Eminent Domain -- Part3

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    www.avoncitizensforchange.com/

    Avon Citizens for Change

    The Avon Citizens for Change is committed to improving the lives of every citizen of Avon, Ohio. Through information and advocacy, we can make a difference! We will meet with our elected officials, attend hearings, and support candidates that are advocates of change.

    Together, we can successfully make improvements in our community so we can build a better world for our children. We must hold our elected officials accountable for the decisions they make and ensure they are in the best interest of ALL Avon residents.

    Our volunteer base is growing daily as citizens have found a voice and renewed sense of hope. You too can make a difference. Please send us an e-mail at

    noeminentdomain@yahoo.com

    Clip posted on YouTube of Mary Jane Wolfe's speech to the Avon BOE March 18 2008 meeting:

    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc5jW8d6Is8

    Top -- Home

    www.avoncitizensforchange.com/

    ``Statment from Mary Jane Wolfe Friday 4/11/08

    "First of all, there are not, nor were there ever several discussions going on with the Board of Education. There was one meeting (that Tues [4-8-08]) with Mayor Smith, Dale Smitek, Jon Pinney, (my attorney) and myself and one phone call (per Jon).

    Discussions at that meeting were very amicable, and Dale Smitek agreed to rescind the eminent domain action after talking with Jon. For that, I am truly grateful. And as a result of that action, and as a courtesy, we agreed to look at other proposals they might have.

    There was no discussion in regards to price/or property values other than a statement that the offer was not appropriate ...

    I truly feel in my heart that I still do not want to sell my property and have made no commitment whatsoever to sell or negotiate with anyone."

    PLEASE CONTINUE TO ATTEND THE SCHOOL BOARD MEETINGS, THE NEXT ONE IS TUESDAY, APRIL 15TH [2008] AT 6:30

    As of 4/8/08 the Avon School Board has rescinded their vote to pursue Eminent Domain on Mary Jane Wolfe's property. In the spirit of cooperation, they wish to continue open dialog with her regarding possible land purchase.

    CONGRATULATIONS MARY JANE & The Avon Community!!

    We are hopeful that this decision by the board will create an opportunity for community input and cooperation with the BOE for the benefit of the students and residents of Avon, Ohio

    Thanks to Everyone for their generous time, effort and donations. Working together we can make a difference.''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Plain Dealer, 4-11-08, by Jennifer González, Plain Dealer Reporter

    ``Avon schools back down on seizing land of Mary Jane Wolf

    AVON -- Avon school officials have backed down from seizing a woman's property through eminent domain.

    The Avon school board this week [4-8-08] rescinded a resolution it passed in February authorizing the school district to force Mary Jane Wolf to sell 25 of her roughly 30 acres. She would have remained in her house, however.

    The school district wanted the land for a new middle school building. Wolf's property abuts the existing school.

    "The board did the right thing," said Jon Pinney, Wolf's attorney. "Mary Jane has no intention of parting with the property in any shape or form." Wolf could not be reached for comment on Thursday ...

    Tim Bresnahan, an Avon resident and member of Avon Citizens for Change, said the school board was forced to back down because of intense pressure from residents.

    The group had secured hundreds of signatures, on paper and online, for a petition supporting Wolf. Over 200 yard signs dotted Avon homes, and many e-mails were sent to school board members.''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 4-10-08, by CHANDA NEELY, Morning Journal Writer

    ``AVON -- The Avon school board still wants some of Mary Jane Wolfe's land for a new middle school ... However, Wolfe's attorney, John Pinney, said Wolfe still isn't interested in selling 25 acres ...

    The school board agreed Tuesday night [4-8-08] to drop threatened eminent domain action against Wolfe to acquire about 25 acres off Center Road, but Pinney said. ''There's never been any commitment to sell or to negotiate whatsoever.''

    Pinney said he received phone calls from the public yesterday alleging that board members are saying Wolfe will negotiate and that a statement in an online forum, says Wolfe agreed to sell the property if the school board upped their price.

    Tim Bresnahan, a Wolfe supporter, said he believes the online comment by a poster using the name ''Laugh'' was written by a school board member.

