Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Letters to Editor
October 10, 2013 by John Karlovec | No Comments

Letters from the community

On behalf of the seniors at the West Geauga Senior Center, I wanted to thank Josh Echt for the article he wrote…

Benefits of Article

On behalf of the seniors at the West Geauga Senior Center, I wanted to thank Josh Echt for the article he wrote about the senior center and share with you the benefits of this article.

This morning we had a local gentleman show up with a sizeable donation of glass and other pieces of equipment to our glass shop. He said he read your article in the Chesterland News and thought it was time to give back.

Although he wasnt sure where we were located, he found us, so I wanted to let the readers know that the West Geauga Senior Center is located at the Patterson Fruit Farm, 11414 Caves Road, Chesterland, and our phone number is 440-729-2782.

We extend our appreciation to Josh and the paper for printing that article, and to let your readers know these kinds of donations allow us to keep classes affordable and our shop going.

Sandy McLeod, Coordinator

West Geauga Senior Center

Editors Note: The Chesterland News and Geauga County Maple Leaf are both owned by Legal News Publishing Company.

Honest, Concerned, Proud

Many months ago, it was stated that there would be a lot of dirt thrown out at election time toward the two trustees that are running for reelection: Judy Caputo and Mike Joyce.

I see that promise is being fulfilled by a faction that is interested in demeaning and discrediting the majority of the current Board of Trustees.

I have been told by countless residents that a select group of opponents to the reelection of the incumbents is out soliciting people to write articles or editorials, talk to anyone they can and attend meetings to create doubt and concern for township issues, their handling and the people we elected to make decisions in Chester.

I have to also mention the publication called Chester Observer, put out by this group of citizens that seeks to give out one-sided or sometimes even incorrect information to people in our community who may or may not be too aware of whats going on in Chesterland in the hopes that they might influence them against Judy and Mike.

They represent themselves as being watchdogs for the township to protect and inform the population, but they dont lay claim to the articles they write. There are no bylines in this local flyer, but instead a list of contributors that formerly included one of our current trustees who is conspicuously left out whenever the Board of Trustees is criticized.

They set out to create doubt and to take the vote away from Judy and Mike who work endless hours to keep things running well.

This group is self-serving, combative and doesnt care how much of our taxpayer dollars are wasted by their constant demands on township employees at our town hall. They sit in the audience at each township meeting trying to infuse negativity at every opportunity. There is never a positive solution or a reasonable suggestion that comes from them.

People may feel that I am partial in what Im writing and if by partial they mean that I believe in honesty, integrity and ethical practices, then yes, I am. I see two trustees who are dedicated to our people and their township and who devote countless hours in preparation, research and execution of major decisions to maintain our home government.

Our third trustee often abstains from voting because he feels more time is needed, when sometimes months have gone by.

I always maintain that if you never make a decision, you cant ever be wrong. The responsibility for decision-making is for the total board.

I love my township and the people in it. I see trustees who are honest, concerned and proud of their community, and want it to stay the wonderful place to live that it is. I am so tired of the move to make good people look bad.

I also know the people of Chesterland are smart and realize there are two sides to every story. I have lived and worked here for more than 25 years. Our five children grew up here and, although we formerly lived in another community, we call Chesterland home.

I ask you to please keep your minds open to what you read and hear and to realize that our trustees are working in your best interests.

Diane Joyce

Chester Township

Editors Note: Diane Joyce is the wife of Chester Township Trustee Mike Joyce

Line Out The Door

On Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, in a joint effort with the Geauga Veterans Commission, we began offering veteran ID cards. It was an incredible day. We issued 115 cards and the line was out the door onto the sidewalk.

First of all, I want to thank all of our veterans for their service. Next, I must thank the commission because without its help, this project would have never happened.

My wonderful staff worked hard all day without taking lunch or breaks to breath. Chardon police were here helping with traffic and people directions. Sue Dunkel, the ODJFS veterans representative, and members of American Legions Atwood Mauck Post 459 were also there to help.

