Prepared Text for Board Meeting Ė March 11, 2008

Marc A. Schare614 791-0646 Home

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marc9@aol.com

 

 

Tonight, I have three comments.

 

First, it is a truism that elections tell us things, although we have to be open and receptive to the messages that voters try to communicate. It was widely reported that 84 of 180 school district issues across Ohio were approved, however, the number of approvals for new general fund money showed a much darker picture. Of the 58 total requests for new operating funds, only 14 were granted, include 4 of 18 emergency levys, 6 of 24 ordinary levys, 2 of 9 traditional income tax levys and 2 of 7 earned income tax levys. While each request and each district is different, this does suggest that passage of an operating levy in the Worthington School District will hardly be a slam dunk and that each of us, in the actions we take in 2008 can help or hinder that effort. The decision to put a levy on the ballot in the Spring of 2009 must be made in about 11 months but I would suggest to all of us that the campaign has already started and that financial decisions made now will have a direct bearing on the vote in May of 2009.

 

Second, two weeks ago one of our public speakers left one of our old IMACS on my desk to take home and President Best requested that I report back on our findings. I plugged the IMAC into my wireless network and within a few minutes, I had a fully functional computer that was capable of surfing the internet and doing rudimentary word processing tasks. As Mr. Cooper indicated, with the installation of a new operating system and a reasonable amount of memory, the computer was quite usable for these tasks. Subsequent investigations revealed that for around $100-$125 apiece, these old computers could be upgraded and used to augment the technology replacement program currently going on in Worthington Schools. A meeting of the districtís technology committee did highlight the obvious problem with trying to support this configuration, however, I would argue that support is unnecessary. If one of the computers fails, we can simply throw it away. Iíve spoken to a number of elementary school teachers who believe that more computers would be better than less computers, even if some of them are old, and they would be willing to accept the fact that some of the computers would be unsupported and, if broken, thrown out. The bottom line issue is that we are reducing usable resources out of a fear that if we provide those resources, an entitlement would be created. I have more faith in our teachers and believe that if we simply let them know that the old computers are unsupported and the only support services that would be centrally provided would be to haul them away, they would happily play by those rules. I would urge the administration to consider using the older technology to augment what we are able to provide with the bond money.


 

Third, each of us received literature from OSBA calling for modifications to their legislative platform. As you might recall, we had somewhat of an epiphany last year when we realized that a small number of school districts have a disproportionate number of modifications. All it takes is a resolution to get the proposal in front of OSBA where it will be evaluated by a committee which, by the way, I am a part of. If nothing else, this would provide an easy way for Worthingtonís legislative priorities to get seen and heard across the state. I would urge us to participate in this process and to that end, I plan to submit two resolutions at our March 31 meeting. The first would create a hybrid income tax/property tax levy where we could, in a single levy request, create an income tax levy and simultaneously tax business at an equivalent rate and the second would alter the way that autism and other charter school scholarships are paid for and accounted for.

 

Finally, Iíd like to thank my colleagues for agreeing to restore board member updates to their previous spot in the agenda sequence.