Avon Growth News, 5-1-07 to Present

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8-7-07 Wal-Mart to expand Avon store

10-24-07 Executive Sessions

11-8-07 Mark Yonchak chosen third ward councilman

11-13-07 New FirstEnergy substation gets OK

1-10-08 Milk for Kindergarten Students

NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 2-11-07, by MEGAN KING, Morning Journal Writer

... Avon Mayor Jim Smith said the city has studied the traffic implications of the proposed [I 90] interchange extensively, and the city is prepared to make any road improvements on Nagel Road that are necessary after its construction ...''

[Tax Increment Financing (TIF) will be used to pay off the $15,000,000 loan for the proposed Nagel Rd. interchange and does not include the much greater amount of money needed to widen Nagel Rd. to 4 lanes south to Mills Rd. to bring cars to the new interchange.

Revenue sharing has been suggested for the vicinity of the proposed Nagel Rd. interchange, for example when the Cleveland Clinic leaves Westlake for Avon. Avon's Mayor has been quoted as saying, "Tax revenue would pay off the debt for the interchange. There's no money left for sharing." And he is right. TIF would consume both real estate and income tax revenue to pay off the $15,000,000 loan for the interchange.

TIF would also consume Avon's credit, increasing the borrowing costs for the new police station ($5,000,000) and proposed recreation center with swimming pool ($10,000.000?).

At least with 100% tax abatement, Avon could keep the income tax; only the schools would lose. TIF takes everything. Avon would be further ahead not to build the interchange and collect the income tax from businesses that would be willing to locate in Avon's industrial area without a new interchange.

It has been suggested that the interchange consulting engineering firm, TranSystems, has not fairly considered the no-build option: ``If Westlake closes their portion of Avon Road, they should not object to connecting the approximately 990 feet ... from Just Imagine Drive [Chester Road] to Clemens Road, capable of carrying industrial traffic. This would eliminate a need for the proposed interchange at Nagel Road for years to come ..."

Worse than `failure to consider' are the destructive effects of the proposed interchange: After repealing previous cluster zoning ordinances, the Avon Council is being asked to pass one that could eliminate exisitng driveways on Detroit Rd. and Nagel Road. And a Charter attack has been initiated on Detroit Road. The Avon Law Director has suggested that the 2007 Charter Review Commission "may also want to look at the Detroit Road amendment for keeping only three lanes."

On November 4, 2003, the citizens of Avon voted for the Detroit Road Preservation Charter Amendment: "Neither Council nor Planning Commission shall act to widen the pavement on Detroit Road ... to more than thirty-six (36) feet, or to divide said pavement into more than three (3) lanes ... except at intersections and approaches to intersections with arterial or collector public streets."

The appearance of Detroit Road is a fundamental feature of Avon's small town atmosphere. Preserving Detroit Road is an important quality of life goal because Detroit Road is the setting for many of our churches, schools, and century homes.

A Master Thoroughfare Plan, paid for by the Jacobs Group, was presented by a URS traffic engineer to the Planning Commission on June 12, 2002. URS recommended that Avon put five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road to carry traffic to an I-90 interchange at Nagel Road.

With 5 lanes permitted on Detroit Road, Avon could be required by the courts to rezone Detroit Road in a manner that is "constitutionally permissible." It could be argued that five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road make single family residential use impossible and that the entire length of Detroit Road should be zoned commercial or for apartments, now, even before another square foot of pavement is added.

Removing Detroit Road Preservation from Avon's Charter would nullify the charter amendment adopted on November 7, 2006, which requires an affirmative public vote to rezone residential property south of Detroit for commercial purposes. Using "constitutionally permissible," commercial and multifamily would creep south from Detroit Road.

Apartments on Detroit Rd. could add 15,000 people to Avon's build-out population. Avon has an area of 20.9 square miles. Parma has an area of 20.8 square miles and had a population of about 87,000 in 2003. Five lanes of pavement on Detroit Road would be consumed by the traffic generated on Detroit Road.

As far as an interchange at Nagel Rd. is concerned, `more' is not `better'. Another interchange will make travel more dangerous on I-90. Accidents in which a car crosses the median of I-90 into oncoming traffic will continue to rise unless concrete barriers are put up to separate the eastbound and westbound lanes. Why is there no money available for this obvious safety measure when it is proposed to spend $15,000,000 on another interchange?