    Pinney said that based on what he has been told, the comments are ''inaccurate.'' The school board ''is trying to spin things to save face.'' ... ''It's childish the way they (school board) conduct themselves ...'' Pinney said.

    ''We've looked at a lot (of other properties),'' school board President Dale Smitek said. ''As far as this board is concerned, we are done looking.'' ...''

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    COMMENTARY

    COMMENTS on "Avon school board backs off from eminent domain claim"

    By Jason Hawk, The Chronicle-Telegram, 4-9-08

    ``Comment from Jack Miller April 9, 2008

    Congratulations to Ms Wolfe and the people who stood behind her! I would wager her relief was unmeasurable. A small victory in the grand scheme of things, but a major one for showing doubters we can still fight against the madness and win. Look at what the truckers are doing to protest the high cost of diesel ...

    Comment from BigDaddyDday April 9, 2008

    Congratulations Mrs. Wolfe; you have many more supporters outside the Avon city limits as well ...''

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    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    ``Title: BOE special meeting

    Does it really matter who spoke up and what they had been involved with in the past? The Issue was they along with many others spoke up against the Eminent Domain Issue!

    Exactly how will the community as a whole feel when the City Government starts proposing Eminent Domain to get more streets going East & West in town? With more traffic and developments going in it will be just a matter of time.

    The schools will need to start earlier, it will take you a half hour to get from Nagel to High School etc if they don't put in some more streets to handle the traffic.

    What ever happened to the sidewalks that had to be put in? Detroit Rd. should have them all already, especially on the east side. You can't even walk to the park from those living on Jaycox South of Riegelsberger, they are hit and miss and some of those houses were told to put them in in the 90's but still no sidewalks, and what about Jaycox from Schwartz to Detroit? You should be able to walk to the center of town, (old or new center etc.)

    What will it take -- a child getting hit by a car while they are trying to get to the skatepark, the Commons etc.?

    Written by: lifelong avonite on April 9, 2008

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    Title: Avon School Board

    Avon Board Members and Superintendent -- stop calling it a Junior High School -- you sound like a bunch of hicks. The building is a middle school and is founded on the middle school philosophy, not a high school one. Even the ... superintendent called it a junior high in his letter [Avenue Avenues] to the community.

    Written by: jimi4370 on April 10, 2008

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    Title: Think About It

    ... Taking her farm -- when is the last time anything was farmed on that property. The property needs some TLC. It collects pools of water. An attraction for mosquitoes. Ever hear of m...?

    Written by: contendor on April 03, 2008

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    Title: Think About It

    ... Wait until the land sells to a developer and you have a strip mall in your front or back yard, instead of a school. I will just sit back and laugh.

    Written by: contendor on April 04, 2008

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    Title: Anyone have an update on the Romes plans?

    It's not hard to notice that the JCPennys/Lowes development is moving along, but Romes' development is still just dirt.

    Written by: urbanflight on April 10, 2008

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    Title: school

    Any news on the old school. Can/should it be saved? I think so but how? Any ideas?

    Written by: proudeagle on April 10, 2008

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    Title: school

    Move it to the cemetery and then we can work on demolition of both eye sores at the same time ...

    Written by: contendor on April 10, 2008

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    Title: Romes plans? And the Avon BOE???

    ... Maybe the Avon BOE can get the land fire sale price vs. the Wolfe property plus the legal expense added by the lawfirm of S ... and O'...! In fact this make sense since the law firm represents BOTH the Avon BOE and Romes. They could broker the deal on the cheap! Hey Laugh, I'll let you take my idea into Executive Session and claim it's yours and I won't say a word.

    Written by: Avon Eagle on April 10, 2008

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    Title: Why?

    I really don't get why anyone would question the motives of a group who simply wanted to help. I am not a member of the ACFC, but I sure applaud and support what they did. To question the motives of fine people is really cynical.

    MJW reached out for help, and they put things together and helped. If you think they did not have an impact, you are clearly not paying attention. The way the BOE handled this was an unmitigated PR disaster and invited the viceral reaction they received. There was not much choice but to pull back.

