The Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo Scooper is a devise used to clean up misunderstandings, misperceptions, and other messes that may result from inaccurate and/or misleading statements made by BBH school district officials in an attempt to persuade the voting public to compel taxpayers to pay the district more money. Although it is an unpleasant thing to do, there's a lot of Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo out there that needs to be cleaned up.
Economic Conditions at Time Board Approved Union Contracts Response to Four Board Members' Letter to the Editor School Board able to maintain educational programs and busing (if they want to) Truth about Staff Reductions and more examples of District officials "twisting facts" and giving the public "misinformation"
April 14, 2011 updated: April 17,2011 SUPERINTENDENT PREBLES ADAMANTLY DECLARES: WEBSITE WON’T BE USED TO PROMOTE PASSAGE OF THE LEVY! But---Superintendent Prebles’ ACTIONS speak louder than his words. THE DISTRICT IS USING ITS WEBSITE TO PROMOTE PASSAGE OF THE LEVY! go
Referring to a BBHCSD Policy that the Board approved on January 24, 2011 which prohibits using the District’s website to promote the passage of a school levy, on December 13, 2010, Mr. Prebles said:
THESE ARE WORDS: “We do not do that.We do not intend to do that…We will make sure” our administrators and staff “are meeting the…requirements of the law.We will have standards by which we will operate and those things absolutely must follow these policies…There are school districts across the state who… are not following the letter of the law.They have not necessarily been challenged, and therefore, they may not make adjustments until they are.I’m not saying they are being deviant or that they are operating without ethics.I’m saying that sometimes these things happen without knowledge of the actual specifics of the written policy or law.And when we find those things out, we go in very quickly to make the adjustments so that we are operating appropriately within the law…So often…out of ignorance of the law, or the requirements of policy, sometimes individuals put things on the web or put things in communicationthat are not necessarily following our policy.When we find out that something like that happens, we certainly want to fix that.There are situations that the District is currently working under where we have found out that we have been operating for a while without necessarily doing it in a proper way.And when we find out, we make the adjustments immediately. We don’t want to do anything that is unethical or is violating the rights of any individual in our school system, or discriminating in any way, in ANY way, [against} anyone.”Superintendent Prebles, School Board meeting, Dec. 13, 2010
May 2, 2011 SUPERINTENDENT REACHES OUT TO THE COMMUNITY? ACTUALLY-- HE REACHES OUT TO ONLY THE SEGMENT OF THE COMMUNITY THAT IS LIKELY TO SUPPORT A SCHOOL LEVY go
May 2, 2011
In the March 17, 2011 edition of the Sun Star Courier, Superintendent Prebles said the following:
"Why is the BBHCSD average teacher salary so high?” "During the past two years, including projected 2011-2012 reductions, no teacher reduced in force earned more than $68,000. In fact, the average teacher salary for more than 37 positions reduced is just over $45,000. This continues to over-inflate our salary average.”
October 21, 2010 On October 13, 2010, the Board published on the District's website a page on which it answers Frequently Asked Questions for the November 2, 2010 tax levy. The following is one of those Questions and Answers:
Q: Why did our District lose the "with Distinction" notification on the Ohio Department of Education's Local Report Card? A: Despite meeting all 26 out of 26 criteria and having the 16th highest Performance Index (107.8) in the state, we did not meet the Value Added component which measures progress of individual students on the Ohio Academic Achievement Tests. We are still one of only 18 districts that have been "Excellent" for the 11 consecutive years the Report Card has been issued."FAQs for November, 2010 Levy" published on BBH School District website October 13, 2010
One fact that is hidden in this announcement from the School Board is that this year our District lowered its rank among other districts in its Performance Index. In 2008-2009, our Performance Index was the 11th highest in the state--last year, it was the 16th. Not only were our schools unable to maintain the Excellent with Distinction rating, our district also lowered its rank among other districts for Performance Index. (In 2006-2007 our PI was the 9th highest; and in 2007-2008 our PI was the 14th highest)
The statement that "We are still one of only 18 districts that have been "Excellent" for the 11 consecutive years the Report Card has been issued." is Scooby-Dooby-Doo-doo.
