Justice writes "|
Apparently there was a news item on
Channel 10 that said the Grandview schools would not be showing the
the President's speech. This email was sent on the school's
Tomorrow at noon, the President of the United States will be addressing students throughout the country. As you are aware by now, this speech has caused a great deal of controversy throughout the United States. Grandview is no different. I have received phone calls and e-mails from parents on both sides of this issue.
Unfortunately, Channel 10 aired a false report that stated we have chosen to not air the president’s speech. Because of the confusion created by the media, I wanted to clarify our stance on the president’s speech.
This is a good, non-political response by O'Reilly to the crapstorm the Republicans have made out of this issue. And since it is a unbiased and sane response, expect right-wingers to show up at the next board meeting and complain about it.
At noon on Tuesday, the majority of our students will be at lunch or recess. We do not plan to change our regular schedule. Teachers in classrooms at noon have the discretion to show the presentation as it occurs. All other teachers are aware that there will be access to the speech via the Internet after the speech and are welcome to show the speech as they see fit. As with all presentations that occur in classrooms, teachers need to ensure that the material presented is appropriate for their students and that material presented does not violate school board policy. All staff members have been reminded of the school board policy. Our board policy clearly forbids the distribution of political material, states that no employee shall engage in political activities on school property, and finally indicates that school time may not be used for political purposes.
The text of the speech will be posted at www.whitehouse.gov today. I will review the text, as I am sure many of our teachers will as well.
On a personal note, it is unfortunate that in this day and age we have become skeptical of the motives of our leaders. When we were growing up, it would have been considered a treat and an honor to have our president address students during the school day. Trust is a huge issue in this country. Hopefully, you and I will see a change in this as our children grow up.
You are welcome to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions. I do appreciate those of you that have already contacted me to hear directly from the district regarding this issue. Enjoy the holiday.
Ed O'Reilly, Superintendent
Posted by Admin on Monday, September 07 @ 11:21:19 EDT (3082 reads)|
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Justice writes "
School board candidates in the running
The three open seats on the Grandview
school board will result in five candidates banging on your doors and
asking for your vote. This list may change as signatures are
John Kessler is a Deputy Chief at the
Ohio DNR. He was appointed to the board in January 2009 and now must
run to retain his seat.
Dan Headapohl was a former city council
member and council president. He works as a Real Estate Asset Manager
for the City of Columbus.
Mary-Kathleen Clifford is a lawyer with
ten years experience, not much about her on the net.
Thomas F. Hayes is another lawyer,
specializing in criminal defense. He defends all kinds of criminal
charges, and is listed on the website sbsdefense.com as an
experienced defender for those charged with the crime of "Shaken
Grant Douglass is the President of
Hanlin Rainaldi Construction. This was the firm that did the
construction on the artificial turf for the high school. He is a
former GH Touchdown Club president. In 2003 he was chairman of the
Ohio Historical Society board. In 2008 when the school board was
considering changes to the Code of Conduct Mr. Douglass spoke in
opposition to the rule that penalizes students who attend (but don't
drink) at parties where alcohol is used.
This will be the first school board
election in decades without a long term incumbent. Gary Heydinger and
Anita Keller chose not to run, Kessler was appointed to fill in for
McLeod after her mid-term resignation.
Posted by Admin on Saturday, August 22 @ 15:48:49 EDT (7102 reads)|
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Justice writes "|
The story in the TWG had a lot of
detail for the negotiations with NRI over the compensation the
schools will get from the project. Read the story for the exact
numbers, the school seems like they have worked out a sliding scale
of increased compensation with steps in the number of housing units.
I sent an email asking O'Reilly about
the quote where he seems to imply that accepting the deal from NRI on
the number of units is not up for negotiation.
You are quoted saying about a possible
cap on the number of housing units in G.Y., "If we put in a cap
the 11% is gone and the other pieces are gone".
explain what would be gone if a cap was put in place?
How do you
know that those elements of the deal with NRI would be gone with a
cap - has NRI said that it is nonnegotiable?
This was his quick reply:
I am assuming you are expecting a
complete answer from me and I wish to provide that to you.
I would prefer to wait until the
negotiations are finalized and approved. However, I can tell
you it is my feeling that it was going to be
extremely difficult to get agreement on any caps that would be
In addition, we were able to negotiate
receiving a higher percentage of compensation as the number of
residential units increases.