    And the "NIMBY" comments are simply without merit. If MJW changes her mind and decides to sell all or part of her land, good for her. I support whatever she wants to do. There was just no reason to try to force her against her will.

    What possible ulterior motives could the group have? Maybe I am less cynical than most, but just don't see that as fair criticism.

    Written by: Parsonsbri on April 11, 2008''

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    [If they do not care if a new middle school is built - then why stay on the Board?]

    EDITORIAL from The Press, 4-16-08

    ``... Comments from Smitek leave the perception that there remains the possibility of reaching a deal with Mary Jane Wolfe for her property. Comments from her lawyer and a release from Wolfe herself seem to indicate otherwise.

    One of the most disturbing turns in this misadventure came last week when one board member admitted to posting on an online forum under the assumed name "laugh". The posting essentially said plans were in the works for Ms. Wolfe to sell her property to the board ...''

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    LETTER TO EDITOR of The Press, 4-16-08, by David Vargo

    ``My name is David Vargo, and I am a founding member of the Avon Citizens for Change. I would like to congratulate Mary Jane Wolfe and her successful fight she waged to keep her property and retain her right to decide it's future use. I would also like to thank the many citizens of Avon and other communities for their help and support. I was deeply touched by their dedication, conviction, generosity, and willingness to join the cause to protect Ms. Wolfe's rights as a resident and property owner in the City of Avon.

    I am saddened by the current actions of the Avon BOE and some of its members. Mary Jane was not even allowed one day to sit back, relax and take this all in before they began an all new attack to discredit her and slander her good name.

    Mary Jane has done nothing to warrant the vicious attack they are now waging, other than fight for her rights as a property owner ... "Laugh" admits that they do not care if a new middle school is built -- then why stay on the Board?

    PLEASE leave this poor woman alone. She needs to take care of herself and enjoy the fruits of her family's labor.

    And to the Citizens of Avon and other communities - WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!''

    Dave Vargo, Avon Citizens for Change

    www.avoncitizensforchange.com/

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    MORE COMMENTARY

    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    ``Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    ... School boards don't elevate school districts, educators, students and a supportive community do. When I was growing up Avon was a 1 horse, farming town. A fine community, but very small and unremarkable ...

    As Avon continues to grow the job of being a board member, a school administrator and teacher will become more complex and sophisticated. The student population has changed and the residents have shifted from farmers (not a bash on agricultural folks here, just stating a fact) to more professional, white-collar types. The raw materials (students) have been steadily getting better and as this continues to increase, the expectations will increase as well.

    The question then becomes (as it does for all affluent communities), has Avon Schools done well on the Ohio Department of Education's accountability measures due to things that it has contributed or is it due to other factors. In short, what accounts for the variance in student achievement when our schools are compared to others?

    Some of you folks in this forum are probably business people and have companies with strategic plans. Take a look at Avon's and ask yourself whether or not it is measurable and rigorous enough -- especially compared to that which other districts have created.

    Written by: jimi4370 on April 12, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    I've always been annoyed at the school board and all their claims of 'we are doing so great with your kids'. They are below average when compared to cities with similiar incomes. Avon Lake, Bay and Westlake are all improving MORE than Avon in their testing, although Avon is improving.

    The single largest factor in determining if a child will excel in school is household income. The fact that other districts with 'stable' income levels that are improving more than ours is a bad sign for the future.

    Written by: urbanflight on April 14, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    ... While [family income] certainly is correlated with high achievement it doesn't explain the entire picture. Schools matter and most important teachers matter. In fact, quality teachers and quality teaching accounts for the majority of student progress and variance.

    Written by: jimi4370 on April 14, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    ... If the parents are not involved with the schools and the kids, then scores will go down ...

    What I see as a problem is that the schools now a day are so focused on these stupid tests for the State, the teachers cannot concentrate on the real teaching because they are busy trying to ensure the kids pass these tests. My daugther will be taking the OATs next week and she is not looking forward to it. She has had so many practices tests she has had to do for homework, it is crazy.

    Kids cannot be kids anymore because they have so much they need to learn. My son is in 1st grade and the amount of homework he has now is crazy. He is doing book reports and presented them already in class. He is doing way more than my husband and I ever did when we were that age. My son gets off the bus at 4:15 p.m. and I have to get him to do his homework right away to get it done and he is wore out from his day, some days he ends up crying.

