Wednesday, December 20, 2006

New Website Draws Criticism

I know that I spoke the other day of the newly created website by Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres, but I had to bring your attention to an article in today's Toledo Blade about it. Here are just a couple of excerpts from the article:
Board member Larry Sykes asked why the district and three other board members, including himself, were not made aware of its existence in advance of a public announcement that went out Monday night

"It's an elected official's Web site," Mr. Torres told Mr. Sykes. "It is directed toward my positions on education."

I'm sure that Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres knew they would come upon this type of criticism when they created the site, but I still believe that with or without the entire board backing it, this site is genuinely needed! Hopefully the other board members will also realize the need for this site and join Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres and show a little bit of unity among the board.

What I cannot believe is the fact that The Blade wrote an article showcasing this criticism! Is The Blade so against any type of improvement or feedback from parents and community members about TPS? It is blatantly obvious that people cannot speak their feelings openly at the board meetings, and most attempts to contact board members and administrators are futile, with exception of one or two. This website gives parents and community members the ability to post their thoughts and feelings, which is something that was way over due, in my opinion.

So check out the above mentioned Toledo Blade article and check out Talking Toledo Public Schools if you haven't already done so!
Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Some updating

So, it's been almost a month since I've posted here and I do apologize. It is more and more difficult for me to address "problems" I see and hear about with TPS simply because it is no longer a part of my life.

There are a few things, however, that I thought I needed to post about.

The first is a website that Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres have launched. Talking TPS allows us to "interact" with these two board members, giving them our thoughts about questions that they have put out to us. Although I do applaud Ms. Fisher and Mr. Torres for the site, I feel that it is not that much different that the "group" that Mr. Sykes, Ms. Barnett and Mr. Steele formed and is just another form of proof as to the split on the TPS board. I'd support the site more if it were a group effort rather, but that does not mean that I don't feel their website isn't something that is good. My hope is that all 5 board members will pay attention to what is being said by those that post their comments at the site.

The other thing is the Superintendent search. As there are many other sites that have posted information about the applicants, I will not take the time to post it here, but rather will send you to Glass City Jungle and Toledo Talk for starters. Both sites have all of the info that is currently available to the public about the applicants.

Sadly, I personally do not think that any of the candidates hold much promise for TPS, other than Mr. Foley. I think if those are the ones that we have to choose from, in the best interest of the schools, the best choice at this time would be to keep Mr. Foley on. My question is whether or not this was the true intention with this search. But I also can't help but wonder what "real" candidate would actually apply for this job knowing the burden that is going to be thrown at them the minute they take the position.

Just more proof for me that taking my children out of TPS was in all of our best interests! I'm so happy that I do not have to deal with any of this anymore. There is much less stress in my life these days, and I don't know about the rest of you, but less stress is always a good thing in my life!

And speaking of stress ;-) in case I don't get back here I'd like to wish each and every one of you that read this blog a VERY Safe and Happy Holiday Season! May your holidays be filled with joy and blessings and may you be surrounded by people that bring happiness into your life! May 2007 be a turn around year for TPS!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kids new school update

And now that I've got the bus post out of the way, I thought I'd give you all an update on the kids and how they are doing in their new school.

My youngest child who went through heck and back at their previous TPS school is doing very well. For all of last school year (05-06) and the part of this school year that they went to TPS I kept hearing over and over again that it was my childs fault this was happening and that was happening, it was my childs fault they were doing so poorly in school grade wise, even though in thier prior school that had received almost all straight A's.

Since changing schools I am VERY happy to say that this child is once again getting awesome grades and is back to loving going to school every day. I get great reports from all of their teachers and on the mid quarter report that came home last week I read things like "actively participates in class", "good study and work habits", "pleasant and hard working", "self motivation is excellent", "consistant worker". Now tell me, if my child was such a "difficult" child at their last TPS school, why wouldn't I be hearing the same things in their new school? Instead, I'm hearing what I heard at the TPS school they last attended in the 2004-2005 school year.

I still will not say that my child was in no way at fault in their prior school, but I would love to walk into that school and show them the papers and reports that I have now and have them tell me that it was all my childs fault as they were saying. I see it more as a teaching problem and the fact that the teacher from last school year was a jerk, and then went to the teacher my child had this year and filled them with all of the negativity they felt towards my child last year. I witnessed it the night of open house, there was the teacher from last year talking to the teacher from this year, last years teacher looked up and seen me and my child walking down the hall, looked at this years teacher, put their hand up to their mouth so that I could not see what was being said, then this years teacher looked up at me and my child, said something to last years teacher, then they both walked into their respective classrooms. As soon as we walked into my childs classroom and seen their teacher you could literally feel the attitude.

My other child is also doing better, but not as good as I would like to see them doing. But as with the youngest child, school is no longer a hassle, they actually enjoy it. They are involved in a few different activities and feel as if they "fit in", which is a big change. They feel they are treated fairly by the administration and staff, which is a HUGE change.

What I feel is the big difference in their new school is the fact that this school literally takes the extra steps to assure a child understands what they are being taught. There is a period at the end of EVERY day, a full 45 minute class, where the students can use the time to work on homework, make sure they have everything they need to take home that day with them, and even go back to a teacher to get help with something they don't understand from that days class. At the very beginning of this class period they are asked and have to correctly answer one question from last years proficiency testing BEFORE they can move on to what it is they want to do. This type of environment supports learning and harbors the feeling that the staff cares about the students education. The teachers are in constant contact with the parents if there is something going on that requires their attention, they don't wait until a child is so far gone that the situation is virtually impossible to rectify, they are on top of it from the get go!

So, my suggestion to TPS would be to start changing the environment in the schools. Make it an environment of learning, make it an environment of support, make it an environment where the kids feel like they WANT to be there. Deal with the bullying, not only from their peers, but also from their teachers and staff. If kids see a teacher or staff member being a bully, they will take the attitude that "If a teacher can bully, then it's ok for me to". Yes, I know that kids will be kids, there are certain things that are simply going to happen, it's just part of life. But you need to know that we as parents KNOW our children, and if we see something just isn't quite right and we bring it to your attention, we're not doing it to cause problems, we're doing it to help our children and other children. Stop shutting us out and start listening!

School Bus Maintenance

I know I touched on this back in September with THIS post, and I also know that since then Channel 13 did a big story on School Bus Maintenance. But there is something that I see every day that really makes me scratch my head.

