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4 Thursday, February 7, 2013

Springboro Sun
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. - The First Amendment to the United States Constitution

OPINION
Accelerating student achievement through innovation and policy
he educational needs of our children must be a board of educations first priority. The purpose of public education is to create educated citizens capable of thinking critically and standing on their own for the sake of all our futures. Twice a year, every school district in Ohio prepares a Five-Year Financial Forecast. The forecast tell the district whether a financial surplus or deficit exists, as well as serve as a guide for deciDavid sions, such as new tax levies Petroni and strategic investments. Springboro These financial forecasts are Board of built through a set of Educatoin assumptions, so the assumptions are critical and must be thoroughly reviewed. To assure teachers have what they need to be successful, we asked principals to prepare budgets for their buildings another innovation and a first in Springboro. As a result, the principals purchased more smart boards, laptop carts, IPads, and supplies. Everything requested was approved because it was said adding these tools were needed to accelerate student achievement. As a board this past year, our policies have focused on many innovative areas to advance student achievement. We put technology in the classroom and recently bought every teacher a new laptop computer. We invested in new curriculum for our elementary students and added AP classes at the high school. We are building computer network infrastructure that will enable teaching with technology, and we approved new investments in our bus fleet and facilities. Through policy, our administrators are preparing our teachers for the changes ahead. Most importantly, weve developed a unanimously approved budget that prioritizes the learning requirements of our children. In the past, some of these investments above have been neglected. Most district computers are over 6-8 years old. The average age of our bus fleet is such that buses are often permanently removed from service. It has also been several years since the district adopted new textbooks, and even longer since our high school program of studies courses and descriptions have been evaluated or overhauled to keep pace with the 21 century needs of our youth. Through a very diligent and innovative budgeting effort, a solid financial forecast was recommended to the board by the Budget and Finance Committee last October, then certified by Tracy Jarvis, our Treasurer. Simply stated, when we understand our budget, we can be confident in what investments and improvements we can afford. You might ask how can a school district do all of this if we havent had the money to do it in the past. Lets start by saying that we didnt do all of it alone. Parents, PTOs, and private donors have played a role. However, this is also possible because we have a better understanding of our budget forecast. Since last August, our new administration is working hard to catch our faculty up so they are prepared for the implementation of the Common Core. Our teachers have been provided ongoing professional development to accelerate their knowledge of all of these new standards. Our new Superintendent, Todd Petrey, has brought a renewed focus on academics as well as innovative approaches to education. The new central office team is staffed with four former principals, and our building principals are now the educational leader of their building. Dennis and 5-points elementary schools were reorganized into single schools to improve academics and efficiency. Improvement plans have been developed by every principal to raise the bar for teachers and students with emphasis on data. Now more than ever, principals and teachers are using test data to identify students who need additional help, and to accelerate learning for all students. This is on the heels of new principal and teacher evaluations of which a component will be based on student achievement. With all that has just been said, it has been a very busy, rewarding year, and there has been a lot of change. At times, this change has not come easy. For me to do less would be self-serving. To do less, would hurt our childrens future. Challenges lie ahead. One of our biggest for 2013 is successful negotiation with our unions. In addition, our forecast assumptions reflect the need to pass a renewal levy that expires December 31, 2013. These two challenges are a cause of stress among the board, administration, and district staff. A few weeks ago the Board sent a letter to our teachers union asking to open negotiations. While theres no obligation to begin negotiations early, the board initiated this request because we understand the stress it can cause. In doing so, we can explain our financial situation to taxpayers with firm knowledge and confidence. I feel it is a board members fiduciary responsibility to understand all costs before going to the taxpayers for any levy. I know there are people questioning the School Board. My colleagues and I are working for the benefit of children. While theres always going to be somebody questioning our actions, I want you to know our motives are to provide every opportunity possible for Springboros children. We are putting these words into action through our deeds and this past years accomplishments.