Why is another off-ramp lane not added such as exists at Crocker Road to relieve rush hour traffic at SR 83? Why isn't the Chester Rd. -- SR 611 mess straightened out at I-90? Let's make some cost effective decisions to improve the quality of life in Avon, not degrade it.]

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 8-7-07, by Stephen Szucs

``AVON -- The Avon Wal-Mart is looking to expand, and the city of Avon wants to cash in.

Ron Mosby, a Wal-Mart spokesman, said the store intends to use the former Murphy Oil gas station property to expand by an additional 38,000 square feet by summer or fall of 2009.

The expansion would allow the store to grow from its current 152,000 square feet to a 190,000-square-foot Wal-Mart Supercenter that would provide groceries and be open 24 hours a day.

Wal-Mart had previously been limited by the city's 30 percent green space requirement and was restricted to build on only 1 percent of its available land before the additional two acres that were being leased by Murphy Oil from Wal-Mart became available ...

Avon Mayor Jim Smith said Council will consider adding tax increment financing (TIF) to the project, which could net the city more than $18,000 a year to put toward roads, bridges and other permanent improvements.

"That's the only piece of land that we didn't TIF in the area," Smith said.''

Contact Stephen Szucs at sszucs@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from the Morning Journal, 8-7-07, by SCOT ALLYN, Morning Journal Writer

``Wal-Mart to expand Avon store

AVON -- Wal-Mart's plans to expand its 35901 Chester Road store and make it one of its 24-hour super centers.

Ron Mosby, senior manager of public affairs in Ohio for Wal-Mart, said the store's current 152,000-square-feet would grow to 190,000-square-feet, with groceries and an automotive tire and lubrication center being added.

Wal-Mart would not have to acquire any additional property to carry out its Avon plans, Mosby said. Current plans call for the expansion to open to customers in summer or fall 2008, he said ...''

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR of The Pres, 10-24-07, By Tim Bresnahan

``An open letter to Avon voters:

On November 6th [2007]. Avon voters will have a very important opportunity to have a say in the future operations of the Avon Board of Education. Two incumbents are running for reelection to our School Board. Two challengers, Kevin Romanchok and Rudy Chavez, would like to have their jobs.

If you feel good about all the School Board business regularly conducted under the cover of "Executive Session" away from our eyes and ears, vote for the incumbents.

If you like "Special Meetings" being called without proper notification to the public, vote for the incumbents.

If you like the fact that School Board meetings are held too early in the evening for those of us who work, vote for the incumbents.

If you like the fact that we just spent $1.25 million dollars for a "bus maintenance facility" (granted, a much needed facility but subjected to higher costs due to architectural requirements of its location), vote for the incumbents.

If you like the fact that our current School Board has the seventh highest per student costs in a nine county area for outsourced legal expenses, [consider this:] FACT: Of the $500,000+ spent, well under 10% of that was for the bus garage litigation. Don't let them tell you otherwise!

They also like to say that they had union negotiations that required outsourced legal counsel as if no other district had negotiations. Many of these legal services are available at no charge through the Ohio School Board Association.

Some School Board members like to campaign on the "Excellent" rating that our school system has attained. I would like that credit to go to our administrators and educators.

As for me, I will be voting for School Board members who are more open and more accountable. I will be voting for two candidates who will be not be dismissive and unresponsive as well as taking us, parents and taxpayers, for granted.

Will you please join me in voting for Kevin Romanchok and Rudy Chavez for the Avon School Board on November 6th.''

Sincerely, Tim Bresnahan

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

``Title: Re: Avon Schools Legal Fees

FYI - More info. for anyone interested in the Avon Schools Legal Fees/Invoice amount for Chinese Instructor: Invoice from Squire, Samson and Dempsey, LLP to the Avon School system for $4,300 for "Special Counsel - Chiang Visa" from September 2007.)

Written by: avonmomof2 on October 22, 2007

Don't get me wrong. Although this is chickenfeed compared to the future liabilities which this BOE has exposed us to, it still is a burden on us taxpayers and another example of the Board's "We have money to burn" attitude.

Written by: Oldtimer on October 27, 2007

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Title: Re: Avon Schools Legal Fees/oldtimer

What else could they do? Everyone knows there isn't a single Chinese speaking person in NE Ohio they could have hired!

Written by: urbanflight on October 29, 2007

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Title: Re: School Board

... The question was directed to Laugh and I was hoping for a detailed answer from her.

