Change coming to Poland schools

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