the district may have violated state regulations regarding the use of public money since it is written in the ORC (Ohio Revised Code) Section 3313.46 that projects in excess of $25,000.00 must be advertised and competitively bid.

Now the district has recently retained the same Architect to try and sneak another levy through the cracks of the taxpayers to build more schools at the cost of us (the taxpayers.) The State will only partially fund the new buildings and the district has to pass a bond to fund the rest over say a 30 year period.

Please tell everyone you know that lives in Austintown to vote NO for the new levy I can assure you will be on the next ballot.

The administration will not make concessions but expect to deceive the taxpayers again. I do not think so.

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30metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

They think they can pull a fast one on us hey? Well It did not work last Novemeber and it surely will not work this time,they never learn. How long until they violate a state law?

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31commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Here comes the fast one....BoE plans to start the process of new buildings WITHOUT a levy to fund it.

The OSFC allows for the preliminary process to take place without the funding to be in place.

Dont let this board spook this community into passing a construction levy with their hurry up attitude. They don't seem to be getting the message even when we as a community do not support levies.

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32metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Yeah you build a school when you don't have the money to maintain it or build it. Makes perfect sense if you are Heuer. They are pretty stupid to think they can force us to do what ever the want to do.

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33AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Why? They have done it with everything else. They forced us into a new middle school by not repairing the old one. They forced us to deal with the closing of one elementary school by not repairing that one. They forced us into a stadium remodel (a re-build on half of the stands) because they did not repair the stands. They give us half truths and act shocked when the taxpayers uncover what is really happening and then are perplexed why the community does not trust them.

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34teedee(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

In regards to tacking on the board offices to the original plans for the new AMS, that is absolutely true and they also added on the extra gym. Now everyone is saying the new school is TOO SMALL!!
What can be done about all this poor planning and total disregard for what the voting public thinks? Vote no on any school levy as they are just wasting our money on administrative salaries and perks. I used to vote yes on every school levy but not any more.

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35metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

It's so hard to figure out. It's like playing monolopy and spending more money then you have,what happens? You go bankrupt. Did any of these guys pass finiacial class in college? If you are spending our hard earned money you better know how to manage it.

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36commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Go and vote in November. Joyce Pogany and Richard Zimmerman are both for this new school building. Go to the candidate forums and ask the candidates what their position is regarding a new building.

The only way to stop this process is to get rid of two BoE member s AND vote No on the levy.

Simply voting No on the levy but leaving the old guard in place will not change the focus of this board. They want a new school building.

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37AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

That is exactly right commyliberal. If we want this district to change, we need to get rid of the people that have kept it this way.

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38metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

and the sonner the better. they are dragging us down like lead weights.

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39atowngrad(21 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Commyliberal has the right idea except that the two board members that need to go are Pogany and Ritchie. They have both been on the board since like 1900 and we need some new blood in there like Lou Chine; someone who takes pride in being from Austintown and who is trying to do the right thing; but when you have two board members that vote together on everything then of course there will be conflict at the table.

Ritchie supposedly told the board members that they had to vote unanimously to close Davis and that the board had to all agree but when his vote came up....he abstained from the vote. Why did he do that you ask; the answer is simple; so that he wouldn't be looked at as the bad guy when his reelection comes up. They are not fooling me.

To add to the fire; Ritchie has been seen (by people of the community) at golf outings and other events with the architect that was hired by the district for the Middle School and proposed new schools. Why was his vote (and Pogany's) solely for this architect when there are still problems at the middle school that have not been completely rectified?

I found out (via word of mouth and a little investigation) that another architect who interviewed for the new schools works in Youngstown and LIVES in Austintown. His firm has been associated with multiple school district projects throughout the State while the Architect that was hired has only done a few and has to team up with an architect out of Columbus to even get a project. But I guess that is why they hired the architect in the first place; to send money out of the area and to not hire someone with personal interests in the project.

But I digress. They will not be getting my vote for the schools and you better believe that the two persons mentioned above will not be receiving my vote for re-elction when their time comes.

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40commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I agree Dr. Ritchie needs to go as well BUT his term is not up in November. Mrs. Pogany, Mr. Zimmerman & Traci Morse' terms are up.

I urge all Austintown voters to attend board meetings and candidate forums so you will chose the candidates who can give Austintown a new direction.

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41AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

From what I have heard, Traci Morse is not seeking re-election. We actually have a chance to bring three new, open minded, strong people onto the board.

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42metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Who would do tihngs the way we want and the way they should be done. Stop wasting our hard earned money on perks and what not!