Geezer bumper stickers


know many of us enjoy reading vanity license plates and often trying to figure out what theyre saying or mean. Some are simple, some difficult. Bumper stickers are not as popular today as they once were is another story. Theyre more popular nowadays on Facebook than on bumpers. Easier to remove on Facebook (delete), I guess, then trying to scrape them off your bumper six months from now when youve found a new one that has a better meaning. A special thank you to a faithful reader down in the Ceasers Creek Lake region for sending me her list of many. I have selected my favorite seven under the category Geezer Bumper Snickers. My comments follow each. Im so old, I dont ever buy green bananas (Why? Cause you cant take the bananas with ya.) Cremation, thinking outside the box (too claustrophobic in the box) Florida, Gods waiting room (Id be inviting the person behind to be next over and over all year long.) Im Retired. I was tired yesterday, and Im tired again today (and Ill be tired again tomorrow) I was always taught to respect my elders, now I dont have anyone to respect (except the Sequios in California) I asked my wife if old men wear boxers or briefs. She said, Depends (So, what do I wear?) Senior Campbells Soup, new larger 24 font alphabet soup (now I can read what Im eating) Springboros 13th Annual Hometown Expo is coming up in just 30 days on

MERGE WRIGHT By Don Wright


Times Columnist
Saturday, March 9 from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.. at Springboro High School. This will be my 13th year on the committee. Please take a few minutes to view our five-minute promotional video on You Tube go to You Tube and type in: Hometown Expo 2013 and then click on five-minute promo. It will give you a great idea of what to expect this year and what it was like from some of last years customers and vendors. All 190 booths, 30 non profit booths, entertainment, 15 food booths have been sold out since back in January. You can get on a waiting list by calling the chamber of commerce at 748-0074 and talk to Adam Hughes. Over 250 door prizes, including a super screen 50-inch flat screen TV, await you. Attendance last year was over 8,000 with more expected this year. Plan to attend. Watch the video now to get more information. Did I mention its family friendly and free? One week from this Saturday, Feb. 16 is Heatherwoodes third annual Valentines dinner dance. Great food, awesome music and dancing. Call Amy at 937-748-3222 and make your reserva-

tions now. Dont miss out on this beautiful evening of love, fun, dancing and surprises. Celebrate your anniversary early this year at the Valentines Dinner Dance at Heatherwoode. Lucy loves snow and complained all winter last year when we had none, nada, zero of the white fluffy. Shes somewhat happy with this years snowfall, but wanting more to make up for last year. One or two measly inches every now and then is not cutting it for her. Bring on some heavy snow,: she says, I want to see eight inches or more, build a snow fort, throw snow balls and make snow angels. I used to be that way, but quit skiing a few decades back and got over it. So how does one get their wishes? Whats the secret to more snow? Well, we got the plan the other day while lunching at Wendys here in Springboro. A lady that works there that we talk to often when visiting told us that her little daughter, Alisha, is, like Lucy, always wanting lots of snow. Heres the formula she uses and it works. Before going to bed at night, put your pajamas on inside out, put a spoon under your pillow and flush the toilet once before getting in bed. When you get up theres always more snow. Sometimes it even works for extra days. Yup, you guessed it. I turned over the other night and accidently got a spoon in my rib. Thank heavens I had my pajamas on inside out so it didnt hurt too bad, .and yes there was new snow a couple inches in the morning. See you at Farmers Hill around noon bring your sleds. mergewright@yahoo.com

With NFL finished, baseball takes over


ow that the Super Bowl is over, its time to turn our attention to other sports. Im a big Dayton Flyer basketball fan. In fact, Ive had season tickets since 1984. But with the way the Flyers are playing right now, only a dramatic turn around will create excitement from them. Because of this, Im especially excited that the Cincinnati Reds start spring training next week. I know the Reds finish last season was disappointing. The finished with the second-best record in the major leagues, but after winning the first two playoff games in San Francisco, the Reds lost three straight to the Giants in Cincinnati to end their season. Despite that fact, I think 2013 could be