    He has 4 hours to get his worksheets, reading, spelling and math facts done, plus eat dinner, bathing and if he is lucky he might get to play with his friends for a short time. I think if we didn't have to worry about all these things, the kids would do much better. They have too much pressure on them to do well ...

    Written by: Avonmomoftwo on April 15, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    ... As others said, if parents don't care, then it doesn't matter about the teachers. But even good parents will have trouble if the majority of the kide come from bad families. The peer pressure, like in the inner city can overwhelm them.

    That is what attracts higher income families to cities like Avon. They want their kids to be around others with similar values ...

    Written by: Creek on April 15, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    It's true that the best predictor for success on the achievemnt tests is parent income. But these tests don't seem to inspire much student enthusiasm; and I think (but can't prove) that enthusiasm is the most important basis for learning and for success in life ...

    Contests, in the public school environment, are the path to student enthusiasm. Physical development is critical to life success; and, as the Dukle of Wellington didn't say, the Battle of Waterloo was won on the playing fields Eaton. Sports, from football to golf, should be an important part of education.

    Enthusiasm for art and music, major components of mental developemnt, is generated by contests. Drama contests oratorical contests, debate teams, etc. are essential for developing talents that enable young people to become participating citizens. Academic challenge is an outstanding contest for student achievemnet. Above all, in this age of global competition, science fair contests should be vigorously promoted.

    Avon does well with sports and band, and the violin program is great for mental development. But much more needs to be done. Beechwood recruits talented teachers no matter what the cost. Avon's BOE seems to have a policy of not hiring a teacher if he/she has more than 2 years of experience. Jimi is right that good teachers are where schools can make their greatest contribution. From a financial point of view, only hiring from the bottom of the salary schedule creates a disproportionate burden as time passes.

    Written by: Oldtimer on April 15, 2008

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    Title: Avon School Board ...

    I do believe that our standards are similar in one aspect - go to school and learn everything that you can! I was also at the top of my class, and graduated on the National Honor Society from Avon Schools.

    Obviousely the schools of the 70's did not have the technology that is offered to students today, and in another 30 years, we will look back at today's system and think it barbaric. However, even the best of schools today are not without problems. I don't ever recall students bringing guns to school and going on an all-out rampage, killing everyone in sight. And I can't remember any student beating up a teacher.

    I am extremely grateful that my parents moved out of their family neighborhood in West Cleveland in the 50's, where they grew up, before I was adopted, because they realized that raising kids and sending them to school in that area would not have been as beneficial to us. And for the working class folks and farmers and merchants of Avon's past, LCCC was an affordable and great college to attend, and no one seemed to be ashamed that this was the college from which they graduated.

    I agree that society needs people with all different kinds of skills, but I also believe that the person who fills the potholes on our streets so we don't get a flat tire, or the person who arranged the flowers for our daughters' wedding, or the crews who tend the grape fields are'nt any less useful, appreciated or accomplished than are the lawyers or CEO's who graduated from the Ivy League colleges from around the area.

    Written by: felix726 on April 15, 2008

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    Title: What accounts for student achievement variance

    Knowing several teachers, the higher their level of education, the least likely to be hired at Avon. IF they have their masters degree - no job -- or not paid up to the standards of other districts like Avon Lake and Amherst ...

    Written by: avon7 on April 15, 2008''

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    ``Title: Interesting Forum

    ... I am not a fan of eminent domain and would have preferred that this option was never even considered ... the inappropriate and inaccurate posting of a member of the BOE on this site. Amazingly, I believe she also stated that she doesn't care whether the Middle School is replaced or not since it is only two years of our children's education ...

    Fellow citizens, posting on this board is a great way to share ideas and opinions, but unfortunately it reads to the casual reader as "long-time resident vs. new resident" and there seems to be a perception that we have very different values and aspirations for our city. I disagree. I moved here because of the schools and the green space.