First, please know that I will NEVER claim that I understand what the maintenance people at the bus garage go through in order to try to keep our school buses running. But what makes me scratch my head is this. As an automobile driver one of the things that I make sure I keep an eye on are my vehicle lights, to make sure that they are all working properly I check them on a regular basis. But every morning for the past few weeks I have noticed a TPS bus drive by my home that has more lights that are not working. I'm not talking about headlights, those are both fine, but the lights I'm talking about are VERY obvious and it's easy to see that they are not working and are not something that could easily missed.

Maybe the bus driver has turned in a report that they have lights that aren't working and are just waiting for someone to fix them? I'm unsure as to why they've been in a nonworking condition for so long. But it makes me wonder, if something as simple as lights aren't being checked and/or taken care of, what more serious things also are being ignored? Makes you wonder, doesn't it?

And if you want to pass along the info to the bus garage, the bus I'm talking about is bus #598. And if I notice that the lights are in working order again, I'll be sure to let you know!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving note

I know it has been a while since I've posted here and I do apologize, things have been a bit busy. But I wanted to take a moment today and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Don't forget to take the time today to remember what you are thankful for!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Local School Evacuated

This is scary and simply too close to home. BUT, it just goes to prove that schools and administrators need to change how they deal with kids. Too many kids go to school feeling unsafe and unsupported which, in my opinion, leads to stuff like this! This is very sad, that a kid felt it was necessary to take bomb making materials into a school. Thankfully the bomb was never made and no one was hurt, but they need to look into why this kid felt this was a viable option!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

School Safety On Election Day

If you read the article linked in the title you'll see where some local schools are opting for election day to be an in service day so that the kids aren't in school while people are coming in and out while voting.

I personally thing it's a great idea to have the kids not be in school on election day simply because of the fact that complete strangers are going in and out of the schools and although I'm sure the schools that do have voters coming in and out take precautions, there is always the chance that something could happen.

TPS has opted not to close the 29 schools that have polling in them on election day. I'm sure that they do have their reasons and it's not for me to question, but if you read down into the article you'll see where they interview Crystal Ellis and his reasons for not closing TPS schools on election day.

Considering what I have personally been through regarding violence in TPS, Mr. Ellis' explanation comes as no surprise to me. I'm not sure if those are his personal opinions or if it's an across the board answer, but I think it's sad that this is the approach they take to protecting our children! This sentence got me the most - "We'd end up curbing our freedoms if we made everything so secure," he said. I don't think it's curbing our freedom to protect our children one bit, but maybe I'm wrong.

Thank you for reading!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Good morning

Good morning, the kids are off to school and I've gotten ready for work and had a little time so I thought I'd stop by.

I had a neat thing happen this morning while I was waiting for the kids school bus. After the bus pulled away I was flagged down by a vehicle that was behind the bus, so I pulled over to see what was going on. See, even though my kids are riding a bus in the morning to their new school, before they can get off at this bus stop in the afternoon, I have to speak to the family that lives at this home and approve it through them so that incase something happens and I don't get to the bus stop in time in the afternoon the kids will be ok waiting there and could come inside in case of bad weather. But my attempts to get ahold of anyone at this home haven't been successful, so I've still been picking them up in the afternoons, which I really don't mind.

Anyway, the person that flagged me down this morning was the mother of 2 kids that ride my childrens bus, but she lives actually closer to where we do than our actual bus stop at this time. She flagged me down to let me know that she sees me at the bus stop in the morning and wanted to let me know that if I would like to I can actually change my kids' bus stop to her home, that she is always there before and after school and that if I didn't happen to make it to the bus stop in the afternoons that the kids were more than welcome to come into her home to wait for me or if I needed to drop them earlier in the morning, that was fine also. We exchanged phone numbers and I thanked her very much for flagging me down.

This is something that I have noticed about many people at the new school, whether it's staff members or other parents. People are very friendly and helpful and go out of their way to make not only my children, but myself feel welcome at the new school. In all of the years my children were at TPS I didn't see alot of this. Parents weren't very warm when you were a newcomer at the school and alot of the kids were "cliquey". Even the teachers have said how cliques are not the norm at the kids new school. The Phys Ed teacher told me that in most schools, when you walk into the lunch room, you easily see the divisions into the cliques, but he has not seen that at this school. He said that during lunch and other times when the kids are together, they really intermingle with each other rather than separate into groups. Now, I do understand that this new school is a MUCH smaller school (105 in my eldests grade compared to more than 300 in the TPS school), but from going to a very small school myself, I remember how divided we were when we were at lunch period and pep rallys.

I find that my kids new school is a much warmer experience for them. I see the principal and other staff members greeting the kids with smiles and kindness when they go into the building in the morning, rather than having to yell and bark out orders to them like what happened at the TPS school. The school has an open door policy in the mornings and opens up the gymnasium more than half an hour before the school actually opens so that the kids can come inside rather than having to stand outside in the cold and inclement weather. They have things for the kids to do in the mornings when they do come in early, and teachers are there in case they need help to finish up their homework. It's a much better learning environment than what I've seen at TPS schools the past couple of years. But once again, it is also a much smaller school, so that probably has alot to do with it.

There are a few other things that I wanted to talk about, but I really need to head out to work, so I'll try to post about those tonight or over the weekend.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

November changes

Hello everyone! As you all know from the weather outside, November is a month of change for our area weather wise.

It is also going to bring a change to this blog. My original thought when I pulled my last child out of TPS was that I was going to let this go and wash my hands of everything TPS related. It's very disheartening to see this go on in my own family, but from the comments and emails that I have received from those of you who read this blog, I have also found out that I am not the first to go through situations like this, nor do I feel I will be the last.

We are pursuing legal action, not only against the child that assaulted our child, but also against the principal and the school district. Our goal is simply to see that no other child or parent has to go through what we have gone through. Children should always feel safe when they are the responsibility of a school, whether that is in school buildings or on a school bus. In this day and age with so much violence going on in schools across the country I feel that all schools should take a front seat approach to protecting a child from any sort of abuse, harassment or intimidation, whether it is from their peers or a person in authority in the schools. We need administrators in our childrens schools that will treat each and every child with the fairness and equality that we all strive to get as an adult. If our children are not treated fairly and equally when they are young, they will not treat others fairly and equally as adults.

With that being said, the change that is going to happen here will be that I am going to start documenting the changes in my children after pulling them out of TPS and enrolling them in a neighboring public school district. I will also talk about the things in their new school that I feel make the school a much more positive learning environment for not only my children but the other children that attend there.

The one thing, however, that I will not do, for my children's safety, is mention the school district that I have enrolled my children into. I will say though that if you feel a change of schools is something your children need, but do not feel charter schools or home schooling are an option, investigate as to whether or not your neighboring school districts do open enrollment. Many that I know of do. Some charge for your children to attend, some don't. Some will work with you on transportation, others won't. But I truly feel that as a parent we have to stand up and do what is in the best interest of our children, whether it is for their safety or for their education.