Written by: avonmomof2 on October 31, 2007

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Title: Re: School Board

Laugh is busy putting signs on empty land, city property and construction sites

Written by: jm jones on October 31, 2007

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Title: Re: School Board

Laugh and her lap dog RK must be campaigning very hard. In a recent poll of vacant lots, roadside guardrails, and construction sites, AM and RK were way ahead of Romanchok and Chavez. Margin of error: plus or minus 3 shrubs.

On another note, the local papers are again covering another outsourced legal expense by the Avon BOE for hiring a teacher to teach Mandarin Chinese. It seems to me that we could save money by doing away with the school board completely and just have lawyers run the district. At least lawyers understand "sunshine laws" and what a "public records request" is.

Written by: Avon Eagle on October 31, 2007

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Title: Saying "Thank You!" to the Avon BOE

It appears that ... GR is displaying appreciation to the Avon BOE for helping to crack the zoning code with the construction of the Bus Palace. GR's construction site at the southeast corner of 83 and 254 is lined with reelect AM and RK signs. Mind you that the lawsuit between GR and the City of Avon (Us!) is still in litigation to the tune of $5,000,000. It seems the suit is bogged down.

Maybe GR needs better legal counsel. Maybe AM can refer him to a good law firm. I have always said that the entire fight over the Bus Palace was all about cracking the residential/commercial zoning code. The Avon BOE knocked over the first domino ...

Written by: Avon Eagle on October 31, 2007

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Title: Re: Saying

Coincidence that lawyer KS has represented the Avon B.O.E. AND GR?

Written by: eaglebooster on October 31, 2007

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Title: Re: School Board

The costs for the lawyers are more a result of poor/and or last minute planning by the Superintendent and curriculum coordinator. The Mandarin courses became an option just before the end of the school year for students after class selections for this year were made.

The Superintendent also sat on and blew a chance at a remarkable program at LCCC for incoming freshman, Early College High School. Methinks he forgets that he works for the school board that is supposed to work for us.

Written by: rememberwhen on October 31, 2007''

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Re: School Board

It's ALL about the "test". Being able to brag about how "Great" our kids score on a proficiency test. One that is at best controversial. A test that changes EVERY YEAR, because even the politicians who invented it cannot decide what should be included on this test. A test that proves NOTHING of their REAL ability or how well (or NOT) are kids are prepared for the REAL world! A test that the BOE runs all over town talking about our "excellence" . YIPPIE!

Excellent compared to WHAT or WHOM? Cleveland Public and All large inner city school districts in Ohio. That is WHOM we are "excellent" compared to on that proficiency test!

Mr Romanchok put it best "a excellent rating on a minimum proficiency test is NOT good enough!"

By the grace of God, and a lot of hard work, my children will NOT have to consider the inner city kids their peers, and I am not stupid enough to think that being "Excellent" compared to them on some test, is going to be enough of an education for my children to be truly successful in their lives! IT WILL NOT!

Avon voters need to look at what the Avon BOE has offered our children to take us into OUR children's future. What enrichment courses or extra-/co-curriculars have you (the BOE) offered my kids to ensure that they are keeping the pace of their REAL competition? The kids who are of like minds, from like backgrounds of college educated families? GEEZ..you don't have to look very far either..look down the road at the offering and variety and challenging and enriching courses that Avon Lake offers it's kids.

I have not passed your school levies to listen to you tell me how how well educated my child is here in Avon compared to a inner city kid and that seems to be ALL you have done! I have given you my hard earned money and trusted you (the BOE) with MY child's future by trusting you with their education; and you let us both down!

The other funny thing is that you brag about how LITTLE money you spend making my child competitive with those inner city kids! You would only impress me with those "lowest dollar cost per pupil"..blah, blah..IF You could SHOW me that you were doing that to make my child competitive in THEIR world..NOT the Cleveland City School District!

Ok..the whole Chinese course .. ... Here is what your BOE REALLY did...they waved good-bye to your "super" intendent on a trip last summer! HIS and his wives vacation..one guess WHERE too?

Sure, SUPPOSEDLY this was out of his pocket and therefore he did not turn in expenses for it. However, we rushed to get that teacher here now to be "first " to offer it or whatever. Now we seem to be having a little difficulty with how much that little "rush" to get the course THIS school year actually cost. Was it nothing extra or several thousand? ...