In providing more information
surrounding my quote, if we pressed for a hard cap and NRI would
agree, we would have needed to renegotiate our compensation package
(which includes 11% of the total increase taxable valuable of the
improvements plus an additional percentage of any residential growth)
with the city to lower levels than we are set to receive (if NRI
would actually agree to a cap).
I will also share that in order for the
finances of this to work out for NRI, they will need to self-impose
residential limits. Money to pay the bonds from the TIF will be
generated at a much greater rate from the commercial side versus the
residential side. Ed O'Reilly.
OK, the deal is still on the table. But
the question is still present – why can't Grandview place a hard
cap on the number of units? What is NRI going to do, walk away from
the table? The school has a limited ability to accept new students
without hitting the wall and becoming required to build a new school.
When that happens, the money gets tight fast.
I understand NRI makes more money from
retail, and Grandview gets more taxes. But what happens if the market
for new retail is not there? What if NRI crunches the numbers and
finds that 800 or more lower end units (under 200K) can be sold and
turns G.Y. into a primarily residential project?
More to come – the negotiations with
NRI are hot right now, and news will develop fast. Too bad so many of
Grandview residents are out on vacation right now (or was this an NRI
O'Reilly part two
I asked a few more questions about the G.Y. deal, noting that there is some overcapacity in the school facilities now, but asking what number would require a new school to be built.
(more after the jump)
Posted by Admin on Friday, July 24 @ 16:35:50 EDT (3491 reads)|
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Justice writes "|
A graduation ceremony is supposed to be
for the benefit of the seniors. Do HS kids think that wearing those
funny hats and gowns, and spending a fine summer day cooped up inside
listening to some old people give them advice is really a benefit? It
is tradition, and a passage that can be fun for some graduates. I
leave it for them to give the final word on the ceremony.
Parents of seniors have some right to
give judgment also. We know that there is not a lot of expectation
for creativity or excellence in the event. But this year the
proceedings had some strange choices. It deserves to be blogged.
Slow and slimy
The main speaker for graduation was
“Daddy Wags”, a radio talker with 30 years experience at a local
station. He had the vocal presence that someone with his experience
can be expected to project, and his Santa length beard gave him a
distinguished demeanor. His choice of speaking material was - odd.
There are certain standard topics that
a graduation speech can fall back on, this parody hits some of them.
Here are a few of Mr. Wags' clichéd talking points.
Joking about how the speech you are
giving should have been read once before the event, rather than
scanned on the way into the building, check.
Giving some statistics that show the
sad state of public engagement of the parents, and exhort the kids to
do better. Unfortunately the low rate of voting Wags used to check
off this item was not at all applicable to Grandview, where voting
normally is 50% even on ballots that have no local issues, and passes
80% in some elections.
The parable of the hare and the
tortoise is a standard graduation speech cliché, and the radio jock
seemed to know this because he didn't fall back on it. Unfortunately,
he just changed the animal used for the story to a snail. Slow and
steady sometimes wins the race, and if a turtle has been over used,
why not talk about an even slower beast?
Wags gave an example of how gardeners
fear the snail as it slowly chomps through the vegetables. OK. The
moral to be learned is that if you want to be really destructive, you
should be like the lowly snail? There was something in his speech
about leaving slime trails and not crossing back, but by this point
the metaphor had broken so completely I was having trouble paying
The real question is why the guy was
selected as a speaker at all. His personal story about dropping out
of college to work in radio, then turning it into a successful
career, is a long odds gamble in an industry that eats through and
spits out talent. The more normal outcome would have been minor
success while shuttling across the country, getting booted, followed
by regret that a degree had not been completed as a backup career
option. Did the graduates really need to be told by inference that it
is OK to drop out of school if you are chasing a long-shot?
Tag team val and sal
The Valedictorian and Salutatorian gave
a speech in alternation, in the tradition of a comedy duo. Cute, not
cliché, I had some trouble hearing because they had to share a mic,
but it was the best part of the afternoon. This was the last time a
val and sal will speak at a graduation in Grandview, the new policy
of selecting a student speaker based on submitted speeches instead of
grade point starts next year.
Just a mom
I don't know if there is any long
tradition about how the diplomas are handed out, who gives the
document, who shakes hands. I think I remember in the past it was the
super, the principal, and the board president. This year there was an
awkward addition of the board vice-pres., Anita
She stood next to the board president
and gave selective congratulations to the seniors. Some got a big
hug, which nobody else on the stage gave out. Some got a handshake.