And, I want to thank Lake County Recorder Ann Radcliffe. She worked side by side with me to get the cards issued. What a great example of shared services and of elected officials coming together to help each other out. Northeast Ohio is a great place to live.

In case I missed you, thanks to everyone who helped out in any way yesterday to make this happen.

By the way, the ID cards are still available daily at our office from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sharon C. Gingerich

Geauga County Recorder

Stop Open Enrollment

I urge the West Geauga community to attend the next school board meeting.

Our district has open enrollment. This means that any child in the state can come to our schools.

Students must find transportation to and from school.

The district receives $5,700 per student; however, our school board cannot tell us how much it costs to educate that student. They state that from 2010, the average cost is $11,000. Where is the other $5,300 coming from?

Why should a child from South Euclid/Lyndhurst, in which there are 56 students from that district attending WG, come here?

Richmond Heights sends 51 students here. Parents from there have banded together and rented school transportation vans to transport their kids back and forth.

In an email, Mr. Kotowski, a member of the school board, said these parents do what WG parents do. They care about their kids, attend school functions and are involved just like those that reside here. Mr. Kotowski, that maybe true, however, you have forgotten one very important fact: We live in the district and the taxes we pay on our property go to our schools.

When the district comes to the residents and asks for more money, the open enrollment parents are not part of this equation. Their taxes and pockets will not suffer.

Mr. Palmer and the board members like to say the open enrollment kids outperform our kids. Why is that you are comparing 258 kids to 2,031 kids?

Open enrollment will hurt all of those with kids in school and everyone that resides here. Our property values will decline. Strong schools mean strong property values.

Why should people move here? All you need to do to attend our schools is find a way here.

These open enrollment kids take spots on sports teams, chorus, band, plays and so on.

Let’s stand together and stop open enrollment now.

One way is vote to Sally Gillmore and Bill Beers off the board.

Anthony Kosley

Chester Township

Continue Proud Tradition

An open letter to the residents of Chardon Schools: It all starts with you and me.

Our nation cannot prosper without an educated, trained and experienced populace. Chardon Schools has a long history of graduating students prepared for successful and productive lives. It is our responsibility to ensure the continuation of this proud tradition.

None of us arises each morning hoping to find yet another way to spend our money, but each of us knows in our heart that for the welfare of a healthy society we must support our system of education by voting for the school levy.

It is time for all of us to do the right thing. Please support the Chardon Schools Levy by voting YES on Nov. 5.

Jerry Petersen

Chardon

McCaskey, A Man of His Word

We are Munson Township residents and would like to let the public know how important it is for everyone to vote for Jim McCaskey for Munson Township Trustee.

We have known Jim for three years since hiring his company to landscape our yard. Working with Jim and his company has been a pleasure, and has been a unique experience getting to know them and forming a friendship.

He treats his professional staff like family which, in turn, makes them take ownership in the business as if it were their own. My husband and I have always been impressed by the strong relationship between Jim and his staff.

We have recommended Jim to other family members and they in turn thanked us for the referral and the confidence and trust they have in him. Jim is a man of his word, he always shows up when promised and, most importantly, stays on budget with what we had discussed. He would be an asset to Munson Township with his strong family values and business experience.

Debbie and Paul Johnson

Munson Township

Protect Constructive Dissent

Was Tom Paine disruptive when he wrote and published Common Sense? You bet he was.

I believe the newspaper has a responsibility to speak up here. The ad placed by Mike Kilroy in the Chesterland News was an expression of his free speech rights. What message does it send to students that it is OK for the school superintendent and board to censor the press when, in their opinion, the message expressed in the free press is disruptive?

Constructive dissent is protected by the Constitution and is a necessary part of a functioning democracy. Censorship leads to dictatorship (where the books are burned!).

Im not judging Mike Kilroys opinion as right or wrong … just that he has the right to express it and be heard … and not just by those the school board and the school superintendent deem appropriate.