My family is having to make many sacrifices in order to change our children's school, most of them good ones, but I have no doubt from what I've seen from them already that ANY sacrifice we make will be well worth it.

So keep checking back, as I get time I will start telling you about their new school!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 29, 2006


I thought I would stop in here and fill you all in and what all is going on with my TPS "situation".

As you all know, last week we had 2 instances where my eldest child was assaulted on the school bus in the afternoon. We tried our best to handle this situation with the school principal, but she made it very obvious that she felt my son being assaulted was not a situation that needed to be dealt with quickly, if at all. She kept putting us off telling us she needed to hear from the bus driver before she could do anything about it, which we later found out was wrong. Then she did speak to the child who assaulted my child, but only after we involved the school officer and the Middle School Superintendent. But the child said it was a game that was played often on the bus and my child was a willing participant. Then the bus driver was spoken to and his reaction was "There is no way something like this is going on on my bus, I look in the mirror at least one time every 10 seconds". OK, tell me if I'm wrong on this one, but if he's looking in the mirror that often how is he able to drive the bus? And how is it he says there is no way this is happening on his bus, yet the child who assaulted my child has openly admitted to doing this?

I cannot comment too much more about this situation simply because our attorney has advised me that it might not be the best thing for me to do. Our attorney has also advised us to remove our oldest child from TPS, and we have. This wasn't an easy thing for us to do because our oldest child was very happy in school this year and didn't want to leave their teachers and friends. But the reality of the situation and our personal past history with this principal have proven to us that even though our child is not the one that pushed this issue, the principal will target our child in retaliation.

I will keep you posted as I can, but will have to pre-approve what I post here with my attorney first.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for your support in this! I've received many emails and even a couple of phone calls from people offering me their support, and I really appreciate them!

I have to tell you something that really doesn't apply to my oldest child and the situation that's going on, but it does help me realize that I made the right decision in pulling my youngest child out of TPS.

Tonight was parent teacher conferences at my youngest childs new school. Now mind you, the past 2 years all I have gotten is negativity about my child from the school she just left. Everything was a fight and a hassle. This child went from being a straight A student to a C and D student immediately. The second week of the school year last year I was told by the teacher that it was going to be a very long year for my child. Things never went up from there and school became a hassle daily, with tears and arguments daily.

Three weeks ago tomorrow I made the decision that I had had enough and I enrolled my youngest child in a neighboring school district. It meant some major changes for all of us at home, but they were changes we were willing to try. At conferences tonight I was told what a wonderful person my child was, what a joy they were to have in class, how helpful they were in the classroom and how well they get along with their peers. I was also informed that this child had NOTHING less than a B- in any class. This did not come from just one teacher, this came from ALL of them! I briefly explained to a couple of them our experiences the past 2 years and they were dumbfounded. They said they seen nothing like that from my child and were happy that I made the choice to enroll them in their school. When I walked out of that school after talking to the last teacher I had tears in my eyes. I walked up to the principal and thanked them for giving me my child back. I no longer go through the arguments and tears even though this child now gets up over an hour earlier every morning for school. Mornings are a good thing again, well, as good as they can be for mornings anyway ;-)

SOOOOOO, even though I still feel my child is not 100% innocent, I now know that they weren't 100% at fault as I was lead to believe. In my opinion, they couldn't have been or the problems that were going on would have followed them to their current school.

I'll post more on what has happened with my eldest child tomorrow or over the weekend, NONE of it is good, all of it has pushed our stress level through the roof, but it's ok, we've got someone good on our side now ;-)

Thanks again everyone!

Another update

FYI, if your TPS student is being assaulted, but the person doing the assault admits to it and says it's just a game, that is acceptable, or at least that's what we're being told. We now have a principal who wants to "investigate" the situation and even though we've been told she can't talk to this child without our child being present or before a referral has been written, somehow the principal spoke with this child sometime between 4:00 p.m. last night and 8:00 a.m. this morning. We're now being told that we're being threatening because of the fact that we don't feel this situation is being handled correctly. I tell you, something is SERIOUSLY wrong with this picture!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Just a little update

We finally heard from my child's principal this morning, simply telling us that until the incident report comes in from the bus driver her hands are tied. My husband told her this was unacceptable. He then went personally to the schools police officer and explained what was going on. To our surprise the officer said that the principals hands weren't as tied as she proclaimed they were, they she should have immediately informed him of what was going on and he could have filed a report AND that it is in no way necessary for our child to be present when the child is confronted. The officer told us that he would go to the school in the morning and get a report filed, that we could pick up a copy of it on Friday and take it to the juvenile prosecutors office and press charges against this child for assault against our child. He was totally blown away that he had not been informed of this yet and was quite helpful. It hit me though how the principal isn't following her actions from last years incident. Last year the two boys and my child were called down to the office immediately following us talking to her about what was going on yet this year she has to wait for an incident report? I know one wasn't filed last year, so what's the difference?

You know, with all of the violence that is going on in our schools across the US these days, you'd think school administrators would take a front seat approach to violence amongst students. I can't help but feel that by sitting back and doing nothing this principal isn't guilty of at least child negligence, if not something more! But that's just my opinion, and it obviously means nothing to her or the TPS staff as I still haven't received a phone call back yet from Dr. Adam's office.....NO surprise there at all! I have, however, contacted all local media informing them of this incident, so even though TPS won't do anything about this, maybe my attorney or the media will!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Now I'm just plain mad!

For those of you who think you might now who I really am, you'll know for sure when I'm done with this post. Maybe I'm making a mistake by doing this, but TPS making a huge mistake and putting my childs well being in jeopardy on a daily basis and I'm simply sick of the BS!

First, a little information from the past. Last school year, we had a problem with 2 boys on my eldest childs bus. The two of them would take turns with one of them restraining a child while the other one would go through the persons pockets, backpack and other property in search of money or anything of value. When we complained to the school about this we found out that this wasn't the first time one of these boys' names had come up for problems on the bus. We were assured by the school principal that it would be taken care of ASAP, which they did. BUT, their way of taking care of the problem was to call the two boys in question into the office along with my own child and tell the two boys was my child was accusing him of. They obviously denied doing anything and that afternoon on the bus came up to my child and say "Tell on us again and we'll take care of you". The end result was us pulling our child off the bus and providing school tansportation ourselves for a while. Everything eventually died down, until the yesterday.