The BOE lets each building principal have TOTAL autonomy over their building! Therefore, they do NOT know, approve or disapprove of what goes on in EACH building. That is WHY all of you Parents with kids ACTUALLY in our schools (unlike the BOE) notice that in Avon there is little continuity in education styles and approaches between buildings.

Our kids not only get shuffled from building to building every year or two they have to learn a whole new education "style" too. That is why there is A.R. Reading at 2nd grade and not 3rd (new building ..new principal ..new way). That is why you can talk at lunch and play four square and good old fashioned recess games at some schools and NOT others! That is why some school can have holiday "parties" and some only fall cultural events! ...

In some buildings the proficiency test speaks louder then the personal safety and the LIVES of our kids!

Written by: not so on November 1, 2007 7:26 PM

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Re: School Board

Does any one understand how they get excellent ratings and don't meet the annual yearly progress requirements?

Written by: jm jones on November 2, 2007 11:39 PM

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Re: School Board/jmjones

Because their excellent rating is based on statewide testing, so they are comparing themselves to Cleveland, Akron, Canton, etc. When compared to similar districts (Westlake and Avon Lake) they are average, at best.

Written by: urbanflight on November 5, 2007 8:49 AM

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Support for Chavez & Romanchok

If you're happy with the current school board spending over $500,000 of your tax dollars on legal fees, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board voting to purchase land that was previously owned by an incumbent's family member, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the school board's open session meetings begining at 6 p.m. and ending 15 minutes later, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board business being discussed in closed Executive Session, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board approving the Superintendent and his wife's "unexpected" trip to China, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board's Strategic Plan/ Continuous Improvement Plan not being updated since 2004-2005 (check it out on their own website), vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board members having no children of their own currently enrolled in Avon schools, vote for the incumbents.

If you're happy with the current school board's lack of communication when asked specific questions, vote for the incumbents.

Avon schools look great on paper, but don't be fooled by the excellent ratings. They only mean that Avon's students perform at 75% or better on standardized state tests. Avon schools should be more than just new buildings, upgraded football fields and a C or better on state standardized test scores.

If you want school board members who will listen to parents and work with community leaders to give our children the best education Avon can offer and allow our children to succeed in the Global workplace, vote for Kevin Romanchok and Rudolph Chavez on Tuesday, November 6th!

Written by: avonmomof2 on November 5, 2007 9:49 AM

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Other Support?

Is there anyone on here who can make a case of the incumbents for School Board?

I heard they mailed out a flyer, but I did not receive it. A friend of mine who did get it said the tone was "If it ain't broke, don't fix it, so vote for us"

I read the election guide in The Press and neither incumbent really answered the questions. All they talked about was the test scores and that we are growing - nothing as to what they want to do to "improve" the schools or involve the community.

I'll be voting for Chavez and Romanchok as there seems to be too many questions as to waht is going on behind the scenes of the schools and no answers or a current strategic plan.

Written by: eaglebooster on November 5, 2007 11:42 AM

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School Board arrogance! (re-post)

1) Let's talk about the FACT that a certain Avon BOE member was fined by the State ethics commission for campaign finance (ahem) irregularities!

2) Let's talk about the FACT that a certain BOE member thinks it's o.k. to accept anonymous campaign donations.

3) Let's talk about the FACT that other BOE members PUBLICALLY admitted that they made anonymous contributions to the aforementioned BOE member in total VIOLATION of campaign finance law.

4) Let's talk about the FACT that the Avon BOE has BLOWN over $500,000 in our tax money on unnecessary outsourced legal costs!

Two Board seats vulnerable this November........ Priceless!

Written by: Avon Eagle on March 22, 2007 2:55 PM

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Secret School Board Meeting? (post from 2/8/07)

And people wonder why I absolutely demand that a couple of these people be replaced in the election this fall? This and the fact that they have been known to change time and or location at the last minute. Also, they schedule these meetings too early for those of us (TAXPAYERS!) to get to the meeting after work! Again.....part of the agenda!

A.M going down this fall! I am going to absolutely stay on this until you people are fed up with me. Replace A.M. and R.K. this fall and you have an entirely NEW school board! D.S. and D.P. become irrelevant!

Written by: Avon Eagle on February 08, 2007 7:52 PM

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Re: Support for Chavez & Romanchok

Well..number one "we" know that YOU do NOT live in Avon anymore! "We" do! "We" do not care what YOU think of the Avon BOE or it's so called "leadership" because "we" are the ones that have to deal with them. NOT you! Unless you are D.P ..then we REALLY do not care. Your little campaign finance problem in your last campaign for BOE was enough to convince even the skeptical among us of YOUR lack of integrity!