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43AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

PRESS RELEASE
Public Information and Response Meetings

Austintown Local School District

Douglas Heuer, Superintendent (330) 797-3900 Ext. 1510

Information and public response meetings for the District's Ohio School Facilities Commission Construction Project

The facilities planning committee of the Austintown Local School District has scheduled two evening meetings for the Austintown Community on Wednesday, May 13, and Monday, May 18, 2009 in the Austintown Middle School cafetorium. Both meetings will start at 7:00 PM. Information will be presented about construction options available to the school district through the Ohio School Facilities Commission construction program. Public responses will be collected and questions addressed at each meeting. Funding is now available and the district is eligible for 46% of the costs to be paid for by the Ohio Schools Facilities Commission.

This was on the school website. I know this is just a farce to pacify the public and make them believe they are actually listening (like the open enrollment meeting) but the more they hear that we do not want a giant elementary school, the less surprised they will be when they try and pass a levy for it and it fails!

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44dmets(575 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

You know the worst part about them moving forward with the new school without the funds? If the levy fails, and keeps failing the tax can be imposed without us, the residents, approving anything! A new building is not going to give the students a better education! They need to prove to us that they desevre things, and it starts by ALL the schoosl getting an EXCELLENT rating on their report card done by the state. They need to show us that the CHILDREN come first!

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45metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

ANd they have not done that and refuse to lsiten to us.

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46PEACE2U(115 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I said it numerous times on many blogs~~
The BOARD has got to go & Heuer needs to go back to Columbus where he lives to this day!!
They are ALL glued to each other and stuck on themselves. For years, THEY have not been concerned for (& still are not) the well being of our kids & the direction of their education. The busing this year (4th & 5th graders w/ high schoolers) has taught my 5th grader that 1. its ok to swear 2. it's ok to have a baby & be picked up by the bus & dropped at the daycare at the high school while you are in school 3. it's ok to plan to skip school on a certain day 4. it's ok to pick on lower classmen. Cannot even imagine what kind of busing schedule will be implemented for 09-10. Knowing THEY got away with this years way of busing. As for another new school ~~ lets spend the money for books ~~ cut all the dittos ~~ and TEACH our kids!! The report card in my eyes ~~ is a REFLECTION of the districts teachers~~ not our kids~~ that tells you what the PROBLEM is!! VOTE NO!!

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47teedee(5 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I wish all the board members were up for a NO vote in November. Pogany has been on it since the ice age. And - Dr. Ritchie seems to think he is above paying admission to sporting events as I was told by a ticket taker that he said "you know where you can shove that" when asked for his ticket to get in to a sporting event. What's up with that?? Everyone who can should go to those meetings coming up in May and voice their opinions.

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48PEACE2U(115 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

YEAH~~ voice your opinions in 3 minutes & be interupted if not completed in that time frame. What a joke!! THEY do NOT care about OUR opinion~~ in one ear - out the other! THEY are determined & WILL get what they WANT in one way or another!!

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49metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Thats is the problem we need to get rid of the current baord as the oe we got wil never lsiten to us. When the are up for releection we should vote them all out. and find a way to force Heuer out as well. And yes busing this year was a complte joke.

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50atownalum(3 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

As an austintown grad, resident and teacher I agree with many of the comments above. The BOE and administration not only mislead and flat out lie to the community but also to the teachers. The teachers are as frustrated with the them as the community. We are here for the kids and do our very best with what we have. I think the idea of a giant elementary building is ridiculous- kids at that age are not ready for such a big change. Neighborhood schools are the best for everyone. And yes, AMS is too small for its population. There are teachers doubling up in rooms and some teaching in storage rooms. Somebody didn't do their math correctly when they planned that building. As for Mr. H...well we get excited every time he applies at another district. Unfortunately, nobody else wants him either. Mr. C has too many titles (and stipends)and doesn't do justice for any of them. "Ass't super" is a joke and the money that he will supposedly be paid is appalling.
Please keep in mind that the teachers are being held hostage, just as the community is, by this group of money hungry folks. The teachers don't make these decisions, we just have to deal with the fallout. We are fighting the fight with the community to better our schools and help our kids. And I mean "our" kids...I have students here, too.

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51AtownParent(562 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Thank you atownalum!

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52metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

See even teachers agree that the BOE is screwing thing up and lying to us. How can you vote yes on a levy when they are doing that?

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53commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I have gone back and forth on going/not going to the meeting. I have decided to go because I have a few specific questions for the OSFC representative.

Also, I it would be good for the OSFC representative and the BoE to get an eye full of people who do not support this "PLAN".

At the moment the BoE is blithering along in their little fantasy world.
Go to the meeting and pop their fantasy bubble.
Speak out and raise the roof on AMS.
Fill the cafetorium and demonstrate how crowded that room is during lunch.
Look them in the eye and say your piece. I am sure we can get our point across in 2 minute intervals.

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54metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

The question is wil lthey lsiten? They have not done so in the past and I doubt they will unless we dug some dirt up on them that would make them pretty upset.

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55city_resident(513 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I encourage everyone who has posted here to attend the public meetings. But do so with an open mind.