When my child got home from school I was informed that one of the kids we had problems with last year had punched my child 4 times that afternoon on the bus ride home from school. I immediately called my husband and he went straight to the school. He was informed that until the bus driver wrote a referral there really was nothing they could do, which to me is totally unacceptable, but we had to leave it at that and see what would happen. I did, however, contact the Lucas County Sheriff's Department, but was informed by the deputy that came to my home that it is out of their jurisdiction, that it would have to be dealt with by TPS and the Toledo Police because it happened on a yellow school bus.

My husband took our child to school this morning and tried to talk to the principal again and was informed that the principal wasn't available. He left a message for her to call him ASAP, but she never did, NO surprise there! This afternoon our child rode the shcool bus home and was once again assaulted by this child. I immediately called the school and spoke with the principal and was told that they were trying to give the bus driver the chance to put the referral in themselves, but obviously that wasn't going to happen, so she said she would call the boys in tomorrow to talk to them and find out what was going on. I then pleaded with her to talk to this child without my child being present simply because of the fact that it would do the same thing it did last year and cause more problems for my child, to which I was told that was not an option, my child needed to be present for the confrontation. I then asked if my husband or I could be present and was told that also wasn't an option.

So what is an option? For my child to CONTINUE to be assaulted because these assholes REFUSE to take care of the situation? I DON'T THINK SO! My option is to do what I have already done, contact my attorney!

What happened to the safe school act? Why is it a child can continue to assault my child and nothing is done about it? Does my child have to be hurt enough to require a doctors or hospital visit in order for something to be done to stop this?

So, if there is anyone on staff at TPS that reads this, know you know WHY people pull their kids out of your school district! You sit back and do nothing over something this significant, lord only knows what is done over simple things. TPS SUCKS! It always has and it ALWAYS WILL. Until you get idiots like my childs principal out of the schools and get people in there that truly care about the school district and it's children, this is the type of crap that will contiune to happen over and over. Parents pull their children out of TPS because TPS makes it obvious that they don't care, if they did situations like this would be dealt with immediately. OH, but if it were the principals child that this were happening to, I can guarantee you that not only would it have already been dealt with, but that this child would no longer be on the bus, let alone in school.

Now you know who I am, if you thought you did and thought it was me! I'm sorry that I didn't "come out" sooner than this, my hope was that this year would be different, but it's not. I've already pulled one of my children out of TPS, I'd pull this one also, but they want to stay in. So when you talk to your attorney after they've talked to mine, be sure to show them this blog and tell them that you've pushed this parent over the edge!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My thought thus far

As you can see, since 1997 there has been one continuous thing on the TPS BOE, and that is Mr. Sykes. Now, in fairness, over the years I have found many positive things about Mr. Sykes and things that he has done for the community. He stepped in and proposed that the BOE put up a reward to help solve the murder of Maurice Purifie. He spoke up about the city closing a bar where there were constant problems and a small child ended up being shot in their own home near the bar. I do feel that Mr. Sykes has done many good things for the community.

As with everything though, there is a "BUT" in this situation. The but is that Mr. Sykes always seems to have stepped in ONLY when the situation was racially motivated. Now, I am in no way, shape or form saying there is anything wrong with that, but I can't help but wonder if Mr. Sykes would have been as motivated in these situations if they would have involved children that were not African-American or inner city children.

Yes, the inner city of Toledo is in trouble. I know this from witnessing it first hand out my front window when I lived there for 2 years. I seen first hand how very quickly it is going down hill, and we left because my families lives were in danger after a shooting in our own front yard. My heart goes out to every person who unwillingly has to live their lives that way, no matter what their race is. NO ONE should have to live their life in fear! The period of time we spent living in the inner city was a life changing event for not only myself, but the rest of my family.

But my "problem" with Mr. Sykes is that he, as well as many other TPS administrators I have encounted in my years with TPS, seem only to be interested in stepping up to bat if it involves minority children or children from the inner city. Yes, TPS is roughly 50% minority children, but that only makes up half of the children. Yes, I do agree that history does show that minority children generall do have a more difficult life. But I feel that ALL children in TPS need to be treated equally. This does nothing more than incubate segregation in the schools, which then carries on with children throughout their lives.

The ONLY way our community and/or our country is going to change is if we start with the children. If we raise our children to believe that one race is superior to another they will then pass that on to their children, and their children will pass it on to theirs, and it will keep going on an on just like it is today.

It is our job as parents to teach our children to look beyond what is on the outside, whether that means skin color or something else. When people learn to look beyond what they see, that is when they learn. We, as a society, have become to obsessed with what is on the outside, whether its skin color, the kind of car you drive, the type of clothes you wear or many other things. It is that obsession, in my opinion, that has lead people to be too worried about what everyone else is doing instead of worrying about the important things.

Those important things are caring and concern. We need to learn to care about things, even though they may not seem important to us. We need to get involved and do what we can to change the things that are wrong, and help improve the things that are right. We need to teach our children love, not only to love others, but most importantly to love themselves. With that love will come respect, and when we respect ourselves, we learn to respect others. If we can all work on teaching our children that, imagine what the world will be like for them when they are parents and going through what we are currently going through.

We need to learn to be thankful for what we have been given and not take advantage of it or assume it will always be there. I've learned in life that what is with me one day may be gone the next. Sometimes that is a special person and sometimes it is a thing. What I hope is that while that person or thing was in my life that I appreciated them the way they should have been. When we learn to appreciate what we have, it makes life that much more meaningful, at least to me. The people and things I've lost along the path of life have either came back or been replaced, but what I've lost will always hold a treasured place in my heart and what I have today has even more meaning because of what I have lost.

In conclusion, I'm still not sure how I feel about TPS. Do I think I could do a better job than the current members of the BOE? No, I couldn't. They have more knowledge about the goings on than I have or care to. But I think that our BOE, as well as all of the TPS administrators, need to come together as one and support our children. The children in today's classrooms are the leaders of tomorrow and I don't think the example that is currently being shown to them is the right one. I think that if they were not board members and were sitting in our seats seeing things how we see them, they would be as angry and frustrated as we are, if not more so.

I can't help but wonder if Dr. Sanders is sitting back laughing at the mess that he left behind, or if this was his plan in the first place. He blamed his leaving on the new board members, but he was looking to leave well before they ever even decided to run for their seats. He left because he knew he wouldn't be able to continue to pull the wool over our eyes anymore. And if Mr. Sykes has an ounce of pride left in him, he will either step down soon, or apologize and stop acting like a child. (which I personally do NOT see happening) Someone needs to explain to our children how it is that in 1997 we had a SURPLUS of $6 million dollars, but now we have a deficit of $18 million after closing their schools, firing their teachers and making cut after cut after cut. Someone needs to explain where this money went rather than buying our children text books or keeping their schools open, or keeping GOOD teachers.

