PARMA OBSERVER | OCTOBER 10, 2010
Tuesday, November 2 is the day that the Parma City Schools is asking the community to throw us a life line. We are sinking fast and our children are going down with the ship. This will be our 7th try to ask voters to support the education of our community’s students and we are dangerously close to losing our ability to function independently as we move toward state control.
Parma City Schools and the children we serve will not benefit from a system that is not of our own choosing. This is a unique district with its own traditions and many, many successes in academics, athletics and visual and performing arts. Parma City Schools has often been a go-to district as area educators looked for ways to improve their own school practices. Giving up our district to outsiders is like a family saying, “We can’t figure this out ourselves so let’s have someone from the outside come in and tell us how to spend our money, how to pay off our bills, where to live, and what to give up if we can’t make ends meet.” That’s what happens in a bankruptcy. Do we really want that for ourselves?
I guess the questions I have for all of the voters are these: What would it take to turn things around so that we don’t have to face such dire consequences? What would it take to earn your trust? What does the leadership of the school district need to do in order to make this right for you?
I have only been here for two months now, but I have heard all of the stories about the troubles that have been faced in Parma City Schools, whether with economic issues, political issues, or trust issues. I have also had the opportunity to meet many wonderful people. What has impressed me the most is the overwhelming admiration and pride people have in the community and the Parma City Schools. It was obvious from their passion, dedication and conviction that communities we serve are great places to live and great places to raise children – as they have been for many decades. The more people I meet, the more confident I am about overcoming the challenges we face as a district.
For those of you who have been here throughout the troubled years, I appreciate your sincere skepticism that this district can turn around. But we cannot dwell in the past. Too much is at stake. If we keep running the same “ain’t it awful” tapes in our heads, then we can never open up to new possibilities.
What can we do to earn your vote on November 2? What needs to happen for this community to trust the school district again? We have some ideas and would welcome more.
Now, more than ever, we need to use the positive energy from this community and have faith that this district can turn things around. Times are tough for everyone and the challenges that lie ahead will not be easy to overcome, but adjusting our sails to change our course by providing the quality of education the children in this district deserve is our AIM.
A.I.M. is an acronym that stands for Achieving Academic Excellence, Improving School and Community Relations and Maintaining Fiscal Responsibility. Academics, Community and Fiscal Responsibility are all part of a very basic formula for success. It involves earning your trust by leading with integrity and by addressing problems head-on, in a very open and transparent way. It means creating opportunities to listen to the voters in order to gather information and to make decisions that are based on accurate data and on the will of the people.
I hope to communicate with you many more times before the November 2 election and many times thereafter. My door is always open to take your questions and listen to your concerns. I look forward to meeting and working with you as we right this ship.