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Change coming to Poland schools



Published: Wed, October 31, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

Change coming to Poland schools

The Poland Schools will be different next year.

There will be a new superintendent by September 2013. The search will begin soon for a new CEO of Poland schools, and there will be stiff competition. Just in Mahoning and Trumbull counties, there are several districts vying for the same top notch candidate that Poland requires. Across the state of Ohio, there are dozens of suburban districts searching as well. The levy results will play an important role in who wants the job.

Should the levy pass, there will most likely be maintenance of the status quo and even restoration of some previous cuts. Everything will not be restored to pre-cut levels — the levy does not generate enough revenue for that — but the district will be on the right track to begin to rebuild what has been lost.

Should the levy fail, there may be additional cuts or open enrollment, or both. The Ohio Department of Education will be involved in monitoring the financial solvency of the district. Another levy will be on the ballot as soon as possible and the district may be changed forever.

Now, which scenario would you like to apply to be the CEO of?

The teaching staff will also be different in the coming years. Recent changes to the state retirement system, including STRS, will have some of our more experienced educators retiring by July 1, 2015. This will be true for all local school districts, and again our financial status will play an important role in who wants to teach in our district.

So imagine this simple plan: The levy passes Nov. 6 and the board and administration work hand in hand over the next two school years to make do with the funds available (of course, this works better if there are no additional funding cuts from Ohio). Then the retirements starting the 2015-16 school year allow for enough salary and benefit savings to restore many remaining cuts and maintain a cushion for unexpected changes in state funding.

Admittedly, it is not the ideal plan, or a quick plan, but it is a plausible plan. I would encourage the board of education to develop the framework of a five year plan that gets us back on track.

We, as residents of Poland, hold the future of the Poland Local School District in our hands. My plea to you is to vote yes for our school levy. The future starts now.

Julie Liddle, Poland

The writer is president and co-chair of Citizens for Poland Schools.

Social Security is the key

I’m writing this letter about an issue that is very important to me, my family and friends, and one that is getting the wrong attention in this political season, Social Security.

Overall, the second presidential debate made the difference between the two candidates even more stark. There wasn’t much discussion about Social Security and Medicare, but we already know they have contrasting positions on this essential retirement system. For starters, it is not an entitlement program, but an earned benefit. You pay into the system from the first day of your employment. It is a promise that when you are older and retire these guaranteed benefits will be there for you.

Social Security and Medicare are two of the most successful government run programs and they are not broke. Right now the Trust Fund is good until 2035, and with some small improvements we can assure that they will be around for our grandchildren. One change that many Democrats are open to, but Mitt Romney and the GOP have written off, is to increase the Social Security tax cap to a higher amount (it is currently $110,100) or get rid of it altogether.

Romney talks about preserving it, but he has proposed cuts and big changes that taken together would totally destroy the program. He has endorsed increasing the retirement age, decreasing the cost of living adjustment, paying smaller benefits to middle class and high income people (i.e. means testing, something which undermines support for the program) and even partial privatization. He does not call it privatization but rather “letting people invest their own money.” The practical effect would be privatization would take money out of the Social Security system and put it into the stock market, a much riskier investment. We all know what happened to Wall Street and Main Street is still paying.

Charlene W. Allen, Warren

Yes, government does some good

As a concluding remark at the second debate, Gov. Romney declared, “government does not create jobs.” It does. For example, the Internet was established by connecting various agencies mostly government. Industry is now engaged in space use and exploration; that plus many new commercial innovations grew from NASA operations. Subsidies for hauling mail helped create the airlines; the Transcontinental Railroad really united the United States, as did the telegraph wire.

Those are just a sample of progress from our government complying with the constitutional mandate to, “promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.” The Stock Market will not do that; it is the millionaire’s casino. The 401K is a poor substitute for pensions, which provided workers security and investment capital.

The South demands smaller and less government. But electric power from the Tennessee Valley Authority provided the opportunity for all to prosper. The South and the West benefit from giant dams that harnessed waterways, providing power and year-round water supplies.

The breakup of Standard Oil and Ma Bell allowed free enterprise to expand, millions to prosper and encouraged innovation. Yet some question the right of the government interference, ala Ayn Rand. As it creates jobs, innovation also eliminates them. Travel agents and reservation clerks are largely replaced by the IPhone. The electric company meterman replaced by the Smart Meter. It indirectly reads and withdraws money from your bank account. That reduces two jobs, plus mail and bank activity.

The Romney-Ryan team takes aim at downsizing Social Security which created more jobs, as did Medicare, in the last half of the prior century by allowing the middle class to retire as consumers and afford health care. Both were previously available only to the very rich.