Superintendent Palmers actions to suppress opinions he considered to be disruptive are short-sighted, counter-productive and far more disruptive than any caused by the Chesterland News issue of Sept. 11. He turned a molehill into a mountain.

It is very likely that Superintendent Palmers actions increased the so-called disruptive effects of this incident.

Will you also be suppressed in expressing your opinion?

Grant C. Grinnell

Chester Township

Leadership, Not Rhetoric

As a new Board of Education member and the chair of West Geauga’s Finance Committee, it quickly became apparent that West Geauga parents and taxpayers demand an exceptional school system at a the lowest possible cost.

Board President Bill Beers and member Sally Gillmore understand this. Beers, a PhD, researcher and manager at General Electric, and Gilllmore, retired from career teaching at Kent State University and the Mayfield Schools, have demonstrated they know how to find that balance.

Under their leadership, the board has put into action a five-year plan to raise West Geauga Schools’ admirable top 7 percent of Ohio school districts ranking to top 5 percent. They’ve voted to add more advanced placement classes, align curriculum between grades and schools, and add technology support for teachers. Consistently, West Geauga’s state test scores have been rising.

This progress is only possible because of aggressive cost-cutting over the last few years, include reducing staff, sharing services and our award-winning energy conservation program. Now, with $9 million in the bank, Beers and Gillmore have put West Geauga in position to not ask for new money from the public for several years.

West G’s strong reputation attracts students, most of them high-performing, from other school districts, bringing in over $1.2 million in state money that helps keep our taxes lower. This program is so successful that the board has authorized it unanimously each year for the past seven years.

Bill Beers and Sally Gillmore have demonstrated strong, responsible leadership not with rhetoric, but by providing our students, parents and taxpayers with an outstanding district that is in the best financial shape of any school system in Geauga County.

Bill Beers and Sally Gillmore have earned your vote for re-election to the West Geauga school board.

Ben Kotowski, Member

West Geauga BOE

Good Steward of Money

In 2009, my son graduated from Chardon High School. He went on to Cleveland State University and found he was well prepared for his college computer courses.

The high school computer classes that prepared him for these college courses no longer exist, victims of budget cuts. In fact, all business classes have been eliminated due to lack of funds.

The most recent reductions, necessary to balance the budget, eliminated the gifted program in the elementary schools and reduced the high school art program to one teacher. Students have multiple study halls as a result of the lack of electives in the high school.

The current five-year forecast for the district projects a growing deficit and over $1 million in cuts to staff and programs will be necessary if additional revenue is not approved. We risk dismantling our school district to state minimums if we do not reverse this trend.

Chardon has lost over $2.6 million in revenue due to state cuts and elimination of the tangible personal property tax. The school district has been a good steward of the money it receives.

Freezes in employee compensation, increased employee health care contributions, an energy conservation program and reductions in the supply and material budget are examples of savings enacted.

Along with the inflationary cost increases we all experience, the district continues to face unfunded federal and state mandates. Examples include disability services, staff evaluation changes, student management information systems, curriculum changes and online testing.

I am concerned for my daughters educational future as she progresses through middle school and into high school. State minimum requirements will not provide the quality education that she and her fellow classmates need to succeed in the future.

On Nov. 5, please support Issue 31. Chardon needs a school district that can educate our young people to compete in a global environment.

Guy Wilson, Member

Chardon BOE

Why Newbury Needs Money?

On Nov. 5, Newbury residents will be helping decide the fate of their local school district. The 7.1-mill levy on the ballot is a proposed property tax that equates to roughly $21 per month on a $100,000 home.

Passing the levy will keep the school solvent. A failed outcome means the school will be in fiscal deficit early in the 2014-2015 school year and may have a state commission overseeing the work of the local school board.

Why does a school system like Newbury, that has repeatedly received an Excellent rating, need money?