I do not fully blame the BOE, many things also point to the TFT Mrs. Lawrence in the articles I've read. I think that there are many things that could have been done differently over the years. BUT, those things are in the past, and there is nothing that can be done to change them. The only thing that we can do now is learn from the mistakes that EVERYONE made and change them so that they are not made again. I find it TOTALLY appalling that we elect these people to choose who gets mold and teach our children and have expectations from them, yet get angry at us because we, as parents, have seen the people in "power" not live up to what they have told us they will do.

We can only hope, for our childrens sakes, that this nonsense ends soon.

I may post articles from 2004-2006 in the future, but what I've done already has taken too much time away from my family, and has done nothing more than disgust me. I do not understand how this has gone on this long, or how it continues to be allowed to go on. But I know that as a wife and mother, I have to set my priorities. Anyone who can get online can find more information, and my hope is that you do. I hope that it's as much of an eye opening experience for you as it has been for me.

Thank you for reading!

Saturday, October 07, 2006


Please note that this post is simply articles that I've found in The Toledo Blade archives, and are not my own words, unless said otherwise. All articles have do do with the TPS BOE and it's members. Some things are good, some things are bad, and some are simply ugly. When readers forum letters were used, I removed the writers name.


February 21, 2003

Nothing against TPS board member ...

I'm not castigating Larry Sykes of the metroparks board for losing the Camp Miakonda acreage to a private developer.

I'm not rebuking him for having to retract statements regarding circumstances surrounding that property loss.

I'm not reproaching Larry Sykes of the Toledo Public Schools board for the academic emergency that exists in our schools.

I'm not reproving him for the misstatements made during the course of passing the building levy.

I'm not blaming him for the dissension that has existed between school board members.

I'm not charging Larry Sykes, an elected public official, with not filing state-required financial statements in a timely manner even though he has been involved in politics for several years and should be familiar with the rules by now.

I'm not accusing Larry Sykes, a pillar of our community, of playing the race card in Port Clinton for personal gain.

I am, however, very disappointed with his employer for paying Larry Sykes to get involved in my community affairs. (name omitted by me)

May 22, 2003

Uniforms not lessons for real world

Uniforms for school children? One of the cardinal principles of education admonishes that children should be prepared to take their place effectively in our participatory democracy. Educators use "real-world" examples to accomplish this imperative.How, then, can we teach real world values by creating an inverted environment in the school?

Some Americans wear expensive clothing; some don't. Some drive "better" cars; some don't. Some live in large, expensive homes; some don't. One learns in the real world that the playing field is not uniform - not in free America.

Would you agree that something in our schools is wrong with the set of values when the quality of clothing seems to be as credible as the content of achievement or the importance of character? We need to work on that.

While doing social studies at my desk in East Toledo years ago, I cannot recall passing judgment on the wearing apparel of my neighbor. Nor was my ego ruined because I was not wearing Gucci shoes.

Yet some students say it is "easier" when they do not have to choose their clothing each day. Many will argue that making choices - especially good choices - is a very important part of the education process.

Having the freedom to choose is a vital part of America's real world. Choice rules our lives. Bad choices can ruin our lives.

There are those who contend that grades go up in the uniformed atmosphere. The jury is still out on that.

If performance truly does improve with uniform-wearing, why not have uniforms for teachers, superintendents, candlestick makers, and - really - for all of us? It's worth thinking about.

We should not trivialize taking from Americans yet another freedom. (name omitted by me)

Dress code readies young for job world

I think it is a good idea to put the students back in uniforms. Teachers have to dress according to codes set by the schools and so do others. I have been an employee of a school system for 20 some years and have had to conform to my own set of dress-code rules.

We should be preparing these students to get ready to go out into the working world. Many jobs have dress codes to follow where uniforms are the required attire.

The function and responsibility of the school system should be to educate and prepare young people for the road ahead and not to provide a seven-hour social and fashion seminar.

A previous Forum contributor feels that we need to "start treating students with dignity, respect, and maturity."

Dignity, respect, and maturity are things that are earned and taught and not the right of those whose actions merit them unworthy.

Let's return to the basics. We have seven hours a day, five days a week to educate our young.

The kids have 17 hours remaining in the day to express their individuality and socialize. If putting students in uniforms will accomplish this goal then so be it.
(name omitted by me)

Other lessons take priority over dress

I have a real problem with your editorial and columnist Rose Russell's views on student uniforms.

Before you dismiss me as just another high-school hooligan, I would like to clarify that I happen to be a college graduate and a moral, productive member of society.

I don't understand how, with all the suffering going on in the world, someone could place so much importance on what a student chooses to wear to go to school.

I feel that in school the lessons taught - math, history, literature, etc. - are all important.

But another important aspect of schooling is learning how to behave in society. This includes learning to accept other people based on who they are as a person and not by how they look.

How can we teach future generations to accept differences in other people when we expect them all to look and dress the same?

Not too many of the working people out there in the "real world" are expected to wear matching uniforms, yet they carry on with their jobs and live normal lives. How can we train our children to become worthwhile adults when we inflict such stifling and oppressive rules on them?

I guess you are too busy scoffing at today's teen fashions to actually think about such important things. (name omitted by me)

Uniforms still stir student competition

Twelve years of wearing uniforms firmly convinces me that mandatory uniforms will not be the answer to better control and less competitiveness among students.

While I agree there should be an enforceable dress code, requiring students to dress alike is a step in the wrong direction. Your thinking is somewhat askew if it is perceived that uniforms will eliminate competition.

Classmates at my parochial school were often made objects of ridicule because of hand-me-downs, quality of materials, homemade uniforms, and accessories, not to mention the teasing that went on towards the "charity cases" who could not afford a uniform. The list was endless.

However, the worst mistake in requiring uniforms comes under the heading of independent thinking. Right at the time a student begins to form his/her own ideas, separate from what he/she's learned from parents and elders, you want to quash that spirit and put them back in a box.

These young people are the leaders and citizens of tomorrow, who will follow in your footsteps and continue to form an even better America. Thought process is developed in very small steps.

Do you really believe today's teenagers are going to sit in class and formulate opinions on how this country would be better run, without incorporating some individuality among their peers, in one or two areas of their life?