    I'm a newer resident and I get a little sick every time I pass by the intersection of 83 and Detroit. I want the old Avon school saved and moved if necessary. I'm interested in the history of Avon and I'm impressed with the efforts to move some of the old homes and buildings to the area behind the current police station. I'm not alone in my appreciation of the history. Many of our newer residents share my interest.

    How great would it be if we used this board to brainstorm ways to make our city better and identifying ways to get involved ...

    Written by: Interested_Avonite on April 17, 2008

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    Title: My earlier comments about Avon Schools

    ... I wanted to post something about Avon schools relative to other local schools.

    Performance index

    Avon 102.7

    Avon Lake 104.4

    Bay Village 105.3

    Westlake 105.1

    Compare this to the same score 2 years ago

    Performance index

    Avon 101.4 +1.3

    Avon Lake 102.7 +1.7

    Bay Village 103.8 +1.5

    Westlake 103.7 +1.4

    If you look at the School Year Report card, the state even gives additional comparisons to 'similiar districts' as well as the state for % of students at or above 'proficient'. For 3rd, 4th and 11th grades we are above average. For 6th-10th we are below, with 6th and 7th being the worst. 6th grade math is 14% below similiar, but still 2.7% above the state average.

    I tried to pick communities that were close in income and housing value ...

    As of 2005

    Avon, $71k income, $219k avg home price

    Avon Lake, $70k, $218

    Westlake, $66k, $241

    Bay Village, $71k, $202k

    Lorain, $31k, $108k

    Sheffield, $63k, $187k

    Written by: urbanflight on April 18, 2008

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    Title: Interesting Forum

    ... Wouldn't you think that ... the BOE would have talked to the property owner to see if there was even and interest in selling her property before doing that upgrade. Wouldn't that have made more sense. If she wasn't interested in selling it why spend all that money when it could have been built somewhere else where people didn't mind selling and they could expand there?

    Eminent domain should not be used in circumstances where there is 2000 acres of property undeveloped. I think maybe you should start wondering at night, while your watching TV or what ever do, if maybe your property will be next?

    Why not buy one of those homes on Stoney Ridge and they can have 2 entrances/exits.

    Written by: farmer1avon on April 18, 2008

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    Title: Good Schools

    www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/education/jan-june08/hightech_04-17.html

    TRANSCRIPT from The News Hour, MacNeil/Lehrer Productions, 4-17-08

    ``High-tech School Prepares Students for Shifting Economy

    Paul Solman reports on a high school in California that pushes its students to focus on the future by preparing for jobs in the world of high technology -- while also helping the U.S. stay competitive in a global marketplace ...

    PAUL SOLMAN: For all the studies showing that American students are falling behind the rest of the world in science, it's not happening here.

    At High Tech High in San Diego, one of the most competitive charter schools in the country, everyone goes to college, yet anyone can attend. Admission is strictly by lottery.

    This school is built on competition, making things, like this semi-cyborg for a national robot contest. It's supposed to shoot Nerf basketballs into a goal nine feet off the ground.

    Student science projects are everywhere: a shadow-activated L.E.D. display, an electronic ornament for the holidays.

    The can-make, can-do ethos extends near and far ...

    The U.S. now trails almost every country of comparable wealth in high school science tests, Canada, Japan, Australia, Germany. One reason High Tech High was created: to turn the scores around.

    San Diego businessman Irwin Jacobs says U.S. science deficiency was throttling the growth of his high-flying San Diego computer chip company, Qualcomm.

    DR. IRWIN JACOBS, Chairman, Qualcomm: Our problem was that when we'd go to hire, we were just not finding enough properly trained individuals, trained so they could do new kinds of technology, and that's the kind that we specialize in ...

    LARRY ROSENSTOCK, CEO, High Tech High: They said, "Why don't we grow our own? Why don't we grow our own from internally, from in our community, from in our metropolitan area? Why don't we grow our own future leaders who will be playing these types of roles as scientists and engineers?" ...

    So the beauty of getting kids to become interested in math and science and engineering is to have them behave like scientists, behave like mathematicians, behave like engineers, NOT PREPARE FOR BUBBLE ANSWER TESTS, which is not what those professionals do.