State funding has continually decreased since 2008, when our funding guarantee was $1,051,842. In FY 2013, the guarantee portion of funding is slightly less than $150,000 and unfunded state mandates have continued to increase. Although Newbury has reduced staff by 27 percent since 2002, special education staff have tripled to provide required services and the promised 40 percent federal special education funding is about 8 percent.

Because Newbury is among the top 35 wealthiest school districts (property value divided by enrollment) in Ohio, our state share of non-guarantee funding has been 0.0 percent since FY 2008. Newburys taxpayers are almost completely responsible for funding their local school system.

But this is not a problem unique to Newbury. Within a few years, all Geauga County residents will face the same dilemma.

Open enrollment, scholarships and voucher programs are the result of legislation focused on tax dollars going to private and charter schools, exempt from almost all of the rules and regulations governing traditional public schools. This lost revenue has resulted in many districts considering merger and consolidation to create a more viable future, but this process takes four to five years. Districts like Newbury and Berkshire have been, and are, working with the state to try to have new legislation drafted to give the residents more control and options over these decisions.

If Newburys upcoming levy fails, it will immediately impact the districts effectiveness as well as limit its ability to pursue consolidation. This could leave a community with a school struggling to sustain the level of excellence to which its residents have grown accustomed, and an accumulating debt that would create a cloudy and more difficult future.

For more information, Newbury Schools Board of Education will be holding Q&A sessions in the schools auditorium after the 6:30 p.m. board meeting on Oct. 21.

Kimya Matthews

Newbury Township

Parents, Take Back Responsibility

Communities dont raise children. Parents do.

Communities and schools are not responsible for educating our children either. Parents are.

The education of your children, whether its quality or not, is not the responsibility of the community, the taxpayer, the single struggling parent, the elderly on a fixed income or your rich neighbor. It is the sole responsibility of parents to raise and educate their own children.

This is a great responsibility and one you chose when you decided to create the family unit.

Im not sure when it was decided that communities or government would be responsible for our childrens education, but its time and long overdue, for you the parent, to take it back.

Support your own family and educate your own children. I am.

Ive lived in Chardon for five years and grew up in Chesterland, a Geauga county resident my whole life. I am a single parent with a home, a job, an adopted child and one income. I do it all, all by myself. The Creator is my resource.

I dont expect the community to fund the bill to educate my child any more than I expect them to pay for her to go on a vacation, a missions trip or to have braces put on her teeth. I am taking the responsibility of parenting and raising my own child. Educating our children is part of parenting and raising a child. Her education is my responsibility, not yours.

Look around you folks, the world is changing and its changing more rapidly than ever. Theres more evil, poverty, crime, illness, spiritual unawareness, violence, selfishness and greed. We, the people of this nation, are responsible for either creating it or tolerating it.

We have been breaking and changing the laws of government, but, more importantly, we have been breaking and changing the Creators Laws. We are no longer calling down blessings from heaven. Instead, we are bringing curses upon our families and ourselves.

We are no longer the greatest, richest nation in the world. We no longer have righteous morals and values. We are no longer a responsible people, a responsible nation.

We are no longer raising our own children. We are leaving it up to the government, TV, video games, iPhones, iPods, X-boxes, play stations, babysitters, neighbors, friends, partners, schools, etc. These things are a matter of convenience and are insidiously destroying the family unit.

Stop being selfish and stop trying to make your neighbors feel bad. Take back your families and take back your own responsibilities. Bullying comes in all forms, shapes and sizes, and its not just a kid thing. Parents have become the bullies.

The school levy is not the only problem. We are being levied to death. Everybody is feeling the crushing hammer, the degrading society and the empty bank account. Much is being taken from us and what is not being taken we are freely giving away. Prophetically speaking, this is only the beginning. It is time to wake up, repent, and take your lives and families back. Yes, vote. Yes, be responsible; be responsible for your own families.

Voting yes for a levy is not necessarily being responsible. Asking someone else to reach into his or her bank account and take away from his or her own family to provide for your childs education when it is really your responsibility is very wrong.

