Letters to Editor
A Better Way
Neither the Berkshire nor Newbury school communities have been given clear or complete information regarding the proposed consolidation.
For the most part, the information is either based upon precarious assumptions or otherwise is conflicting and incomplete. This is surely not a matter of intent, but one of circumstance given the apparent sense of urgency with which this situation has been addressed.
Here are some examples:
The assumption regarding Berkshire’s earned income tax is that it will carry over and apply to all residents of the new district.
The fact is that while consultants and legal advisors have rendered their opinion, there is no guarantee that this will be the case and a legal challenge could be very costly.
There is an assumption that the new district would save $2 million in its first two years.
But the fact is we know neither what the new state funding per pupil will be nor the inevitable additional costs for the new district.
There is an assumption that consolidation will also result in academic improvement.
The fact is the preponderance of evidence agrees with a recent comprehensive study of school consolidation by Ohio University (2011) that states, “while consolidation proposals may serve a public relations purpose in times of crisis, the are unlikely to obtain substantial fiscal or educational improvement.”
Citizens have been told that as many as 15 employees will be let go, but not who these people will be.
Furthermore, both districts are currently operating under separate master agreements and negotiating a new contract could prove very costly.
While neither board has mentioned capital improvement levies, my understanding is that each district has one and integration of these is just another unaddressed, unresolved issue.
It has been implied that each district is in a similar financial situation.
The fact is Newbury has an immediate need and Berkshire may have a need in 2017 — a need that can be addressed between now and then.
We have been told that if Newbury fails its levy that the consolidation effort will be discontinued.
But other decision-makers have said the outcome of the Newbury levy has no relevance. Which is it?
This should not be an adversarial situation between the Berkshire and Newbury communities. As one speaker aptly pointed out, we are friends and neighbors. Both boards and communities want what’s best for our children. All of the board members are unselfish and grossly unappreciated public servants.
How the state funds public schools is a disgrace and ultimately correcting this problem is the long-term solution.
However, we must deal with circumstances as they exist today. While it is often easiest to be a critic and naysayer, consolidation is not the answer. There is a better way and given an appropriate amount of time, that way can be found to the benefit of both educational communities.
A Good Neighbor
In our ever expanding society, people have become more distant and isolated from one another.
Although technology has brought us the ability to see and talk to people thousands of miles away with a click of a button, relationships have become less intimate. It is less common to see strangers greeting one another on the street or a co-worker taking time out of a busy day to ask how you are doing and take the time to listen to your answer.
Yet, the concept and the importance of a good neighbor still holds significant value to each and every one of us.
One of the most well-known advertisement slogans that has spanned generations is the one that begins, “Like a good neighbor, BLANK BLANK is there!” We all know words that fill in those blanks. Why has this slogan remained so popular through the years? The answer is that even though lives have become busier and personal relationships have become less personal, we still cherish the idea of being able to depend on someone who will always be there in a time of need.
The same holds true of our government officials. We elect individuals who we believe best represent our ideals and interests. We believe these individuals will stand up for us and give us a voice that will be heard by those who lead us.
Unfortunately, we have been able to depend on our elected officials less and less. Often, they have their own agendas on the forefront of their minds and have forgotten their promises to the people who helped them achieve their position. It is time to bring back the principles on which this government was founded … by the people, for the people.
We moved to Ohio about two and a half years ago. It is always difficult leave familiar surroundings and people with whom you have built close ties to and start a new life in a strange place. We searched long and hard for a place we could call home before we found ourselves settling down in Russell.
Shortly after moving in, we met our neighbor, Linda O’Brien. Linda is the epitome of what being a good neighbor means. She welcomed us into our neighborhood and has shown us genuine friendship and concern since.
Linda lives her life by following the fundamental principles of her faith. She is sincere, honest, friendly, trustworthy, reliable and dependable. She has a generous heart and an open mind. She always puts others before herself.
Linda is always there to lend a helping hand when we are in need. She is one person that we can always count on in a time of crisis.
I believe that our society and government are in a state of crisis right now. We are in desperate need of help and I believe that we need someone like Linda O’Brien to help bring our community back to the basics and to ensure that the fundamental principles upon which our country was founded are not lost.
Linda is running for a seat in the Ohio House of Representative District 76. I believe that our community will be well served with Linda representing us and fighting for our concerns.
Linda is passionate about her beliefs and will never back away from a challenge even when the risks can be great. She can help bring the true meaning of community back into politics and bring the government back to the people for the good of the people.
Please stand with me in support of Linda O’Brien as she endeavors to make a difference in our community and in our country. Please vote for her as a write-in candidate in the upcoming election and help her help us live a better tomorrow.
Ellen W. K. Rosenquist
Be Their Voice
Since March, 2012, CASA for KIDS of Geauga County has served significantly more abused and neglected children referred by the juvenile court.
This is directly related to the opiate and heroin epidemic in our county.
In 2013, 93 families were involved in the court, a 22 percent increase.
Of the 157 children served in 2013, 30 percent had parents addicted to opiates and/or heroin. These numbers are the highest in the 17-year history of CASA for KIDS.
One of the side effects of the opiate/heroin epidemic, not yet discussed in the media, is the devastation to the children who lose their parents to this awful addiction. It is so debilitating, that in each case, the children have not been able to remain in the parent’s care.
Although many services are offered to rehabilitate the parents and reunify the children, the recovery rate for opiate/heroin addiction is only 20 percent; therefore, many children are not able to return to their parents. This loss will forever affect these children’s lives.
There are many efforts in Geauga County to reduce this epidemic and treat those afflicted by this addiction. In the meantime, please consider volunteering as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, to represent the “best interest” of abused/neglected children involved in the Geauga County Juvenile Court.
Get to know a child, be their voice; tell their story in court. You can make a difference in the life of a child.
CASA for KIDS of Geauga County is a program of the juvenile court. Visit our website at www.geaugacasa.org.
If you are interested in learning more about volunteering, call Chris at 440-279-1696. The next training class will begin at the end April. An application, interview and three references are required.
Christine Folz, M.Ed, LSW
CASA for KIDS
The Cardinal Athletic Department would like to thank all of the Cardinal teachers, students and families who contributed to our food drive this week.
We delivered two van loads and a pickup truck load of items, including food, household items and monetary donations to the Nelson-Garrettsville Community Cupboard on Saturday, March 29.
One week ago, the Community Cupboard was one of 13 businesses destroyed in the Garrettsville fire. Thanks to everyone for their generosity.
Andy Cardinal, AD
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