Leadership? Get real! How about some of the hardest working teachers anywhere? The teachers are also blessed to be supported by a VERY involved parent community. The parents of Avon are hard working, well educated people who know that it is up to them to take an active part in their children's education in order for their kids to be successful in life. To these ends they vote for and support levies.

In short "we" know that Romanchok and Chavez are Fathers of children who are STILL in Avon schools, they are both intelligent, well educated men, who are committed to making Avon Schools the BEST that they can be for their children and all like them!They are businessmen who are committed to excellence on a Global scale,not just local. They are about inclusion NOT EXCLUSION!

Romanchok and Chavez are about the FUTURE of Avon, NOT the past!

Written by: not so on November 6, 2007 5:01 PM

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Re: Support for Chavez & Romanchok

Congrats to Kevin Romanchok!! This is a great victory for Avon's students ...

I want to thank Rudolph Chavez for his hard work and great effort ...

Here are the results:

Avon LSD

Total Number of Precincts 13

RUDOLPH CHAVEZ 976 16.69%

RUTH ANN KELLER 1574 26.92%

MARY ANGELA MARSIGLI 1587 27.14%

KEVIN J. ROMANCHOK 1710 29.25%

Written by: avonmomof2 on November 6, 2007 10:41 PM

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Re: Romanchok in Columbus?

We need Debewebe to remain focused on the pending land purchase by the BOE that would directly benefit the ... and ... family members (ummmm.....I mean there family "trusts").

Written by: Avon Eagle on November 16, 2007 6:06 PM

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-06-07, by ALAN INGRAM, Morning Journal Writer

[Mark Yonchak chosen third ward councilman]

``AVON -- The Avon City Council filled a void last night, selecting Mark Yonchak over three other candidates [Marie Berges, Russell Ellis, and Brian Parsons] to replace the late Timothy Nickum.

Yonchak will serve until the end of December [2007]. ''It wasn't an easy decision,'' Council President Clinton Pelfrey said after the meeting. ''We really did have four qualified, four really good candidates. I don't know that we would have made a bad decision by choosing anyone.'' ...

Yonchak, an eight-year Avon resident, is an information technology security manager for Lincoln Electric in Euclid. He is married to Danielle and has two sons, Jacob and Nick.

Nickum died Oct. 6 [2007], of complications from leukemia. He served as the Avon Ward 3 councilman for eight years and also served on the planning and zoning committees.

Choosing Yonchak to fill the empty Ward 3 seat is not about replacing Nickum, Pelfrey said. Rather, it's about filling a vacancy with a good candidate.

By choosing a replacement last night, City Council avoids shifting the decision to Mayor Jim Smith. The city's charter specifies that council had 30 days after Nickum's death to select a replacement, or the mayor makes the appointment, he said.''

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 11-8-07, by Lisa Roberson

``AVON -- For the next two months, residents in Avon's 3rd Ward will be represented by an eight-year Avon resident who applied to fill the seat left vacant by the late Councilman Timothy Nickum.

Mark Yonchak, 41, an information technology security manager for Lincoln Electric, calls former Lorain Mayor Craig Foltin the inspiration that led him to submit his name.

Yonchak is completing a master's program in accounting at Cleveland State University and recently had Foltin as an instructor.

During the class, which focused on government finance, Yonchak said he garnered an appreciation for the inner workings of city government ...''

Contact Lisa Roberson at lroberson@chroniclet.com.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Morning Journal, 11-13-07, by ALAN INGRAM, Morning Journal Writer

New FirstEnergy substation gets OK from Avon Council

``AVON -- A new electric substation will be constructed near Mills and Stoney Ridge roads, Avon City Council decided last night. Council voted 6-0 to allow FirstEnergy to build the substation.

Recently appointed Ward 3 Councilman Mark Yonchak was present for the vote, but Ward 1 Councilman Bryan Jensen was absent from the meeting.

The station will serve southern Avon and northern North Ridgeville, said Karen Goodson, area manager for FirstEnergy. Eventual plans call for it to serve areas farther north when growth develops.

The substation will feature transformers and switchgear, she said, but it will not be an enclosed structure. At the loudest point at the west property line, the substation will generate 47 decibels. A residential air conditioner would generate about 50 decibels, she explained ...

