Sunday, July 22, 2007

LORAIN SCHOOL SYSTEM IN CHAOS

COMMENTARY

TMC NEWS attended the Lorain Board of Education meeting on Monday July 16th, at the Frank Jacinto Elementary School. The main reason we were there was to cover the rally that was organized by concerned parents and teachers who are unsure about their futures with the Lorain City Schools.

First I must say that the turn out was quite impressive. Aside from the number of people who were there the signs were all very creative and also mostly respectful, no real mean spirited shots. The blue cartoon character walking around was a nice touch as well. I talked with several people, including teachers, parents, students past and present and just your everyday Lorain citizen who is just concerned about the education in their city. One common thread connected them all; they were all very passionate about this issue. When you speak to them, especially the students you can hear a fear in their voice, concerned about not only the upcoming school year but the future of the education system in their city.

TMC NEWS approached Lorain City Schools Spokesman Dean Schnurr outside of the meeting and asked him to comment on the rally and the turnout, Mr. Schnurr said that he was unable to comment because he was not the official spokesman for the Board. He added that questions should be directed to the Board although they were answering no questions. I suppose there are reasons why the Board is not answering questions right now and that all may come out at a later time. However, one thing that struck me while listening to the citizens speak during their allotted 20 minutes was how, for the most part, the different members of the Board seem very disinterested in what the people were saying. While one woman spoke about nurses being let go and the value that they have within the school buildings, it seemed as though Board member Raul Ramos was more interested in whatever was on the paper he was reading at his seat. While watching him I never saw him look up and make eye contact with the speaker.

This Board must realize that every day that passes where they do not answer the questions that the public is asking, their credibility slips even further away. One would think that when the Board sees the amount of people who turned out to Monday’s rally that they might set aside more then 20 minutes for people to voice their concerns. The gym was standing room only with people wanting to vent. You know things are bad when you pull up to the school and find three live trucks from TV Stations in Cleveland all running live spots from the rally.

Obviously hundreds of people rallying at the Board meeting didn’t seem to affect this Board so I doubt that an editorial from TMC NEWS will do anything either. However, we call on the Board of Education to come clean and answer their public, their employers. We also believe that former city Councilman David Flores is on the right track in calling for the Board to appoint a Blue Ribbon Commission to look over the books and get to the bottom of these issues. We also call on the Board to free up more time for the public to speak at future Board meetings. If the speakers go 3 hours then it is your duty to sit there for 3 hours and listen to them. Our hope is that the Board will also push their chairs back from the table and actually pay close attention to what the people have to say and answer, if not all, at least some of the questions posed by the people.

The last Board meeting was held with about 24 hours notice to the public. This Special Meeting lasted just under 5 minutes, and yet in that short amount of time so many lives were shaken up with over 200 jobs being cut. Oh, and no public comments were allowed.

TMC NEWS supports the recall petition that is circulating around the community. Some fear that a recall might put the education system in Lorain into chaos. Really, what condition is it in now?

7 Comments:

Anonymous John said...

The arrogance that this Board has shown towards the public, and you are right to add their employers, proves that this is not the right group of people to turn the Lorain School system around. John F. Lorain

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not sure if a recall will turn things around but I find it typical of the local papers to say it is better to leave things the way they are. Probably why they are both doing so poorly too. I support the people of my community coming together to try and fix this problem and if it is a recall then so be it.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The community has every right to recall this board and fix what they have done to the school system. Board members forget these are elected positions and no lawyer or city official is going to save them from what they've done. They work for the citizens of Lorain and have no choice but to be accountable to them.

5:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TMC, you offer the most accurate news coverage of the disturbing L.C.S. issues. Thank you.

I especially appreciate that you observed the notable disinterest of Raul Ramos, and the rest of the B.O.E.

Their rudeness is an assault on the citizens.

12:54 PM  
Anonymous Loraine Ritchey said...

I fully concur with your observations with regard to the lack of response as seen from the BOE whilst people are speaking and also to the questions being asked by the tax payers in this community . Thank you Loraine

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The best editorial to date---you call them as you see them! Thank you! Your comments and observations are right on the mark. How distasteful that we "the public" can be told that the BOE has listened to 8 hours of dialouge at all public meetings since June 11th. However, they certainly have not offered 8 hours worth of responses. Not a single answer to any question. It truly is wonderful to see the community come together for the common cause--the kids! With this in mind, perhaps if a recall attempt is unsuccessful Plan B could include--the collective energies of this community to research and implement the need for a levy--under the condition (and only if) the current BOE steps down and we start with a clean slate. If their intentions are true and their concern is genuine--they will prove so by doing what is best for the kids.

1:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if just the BOE should be called to task and lose their positions. Remember, they did not have to approve expenditures below $20,000. Did you notice that $15,000 number? It is the amount of the bonuses paid to directors, moving expenses for the new Superintendent, consultant fee for 20 days work etc. Charleston is the group of people who misspent the money and the one group barely touched by any reduction in force. They caused this mess and they are the ones who came up with the solution to fix it. They should no longer be employed. Oh, but that's right, they are the only ones with a say in this matter.

3:26 PM  

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