People who seek simple solutions to complicated problems get what they deserve. No solutions and potentially different problems. (name omitted by me)

Uniform dress code, not TPS uniforms

When was the last time Larry Sykes has been in a school building when students are in attendance? He commented on seeing kids in belly shirts, short skirts, and sagging pants. These are not permitted at the three Toledo Public schools my children attend. It may be just a matter of enforcing the dress codes that are in place.

Let's not take all the freedom of expression away from our kids.

Maybe what the district needs is a uniform dress code, not a uniform. This would give standardization districtwide and would be helpful to students who transfer to schools out of the (neighborhoods) district.

With TPS "Public High Schools Open Doors" policy any eighth grader would know what to expect at the school he or she chooses to attend the next year.

This idea of a districtwide dress code was suggested by parents at a January, 2003, Board Policy Committee meeting. Let's come up with a dress code that is acceptable to parents and students. Do you think that TPS is already taking bids from uniform companies?

Enough of this smoke and mirrors with the uniform issue. Let's get back to the real issues: quality education in all neighborhoods and using our taxpayer dollars effectively for that purpose. (name omitted by me)

July 17, 2003
About 200 Toledo Public Schools teachers hired a year ago won't return to their classrooms this fall, while nearly 100 hired the year before don't know for sure yet, district officials confirmed yesterday.

The nonrenewals are part of the district's cost-cutting plan approved last month in the 2003-2004 budget to offset a projected $15 million deficit.Because 66 elementary teachers hired in 2001 had the same date of beginning employment, they first received letters notifying them of possible layoffs, said Clinton Faulkner, the district's executive assistant to the superintendent for human resources. Then at a meeting last week, they drew numbers in a lottery to determine seniority, Mr. Faulkner said.

"We had to send out letters to everyone in order to be compliant with the collective bargaining agreement," he said. "We only really need about 15 of the 66. Not knowing which of the 66 it was, we had to send out letters to everyone."

But Toledo Federation of Teachers President Francine Lawrence said the district notified many more teachers than it needed to about the layoffs.

"They've never computerized relevant information, so their record base is not sophisticated. They've overidentified and they've also misidentified in some categories," she said. "A district of this size should be much more organized and computer-based in their personnel office."

As part of the cost cutting, the board of education last month eliminated 230 teaching positions for fall. District officials asked Toledo Federation of Teachers union leaders to accept a $10 health insurance co-payment for office visits and prescriptions to save millions of dollars and dozens of teaching jobs.

The union refused.

"It's a damn shame," school board member Larry Sykes said. "Their decision not to support the co-payment is costing these people their jobs. It could have been resolved. There's nothing more painful than being in an administrative position where you have to eliminate positions."

Mrs. Lawrence said the district earlier neglected to negotiate changes to the teachers' health plan.

"When they had a chance to reach agreement on health care on a couple of different occasions, they either reneged on their agreement or we had no one to talk to so we were on hold," she said. "We've had some discussions since then and intend to have additional discussions prior to the school year."

One of the teachers who drew "a high number" at the lottery said she was confident that she would have a job with Toledo Public Schools for the next year. She asked that her name not be used.

But she said she hoped all spring the union would agree to the co-payment.

"I was all for that, believe me," she said. "With the monstrosity of the whole thing, they're trying to do the best they can, but I don't see how this is all going to work out."

Mr. Faulkner said the district would continue to project its staffing needs and determine how many teachers from the 2001 hiring group would not be needed.

"As we speak, that's in the process of even changing because as people retire, take new positions, quit, whatever reason, those numbers also could be reduced," he said. "The numbers do fluctuate."

August 7, 2003

SCHOOL board members and administrators at Toledo Public Schools can't sugarcoat it - their renewal levy got hammered at a low-turnout election they felt sure they could win.

TPS officials may say that they took the 6.5-mill renewal to the voters in August to give themselves two shots, if necessary, to win voter approval, but the fact is that all they accomplished was to galvanize a coalition that was better organized than levy supporters.And an emphatic defeat it was: roughly 55 percent to 45 percent. Yet fewer than 25,000 people in the district actually voted, just 16.9 percent of the 147,000 who were registered. Obviously, if TPS felt its $100,000 or so investment in a summertime special election would pay off, it made a huge mistake.

Although state law permits public school districts to hold such special elections, either the law should be changed or TPS should voluntarily declare that this was the last time it will try it. Passage of the renewal is essential, as we have made abundantly clear, though now it will come tainted with a loss when voters see it again in November.

With sharply contested city council races on the ballot, voter turnout should be higher next time. But having already lost once with what should have been a routine renewal, TPS faces a true emergency on Nov. 4. If it fails a second time, the subsequent cutbacks will have a catastrophic effect on a district that has finally begun to show some improvement.

Tuesday's defeat should stand as a sobering dose of reality for board president Peter Silverman, board member Larry Sykes, and superintendent Eugene Sanders, all of whom at one time or another have been perceived by their constituents as a bit arrogant, even if it is unintentional on their part.

Here's something else for them to ponder. The renewal levy was defeated by about 2,500 votes. Though we believe TPS teachers should have the freedom to live wherever they want, the fact that 60 percent of them, or about 1,700 of 2,800 teachers, live outside the school district, was a contributing factor in the loss. Assuming most of those 1,700 have a spouse or significant other who has a vested interest in their welfare, their collective votes would have at least made the outcome a lot closer.

We have no trouble acknowledging that the Toledo Public Schools continue to have problems. For one thing, the district remains in academic emergency. But its test scores have been improving. Denying renewal funds to a troubled district can hardly be expected to make things better.

TPS needs to cut into and turn around the 10-point deficit suffered Tuesday - because the levy simply must pass next time. School officials need to figure out why a renewal would lose in the first place, and use the next 12 weeks wisely to make sure it doesn't happen again.

September 9, 2003

Hoping to stave off organized opposition to its levy in November, the Toledo Board of Education last night agreed to meet next week with the Urban Coalition, the district watchdog group that opposed the tax in the election last month.

Board president Peter Silverman said the group asked to meet with the board and that restrictions apply to the meeting. "They said they wanted to meet with us and have laid down a host of conditions," he said. "I think we will meet in good faith. It's unfortunate that they put all these demands on us."The group asked that Superintendent Eugene Sanders not attend the meeting, that it be held at a neutral location, and that members of the public not be allowed to speak, Mr. Silverman said.

Initially, board member Dave Welch objected to a meeting with the coalition.

"I think you are making a huge mistake by legitimizing this group," he said last night. "They have five people with five different agendas."

Mr. Welch and board members Anita Lopez and Larry Sykes, said they would attend the meeting only if the public could take part.

After debating the issue, the board members agreed to meet with the group on Sept. 16 if the public would be permitted to speak. A location hasn't been chosen.