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56atowngrad(21 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Those really interested please search Vindy.com for the following "AUSTINTOWN State program to pay 39% to repair schools." It is a story by the Vindy written in 2001 about the OSFC ELP Program (Expedited Local Partnership Program.) At the time they (BOE and the architect) were planning the Middle School, they were telling the public that the ELP would partially reimberse Austintown for the construction costs. Ultimately, I need to get the official documenation; but it is becoming known that the OSFC will not be reimbursing Atown for any part of the new Middle School. NO to the levy and new schools. They need to get their heads out of their (bad word) and get Atown into an excellent rating and worry about the kids.

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57commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

OSFC did not reimburse Austintown for AMS construction because Austintown did not follow specified guidelines.

I know of 2 issues:

1. the lot was not large enough for the proposed facility. OSFC has guidelines for the amount of property required for the corresponding number of students.

2. AMS is 3 stories. OSFC will not pay for anything over 2 floors unless it is an urban district with land limitations.

Bottom Line

Taxpayers paid an additional $9M because the BoE INSISTED upon the CAMPUS and built AMS on the site that OSFC considered too small.

Less we forget, once a levy is passed, tax payers lose control over HOW the money is spent.

Look how we got a new BoE office building from "leftover" AMS bond levy funds.

Yes, lets trust this BoE with another $50M !!!!!

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58FrankDavis(35 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

I say consider yourselves lucky that 37 NON-TEACHING jobs are getting "axed".

34 Teachers in Liberty are being let go.

What most of you fail to realize is that this is a contractual thing. It is written into the contracts of teachers, administrators, bus drivers, janitors, and even cafeteria workers, that if the school board has to put people on the RIF list, otherwise they are all guaranteed to have a job the next school year, regardless of whether or not there is any money to pay them. Call backs happen a few weeks later, as the district sorts out financial's. It's demoralizing, to hear that you did everything right, but you won't have a job the following year...especially when they give you this news with 2 months left in the school year.

If schools fail, our students fail. If the state comes in and takes over the school, you can kiss all extra-curricular activities goodbye. And I don't mean just football and basketball. I'm talking about AV club, Drama club, Ski club, Math club, Science fairs, Choir/Band, Student Government, Student Newspapers and Yearbook Clubs, basically anything that enriches the education.

"Well, I never had any of that stuff when I went to school, and I graduated from Austintown in the 1950s-60s-70s-80s, and look how great I turned out." Yeah, and when you smoked pot and stole beer, the cops just laughed and said "you crazy rascals, you better not do that again". Times are TOTALLY different for my generation (I graduated in 2001) and even for my students. You say you are going to kill someone, you are removed from school, placed in mandatory psych evaluation, over medicated, and deemed unfit for public education. What turned out to be a harmless expression (yes, when you say you are going to "kill" someone, you are not literally going to kill them, you might give them a hard time about something, but the likelihood that you will cause any bodily harm is extremely thin) ends up being over analyzed "taken care of". Tax payer dollars pay for all of the testing and transportation and extra work this student creates, not to mention the wasted tax payer dollars in "law enforcement"

What's the solution? That, my friends, is reserved for another day. I am about to start my class.

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59valleypoboy(114 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

Once again the "someting for nothing" crowd pops up. If you want decent (let alone good) schools, it does cost some money. If you think the school board is wasting money, get a copy of the budget and voice your suggestions on how and where adjustments need to be made. Do any of you commenting on salaries even know what those people make?
That all said, Ohio's antiquated property tax funding for schools is (as those bad courts have ruled) unfair. All residents benefit from a good educational system. Why should not all residents pay for it? This inherent unfairness brings out the "no more taxes" crowd and sidetracks the needed discussion of how we effectively fund schools and get value for our money. Its easy to sit around and bi%$# but if you don't like what the school board is doing - do something about it.

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60commyliberal(94 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

to Valleypoboy,

I don't need to spend the time to go thru the district financial records. A performance audit was completed in spring 2007 and it targets areas for improvement for this district.

Guess What.....Nothing has been acted upon. The Administration used it for TP.

I will vote for a levy when the BoE takes a reality pill and gets back to planet Earth. These folks are happy to run this district as it has been run for the last 40 years.

It is a new century, the 21st. Time to buy a vowel and solve the puzzle.

If you want to fix school funding, get on your state senator, the hold up is in the state senate. The Governor has proposed funding changes and the House is going to pass some version of a bill. the Senate (REPUBLICAN) will prolly just let it die and we will be right here doing the same thing as we have been doing for the last 200 years, paying for our schools on a local level.

I am voting against Mrs. Pogany and Mr. Zimmermann and I am going to the OSFC meeting. And I am voting NO on levies because I DO NOT WANT A SINGLE ELEMENTARY BUILDING!!!!!

What are you doing?

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61metz87(884 comments)posted 5 years, 5 months ago

voting no on both issues and hopeing that everyone else does too. enough is enough!

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