Some got no handshake, no recognition at all. It was as if a mom had
been placed on the stage to give her opinion of the kids she liked
better than others.
And she was a mom to her child, who
graduated this year. I suspect her only reason to be in that line was
just to be able to hand her kid the diploma herself.
I'm not a stickler for tradition. If
the kids wanted to be selective in who they gave handshakes to, it
would be OK. If they had a beef with the super, it would be OK if
they snubbed his handshake. But for an official of the school board
to be discriminative in how she treats kids in this ceremony – it
reeks of selective treatment. That is the opposite of how a board
member should act, they should always be non-discriminatory in
I'm sure this board member will not
even perceive she was doing anything wrong. She probably doesn't have
any deep thought process about how she should act as a board member.
After all, her participation in the activity of the board has been
limited to keeping a chair occupied for many years. She really is
just a mom, who stumbled onto a position on the board.
Posted by Admin on Tuesday, June 09 @ 12:32:18 EDT (4733 reads)|
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Justice writes "
When the levy's too heavy
The TWG had an article about the levy
scenarios for the school, focused on the upcoming teacher union
negotiations. The projections were for a possible 3.66 mill
operating levy that would have little chance, to a “no way in hell”
I'm pro union. I want more people to
have the kind of good wage, good benefit jobs that have slipped away
as the country has lost union memberships. Maybe this recession will
introduce to more people to the benefits of voting for unions in
However, I'm also a taxpayer. I want
the government bodies who negotiate with local unions to be smart and
keep costs down in line with the general economic realities that the
The Grandview school board has a
terrible history of keeping costs down at the school. We have the highest voted millage in the county. Two
factors caused this problem.
1. The board under McLeod (and for all
indications under Lithgow) had a philosophy of allowing the
superintendent to run all functions of the school. That includes his
ideas on cost control.
Unsurprisingly, a super with no motivation to
keep costs down, and lots of motivations to spend, will do poorly.
Throughout the downturn of 2001 to 03
super Allen was insistent that the board give 5% annual raises to the
administration (and even bigger perks for Allen). The fallout was
predictable - the failed 2003 union negotiations lead to a budget
busting 4% annual raises for the teachers. The 2006 deal for 3%
annual raises was no win for the board.
2. Leadership is not a skill that you
earn by being voted into a seat on the board. It is a lifelong talent
that some people have, and you know if they have charisma within minutes of speaking to
The school board leadership has been
crippled by lackluster members. Their “follow the super”
philosophy has made votes simple (just do whatever the boss asks),
but it has been terrible for keeping restraint on spending. We need a
board who can stand up and say “no”, while still showing respect
and without being petulant.
Ms. McLeod was a weak leader who
brought little to the presidency. I thought she was as poor as you
could get, until the board selected her replacement. Ms. Lithgow is
laughable as a leader.
Grandview needs a school leader who can
inspire a sense of shared sacrifice between the teachers, the
administrators and the taxpayers.
Uplifting rhetoric reminding us that “we are all in
this together, now is the time to work for the good of the community”
- and the leadership to make those words be believed - is needed now.
Too bad the board made a mockery of
those words when they gave the administrators new benefits last
summer that amounted to 10 % raises. The problems with the economy were obvious at the time of that vote.
Bad economic news has hit us so long
and so hard that there is a tendency to throw up your hands. You
might say. “who cares what the teachers union settle for, the
levies will never pass anyway”. It does matter, because small
problems can be fixed with little effort. Big problems generate bad
will that tears communities apart.
Posted by Admin on Wednesday, February 11 @ 11:35:00 EST (1567 reads)|
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Justice writes "
Kessler appointed to board
The school board braved the icy weather
Wednesday morning to appoint John Kessler to fill the empty
board seat created by the resignation of Ms. McLeod.
This was the word sent by the board
Pres, Ms. Lithgow.
morning we elected John Kessler to serve the rest of Suzanne McLeod's
term. He is the assistant chief of the Ohio Department of Natural
Resources and has experience with budgets, personnel, and public
policy, among other things. He has a child who is attending Stevenson
Elementary and another who will be entering school next year. Like
all of the applicants, John expressed a strong interest in community
service. John will be sworn in at the January 31 planning meeting.