Flute Rice, the group's president, and Steve Flagg, a spokesman for the coalition, did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment last night.

Board member Terry Glazer said the district should talk with the opponents in an attempt to understand their concerns in hopes of changing their minds before the next vote.

Voters rejected the Toledo Public School District's request for renewal of a 6.5-mill levy for current expenses in August. The levy lost with 13,471 voting against it and 11,054 in favor. The board has started to create a list of district budget cuts that would need to total about $7 million if the operating levy renewal doesn't pass in November.

The board plans on waiting for the results of the Nov. 4 levy before deciding or implementing any cuts. The 6.5-mill levy raises about $16 million annually.

The board's three-hour meeting last night, which was called a retreat, was held at the Brooks Insurance office on Madison Avenue. It holds such meetings to tackle strategic issues.

September 23, 2003

After several Toledo Public School District critics yesterday ripped the board of education for not meeting with them, board members responded they've tried but can't meet the "ridiculous" demands of the group.

"Do they speak for themselves or do they speak for hundreds of people?" board President Peter Silverman asked of the Urban Coalition. "We want to do the right thing, but we're not going to say to them, 'You speak for the public. We're going to bar anyone else from discussing things with us.' That far we won't go."The coalition, headed by Flute Rice, a retired Toledo Public Schools principal who lives in Springfield Township, is comprised of several organizations that have been critical of the district. They campaigned against the 6.5-mill levy renewal that failed in August, and that is on the ballot again in November.

After the defeat, both coalition leaders and board members publicly expressed interest in meeting and talking about the coalition's three main concerns: student discipline, the evaluation of new teachers, and the plan for building and upgrading school facilities.

But after 26 pages of e-mail communication and numerous conversations between board members and coalition members, terms of a public meeting could not be agreed upon, both sides have said.

"They don't intend to meet with us on those issues at all," Mr. Rice said.

Steve Flagg, co-president of Parents for Public Schools and a member of the coalition, said coalition leaders have said they would campaign against the levy unless its issues were addressed.

During discussions with Mr. Silverman about setting up a meeting, Mr. Flagg asked that coalition members be allowed to question anyone who comments at the meeting and to comment about their comments.

"We didn't think it would end up in any meaningful discussion," Mr. Flagg said of the board's proposal for a meeting where any member of the public could speak.

Mr. Silverman said the board would not agree to the terms insisted on by the coalition.

"We've said if they want to meet with all five board members we'd be glad to do it, but it's a public meeting and that we have to invite the public and the public has a right to speak," he said. "If they meet with five of us, they want the public not to be able to say anything until our discussion is done."

District leaders yesterday also questioned the legitimacy of the coalition to speak for the Toledo community.

"I want to know who their supporters are. They claim they represent 100 some people. I see the same five people," said board member Larry Sykes.

Mr. Flagg said his group has 35 members at its meetings. A review of the campaign finance report of the Committee to Take Back Our Schools, the political action committee founded by Urban Coalition representatives, showed contributions from six individuals before the August levy vote.

"If these individuals are truly for the kids, if they were truly interested in children, they would come to the table without the demands and say, 'we'll help with the levy but we want these changes,'" Mr. Sykes said.

During a 20-minute news conference yesterday, coalition leaders did not mention students or children.

October 21, 2003

Two bank executives and a university genetics professor are vying for two open seats on the Toledo Board of Education in the Nov. 4 general election.

At least one newcomer will join the five-member board. Incumbent Terry Glazer, a two-term board member, has decided not to seek re-election.The other incumbent whose term is expiring, Larry Sykes, an endorsed Democrat, is seeking re-election to a second full term. Challenging for seats are Deborah Barnett, also an endorsed Democrat and vice president of community relations at Huntington Bank, and Stephen Goldman, director of the Environmental and Plant Science Research Centers at the University of Toledo. He is an independent endorsed by the Lucas County GOP.

All three candidates said they support Issue 5, the 6.5-mill operating levy renewal that also will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Mr. Sykes, 54, vice president for community affairs for Fifth Third Bank, said he wants to return to the board because he wants to complete the mission he set for himself.

"That is to raise the academic standards for our children and our district as a whole, to ensure that the district is financially sound, that parents are involved in their children's education, and that each child receives a quality education," he said.

Mr. Sykes was first appointed to the board to fill a vacancy in 1997 and ran successfully four years ago. He lives in West Toledo. Of his two adult children, one attended Toledo Public Schools' Robinson Junior High.

A member of boards including the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority, Toledo Area Metroparks, and Greater Toledo Urban League, Mr. Sykes said his strength is a lengthy record of community involvement.

"I think what I bring to the table is my time, my talent, and the commitment," he said. "I'm not using this as a stepping stone for another political life."

Mr. Sykes played a key role in the hiring of Superintendent Eugene Sanders, who left an administrative job at Bowling Green State University to join the district three years ago. Mr. Sykes serves on the board's finance and Ohio School Facilities Commission committees.

He favors reviewing the Toledo Plan, the program to evaluate first-year teachers, and the discipline policy.

Mrs. Barnett, 53, began with Huntington Bank 29 years ago as a teller and worked up to her present position. Along the way, she's raised two sons, one of whom graduated from Rogers High School. She has volunteered with numerous community, civic, cultural, religious, and educational groups.

A resident of South Toledo, Mrs. Barnett is the past chairwoman of the city's board of community relations, vice chairman of the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce's minority advisory board, and a board member at the Toledo Zoo, the Toledo Museum of Art, the James A. Jackson Foundation, and Friendship Baptist Church.

Working with those groups has made her familiar with public education, she said.

"There's not an organization that I'm involved in that doesn't have a component that deals with kids on some level," said the grandmother of one. "I didn't just wake up in January and say, 'I think I'd like to run for the school board.'"

Mrs. Barnett, a Cleveland native, was on the school district's oversight committee for the building project until she resigned to run for the board. "I don't think I would have a problem fitting in and working with the board and school administrators," she said.

Mrs. Barnett favors reviewing the district's program that evaluates first-year teachers and revisiting the discipline code. In addition, she said her presence on the board would provide more financial oversight for the district's $320 million budget, in part, to better serve the public.

"I think we need to do a much better job telling the TPS story. There are many, many positive things that occur in the schools that we're not talking about."

The other newcomer, Dr. Goldman, is a nationally recognized plant geneticist. Two of his experiments were chosen for inclusion on space shuttle missions, and he holds several patents.

A resident of West Toledo, Dr. Goldman has been a faculty member at the University of Toledo since 1971, being appointed a full professor of biology in 1980. He is single and has no children.

