Prepared Text for Board Meeting – October 27,  2008 (Cynkar).

Marc A. Schare  614 791-0646 Home

614 791-0067 Work -  614 791-1779 Fax

marc9@aol.com

 

 

Tonight, I have two things I want to mention.

 

This is our first board meeting since Paul Cynkar has announced his intention to accept a position elsewhere. While I’m sure we will have ample opportunity to shower Paul with praise, I wanted to briefly mention one anecdote. Those of us who lived through the campaign from hell in 2001 will never forget it. We were truly a divided community, the district had major financial issues and a significant minority of residents didn’t trust anything that was coming out of this building.

About a month after that election, Paul emailed me out of the blue asking for an opinion about declining enrollment and in particular, what could be done to involve “the greater community”. After a brief exchange, Paul invited me to join the declining enrollment committee. The point is that he had no reason to trust me but he thought it was important that all views be heard as the district wrestled with what was bound to a difficult, emotion filled process. In doing so, he not only wanted to solve the declining enrollment problem, but he had as a secondary goal to set a new standard for openness and transparency. The final report of the committee, “Saving Dollars and Making Cents” is still, in my opinion, one of the finest, most comprehensive reports the district has ever produced and it stands today as an example of how tough decisions can and should be made by involving the entire community. I’m sure that Paul will leave many legacies, but the current era of a peaceful community where all voices can be heard and respected and invited to participate in difficult discussions will be the one I remember. The best way we can honor his 25 years of service is by continuing that tradition.


My second comment involves some data that I wanted to share with the board. One of the assumptions we’ve been laboring under for as long as I can remember is the percentage of houses in Worthington that have children in Worthington Schools. Bill Grindell used a number of around 30% and I remember Dr. Wilson thinking that 30% sounded way too high. Last week, I wrote some software using some public databases to calculate that number and I wanted to share the results. We have 22,238 houses in our district with at least one registered voter. Of those, 4,697 houses have at least one child attending Worthington Schools. This works out to about 21.1%. My software excludes kids living in apartments and we have a few other discrepencies so the number may be off by a few percentage points but appears to be nowhere near the 30% figure that has been discussed. Another number that the board might find interesting is the demographic of the senior population. Of the 22,238 houses with a registered voter, 3,516 houses had all registered voters in the house over the age of 65, and this works out to around 16%.

Paul Cynkar is a true visionary having recognized the dynamic of a small percentage of houses and voters directly exposed to Worthington Schools and the implications thereof  almost a decade ago, but these numbers confirm what we already knew. If we want the support of the greater community, we are going to have work at reaching the 75%+ of households that do not have children in our buildings.. Now, certainly, these houses included grandparents, people that moved to Worthington and will shortly have kids in the district or people like Helen who graduated their last kid last year, but if we are to maintain our support, efforts like the district newsletter, guest columns and community forums are, perhaps, more important than we might have originally thought.