A statement was made in the Oct. 3 Maple Leafs Letter to the Editor: Our children have only one chance at a quality education and they are worth it. I agree with this statement to a point.

After you read the article that comes before this ending statement, the statement loses its sincerity and true meaning. It begins to sound more like a bullying tactic to get me to feel bad and give my money to provide for all of Chardons childrens education. But thats not my responsibility.

Its getting more difficult every day for ordinary folks to make their dollar stretch to maintain their homes and families. Every parent needs to be responsible for their own childrens education. I am. Stop bullying the community. The community of Chardon is not responsible for your childs education, you the parent are.

Trish Zaletel

Chardon

When Lies are Told Redux

When reading the letter from Ken Radtke in the Chesterland News on Oct. 2, I found it necessary to respond to it.

He alludes to a vote cast by Judy Caputo in 2008, regarding the rezoning of property for commercial use. He fails to mention the location of the property, which is south of Route 322 on the eastside of Route 306. This is the location of the new Guidos Restaurant and the Generations Reception and Meeting Center; this represents a significant investment and real estate tax increase. This endeavor by the Albino family was supported by large crowds at the various Township meetings.

The vote cast was 2-1 with a Radtke supporter voting against it. Where would this project be without Judy Caputos support? Ask Mr. Radtke, who cast the negative vote?

What Mr. Radtke fails to mention is that Mrs. Caputo casts votes, which caused discontinuance of commercial use on an equal amount of commercially zoned land within the township.

Mr. Radtke included his telephone number in his letter and invited calls from citizens of Chester Township.

Please accept his invitation and call him.

Do not forget to ask him, why on a consistent basis he abstains from voting on various township matters.

Yes, this election is about Mr. Radtke and the future of Chester Township and the need for the current majority to remain in office.

It is too bad Mr. Radtke is not up for re-election.

Jeff A. Frank

Chester Township

Do Right Thing

On Nov. 5, Election Day, you will be faced with one of the most important choices in many years. There are two openings on the West Geauga Schools Board of Education. There are only two persons seeking those seats who are proven veterans and who have had a significant role in successfully guiding our schools through some turbulent financial times while maintaining educational excellence. We need Sally Gillmore and Bill Beers to continue the journey.

Bill Beers, who has been the board president, is a 30-year employee of General Electric, with vast experience in the sciences and, even more importantly, in interacting with and educating people. Educationally, Mr. Beers holds a PHD in chemistry. With regard to finances, he has steered the West Geauga schools finances for years, keeping our district fiscally sound.

Sally Gillmore has a background as a teacher, including 23 years at Kent State University. She is a professional educator. Mrs. Gillmore has served 32 years on the school board, including being its president, has served on statewide committees as an appointee of the governors office, is a member of the Ohio School Boards Association, and on and on. Mrs. Gillmores credentials in education are impeccable.

During their tenures in office, Mrs. Gillmore and Mr. Beers have been major forces in obtaining favorable contracts with our teachers, have helped pass a five-year plan levy for our schools, have kept our tax millage down and have kept our schools academic standing at high levels. Our system has repeatedly scored Excellent or Excellent with Distinction, and recently our high school was one of fifteen Ohio schools to win the 2013 National Blue Ribbon School Award awarded by the Federal Secretary of Education.

This past year almost 70 percent of our seniors entered four-year colleges and about 20 percent entered two-year colleges. All of our educational percentages (such as ACT scores) have increased.

Is everything perfect? No. We still have things to do and goals to conquer.

The other candidates, both fine people, do not have the experience, nor the credentials to run our schools. We need the knowledge and expertise that Bill Beers and Sally Gillmore hold. They have been an integral part of our successes. We need their experience.

This is not the right time to put the reins of our schools in the hands of persons who, while outstanding in their own fields, have no experience in the technical, legislative/political, policy making and other areas necessary to oversee a school district.

I urge you to do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do vote for Sally Gillmore and Bill Beers for the West Geauga Schools Board of Education.

Bernard Mandel

Russell Township

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