    And the way that you create that type of environment, like a place like MIT or Rensselaer Polytech or Caltech or Olin now is kids make things and do things, challenging things ...

    Darrell McClendon, Teacher: "Evan did what I believe every student should do: Evan just basically became a sponge."

    PAUL SOLMAN: This is ... where you get stuff done through fun and games, which it turns out inspires kids to try anything, including science, as in the annual competition of FIRST, "For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology," started by entrepreneur Dean Kamen, who invented the Segway scooter ... They frantically work on projects where the rubber meets the road or sometimes even the marketplace.

    Now at Olin College, a tiny new elite engineering school near Boston, Evan Morikawa became an entrepreneur at High Tech High. We interviewed him over the Internet.

    EVAN MORIKAWA, Student: I made a new way to input text, if you will, into PDAs and cell phones.

    PAUL SOLMAN: His product: an electronic glove to improve on the all-thumbs approach.

    Can you tap out for me, as if you had the glove on, "Hello, Paul, this is Evan"?

    EVAN MORIKAWA: To type an "h," you just push your middle finger, and "e" is your pointer, and "l" is your thumb.

    PAUL SOLMAN: Oh, I see, so combinations of the fingers give you different letters.

    EVAN MORIKAWA: That's right. And with five fingers, you can get 31 different letters. And I put a shift on the palm ...

    DARRELL MCCLENDON, Teacher: [Evan] ... never having even programmed anything before, could not read an electrical schematic at all, had never done any of that before, but ended up learning it.

    And a lot of what he learned -- and he actually learned from some of the other kids in the class that knew some of the bits and pieces of it, that knew how to start and knew how to read a schematic, understood what was happening with all the different components and stuff like that.

    And Evan did what I believe every student should do: Evan just basically became a sponge ...

    PAUL SOLMAN: ... Only 38 percent of high school grads in California have met the state's college acceptance standards in math and science, compared to 100 percent at High Tech High.

    Thus, by stressing actual accomplishment, fostering cooperation and competition, teaching teamwork, Larry Rosenstock's experiment may be one way to prepare the next generation scientifically for the global economy ...

    Written by: Oldtimer on April 19, 2008''

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    LETTER to the Editor of The Press, 7-8-10, by Tim Bresnahan

    [Planning for Eminent Domain]

    ``An open letter to Avon Parents and Taxpayers,

    This November, Avon Voters may be asked to support two levies on the ballot for Avon Local Schools. The Avon Citizens For Change would certainly support those levies, but at the same time, changes in attitudes on the part of certain Avon Board of Education members are required.

    The past 4 months have been an emotional time regarding the Eminent Domain issue and the property of Mary Jane Wolfe. Over the past few months Avon Citizens For Change has submitted a number of Public Records Requests to the members of the Avon Board of Education.

    The purpose of these requests, was to help our group and our community develop a sense of understanding as to the process that the Avon Board of Education went through in arriving at the decision to proceed with the Eminent Domain course of action.

    The reason for our interest was that at the surface level, it appeared that there had only been two public meetings relative to the Middle School project: One meeting in January of 2006 and then, 25 months later, the February, 2008 vote to take Ms. Wolfe's land.

    The Public Records Request is most likely one of the most powerful tools that the taxpayer has at his or her disposal to look into the actions of government.

    For years, the members of the Avon School Board have posted their personal e-mail addresses on the School Board web site. Very clearly, these e-mail addresses were posted as a means for the public to contact its Board members, and it is also becoming very clear to the public that these addresses were used by its Board to conduct or discuss Board business.

    Within weeks of our Public Records Request submission, three of the Board members, Mr. Dale Smitek, Ms. Angela Marsiglia and Ms. Debra Polovich, had their personal e-mail addresses removed from the web site. We will also add that these three members are the same three who failed to comply with the Public Records Request.

    Apparently Ms. Polovich did not even feel compelled to respond in writing at all. One can only assume that Ms. Polovich is not informed on the issue of Public Records Request and laws regarding compliance with such a written request

    Board President, Dale Smitek and Board Vice President, Angela Marsiglia both responded in effect that they do not keep such e-mails, and had deleted them. Therefore they were unable to comply.

