Prepared Text for Board Meeting Ė February 11, 2008

Marc A. Schare614 791-0646 Home

614 791-0067 Work - 614 791-1779 Fax

marc9@aol.com

 

 

Tonight, I have two comments.

 

First, I want to comment on Governor Stricklandís State of the State address. Two weeks ago, I mentioned that my fondest legislative wish for our district is that the Ohio legislature would simply leave us alone. Sadly, education is something that politicians canít help but tinker with, so we as a board must analyze the Governorís proposals through the prism of what is best for the stakeholders of the Worthington School District.

 

Itís interesting that the Governor commented that the state increased education funding by 600 million dollars and provided funding for 250 new schools. Of that money, Worthington received exactly zero foundation dollars and, last I checked, we didnít get a new school either. The lesson learned is that if the state increases education funding via legislative fiat or constitutional amendment, Worthington has not and probably never will benefit.

 

Letís start with the Senior to Sophomore proposal. With the boardís indulgence, this is quoting directly from the State of the State address:

 

Building on the existing Post Secondary Enrollment Options plan, today I am announcing that I have directed the Chancellor to give every twelfth grader who meets the academic requirements a choice of spending their senior year in their home high school, or spending it on a University System of Ohio campus.

 

Tuition for the year will be free.

 

We will begin enrolling students in this plan for the upcoming school year.

 

So much for the state leaving us and our funding alone. If the Governorís plan is truly built on the Post Secondary Enrollment Options plan, Worthington local taxpayers would be required to pay the foundation amount for every senior who elects to enroll in the program. In addition, we have no idea how to plan or schedule or stafffor the 12th grade next year. Indeed, if our 4 year high school program all of a sudden becomes a 3 year high school program, our entire reform initiative at the high school level could be rendered moot. While I share the governorís frustration that the 12th grade is often wasted, we need clarity on issues of timing and funding and we need them immediately.

 

The governorís second major proposal is the replacement of the state board of education with a cabinet level position. His proposal is rich with irony because when Worthington resident Bill Todd made a similar proposal during the recently concluded mayoral election, it was considered crazy, however, Governor Stricklandís proposal has a lot of merit. It is true that this would replace an elected body, the state board of education, with an appointed person, however, not one person in 100 can name their representative on the state board of education (ours is Michael Cochran) and Iím confident that no one in the room can name either candidate for the position in the November election (I canít, and I looked). I believe it is in the interests of the stakeholders of the Worthington School District that we support this part of the governorís proposal. I would prefer that the governor and the legislature be responsible and accountable for all aspects of the stateís education agenda.

 

The second thing that I wanted to briefly mention was that Melissa, Charlie, Jennifer and I attended the library retreat on Friday Night. At the retreat, we learned of an online library cataloging system from OCLC called ďWorldcatĒ which is available online at worldcat.com. The system is far easier to use than discovery place and includes materials from surrounding libraries, but wouldnít it be ideal if we could figure out how to get the contents of our 18 school district libraries into this system. If a book is not at Slate Hill but is available at the Northwest library, it would be great if we can get that book to the kid that needs it. Perhaps at some future board meeting, we might get a presentation on the school district library system and how we might best take advantage of everything Worthington Libraries has to offer.