Prepared Notes for Board Meeting

November 23, 2009

Marc A. Schare

614 791-0067

marc9@aol.com

 

 

HB1 authorizes the Ohio Department of Education to create a center for creativity and innovation in education. A week ago Saturday, I attended an event designed to elicit ideas for†† what that center should look like or even if it was worth doing.Other Worthington participants include Dr. Wilson, Paul Cynkar, Roger Beck, Mike Miller and Pat Smith.

 

I thought Iíd share some general impressions of the meeting. First, even amongst that supportive group, the event organizers felt that they needed to spend additional time on why innovation in public education was required. In marketing circles, they were trying to drive the need for change. Across the state, the need for educational reform will be a tough sell and spending money for it will be even harder. The organizers were clear that no money was available for this effort. Second, the most often expressed sentiment among the attendees had to do with a recognition that the education community is very risk averse and that the culture amongst employees and stakeholders must shift towards a more entrepreneurial model where (trust me on this) for every big success, you might have many failures but ultimately, it is worth it. I hope the state makes progress in this effort but with or without them, itís my hope that Worthington can continue to innovate and take the lesson to heart that we should not, for fear of failing, be afraid to try. In my opinion, if we try 5 programs in order to get one Linworth and the one Linworth is still standing 30 years from today serving kids that would have otherwise fallen through a crack, it would have been worth it.

 

My second update comes to us from the Ohio Society of CPAís. Recently, they formed the Ohio Budget Advisory Task Force in response to the Governorís challenge for ideas regarding the state budget deficit. As they are non-partisan (they supported both the previous tax cut and the current tax increase), I thought their take on the budget was interesting. Their first finding is that the state faces a budget shortfall of between 4 billion and 8 billion dollars in the next biennium. The use of one-time money prevented that shortfall in the current budget. They say that current state and local government spending is unsustainable and that Ohioís public entities cannot continue operating under the same processes, programs and contracts. They recommended performance audits with the rather amazing statistic that such audits have a potential return of 24-1 on dollars spent. In particular they recommend a compensation audit for statewide agencies and local governments. For K-12 education, they recommend examining school district consolidation, pooling of health care and requiring employees to pay health care costs commensurate with the private sector. This rather somber report provides additional confirmation that districts like Worthington are not going to be the recipient of a huge influx of state dollars anytime soon, a thought to keep in mind for todayís worksession. A link to this report is on my web site.