Do we want to revert to 1930 as Grover Norquest demands, or unhealthy coal burning to please the Koch Brothers?

Richard T. Tracy Sr., Mesa, Ariz.

Victorian Players are a pleasure

My husband and I recently saw Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Masque of the Red Death” at the Victorian Players. I am amazed at the way everyone knows their lines so well.

Donny Wolford who played Hop-Frog stole the show with his fantastic performance. What a great job he did, as did everyone else.

We really enjoy going to the Victorian Players.

Patricia Cika, Austintown


Comments

1paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Poland Schools! When do the teachers start giving back their 10% raises???

Defeat the levy!

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2gdog4766(1467 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Hey Paul parks, where do you work? Where I feel you should be paid less so,I can use those services at a lower cost. Idiot!

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3UNCOMMONSENSE(360 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

gdog...it is not a matter of how you feel but the reality of finances. If the money is not there, then you can't expect the pay to be there. The taxpayer should not be the only one sacrificing.

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4HappyBob(285 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Very well said Charlene.
The other thing that sealed my vote was Romney's characterization of me being irresponsible for my life. He clearly does not know the non-wealthy american voter, nor does he seem to care to know them.
He reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, a lot of bluster, but there's really nothing behind the curtain!

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5repeaters(197 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

"We, as residents of Poland, hold the future of the Poland Local School District in our hands. My plea to you is to vote yes for our school levy. The future starts now." No, the future starts every six months when the tax statements are mailed to your supporters; you know, taxpayers. The ones you love to hate, and hate to love depending on which side of the levy their on. "Citizens for Poland Schools"; I love the way you identify yourselves as sort of 'something special' than 'other' people of the community that pay Poland school taxes that maybe don't have either the financial resources or the willness to follow the crowd any more. Maybe their on fixed incomes, but hey, you don't care. You want it so bad, then let the "Citizens for Poland Schools" pay the bill. The 'other' taxpayers, alias citizens, won't mind at all.

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6RealTruth(111 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I love the threat of "open enrollment," as if the administration and teachers would ever put up with that . . .

And, I'll just betcha there of plenty of teachers from all over (new grads, Catholic schools, city schools) that would LOVE to teach in Poland. Shouldn't have any trouble filling positions.

The same goes for Superintendents and administrators. You never see any of them quitting, do you?

We will be voting "NO" regardless of scare tactics, threats, ultimatums, or anything else they put out there in the next few days.

For the record, we used to vote for schools, but after the poor decision to borrow $2.2 million for a stadium et al instead of putting academics first, we're done. Now they need money for the real necessities, and we're supposed to just say "oh well" and hand them the money. NO NO NO

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7mingodrs(2 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

It is obvious to me that several of the comments above are offered by those unfamiliar with the facts or by those who would vote NO just bcause they can. The teachers got no 10% pay raise - in fact they have accepted a pay freeze and a step freeze. I encourage any who want the real facts to visit abulldogforever.com,
As the signs say this is for the children and the community. VOTE YES!

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8devildog(96 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Sometimes we have a tendency to "cut off our nose to spite our face"....I cant really afford more taxes either but I dont want to lose the value of my home because of a declining school district. Someone paid for my kids to go to school so that is my responsibilty to keep good education going. Unfortuantely people feel that teachers who educate THEIR kids aren't worth it....I sure think mine are!!!!

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9RealTruth(111 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

devildog:

Unless you're one of the few homes that maintained its value, your home is already worth less than it was last year. Look it up on MahoningCountyAuditor.org and see.

mingodrs:

Thanks for the link to the "facts." Where do they talk about the sports complex they chose to go into debt for?

I did read that if this levy doesn't pass, they may do away with all extracurricular activities, including sports, so what will they do with that stadium? Will they just keep making those huge payments and let it sit empty?

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10paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

The teachers may have accepted a pay freeze for "the future," but what about the 10% increase they got the past 3 years? GIVE IT BACK! Defeat the levy!

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11devildog(96 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Paul....reading some of your past comments, you sound like a teacher hater! Sorry that you had such a negative experience with them, most are awesome professionals worth WAY more than they are paid! Teaching is truly the most important profession, as it readys the future of all other professions! What would we be without an education....ummm....maybe a miserable blog poster that wants no one that works in the public sector to make a living! Good luck with that sentiment!!!

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12paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

D-Dog,

I am not a teacher hater. There are good ones. In this economic climate, however, why should they be immune to the recession? I'm not, You're not. These teachers "juice" up their salaries, perks and bennies BEFORE we have a chance to express our disapproval. Yes, it's a goofed up system, but I didn't design it.

Defeat the levy!