A search of the net found a little
about Mr. Kessler (his results are stomped on by another John
Kessler, the guy who goes by the nic Jack Kessler, of New Albany
fame). He is listed on the Ohio DNR website, with geeky stuff
like his Powerpoint presentation on “Relating
Efforts to Reduce Hypoxia in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to the Ohio
River Basin and States”.
he doesn't show up much at school board meetings, I only found his
name listed for Nov. and Dec.
County BOE records show that he voted
unaffiliated in the last primary election. The majority of Grandview
board members have no party affiliation, does this mean that they
seriously worry about their membership in one of the major parties
causing them to lose votes for the school board, and intentionally
There is a Kessler listed on the roster
of the Columbus Flyers Disc Golf Club. Maybe he can work with the
school to set up an Ultimate and Frisbee Golf club.
Posted by Admin on Friday, January 30 @ 13:28:58 EST (4119 reads)|
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Justice writes "
Changes to the kindergarten all day program
Super O'Reilly announced that there may
be changes to the all day kindergarten program at the Jan. 13 09
board meeting. Supposedly he said that the program is operating at a
loss, and he wants to make changes.
The word of this possible new action by
O'Reilly immediately caused a number of emails to be
circulated around the Grandview email lists, with content that may be
accurate but could just as well have wrong info. Who knows? We have
no first hand information from O'Reilly.
The all day kindergarten program is of
vital importance to both parents who have kids in the program and
parents who are preparing to use it in the future. O'Reilly should
have known this was a hot topic that would spark immediate concern
and requests for more information. No doubt he is spending large
amounts of his time right now answering emails and phone calls.
Why didn't O'Reilly have a document
with information about his concerns about the kindergarten and
intended course of action ready to post up on the school website the
minute he finished at the board meeting? He could have said at the
meeting “For all of those parents who want to know about my plans,
please go to the school website, and email any other parents who want
info to let them know the school website has a statement up”.
Think of all the hours he will waste
repeating a copy and paste message to the large number of parents who
will be emailing, hours that could have been spent working on more
important school business.
There are some people who just “don't
get” the internet, and how to save time by using the web. I was
hoping that since the school website was upgraded that we might have
a super who understood.
O'Reilly has used the school website for
some announcements, but the information design is poor. The “News”
section contains short messages that quickly disappear. Why doesn't
he have a blog type section under the “Office of the Super”
level, with archived messages that can be searched?
O'Reilly has written in the newspaper
in the past that he wants to have good communication with the parents
at Grandview Hts. Unfortunately he is failing, and it doesn't look
like he is trying to improve. As the school approaches the reckoning
time for an economy in the dump, communication between the board,
the super, and the community will be vital. Things will go bad,
and the “moms email networks” in Grandview will be burning up
with rumors. O'Reilly needs to learn how to use the school website,
(Later) Finally, O'Reilly goes public
with the story of his proposed changes to the kindergarten program in
the Feb. 4th TWG. That makes it 19 days before O'Reilly
put up a public statement.
Here is O'Reilly's webpage on the
school website. Nothing.
O'Reilly acknowledged that a rumor that
Grandview's full-day kindergarten program may be eliminated began to
spread through the community after his mention of the issue before
the school board. Who's fault it that? A large percentage has to be
pinned on O'Reilly himself for not going public immediately on the
school website with his concerns about the program.
When you start talking about cuts to
save money before the school board, some parents will mishear it as
cutting programs. That's human nature. There will be a lot of that
going on as the school deals with the failed economy (and failed
One of the reasons that levies fail is
that parents think the school administration is unresponsive.
Shame on you, Mr. O'Reilly. Start using
the school website to keep parents informed. That is your job, after
(Feb 19) The board did vote to keep the full day kindergarten program, with an increase in the monthly tuition cost from $290 to $330.
Notice in the TWG story linked above super O'Reilly is quoted saying about the elimination of the full day program, "That is not true," "I couldn't be an advocate of that position."
But in the TVN story, at the board meeting O'Reilly presented options to the board, the first of them was - elimination of the full day program.
This is how credibility gets lost, Mr O'Reilly.
Posted by Admin on Friday, January 16 @ 12:09:18 EST (1470 reads)|
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Justice writes "
Lithgow elected school board president
Kathy Lithgow was elected by her fellow
board members to fill the vacancy left by the departing Ms McLeod.
