Saturday, November 1, 2014

Letters to Editor
January 16, 2014 by Staff Report | No Comments

Do They Know? During the recent school board campaign, both winning candidates promised that they would reassess open enrollment, which allows a limited number of…

Do They Know?

During the recent school board campaign, both winning candidates promised that they would reassess open enrollment, which allows a limited number of students from other school districts to attend West Geauga at the expense of the state.

The new board president, Michael Kilroy, said the voters have spoken on open enrollment.

But do they know that elimination of open enrollment would also cost the district $1.4 million? Do they know that without open enrollment the district will need to ask for higher taxes to keep the same level of instruction, sooner rather than later? Do they know that without open enrollment the district would most likely be forced to close Lindsey Elementary?

That’s right, without open enrollment, this year’s kindergarten class would be down 41 percent from a decade ago. Without open enrollment, we just don’t have enough resident students to keep two elementary schools open.

Last month, the Board of Education hired an architectural firm to design a new roof for Lindsey Elementary. If, without open enrollment, Lindsey must be closed, the new roof the board wants to install would be a waste of a $750,000 of taxpayer money, money that could better be used for other pressing needs.

Just discussing closing a school is painful and Lindsey School is a precious part of the fabric of West Geauga. Superintendent Palmer has begun discussions with the community to plan the district’s future. My colleagues on the board of education need to do their part and listen to the community, doing what’s best for our students and make a decision now on open enrollment, before putting three-quarters-of-a-million dollars into a building they may not be able to fill.

Ben Kotowski, Member
West Geauga Board of Education

We Deserve Answers

On Oct. 30, 2012, there was a community forum meeting regarding West Geauga Schools where questions were written down by the public and then to be answered.

The meeting lasted several hours and ended without all of the questions to be addressed.

The superintendent assured us that all questions would be addressed via the West Geauga website which never happened. I brought this topic up at several Board of Education meetings and, unfortunately, still no answers.

Another concern I have brought to the attention of the old board of education and administration via meeting and emails that they have balked at is the October 2013 five-year forecast. This was board-approved yet they act surprised every time I mention the facts related.

Employee salaries are increasing on average 3.7 percent per year from 2015 to 2018, or 15.7 percent over that period. Expense per student is increasing on average 7.0 percent per year from 2015 to 2018, or 31 percent over that period. The forecast does not make sense.

How can open enrollment and other school related issues be addressed with an inaccurate forecast?

They seem to forget that the West Geauga school board and administration work for us and we deserve answers.

Mike Spies
Chester Township

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