First, when the district says we've been "Excellent" for 11 years, it includes the years we attained "with distinction." This past school year, we were unable to maintain the highest rating of "Excellent with Distinction," and instead earned the lower rating of "Excellent." To be consistent, if you include all the districts that have earned either excellent or excellent with distinction, there are 46 districts (NOT 18) that have earned a rating of "Excellent" or higher for 10 consecutive years. To see for yourself, go here.
Second, the Ohio Department of Education did not issue "Excellent" as a possible rating on its Local Report Cards for school districts until the 2000-2001 school year; therefore, the longest period of consecutive years a school district could have possibly earned a rating of "Excellent" is 10 years, not 11.
Don't get me wrong. By pointing out what appears to be a decline in our District's academic achievements, I am not criticizing our schools--I am criticizing the School Board for presenting a "Photoshopped" picture of our academic achievements to the public, when, in reality, the academic achievements of our District have declined from previous years. My purpose as the School Board Watchdog is to hold the School Board accountable for its actions, discussions, and decisions which includes pointing out the Board's errors and then to correct those errors for the public as I am able.
The fact that the Board is presenting the public with a picture of our academic achievements that covers up any flaws we may have is just one example that the information that's put out by our school board, sadly, cannot simply be accepted at face value.
Even though it appears that our District has declined in its academic achievements, we shouldn't be discouraged. We have plenty of good reason to believe that our schools are still outstanding, despite any flaws we may have.go
October 7, 2010 The following statements were published on the District's website. A similar report was published in the Fall 2010 edition of the District's School Reporter.
State Report Card once again reflects Sustained Excellence
For the eleventh consecutive year, the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District has earned an "Excellent" rating on the Ohio Department of Education's Local Report Card. Also, the District increased its overall Performance Index (PI) to 107.8, the 16th highest of the 612 school districts in the state...Congratulations to students, staff and our communities for this sustained “Excellence.”BBH School District's website
I don't know if I should describe the above statements from the District as Scooby-Dooby-Doo-doo, but it's definitely another misleading message that must be evaluated in light of what the Board chose not to say in this message. The Board does not tell the public the fact that our District was unable to maintain an "Excellent with Distinction" rating. It also does not tell the public that we lowered our rank among other Districts for Performance Index . (go)
May 21, 2010 "We laid off 37½ full-time equivalent employees last year. That meant 53 employees, last year, were laid off. Just over half of those were support staff, and just under half were teachers. In a few minutes, we're about to lay off another 14 teachers, another 12 support staff. That's 26 people. And the only reason it's not larger is that we were very fortunate this year that a larger number than usual of our teachers and support staff are retiring this year. But for those retirements, the lay-offs would be far higher than the 26 we're about to take."--Board Vice-President, Alan Scheufler, Board Meeting, April 26, 2010
These remarks by Mr. Scheuffler are nothing but one huge inexcusable pile of doo-doo. What a mess! Here's the scoop. go
September 29, 2009 "We would like to thank the Board for presenting the community with the option, a vote, a choice regarding maintaining their quality programming," and for "giving the community information and an opportunity to maintain their gifted education, AP education, electives, and Special Ed."--Bonnie Monteleone, President of the BEA (teachers' union), speaking on behalf of the teachers at the August 24, 2009 Board meeting
On November 3, the voters will NOT be voting on whether or not to maintain our quality programming! The voters will be voting on whether or not our taxes should be raised an additional $28.5 million over the next five years. Decisions about educational programming are decisions made by District officials and our School Board--not the voters. (go)
September 21, 2009 In a discussion about putting a new tax levy on the November 2009 ballot, Superintendent Diringer said, "The negotiations that were completed last year, and I was involved with that along with a lot of other folks, on both sides of the table, Clearly the economic status that we're in today wasn't the case then. I don't know for a fact, but I'm guessing that the Board's position, the administrative representation of the Board, and the teachers' and classified staff's positions would all have been significantly modified. Where we go down the line, I don't know. The environment is very different."