Goodson was unsure when construction on the station would begin, but said they hope to have it in place before July 1, 2008.

The location for the substation was appealing because it will sit on property that FirstEnergy currently owns, is near the power lines and will cause ''minimal disruption of wetlands,'' Goodson explained.

Also during the meeting, council voted to dispose of some fire department apparatus, awarded the bid to install the Jaycox Road water main and amended the Master Plan.

Mayor Jim Smith also read two proclamations, recognizing the late Timothy Nickum, the former Ward 3 councilman who died Oct. 6, 2007, of complications from leukemia.

''What's written on here is only a scratch on what Tim has done for everybody,'' Smith said. After handing the proclamations to Nickum's family, he added, ''Thanks for loaning him to us.''''

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EDITORIAL from The Press, 1-2-08

``Better manners

"Disappointing" is just one of the words that describes the actions of the Avon Board of Education members at their most recent meeting.

During this meeting, former superintendent Bob Barnhart sought answers to questions regarding the district's all-day kindergarten response. Not only was he summarily ignored and eventually dismissed, the meeting left numerous residents appalled at the treatment of Mr. Barnhart, a longtime servant of the district, and a current Avon taxpayer.

Mr. Barnhart, who served for 20 years as the school district's head, raised important questions regarding the district's policies, including fees for all-day kindergarten. He requested the information over a month ago and while the board said they were aware of his questions, they provided no response.

Of course, in addition to the Avon Board of Education's need to be reminded that they do in fact owe taxpayers responses to legitimate questions, they need to extend some courtesy to those attending board meetings, especially individuals with longstanding institutional knowledge they could benefit from.

Instead, those at the meeting were treated to an embarrassing display of disrespect and arrogance not needed at a public meeting. For those not in attendance, Board President Dale Smitek, in an unusual display of hostility, had his gavel poised to quiet Mr. Barnhart before he even spoke.

We cannot say with certainty if Mr. Barnhart's concerns were entirely legitimate because no public response was offered. Instead, we are left wondering if the board is being unresponsive for a reason, raising even more questions.

It's hard enough that board meetings are held at a time that makes it difficult for most residents to attend. But making it difficult on those who take the time and effort to make the meetings is reprehensible.

We'd like to take up where Mr. Barnhart left off and request a full accounting of just how kindergarten fees have been determined. Avon residents should be asking the same questions as to where their money is going and how the city's children's education is determined.''

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LETTER to the Editor of The Press, by Bob Barnhart, 1-2-08

``To Avon full-day kindergarten parents:

The Avon Board of Education charges each family an additional $200 this year and claims it is for four additional bus routes for your full-day kindergartner.

The fact is that there are 18 bus routes for 128 half-day kindergarten children and 10 routes for 154 full-day children. Therefore, the parents of full-day kindergarten children receive fewer services, but pay an extra $30,800 (154 times $200).

In addition, your full-day kindergarten children are the only Avon students denied the opportunity to purchase a nutritional lunch each day of school. The Board has refused to offer milk to your child even though a Special Milk Program is available through the State Department of Education.

The Avon Board passed a new policy at their December meeting, [12-18-07] which denies full-day kindergarten children any opportunity to buy lunch or milk in future years. They passed this new, unfair policy because they were shown, in writing, that they have been violating their existing policy for at least the past three years.

It is extremely disappointing to have our Avon Board of Education make a special effort to deprive our full-day kindergarten children from the same services offered to all other Avon students.

The only remedy for the Avon Board's unfair treatment of full-day kindergarten children is for you, the parents of full-day kindergartners, to register a complaint for being over-charged for fewer services.

If you desire to discuss this matter, please contact me at (440) 213-5366 at your earliest convenience. Only you, the parents of full-day kindergarten children, can possibly turn around this unfair treatment.

Bob Barnhart, Avon''

Editor's note: Barnhart is a former superintendent of Avon City Schools.

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 1-2-08, By Rebecca Turman

``Board president calls full-day kindergarten `cheap babysitting'

AVON -- A Dec. 18 [2007] Board of Education meeting became heated after a former superintendent asked for but didn't receive answers, and a board member called questioning all-day kindergarten policies a "silly issue."

Former Avon superintendent Bob Barnhart readdressed the board regarding his concern that all-day Avon kindergartners are charged too much for tuition and are not provided hot lunches and milk as other Avon students are.

