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Cuts And More Cuts

School directors look to reduce projected $3.5 million deficit

May 7, 2013

Additional cuts are likely in order to balance the 2013-2014 budget of the Warren County School District....

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(59)

Brazil

May-09-13 4:16 PM

Well put PP and SOS. As you may recall about 6 months or so before WAEC was to open that particular Board all of sudden found out to their amazement that Beaty was an old and decaying building and looked into changing 80% of the way downstream and making it a middle school. The fact things like 3 foot lockers, etc that were made for elementary school heights stopped that smart but way to late idea.

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PulledPork

May-09-13 1:10 PM

SOS. I agree on your points here. A compromise is definitely needed. Will we get it? Also, to a previous comment, there would be more than enough money for WAHS if we were not pumping it into Beaty. Not sure why a k-8 expansion was not considered for WAEC. For $16+ million, I am guessing they could have done something solid up on the hill too and eliminated Beaty altogether. At this stage we will not know.

It starts with leadership.

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saveourschools

May-09-13 10:40 AM

(contd)Are they really providing a level of student opportunity that we are satisfied with if we are going to use them as a model? I think that when our situation is somewhat unique, it is difficult to look at models. We will never be broken up, thats not happening so we have to look at research in regards to consolidation pros and cons, research of class sizes, research on using itinerant teachers, research of what is fundamental for furthering the education of our students towards competitive futures and not what we are willing to settle with, then we need to come to county wide compromises(and be willing to compromise)on how to accomplish our goals and compromise on what is unacceptable at any cost(financial or academically) and what is doable. If I was told the my kid would get better opportunities tomorrow at another school but they had to sit on a bus for an hour, I am willing to compromise that for my kids, just an example...

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saveourschools

May-09-13 10:20 AM

Brazil, what I meant by transportation costs was that for the sports co-ops, parents are responsible to drive their kids or arrange for transportation to the practices. Most of those schools do not have the full load of sports that our schools do. In fact, my husband graduated from a small school in venango county that had only a few sports and still lack a football team today. While these areas do love to have their small districts, you should talk to the kids to find out what the schools are providing academically. Many are lacking ap courses, dual enrollment, and enough course rigor to be able to get into universities that expect more of their applicants. I know this from experience since I have family extended into some of those schools.

I'm not necessarily saying that I'm advocating for consolidation. I'm saying we have to look at factors of how do those schools relate to us if we are going to use them as models. Do we really want to use the as models? contd...

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Brazil

May-08-13 10:41 PM

SOS - we agree on some things and some things not as much and that's okay. I've talked to several folks from small school districts like the Clarion districts. Some of those folks wouldn't mind change and others love the small districts and wouldn't combine for the world. Maybe some districts do charge for transportation but many don't and I know that for a fact. I also know that there are things we pay for here that they don't. Some consolidation does save money but some doesn't. Too many people around here think its an automatic thing and it is far from it.

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saveourschools

May-08-13 9:21 PM

Brazil, I know some of those Clarion county schools and the level of education is nothing to admire. I have neices and nephews that have been through some of them. Most do have sports Co-ops with each other and the parents are responsible for all transportation costs. As far as people talking about each other, it is happening on all sides, in all areas. I have encountered some extremely poor behavior from fellow parents who see me as the enemy because I chose to live in the city when I moved here. I've never encountered people before who say my opinion is not valid because I'm not from here. I have never lived somewhere before and been called a transplant. I don't see these imagery lines that people have drawn, its stupid. We all want more and the best for our kids. When will people realize that we can accomplish more together than in separate corners? At the end of the day we are stuck together. The fighting is hurting our kids, not helping.

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Brazil

May-08-13 3:57 PM

I have heard many Warrenites speak in degrading tones about people in the outlying district. "They can all come here" "We only need a couple of their kids on our sports teams most aren't good enough". It's easy to see why their is the level of distrust that there is.

