After reading the Oct. 30 editorial “Desperately seeking funding,” I felt compelled to respond. As a current school superintendent and one of the Straight A Fund Governing Board members, I feel some clarification is warranted.
Another example of how Ohio has shortchanged public education? I hardly think so.
The Straight A Fund was never designed to fix funding issues in the state, but to reward those districts who are exhibiting innovative programs that will be self-sustaining.
The $250 million fund is by far the largest innovative grant for any state in the country, and there will be a number of school districts that will benefit from this pool of money.
It will be a very competitive process because there were over $860 million in submissions for this grant money, but this shows how much interest and creativity school districts are putting forth — not another reminder how the Statehouse continues to shortchange educational priorities, as the editorial stated.
Let’s not forget the $8 billion budget shortfall inherited by our current governor, John Kasich. The last year of the former governor’s biennium budget — even with the federal stimulus money coupled with the state cuts to education — the school district I was superintendent of saw a decrease in total funding of approximately $50,000.
For this next biennium, my current school district is seeing an increase of 6.25 percent for fiscal year 2014 and a 10.50 percent increase in fiscal year 2015. In 15 years as a school superintendent, I have never experienced an increase of this size.
And the rationale for why we are seeing an increase finally has some rhyme and reason to it. We are an urban, low-income, high-poverty district (one of seven categories of all public school districts in Ohio).
Because of our high percentage of students who are economically disadvantaged (60 percent), high percentage of special education students (19 percent) and low wealth, there is finally some justification as to why we are receiving such an increase.
We appreciate both this sizeable state aid increase and the justification for it.
Sidney City Schools
Both parties deserve blame
U.S. House member Marcia Fudge has shown herself in her recent town hall meeting to be a person who will not work in a bipartisan way to keep our government running (Congresswoman hears concerns, complaints,” Nov. 1)
Anyone who places all the blame solely on either party is either blind or trying to kid himself or herself or his or her constituents. The fact of the matter is that both parties in Congress, along with the president, are to blame.
A few years ago there was a statewide issue in Ohio to opt out of the Affordable Care Act. This issue passed in every county. How can anyone who is supposed to represent Ohio voters still support this law?
The problem is that everyone thinks we need to change Congress, but not his or her representative. We need to change all of the members of Congress.
Next year, vote against any incumbent. Send a message.
Gerald C. Wise Sr.
From the start, a party of no
From the day of his inauguration, this president has been doomed to failure. Remember the Republican meeting on Inauguration Day? The meeting was conducted with the intent to block or deny the president any and all successes during his presidency. They have stayed true to their promises each and every day since.
Gov. Mitt Romney ran on a platform during the 2012 election of jobs, jobs, jobs and repeal Obamacare.
President Obama has had a jobs bill in Congress since 2011 intended to create thousands of infrastructure jobs, but Republicans have blocked a vote. Yet their insatiable appetite to repeal Obamacare has come up, and they have voted against the act 42 times. That certainly has helped the economy.
Sen. Ted Cruz spearheaded the drive to repeal Obamacare, which caused the government shutdown affecting thousands of furloughed or laid-off workers, then touted by others in the Republican Party as a successful shutdown.
If I were the president, I would have thrown my hands up in exasperation long ago. His steady leadership has kept us out of ground wars, saved thousands of automakers’ jobs and kept our economy moving ahead, much to the chagrin of the Republican Party.
For that he is vilified over and over again by a Republican Party that lost an election twice and hungers for power, much to the detriment of an America tired of hate and the constant echo of “no” to anything the president does.
We can only hope for a resounding Republican defeat in future elections if we are ever to experience an atmosphere of cooperation in Congress and to realize the potential of an America proud of its heritage and inclusion of all races, religions, social standing and genders. Those are the values the president embraces. God bless him.
Daniel E. Rowland
What we lose without cursive
It was a very sad to me. One argument I was holding in favor of cursive was a person’s ability to write his or her signature, but, as mentioned in the Oct. 21 article “Ohio schools erase cursive writing from curriculum,” most signatures are going digital.
However, another argument in favor of cursive is that people who aren’t taught it are unable to read it. And writing uses a different part of the brain than keyboarding.
Regardless of these arguments, I would argue: Why not teach it, as a skill, as an art form? How many subjects, laws, theorems and formulas do we study, learn and forget due to disuse? Why remove a humanizing, individualizing skill that is taught at an age when children are thirsty sponges, learning second or third languages and how to play musical instruments more readily than most teens or adults?
What if the Gettysburg Address or the Declaration of Independence had been printed instead of written? A person’s printing may be individual, too, perhaps, but could rarely be as flowing, formal and cultural as cursive. “Cursives” to those who abolish handwriting.
Missing the larger problem
The financial crisis of 2008-2009 forced the city of Akron to lay off recreation center employees and give them no money due to budget cuts. However, Akron citizens who utilize these rec centers expected their social activities, children’s programs and fitness programs to continue, putting pressure on community center supervisors. The city expected these supervisors to run the centers and all their programs with little or no staff and no financial help.
Kim Huskey paid her daughter as a Zumba fitness instructor out of the fees collected from classes. She paid out $6,000 over a two-year period (less than $60 per week). In that two- year period, was Huskey ever told she could not use the proceeds from the classes to pay the instructor? Was she ever warned that this was not acceptable? Where was her supervisor?
According a Nov. 2 article (“3 Akron workers resign in wake of audit”), it appears Huskey was not the only supervisor to pay a family member.
The auditors found almost $100,000 of undocumented and unaccounted for money in other community center accounts. Was some of this money also paid to other employees’ relatives?
It seems other supervisors had a lot to hide as well (a bureau manager stashed $50,000 in a safe). The article also stated that the audit “failed to uncover any additional evidence of thefts.” Really?
The article further stated that Huskey cooperated with the investigation and admitted she paid her daughter approximately $6,000.
This seems a relatively small portion of the $100,000 undocumented and unaccounted for community center money. Huskey says she dropped her civil service grievance and tendered her resignation only when city of Akron lawyers threatened her daughter’s arrest.
It appears that Huskey was made the scapegoat in an attempt to cover up a much larger problem.
With Veterans Day coming, it’s difficult to forget what happened during the partial government shutdown. President Obama and his administration closed the National World War II Memorial.
This was unnecessary. The memorial is an open-air monument. It cost the federal government money to erect barricades. But President Obama and his administration made sure that the National Mall was open so that illegal immigrants and immigration rights groups could hold a demonstration, demanding amnesty.
Sadly, this is the kind of behavior we have come to expect from this commander in chief.
Mary Ann Sherman