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13natureman(66 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I am not that interested in paying top dollar for another superintendent when my children have pay to play and all those cuts were made in the elementary. As far as I am concerned we could do with a few less high paid administrators in the Poland system. If you notice none of them have had a cutback. If you want this levy tell us what is going to be restored.

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14ytownisajoke(31 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

What will be restored is clearly listed on www.abulldogforwever.com. Voting no will only make it worse. We are already at bare minimum with teachers Too many courses have already been cut! Not sure what else people expect. Vote yes!!!! We need to step up and take care of our town. If we don't, we will become Liberty.... And that is not a threat- it is a reality.

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15devildog(96 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

yes....it is a goofed up system and until the state of Ohio improves how to fund our schools, we are ALL victims, teachers pay taxes too! I'm pretty sure they have been at a wage freeze, no cost of living increase, inusrances costs have increased and they have been contributing more toward their pensions. I'm not sure what you mean by teachers "juice" up their salaries unless they coach or have another supplemental position. I don't know what else you expect from them that is logical besides all of the above AND taking on extra assignments with the cuts that have been made. Federal cuts in funding have KILLED schools like Poland, and until this "goofed" up system is fixed, we must step up to the plate and take care of our children, the next leaders in this world!!! VOTE YES!!!

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16Knightcap(693 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

Do away with all property taxes. Let people own their homes. There are so many ways to skin a cat and it's time take the knife away from carving the homeowner. Past and current governors and state legislators are to blame not the school system or the overtaxed homeowner.

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17natureman(66 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

I am not against schools. However, this year my family has had many additional expenses that were passed on by the school board. When you have children in multiple sports it gets expensive. We are currently awaiting our high school bill for the school fees that we owe. These will probably come after the election. This levy is very high and will only add to our expenses. Something has to give. I am sick and tired of hearing about how the state has caused all of these problems. Why don't the school administrators try to do something about this problem? Seems to me that this has been going on for far too long.

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18Knightcap(693 comments)posted 1 year, 10 months ago

@natureman
Are you sure there are no YSU board members on Poland's board. From your comment it sounds like the YSU playbook - jack the tuition up, higher book fees, higher lab fees, hgher parking fees, higher fees on credit card use, higher fees for getting higher fees. Parents cringe when they get their kid's YSU bill. Doesn't get any easier. You're right about adminstrators, they should be demanding what the courts said. End the property tax. They demand higher salaries and free benefits.Vote no.

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19paulparks(235 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

The teachers' union is strangely silent during all of this. What's the matter... hand caught in the cookie jar?

For those who say a levy defeat will depress home values, get real! Will a levy success all of a sudden boost home values? I don't think so.

Bring sanity back to the school district - defeat the levy!

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20BoardmanBranch(42 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Teachers pay 5% of their insurance -- and the plan itself is very rich. The copay will go up to 10% in 2014! We are still paying the full portion of the retirement package for administrators. Teachers have always contributed 10% toward their pension.. There has been no increase. You do realize that the wage and step freeze means that they get no raise for two years? I haven't had a raise for 5 years. They make it sound like they're making some great sacrifice. But besides that, they are $13 million in debt. They didn't ask us to vote on those lease purchase agreements, but it's our responsibity to bail them out. School funding has been cut int he last two years. Had the Poland schools practiced any fiscal restraint, they would have money left over even with the cuts. Yet we are asked to trust you with money when the new superintendent announced an average teacher salary that was $15,000 less than is correct. I know he was given incorrect information, but I don't want to give any more money to schools where teachers refuse to renegotiate contracts when a worldwide recession occurs and when the interim superintendent charged with passing the levy doesn't know the financial situation. I expect more accountability by all staff and employees--not just taking things away from kids--before I consider voting for a levy.

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21Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Pay for Sports and tax the drugs
problem solved . It's the same at BHS
PAY to play . and make all teams pay rent on the new stadium

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22RealTruth(111 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Thank you, BoardmanBranch. That is what they expect us to do -- bail them out of the mess they created.

It still baffles me how I run into so many people that still believe the stadium was built by donations. Only the track was, nothing else.

We don't personally know anyone who is voting FOR the levy, but I see on the bulldog's site that they have over 600 supporters. I recognize many of the names, and they are affiliated with the schools.

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23olddude(197 comments)posted 1 year, 9 months ago

Dont live in Poland..Dont know about the past promises to pay on incured debt..

I do know about the correlation between Real Estate value and taxes..
When property values were increasing between about 2000 and 2007, everybody thought the party train would never end... More flowing in every year.. The teachers unions knew this and every time a contract was up, they knew more money would become available since the tax dollars were directly associated with Real values..Probably why the board agreed to the Stadium loan..

Here we are 5 years later and the Real property values have decreased.. If the property values are rolled back, why cant the teachers compensation do the same?

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