Superintendent Diringer's statement that the union contracts would have been "significantly modified" if the economic conditions weren't as bad as they are today is Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo!
Did the Superintendent forget how bad the economic conditions of our nation were at the time that the Board approved union contracts that would increase salaries and benefits for District employees by $6.7 million over a two-year period of time? Or, is the Superintendent hoping the public has forgotten about the rising fuel costs, the home foreclosures, the weakening US dollar that was all occurring early in 2008? Dave Dosen is the only Board member who voted against the contract with the teachers' union because he didn't think the public could afford the increases during an economy that he described, on May 21, 2008, as "probably the worst since Jimmy Carter."
For those of you who may have forgotten the economic conditions of our nation in May and June 2008 when the Board approved the union contracts, let's look at some of the headlines in the news, and some things that were said at Board meetings during the months leading up to the Board approving union contracts that the District could not afford. go...
September 21, 2009 In response to several letters to the editor by residents who are concerned about our teachers' salaries, four Board members (George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler, and Al Siebert) wrote a Letter to the Editor that was published in the September issue of the Brecksville Magazine and the Broadview Journal. The following five statements appear in the letter that the four Board members signed. The only Board member who did not sign the letter is Dave Dosen.
"Ohio law requires every school district to implement a teacher salary grid."Board Members: George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler and Al Siebert, Brecksville Magazine/Broadview Journal, Sept. 2009
Salary grids vary throughout the state of Ohio. Ohio law does not require that the District implement the particular salary grid that it chose to implement.
According to Section 3317.13 of the Ohio Revised Code (go), school districts are required to implement teacher salary schedules that meet minimum standards. For example, the minimum salary to be paid to a teacher with a BA and no experience is $20,000, not $39,786 that our Board pays such teachers. The highest salary on the state's minimum salary schedule is for teachers with "a Masters' degree or higher" and 12 or more years experience. That minimum salary is $32,460, not $76,202-$93,298+ that our Board pays such teachers.
Ohio law requires salary increases, during the teacher's first 12 years of service, to be at a minimum rate of 2.7%-4.4% depending on his/her position on the salary scale, not a minimum of 8% that the salary schedule our Board implemented requires. Here's the scoop. (go)
September 21, 2009 "The average teacher salary in our district is $72,747."Board Members: George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler and Al Siebert, Brecksville Magazine/Broadview Journal, Sept. 2009
That statement is Scooby-Dooby-Doo-doo-doo. That WAS (not is) last years' average salary. Public records the District provided me show that the average teacher salary for this 2009-2010 school year is $76,645. (go)
September 21, 2009 "While the average teacher salary in our district is $72,747, that "average teacher" has a master's degree, a state teacher's license and 10 years' experience. A private sector employee with comparable degrees and experience would probably command a similar salary."Board Members: George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler and Al Siebert, Brecksville Magazine/Broadview Journal, Sept. 2009
A private sector employee with comparable degrees and experience works all year instead of nine months out of the year and 8 hours a day instead of 6 hours a day and does not have all government holidays off in order to get the same salary.
Teachers' salaries are paid with the expectation that they will work 6 hours a day for 186 days a year. As an hourly rate of pay, the average teacher in our District earns $68.70 an hour. The statement that a BBH teacher's salary is comparable to a private sector employee's salary is a pile of doo-doo! How many people do you know who make $68.70/hour?
Also, how many people do you know who pay less than what they earn in one hour for their monthly family health insurance premiums?
How many people do you know who are granted tenure after three years of employment?
And, how many people do you know who could retire after 39 years of employment and receive a pension equal to the average of their last three annual salaries every year for the rest of their lives?
I don't know anyone personally who earns the amount of money or receives the benefits that BBH teachers earn and receive.