Barnhart told board members that he felt he was being "treated with the same contempt as last month's meeting, that of ignoring."

"I find it hard to believe that someone did not have a question," he said, commenting on the Board's lack of a reaction to his comments and questions during the November meeting ...

"I would like to hear the responses of the Board from the 10 questions (I submitted)," Barnhart retorted. "I'm not prepared," Smitek said, while several other board members shook their heads.

"You've only had a month (to look them over)," Barnhart said. "That's understandable."

Smitek hit the gavel on the table. "You are insulting him (Zeman's calculations)," Smitek said. "And we aren't going to go through this whole list tonight," he said, adding that Rocky River schools K-5 do not serve hot lunches.

"What it (all-day kindergarten) is, is cheap babysitting," Smitek said. " I don't think anybody will argue that kids in all-day kindergarten get a better education than half day. It's a voluntary program. It will be aligned with House Bill 190. It's such a silly issue."

"Bottom line, I have difficulty understanding how you deprive full-day kindergarten of opportunities," Barnhart said.

"You had your 19 years as superintendent," Smitek shouted back. "No, you're wrong, 20," Barnhart said.

"You've tried to recreate and resurrect your reputation," Smitek added. The dispute came after Barnhart asked Zeman if the questions he submitted to the Board relating to all-day kindergarten policies were included in the minutes of the November meeting.

Zeman told Barnhart that per Ohio Revised Code the questions did not need to be included in the minutes. [How much did that legal opinion cost Avon taxpayers?]

Barnhart then questioned why he was placed under "Recognition of Visitors" on the agenda and not under an item to be considered.

"Every time someone has requested to be put on the agenda, in the nine years I've been here, I've put them there (under Recognition of Visitors)," Avon Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said.

During the meeting, Avon resident and parent Linda Schuler spoke up on Barnhart's behalf. "I have to agree that he's been treated with contempt," she said. "My concern is not his concern, but I think our concerns should be welcomed and I don't think our concerns are being welcomed. If he submitted questions to the board, they should be answered." ...

Being a taxpayer, Schuler said she would have liked to see Barnhart's questions addressed. Schuler also let it be known that she disagreed with Smitek's statement that all-day kindergarten does not provide a better education than half day. "I can tell you there is a large difference," she said, adding that her son was in all-day kindergarten last year. "I think you put a large burden on first-grade teachers when you have kids coming in (from all-day kindergarten), reading chapter books."

Ultimately, at the end of the discussion, Smitek asked for a motion for a resolution for tuition to be lowered and hot lunch offered to all-day kindergartners. Board members made no motions. ...''

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Source: http://www.loraincounty.com

Title: school board meeting

Message:

Was anyone at the last school board meeting [12-18-07] and can share with everyone what Mr. Barnhart had to say?

Written by: golfguy on December 21, 2007

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Title: Re: school board meeting

Message:

I was there and was appalled (but sadly, not surprised) at how the board responded to Mr. Barnhart's request for answers to his questions (which he gave to them back in November). They voted down his request to lower the Kindergarten tuition.

None of them would even respond to his request to allow for hot lunches to the kindergartners. Mr. Smitek basically said that full-day kindergarten was just "babysitting" for parents. I'm sure all those taxpaying parents are happy to hear that!

Mr. Smitek was extremely hostile -- making personal comments about Mr. Barnhart's past experience as a former super (evidentally Mr. Smitek has issues he has not yet resolved from his past -- a good therapist could maybe help).

Well, Mr. Barnhart was a super for 20 years; I suppose he must have done something right to be in that position for that length of time. I just know I was embarrassed to be an Avon citizen that evening ...

Mr. Barnhart kept his cool though; even when Smitek had his gavel ready and used it a number of times. The bottom line; the board ignored him; as they have done so many times before to many of us.

Mr. Romanchok, I wish you all the best at your first board meeting in January. I'll do my best to get there by 6; but as I requested at December's board meeting to have the meeting start time changed to 6:30; it was voted to start at 6; oh what a surprise!!

Written by: avonmomof2 on December 21, 2007

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Title: Re: school board meeting

Message:

Mr. Barnhart, among other things, made [this] point:

1) The BOE can apply for free [or almost free] milk from the State for the full-day Kindergarten kids. So far the BOE has refused to do so ...