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Brazil

May-08-13 3:54 PM

SOS - I agree that there is research on both sides. I've even proffered a consolidation idea or two on this site. I also know that there are many very small school districts who are doing better financially then we are. Look at all the School Districts in Clarion County, Potter County etc. No one is doing great but some don't seem to have the issues we have. We certainly don't seem to get savings by having a larger district. I just am far from convinced that consolidation is even a partial panacea that many believe it is for this District. What makes anyone confident that this group could make it effective? I agree it is absolutely ridiculous to have both Sheffield and AV elementary schools open. The fact that we do is proof positive of the lack of ability of this Board and Administration to make effective decisions. I salute your willingness to be open to Warren sharing the pain in consolidation. Cont.

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PulledPork

May-08-13 1:26 PM

SOS, I am not sure I am following and I am quite certain I do not know who you are. At least in terms of posting here. I actually don't even have a guess if you are male or female and haven't spent time worrying about it. Also, I try to not make fun of anyone. So I am simply not folowing.

As far as the district goes, we are in a huge financial and educational bind that, in all liklihood, has no pain free solution. If all three regions don't work together on a solution, we will continue down the road we are on and it gets more one way as we get further down it.

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shymom

May-08-13 1:26 PM

Why build when there is a very nice school already available to house the eastern attendance area elementary students? I see no justification.

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saveourschools

May-08-13 1:18 PM

Shymom, I do not think people are unaware. I think our board is afraid to do it. When John grant was superintendent he had a thorough plan put together about consolidating those 2 elementary schools. We would have saved over a million dollars by now, had it been acted on. Donna Zarcny pointed out a 200,000$ savings when we were in a budget crisis before and was reprimanded by fellow board members for the suggestion. Then last meeting it was suggested again but I would be shocked if it goes further than that. Both schools are -40% capacity. They could easily consolidate temporarily until their bigger move to the k-12. They would not face the same problems that the over crowded waec kids are going to face and those coming from ses would be in a newer school. We will see....

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saveourschools

May-08-13 1:09 PM

Brazil,I agree with you that the research is out there but 3 things need to be understood. 1) there is research out there that supports both for and against consolidation 2) when looking at research you have to consider what exactly was researched, did the schools or situations compare a with our schools in any way 3) eventually we will have to decide what is worse, higher class sizes and less offerings due to the lack of teaching staff or a bus ride for teenagers. I would gladly send my kids to any of the out lying schools if it means a better education and opportunity.

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saveourschools

May-08-13 1:03 PM

Pp, I am sure I know who you are and its not the one you are taking jabs at with the name, if you want to know what happened, then call me, its no secret who I am. Some things, I just do not want to post here. However, I will tell you that if you truly know all about this report then you would know that the board did act on recommendations as they received this report then and later another board undid some of the safe guards that were put in place. For example research the actions taken by the board then and look at the actions they took to remedy credit card issues then look at the agenda for the regular meeting October 2011 when the following board that was made up with most of the current members and see the most current approved policy on credit cards. Tell me if you agree with it and let me know if you think they followed it.

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PulledPork

May-08-13 11:31 AM

That is a bit ad hominem SOS. An audit is just that. You compare the rule to the practice. There is not a lot of subjectivity to them. The Auditor General's report is signed off by the AG. That report is a scathing endictment of how poorly managed our Super and Business Manager were in that time frame. That is on the board.

The competence of the auditor is irrelevent when the errors were this basic and eggregious. And it looks like they are only now being fully resolved. Five years later.

Are you suggesting that the AG office in Erie verified to you that the auditor was somehow dismissed because of doing a poor job on the WCSD audit back then? My experience with auditors is that they will give no formal statement on any audit matter beyond what they print in the actual audit findings.

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Brazil

May-08-13 9:41 AM

You can disagree all you want about my comments on studies and examples regarding consolidation not saving anywhere near the monies that some people think they will save and the countless examples of those savings coming in markedly below what School Boards and Administrators claim but they are out there and out there in abundant supply. Do some research, I did....

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shymom

May-08-13 8:18 AM

I really think the community is unaware that Allegheny Valley is capable of housing Sheffield Elementary students.Just think of the money it would save the district. Maybe it hasn't "gotten out" due to the threat of turning SES into a charter school. Just a thought.