She was first voted by the community to a board seat in Jan 2000. I
don't have records for board meetings before 2002, but she has held
the vice presidency since then and possibly earlier. I know that
Brian Cook was vice president in 1999, not sure when the post
Lithgow never seemed to be an very
assertive board member, if she chose to take the presidency just
because she was waiting for more than six years and thinks it is her
due, she may regret the choice. The board moves into 2009 with a
recession that will both cut funding and make passing new levies
nearly impossible. The likely outcome will be deep cuts in school
programs and large board meetings with angry parents. Is she the best
person to hold the gavel?
Ms. Keller was elected vice president.
Again, I wonder – why? What leadership role has she ever taken in
Vacant seat rumors
The board will be filling a vacant seat
next month, and the rumors about the likely winner are disturbing.
Debbie Brannan is a parent who has
worked with the Middle School PTO, and she has started a Yahoo group
called “TalkAboutGifted” that has 16 posts in the past year. I
can find nothing on the net that lists any professional experience.
She did make the news recently – she
was part of the “moms groups” that were interviewed by a Dispatch
reporter. Standing in Connie Anderson's kitchen, she is quoted saying
she has a group called “Moms in
Touch”, a small prayer group that meets weekly to pray for
students, teachers and administrators.
qualification for a board position does Debbie Brannan have besides
being a BFF of Connie Anderson?
church that both she and Ms. Anderson belong to – The Vineyard –
has some fundamentalist beliefs listed on their website. It says;
BELIEVE that the Holy Spirit inspired the human authors of Holy
Scripture so that the Bible is without error in the original
Those who believe in an inerrant bible often believe
in so called “intelligent design”.
school board members owe it to the community to ask Ms. Brannan if
she believes in evolution. Does she support intelligent design, and
does she intended to promote the teaching of it in Grandview schools?
special board meeting to appoint a new board member will be
held Jan. 28 at 7:30 a.m
(Later) John Kessler was appointed to fill the last year of the McLeod seat. Not sure if the vote by the board was public, or executive session.
Posted by Admin on Thursday, January 15 @ 22:11:46 EST (1644 reads)|
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Justice writes "|
School board president Suzanne McLeod
announced her resignation on Dec. 9, to be effective in January. She
has said that she is moving out of the district, and by stepping away
she will allow the board to appoint a new member to complete her last
I don't normally have a file ready to
create a post for a departing board or council member, but I have
been working up a meta-post about the long term problems with the
school board. McLeod was the central figure in those problems, so I
am flush with stories about her time in office.
Let the flushing begin.
Posted by Admin on Tuesday, December 23 @ 01:06:04 EST (4841 reads)|
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Justice writes "|
(This is a continuation of the story of the July 14 2008 board meeting.)
After a couple of emails asking the
school treasurer for the numbers on the “pickup on the pickup”, I
did get some figures. I also got some reasoning from O'Reilly for the
The numbers are the usual boring stuff,
I break out the cost after the jump.
As for the rationalizations – wow,
isn't it weird that when the super looks at the “facts”, the best
choice is always to give the administrators big raises and benefit
(more on the board and 7:30 AM meetings)
Posted by admin on Sunday, September 14 @ 22:05:04 EDT (1559 reads)|
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|Friday, September 12|
|·|| More abatements |
|Thursday, September 11|
|·|| The board and the Cookie jar |
|Friday, September 05|
|·|| Cameron story in 12-13-07 TWG |
|Tuesday, August 26|
|·|| New principal Jesse Truett on the Activity Code |
|Tuesday, May 13|
|·|| Divided board passes AC changes, no levy |
|Sunday, May 11|
|·|| The AC debate continued |
|Wednesday, May 07|
|·|| Drug dogs return, more on new AC rules |
|Tuesday, May 06|
|·|| Omertà enforcement |
|Tuesday, April 22|
|·|| Activity Code Red |
|Wednesday, March 12|
|·|| Emailing Ms. Peters |
|Tuesday, February 26|
|·|| Grandview is number one! |
|Wednesday, January 30|
|·|| Party house |
|Monday, January 28|
|·|| School involved in the TIF negotiations |
|Sunday, December 16|
|·|| Cameron ends with a bang |
|Thursday, November 15|
|·|| Still erasing negative thoughts |
|·|| O'Reilly hits another jackpot |
|Thursday, November 01|
|·|| Making the best of sexual imposition |
|Thursday, October 25|
|·|| Will the Blueberries return? |
|Tuesday, October 23|
|·|| A continued paucity of democracy |
|·|| Solutions to drugs in the schools |