Written by: Oldtimer on December 22, 2007

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Title: THE PRESS and the Avon Board of Education!!!

Message:

A great big AMEN!!! to the Press for blasting School Board President Dale Smitek in the paper today for his treatment of former Avon Schools Superintendent Bob Barnhart at the last Board meeting!

Mr. Barnhart has been seeking answers to very fair questions on the "tuition" costs of all day kindergarten. Mr. Barnhart served this district for 20 years and I for one would like to hear what he has to say on any subject related to our schools.

Mr. Barnhart has a "Letter to the Editor" on page 7 in today's paper [1-2-08] as well on this subject. I cannot even begin to quote the entire article on page 3 (where School Board President Dale Smitek refers to all day kindergarten as "cheap babysitting".

But the Press editorial on page 6 is CLASSIC! The Press refers to the actions of the Board as "disappointing". The Press acknowledges Mr. Barnhart requested answers to questions at a meeting a month earlier and the Board never responded. The Press editorial continues:

"Of course, in addition to the Avon Board of Education's need to be reminded that they do in fact owe taxpayers responses to legitimate questions, they need to extend some courtesy to those attending Board meetings, especially individuals with longstanding institutional knowledge they could benefit from.

Instead, those at the meeting were treated to an EMBARRASSING display of DISRESPECT and ARROGANCE not needed at a public meeting. For those not in attendance, Board PRESIDENT DALE SMITEK, in an unusual display of HOSTILITY, had his gavel poised to quiet Mr. Barnhart before he even spoke."

The Press finishes the editorial piece and requests a full accounting of how kindergarten fees were determined.

"Avon residents should be asking the same questions as to where their money is going and how the city's children's education is determined."

Well I can answer some of those questions since I have been posting about Avon BOE ARROGANCE for quite some time.

Hey PRESS!!! $1.25 million for a BUS PALACE!!! (Mr. Smitek, would that facility be a cheap babysitting facility for bus drivers?)

Now tack on the fact that we have the seventh highest per pupil costs for outsourced legal counsel in a NINE COUNTY AREA!

When the PRESS is done investigating this issue, hopefully they will start to dig into the land flips for a new elementary school off Long road. There are some very interesting names attached of people who would benefit from us (taxpayers) paying for a school out there ...

Just check out any posts on this forum by "debewebe". My hero!

Written by: Avon Eagle on January 2, 2008

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Title: Re: THE PRESS and the Avon Board of Education!!!

Message:

Glad to see THE PRESS step up and take a deserving shot at the establishment. I know the writers / editors read this from time to time... so a big "Thank you and good job to them".

The arrogance of the board has been consistent and appalling. The refusal to change meeting times, the ignorance of campaign finance, the choice to end communication with the city council over the bus garage ... outlandish legal fees, poor treatment of residents and poor answers or no answers to simple questions.

Avon deserves better and the voters deserve to be made aware.

In football it helps to have a good coach and a good front office but the coach and the front office aren't on the field, they can't play the game. Avon's school district has done well overall but it is our kids and our teachers that are on the field. I give no credit to the arrogant, often ignorant and largely under-educated political administration ...

Written by: justmyopinion on January 3, 2008

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NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 1-10-08, by Lisa Roberson

``AVON -- Parents who are interested in sending their youngsters to all-day kindergarten next school year will have to shell out a little bit more for the longer session.

Fees for all-day kindergarten for the 2008-09 school year will be $2,100, an increase of $100 from this school year, Superintendent Jim Reitenbach said. The decision to increase tuition was made at Tuesday's [1-8-08] school board meeting.

Treasurer Kent Zeman said the increase is needed to cover cost projections for the next school year and adjustments that will come due to the state-mandated sliding scale that was recently enacted.

"It's directly related to personal pay increases that will go into effect next year," Zeman said.

The sliding scale is the happy medium reached after Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann declared that kindergarten at public schools has to be free. The Ohio Senate stepped in after districts in the state complained about the possible loss of revenue, and added a clause to legislation that permits school districts not receiving poverty-based assistance to charge tuition as long as a sliding fee scale is enacted.

At Avon, that means parents who qualify for the free lunch program will pay $1,050 or 50 percent, while parents who qualify for the reduced price of lunch will pay $1,575, which is 75 percent ...

And despite the fee increase, Reitenbach said, the district will not extend its lunch program to the kindergarten students ...''

Contact Lisa Roberson at lroberson@chroniclet.com.

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