    Ohio Revised Code 149.011(G) defines "records" as, "any document, device, or item, regardless of physical form or characteristic, including an electronic record as defined in section 1306.01 of the Revised Code, created or received by or coming under the jurisdiction of any public office of the state or its political subdivisions, which serves to document the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations, or other activities of the office."

    We would like to know, who were the decision makers regarding the removal of those three personal e-mail addresses from the Board of Education website?

    Two of the Board members, Ms. Susan Harrison and Mr. Kevin Romanchok, did respond to our Public Records Requests. They were also the two Board Members who voted against the Eminent Domain action in February. Why is it these two members still have their e-mail addresses appearing on the website?

    Additionally we would like to know what immediate corrective action the Board intends to take in order for them to comply with the law in the future?

    The public deserves and expects accountability from public officials. Certainly a local school board is no exception.''

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Sun, 6-26-08, By Bryan Story

    ``Avon citizen wants board e-mails

    AVON -- Two months after he made a public records request to the Avon school board, Tim Bresnahan asked the five members why most of them had not complied.

    Bresnahan, a spokesperson for the Avon Citizens for Change, confronted the board at a meeting Tuesday night. He said he became curious about the board's behind-the-scenes discussions after members decided to pursue an unpopular eminent domain proceeding in February.

    Bresnahan was suspicious about the eminent domain case, which would have allowed the school board to acquire land from Mary Jane Wolfe on Center Road for the purpose of building a new Middle School.

    "The reason for my interest was that at the surface level, it appeared that there had only been two public meetings relative to the Middle School project, one in January of 2006 and then the meeting in February 2008 when the board voted for eminent domain," Bresnahan said.

    "Something had to happen between those two meetings, and it wasn't being shown to the public," he added.

    In an attempt to find out what communications occurred among the board members, Bresnahan made requests for any documents dealing with the Middle School planning on behalf of the ACC, a request that included meeting minutes, written correspondences, formal reports and e-mails.

    Bresnahan explained at the school board meeting on Tuesday night that some of the board members had not been cooperative in giving him the information he requested.

    "I received information from Susan Harrison and Kevin Romanchok and it appears that they fully complied with the request," he said.

    "But Angela Marsiglia and Dale Smitek wrote me saying that they either destroyed or didn't have e-mails and Debra Polovich simply didn't get back to me at all," Bresnahan said.

    When asked about their replies on Tuesday, Smitek and Marsiglia claimed that since their e-mail addresses were personal, they did not they needed to keep board-related emails ...''

    Contact Bryan Story at bstory@sunnews.com

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    NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 5-6-08, by CHANDA NEELY, Morning Journal Writer

    ``AVON -- School board members are rejecting public records requests from Avon Citizen's for Change which sought personal e-mail, text messages and other documents relating to any discussions of building a new middle school or taking eminent domain action.

    ''I have nothing to send you,'' Vice President Angela Marsiglia wrote in an e-mail to the group's spokesman Tim Bresnahan ...

    Bresnahan issued a request at the April 15 [2008] board meeting to Superintendent Jim Reitenbach and each school board member for any ''information relative to the project to construct a new middle school and the eminent domain proceedings to secure property for the middle school.'' ...

    ''Over the past 90 days I've just been trying to understand what kind of process they've gone through,'' Bresnahan said. ''They've only had two public meetings. There was one on Jan. 10 [2008] where they discussed the possibility of building a new middle school.

    ''Fast forward to Feb. 19,'' Bresnahan adds. ''They voted to take Mary Jane (Wolfe's) land. There's been nothing in between. There's been no public meeting and no dialogue with the community. I'm just trying to understand the process they've gone through.'' ...''

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    COMMENTARY

    Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

    ``Title: [State Report Card]

    Of course it's impossible to have a 100% accurate comparison. I just picked a subset of what the state says Avon school district's peers are. If you look at the state's report card, Avon is fairly average compared to it's peers. When compared to the 3 closest, it's below average, mostly due to the poor middle school showing.

    I just get annoyed when the BOE always points to the "excellent" rating the school gives but I feel that given the pool of students they have to work with, they don't do as well as other communities. At best they are on par.