Doug Skinner
Editor

a very exciting season for Reds fans. With another year of experience under their belts, the Reds should have a better season this year. Their roster is pretty much set. The starting eight should consist of first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Brandon Phillips, shortstop Zack Cozart, third baseman Todd Frazier, outfielders Shin-Soo Choo, Ryan Ludwick and Jay Bruce and catcher Ryan

Hanigan. Votto, who was out with a knee injury much of last season, should be healthy this season, which should allow him to regain his power, which he lost after he was hurt. Four of the Reds five starting pitchers are set with Johnny Cueto, Bronson Aroyo, Mat Latos and Homer Bailey taking their turns on the mound. The only uncertainty in the rotation is whether Aroldis Chapman last years closer will take Mike Leakes starting spot. Hopefully, the Reds will grow from last years experience in the playoffs and they will be able to advance in the playoffs. Maybe they can win the World Series for the first time since 1990.

Civility could be the key to genuine bipartisanship


rofessional organizations of lawyers are beginning an effort to curb bad behavior in the courtroom beyond the usual disciplinary procedures. The goal is plain old civility or courtly conduct because rudeness may not be actionable but it is unprofessional. The American Board of Trial Advocates now has a committee on professionalism, ethics and civility, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. Some of the stories of what some lawyers have called their opponents are astonishing because the popular view of courtrooms is that attorneys and judges are supposed to set an example for the rest of the world. But perhaps not. The dominance of the legal profession among politicians could account for some recent instances of incivility, notably the uncharitable characterizations exchanged by Senate Majority leader Harry Reid and House Speaker John Boehner. Perhaps there is hope that the work of the

William H. Wild
Guest Columnist lawyers civility police will eventually extend into politics. The trial lawyers are taking their classes to the law schools and even advocating that oaths for admission to the bar include fidelity to civility. It may be too early to celebrate the apparent bipartisan agreement on immigration reform recently announced, but it looks like a step toward the kind of civil debate that can produce real legislative progress. If civility is infectious enough it might even spread to the media which, mostly sympathetic to President Obama and todays Democratic agenda, tend to write off Republicans as the disloyal opposition. Maybe we can get civility classes into the journalism schools. Some people believe that

criticizing President Obama as a socialist in all but name, a liberal spender, advocate of big government, and someone unsympathetic to what are regarded as traditional freedoms is unfair and uncivil. Yet how does that compare with the characterization of Republicans as nativists, racists, dictators of morality, and hate-mongers? Columnist Robert Reich recently described all the would-be GOP presidential candidates as a Star Wars barroom of oddball characters with Mitt Romney synthetic and unauthentic. Who cares about ideas when the opposition belongs in the crazy house? Perhaps the civility police could extend a friendly and remedial hand to CBS news director John Dickerson who said that the president can only cement his legacy if he destroys the GOP. So there would be no misunderstanding of his meaning, Mr. Dickerson added that Obama must go for the throat and delegitwww.SpringboroSun.com www.SpringboroSun.com

imize his opponents. This makes sense if Mr. Dickerson regards Republicans the way one of the uncivil lawyers described his opponents fools, idiots and slimeballs, to use some of the mildest epithets. The country could stand a good civil debate about several recent instances of media bias. Pro-life marches by the thousands are ignored while a few hundred pro-gay marchers get headlines. The post-Katrina pictures of New Orleans was a Bush scandal, but the post-Sandy problems get no criticism unless its all the fault of Republicans in Congress. By the way, the Senates Sandy aid bill included some interesting unrelated earmarks, including a favor to a medical products company close to Harry Reid. And the media disinterest in the Benghazi tragedy is remarkable, too. But maybe its uncivil to even raise such issues. Better to destroy the GOP than try to debate with fools and idiots. Right?

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