I want to thank the voters who supported Toledo Public Schools. Your "yes" vote expresses a strong commitment to our students and to public education.
It has been an exciting school year. Our students continue to excel in the classroom. We celebrated record-setting test scores at several grade levels in reading and math last year, and we are looking forward to even greater results this year. Math scores increased at every grade level from 3rd through 8th. Third-grade reading scores from October testing are up 5 percent overall. TPS also posted an increase in participation in parent-teacher conferences, which sends a strong message that parents are becoming more involved in their children's education. District-wide, we have introduced academic pacing guides and strategic school improvement plans, both of which are sure to have a positive impact on students' academic success. There is a positive momentum building in our schools, and now that Toledo has resoundingly passed our renewal levy, that momentum will continue.
TPS faces challenges on several fronts. We are working strategically and collaboratively to overcome obstacles and are focused on building a strong educational foundation for our students. Our number-one priority remains providing a quality education in a supportive learning environment. The overwhelming support we received from voters on March 4 allows TPS to continue focusing on student achievement by maintaining smaller class sizes and personalized instruction. Passage of the district's renewal levy also provides funding to continue essential programs that directly impact student learning, while improving classroom services, enhancing technology, and updating textbooks and other important instructional materials and supplies.
Again, thank you, Toledo, for your vote of confidence.
Toledo Public Schools
Northwood pulled together on levy
Thanks to the voters of Northwood for their support of the 7.9-mill operating levy on March 4. Northwood Schools appreciates the community's willingness to sacrifice to provide its children with an excellent education.
Special thanks to the members of Northwood Schools for their outreach, "Basketball" Jones for help on the levy rally, community members and businesses for assisting with levy costs, city leadership, and the staff of Northwood Schools, as well as Superintendent Greg Clark and Treasurer Patricia Weber.
During the past six months, it has become apparent that funding has become an issue for our district. This is not because of actions of the district but because of the situation that schools throughout Ohio have been made to endure (and solve) by action at the state level. With the realignment of funding formulas, Northwood has lost funding; with the impending loss of tangible personal property tax (in 2011), Northwood will lose additional funding. Coupled with increases in utilities, fuel, materials, and supplies, as well as staff costs, the district is in the position it now faces.
The battle to fund our schools is not over. While passage of this levy stabilizes funding for up to three years, the district must reduce the operating budget by $400,000 per year to balance the budget. It is our belief and intent that cuts can be made without adversely affecting the curriculum and quality education that we have come to expect.
As the district moves forward to address the needs of students, while living within its budget, we invite our community to assist in this endeavor. To get involved, contact Superintendent Greg Clark at (419) 691-3888 or GClark@northwood.k12.oh.us.
President, Board of Education
Northwood Local Schools
Domestic violence has many causes
I would like to respond to the Readers' Forum letter of March 5 entitled "Bush slashing funds to protect women."
The writer implies that in times of war or economic distress, men turn into violent savages and beat their women, and that only money can solve this problem. And, of course, Christians care only about life before birth. What an insult to the many fine Christian organizations that help women, children, the poor, and the persecuted. What an insult to the good men in uniform. What an insult to men in general. Throwing money at a problem never solves it.
The reasons we have domestic violence are many, and there are many Christian organizations out there doing the best they can to meet the needs of those who need help. We all know that our government is not responsible for our behavior. We are.
Put down the crack pipe, turn off that violent movie, throw out the rap CDs. And then go around the corner and join the church.
Thomas E. Rawlins
Bush contributions will last many years
While I share a recent contributor to the Readers' Forum's elation at the prospect of finally throwing off the yoke of the current President, I feel we must all remember that his "contributions" will remain with us for years:
1) About $4 trillion added to the national debt.
2) The mastermind of Sept. 11, 2001, is still alive in the Afghanistan area.
3) 4,000 servicemen and women killed in Iraq; 38,000 wounded.
4) 45 million U.S. citizens without health insurance.
5) The U.S. dollar at lows not seen in years.
6) The Bill of Rights what Bill of Rights?
7) The ongoing attempt at creating an imperial presidency.
8) A summer of $3.50 to $4.50 per gallon gasoline; happy motoring.
While January, 2009, cannot get here soon enough for me, we must remain ever diligent. This crew can still make things much worse in the closing months.
Share responsibility for educating kids
I am a teacher. I love children; all sizes, shapes, ages, and colors. I have been doing this work for many years and consider myself good at what I do. No one could last over 30 years in this profession unless they were in the right career field.
That said, I'd like to talk a bit about responsibility. Day after day, I hear that it is my "responsibility" to make sure that the kids in my care "pass the test." From President Bush to my principal, I am reminded in workshops, training sessions, observations, meetings, and conferences that my "responsibility" is to produce well-educated, socially adept, and polite human beings who will survive and prosper in the years ahead.
I have always accepted this responsibility, but with limitations. I cannot accept the responsibility of hugging these children daily (although I try), of teaching them to listen to adults, of washing their clothes and faces, of reading to them before school begins, of making them feel safe outside of school hours, or of instilling the concept of rules from early on.
The point is that my responsibilities only go so far and my job becomes impossible if the unmet responsibilities of others in these children's lives don't become a priority. I am not pointing fingers - I am asking for "shared responsibility. "It takes a village to raise a child" only means something if all the villages are on board.
Prices, taxes on rise but not paychecks
The price of gas and everything else keeps going up, the c/ity of Toledo wants more money, and the schools want more money. Can I put a levy on my job to get my paycheck raised so I can pay my bills and get some gas?
I was amused by the comments in the Readers' Forum from an "independent" voter, who then proceeded to state that he had supported the standard right-wing neo-con platform for 60 years. Please, don't insult the intelligence of real "independent" voters.
Independent voters do not blindly support one platform or another, but rather listen to the issues and the solutions offered by all parties before deciding on who and what to support.