    Written by: urbanflight on April 21, 2008

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    Title: Multi-level School

    As a student of St. Mary's avon, and E.C., both have second floors. Never had an issue with two stories. Two story schools are not bad, nor should they be looked at in a negative light.

    Written by: independent_resident on April 25, 2008

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    Title: Multi-level School

    I think that compromise can be had. Having a multi-level school does not necessarily mean that it has to be a dreary box without open space or light. I agree that Avon has higher income than many communities, but if you look at the spending per student, we don't spend like a higher income community. I think the extra money spent on heating, cooling and maintaining one story buildings could be better spent on the students (additional teachers, programs, etc.).

    Written by: EagleMom on April 25, 2008

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    Title: Multi-level School

    EagleMom is right. Building monuments is not a good use of our tax dollars, especially when the concept of "keeping the overhead low" is thrown to the winds. The highest priority should be the education of our children, which must not stop at passing proficiency tests.

    Written by: Oldtimer on April 26, 2008

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    Title: Multi-level School

    The requirments to be ADA compatable are a one time cost. The heating and cooling wil be for years and will overshadow any amount an elevator will cost. These are topics that were never mentioned when the high school was built so they shouldn't be an issue now.

    Written by: Avon Res. on April 28, 2008

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    Title: Multi-level School

    $700k for an elevator? What is it made out of gold? Nice mis-information....

    Why don't you try less than $75,000, if not even as low as $35,000. And that was just with a quick google.

    Oh, and with a two level school, you have 1/2 the amount of roof surface area. And that always seems to be a problem with schools, roof leaks...So you would only be fixing half of what you would normally be fixing. Sounds like a cost savings to me.

    Written by: C.R. on April 28, 2008

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    Title: BOE Meeting

    There is a Special Board Meeting being held tonight @ 6:00 p.m. in Heritage North's Media Center. One can guess that Item #4 (see agenda below) might be the individual they are planning to hire since this is an Administrative position. Also as you can see by the agenda, many high-level salaries are listed below and being voted on tonight.

    If you can, you should plan to attend this meeting and their regularly scheduled meetings--the more people who get involved, the better!

    Avon Local Board of Education

    Notice is hereby given that the Avon Local Board of Education will be holding a Special Meeting on Tuesday, July 1, 2008, at 6:00 p.m. in the Heritage North Elementary School Media Center. The purpose of the meeting is to extend contracts and approve salaries for central office personnel.

    Kent R. Zeman Treasurer

    Avon Local Board of Education

    Special Meeting Tuesday, July 1, 2008

    The mission of the Avon Local School District is to create excellence in education for all children through a partnership of home, school and community.

    Agenda

    1. Call to Order

    2. Roll Call

    3. Pledge of Allegiance

    4. Extend a two-year Administrative contract to Jason Call [the new principal of Heritage South] effective August 1, 2008 through July 31, 2010, 210 days per year. Salary effective August 1, 2008 will be $75,000. Benefit package as per Administrative Contract Provisions adopted July 10, 2006.

    5. Extend a one-year contract to Hanna Aufdenkampe, elementary teacher, for the 2008-2009 school year. Column I, step 0.

    6. Revise Contract Provisions Level A, B, and C, adopted March 20, 2007, as presented.

    7. Extend a five-year contract to Kent R. Zeman, Treasurer, August 1, 2008 through July 31, 2013, as presented, effective August 1, 2008 at $103,000.

    8. Approve the 2008-2009 school year salary for Jim Reitenbach, Superintendent, effective August 1, 2008, at $129,870.

    9. Approve salaries for the following central office personnel for fiscal year 2009: Anne Posendek, $41,704.; Beth Ann Hauck, $38,979.; Brenda Smith, $34,302.; Maryann Crawford, $51,200.; Maureen Galik, $35,880.

    10. Extend a contract to Raw Talent Sports beginning summer 2008 through the 2008-2009 school year for the provision of the district athletic improvement program in the amount of $16,000.

    11. Adjournment

    Written by: avonmomof2 on July 1, 2008''

    See Eminent Domain -- Part 1

    See Eminent Domain -- Part 2

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