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Warren100

May-07-13 8:25 PM

Unbelievable. We all need to turn out for the board meetings. It is OUR tax money that is being discussed, allocated, voted on, and distributed. Who is watching the watchman? <g>

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Brazil

May-07-13 7:39 PM

I would note that there are countless examples and studies of consolidation beyond a certain geography not saving any real money or the savings being dramatically less then what Boards and School administrators claimed beforehand. Many times these studies show that administrative savings stunningly didn't materialize. Whereas close proximity consolidation such as the Warren elementary schools might provide significant savings there is much in the research to suggest more far flung consolidation significantly reduces the expected savings.

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MaryBennett

May-07-13 5:14 PM

The more teachers we cut the more students per classroom. As a former teacher the size of the classroom does make an impact on the quality of education. Elementary school students need small classrooms since they are learning the basics of education. They are learning to read. They are learning numbers and basic math skills. If they don't learn and master those how can they do better later?

But I do agree that most of us want to see cuts at the administrative level and home office level. I am paying taxes here to educate our students not to pay for three people to do the same job; not for two or three secretaries to sit around and not work a full day; not for bonuses to be handed out and then cut educators.

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MaryBennett

May-07-13 5:09 PM

I have many reasons why I do not support closing more schools and cutting teachers but I am truly disturbed by people talking about one centrally located school (or at least a high school). The kids in Bear Lake already ride the bus one hour just to get to Eisenhower. Many kids from Sheffield will ride the bus for an hour or more. That is not acceptable and a waste of time for them. It might save money but if you actually read the studies about the time spent commuting to school you will see the longer the ride the worse they do in school.

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MaryBennett

May-07-13 5:07 PM

Obviously the school board can't control the budget and they should all be thrown out and we start fresh. But that won't happen.

The community schools are the best model of education which costs money. If you want a bargain on education keep the community schools open. We can all complain about taxes but the fact of the matter is that public education is bargain for what you actually get - learn to read, write, do math, learn about the world you live in, learn how to work and deal with people, etc.

The problem with the above statement is that I don't trust the school board with raising taxes. I think the real reason why people don't want more taxes for the schools is because the school board makes such bad decisions.

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saveourschools

May-07-13 5:06 PM

Interesting debate about what could be done with the district....how about we start with more people getting involved. The board and administration would rather see us stay home but who cares what they want, its for our kids and county. Then, while we are at the meetings, recognize that we may disagree on times about the delivery but we are there for the same basic reason, the kids. Maybe if people in the county can find their common ground then we would have a starting point. Its time to put aside the differences and find out the common goals. I don't care what building or mascot my kids have, I care about the school. I care about the education and opportunities. What do you care about?

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saveourschools

May-07-13 4:58 PM

Pp, just an fyi...there are reasons why the auditor who did this report is no longer in the Erie auditors office. Yes, we had big problems but we have even bigger problems as some of the issues are recurring but if you are paying so much attention then you know what has and has not been fixed and that the district had seen this report a long time ago. The transportation issues have been fixed and what hasn't, are getting better. Much of the performance audit issues were utilized to Terrills advantage. If you don't want to believe it then so be it. There are more problems than just your 2 big factors is all I'm trying to point out and it would be nice that for once the state slaps a hand or two so to provide some oversight for the tax payer. I'm hoping that the audit currently being done accomplishes that.

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SpaceLady

May-07-13 4:54 PM

I'm speechless....cut more teachers and programs due to lack of funds but apparently the funds are not so lacking when it comes to the needs of Administration at Central Office. Add another accountant...Seriously? How did Mr. Conrad manage the job for years alone when there were more schools, students,and employees but now they have less in all areas and need 3 highly paid positions. Taxpayers,you are being robbed...worse yet...the students are being robbed of an education all due to greed. I sincerely hope the Unions take a stand against this continued corruption and misuse of tax dollars.

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MTOMTO

May-07-13 4:44 PM

"Geographically the center of the county is Youngsville."

Not when you consider the Tidioute Charter School?

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