September 21, 2009 "One resident suggested we cut teachers' salaries. But state and federal law prohibits us from unilaterally implementing such cuts. About 16 months ago we negotiated two-year contracts with both unions, contracts we are bound to honor."Board Members: George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler and Al Siebert, Brecksville Magazine/Broadview Journal, Sept. 2009
Even if state and federal law prohibits the Board from unilaterally implementing such cuts, it does not mean the Board cannot negotiate for cuts and it does not mean the Board must implement salary increases. "About 16 months ago," the Board "negotiated two-year contracts with both unions" that would result in $6.7 million in salary and benefit increases for District employees over the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 school years. The Board is bound to honor those contracts because it approved those contracts, even though it knew at the time that the District would now be having to deal with deficit spending. The Board can't excuse itself by saying its hands are tied after it irresponsibly allowed its hands to be tied to an agreement that the District could not afford.
September 21, 2009 "We made about $1.5 million in budget cuts for the upcoming school year."Board Members: George J. Balasko, Terri Neff, Alan Scheufler and Al Siebert, Brecksville Magazine/Broadview Journal, Sept. 2009
posted: August 16, 2009 "We are and will continue to be transparent about these cuts."Superintendent Diringer, School Reporter, January 2009
That statement is Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo. The District has not been "transparent" about the "cuts." Instead, what the District has been communicating to the public about the so-called $1.275 million in staff reductions is a murky mess. (It's more like HALF that amount.) Here's the scoop. go
posted: August 31, 2009 In an August 26, 2009 Key Notes Communication sent to members of our community, the District said that 7 teachers retired at the end of the last school year and that those positions were filled with teachers who had been put on the Reduction in Force List for the 09-10 school year.
But, just one month earlier, at the July 27 Board meeting, Superintendent Diringer said: "Our reduction in total teachers is over thirteen, and as it turns out, six of those are retirements. But those people, not only save us some money, but we don't replace the position, so that IS (emphasis not added) a savings to the District."
Which is it? Did 7 teachers fill positions that were left vacant by retirements (as the Key Note Communication said) or were there 6 retirements that were not filled? Those two absolutely contradictory statements underscore the fact that the information that is being given to the public about staff reductions is untrustworthy. This most recent Key Note Communication appears to be a lame attempt at damage control after I exposed the fact that inaccurate and misleading information is being given to the public about the District's staff reductions at a time when the Board is seeking approval of a new levy that would increase taxes.
Posted: April 7, 2009 "He(Superintendent Diringer) further commented that the Board of Education and the administration will continue to work hard to ensure fiscal responsibility and practice prudent financial planning."--School Reporter, November/December 2008
Fiscal responsibility? Prudent financial planning? That statement is Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo. Here's the scoop. go
Posted: April 7, 2009 "Before going to the voters for an increase in funds, the district is critically looking at all positions, programs and services to determine where cuts can be made. This forward thinking approach will reduce the amount of millage needed when the district does go on the ballot."--School Reporter, January 2009
Forward thinking?Concern for taxpayers? That statement is Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo.Here's the scoop.go
Posted: April 7, 2009 "We avoided deficit spending for the 2007-2008 school year. That will be very difficult to maintain moving into 2008-2009 because, as you know, the cost of doing business and functioning in our society continues to rise. Fuel costs and other related energy costs have increased more than 40% within a year. Future increases are on the horizon. The specifics of this trend are hard to predict." --Superintendent Diringer, School Reporter, Sept. 2008
Rising energy costs could force the district into deficit spending? Those statements are Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo. Here's the scoop. go
Posted: April 7, 2009 "Our overall enrollment is down slightly. This is the third successive year in which we have lost students. In a related issue, for the second year in a row, we have decreased our staff through retirement and resignation in an attempt to control costs where possible."--Superintendent Diringer, School Reporter, September 2008
Decreased staff? That statement is Scooby-Dooby-doo-doo. Here's the scoop.go
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