He decided to run for the board of education after seeing the high number of students at the university who were not prepared for college work. Academic achievement is a top priority for him.

"I'm here to take the system out of educational emergency," he said.

His three main campaign themes are research, reflection, and responsibility, which he said he settled on after months of research about the district. He would like the administration to be more forthcoming with the public.

"We have a school district in crisis. It's the obligation of TPS to provide a budget to the community that addresses academic issues," he said.

If elected, Dr. Goldman, 61, would pursue more teacher enrichment programs for professional development, programs to identify "talented, dedicated, content competent" teachers for hiring, and better parent engagement, he said. "I know how to teach," he said. "It's my duty, if elected to the board, to educate the children."

October 29, 2003

The new middle school for the Libbey High School area will have an attached annex for the Lucas Metropolitan Housing Authority and its child care, health care, and education services, officials said yesterday.

The board of education at its regular meeting last night authorized the district to formally negotiate with the authority for terms of a land lease, operating agreement, and building design.In addition, the board accepted a settlement for the district's eminent domain suit with Pilkington North America and will pay $1.1 million to purchase 43 acres and the former office and research space at East Broadway and Oakdale Avenue.

The parcel, the former property of Libbey-Owens-Ford Co., eventually will become a new middle school for East Toledo and have athletic fields and a drop-off site for buses, said Dan Burns, chief business manager. It will be used as swing space for Oakdale Elementary School as soon as next fall as the current structure is torn down and a new one is built at the same site.

The new LMHA facility would replace the old Gunckel School at Nebraska Avenue and Collingwood Boulevard. The district closed the structure as a school in 1982, but the housing authority has renovated it and leased space.

When the preliminary plans of the district's $821 million building project called for demolition of Gunckel, housing authority officials were concerned about where they would house their services, including the Maurine Simmons Family Investment Center, which is at that site.

Lawrence Gaster, LMHA's executive director, said the housing authority would pay for new facility. Details of its size and cost are not set.

The deal authorized last night creates a school-community partnership between the district and the housing authority, board members said.

"We'll continue to be in partnership with them," said board member Larry Sykes, a former nine-year member of the housing authority board. "They've had that facility, and it's been well-received and used by the community. We certainly don't want to cause them any hardship for the services that have been there for the last almost eight years."

Mr. Gaster said the housing authority would vacate the Gunckel building a few months before its planned March, 2004, demolition, then move back in when the new school opens, likely in September, 2005.

In the interim, the authority's service providers could relocate to other sites.

"It won't be ideal, but it will be a place where they can continue operations," he said.

In other business, the board:

* Voted to accept a five-year financial forecast that shows the district will face a $14 million deficit next year even with approval of next week's 6.5-mill, five-year operating levy.

* Approved new administrative plans for employee group prescription drug and vision insurance.

Members of the Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel and the cabinet have co-payments of $1 for generic drugs, $20 for preferred, and $40 for brand names.

For American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the co-payment for prescription drugs is 20 percent up to $20, while members of the Toledo Federation of Teachers pay $1 for generic brands and 20 percent up to $12 for preferred drugs, said Clinton Faulkner, the district executive assistant to the superintendent for human resources.

The amount of co-payments for the vision plan was not available last night.

Mr. Faulkner said the annual savings for the new plans total about $286,000.

October 29, 2003

OUR endorsement of the Toledo Public Schools' renewal levy last week was based in part on several indicators of clear improvement.

Accordingly, our recommendations regarding two seats on the TPS board of education go to the candidates who in our view offer the best chance for that improvement to continue.Those candidates, we believe, are incumbent Larry Sykes, a former president of the board, and newcomer Stephen Goldman, a genetic engineer at the University of Toledo.

Mr. Sykes is a six-year veteran of the school board who has seen this school district at its lowest ebb. He also has been part of the turnaround in test scores, attendance, and graduation rates that Toledoans are beginning to witness.

Professor Goldman is one of two candidates for a vacant seat, a spot that opened up when board member Terry Glazer announced he would not seek another term.

Mr. Sykes and his board colleagues are midway through their five-year educational improvement plan and have already made great strides. They are hiring an ombudsman and, along with the superintendent, have signed a "contract with Toledo" that covers long and short-term results in finances, academic progress, the building program and community and parental involvement.

They've established five magnet academies, open to students throughout the city, and improved students' performance. They've gone after and won two huge grants destined to revolutionize teaching and learning at Libbey and Rogers high schools. They've established a Reading Academy to catch early students having difficulties and, in effect, a grade 41/2 for students who failed to pass proficiency tests after remediation.

And, no mean achievement, they persuaded voters to approve a capital levy that commands three times more in state dollars to upgrade school buildings - a once in a lifetime opportunity. By law that money can't be used for operations.

These have been tough times, and citizen pressure has rightly led the board to commit itself to more self-evaluation and systematic assessments of TPS programs.

Dr. Goldman, a University of Toledo professor, displays an impressive knowledge of TPS finances and operations.

As director of Environmental and Plant Science Research Centers at the University of Toledo, he also is aware that not all TPS graduates are ready for the academic rigors of college. He remembers when TPS graduates at UT "had the basics to start life off. They could read and write, and had some exposure to critical thinking." Today, he said, some 40 percent of incoming freshmen are in remedial courses, especially in math.

He's a successful teacher and says he knows how to put a quality academic program together. Skilled in pursuing and securing grants, inadequate funds would not dissuade him. He says he'd go out and find money.

Dr. Goldman is a good choice for another reason. While the board's newest member need not be a Terry Glazer clone, we are impressed that Mr. Goldman seems to have that same determination to hold the district - and his board colleagues - accountable and challenge them when appropriate. We like that.

The third person in this race, banking executive Deborah Barnett, acknowledges that she would have a hard time filling that confrontational role.

The community must demand that TPS' progress continue. The best way to help that happen is to re-elect Mr. Sykes and add Mr. Goldman to the board.

November 2, 2003

The three candidates for two seats on the Toledo Board of Education promoted different themes in a debate yesterday at the University of Toledo but also found areas of agreement in confronting problems facing Lucas County's largest school district.

The winners in Tuesday's general election will serve four-year terms on the board.Incumbent Democrat Larry Sykes, 54, an executive at Fifth Third Bank who has served on the board for six years, acknowledged the district remains in "academic emergency" but said progress is being made under the leadership of Superintendent Eugene Sanders.

"We have attempted to get out of it," Mr. Sykes said. "I have not wavered in my commitment to public education."

Democrat Deborah Barnett, 54, an executive with Huntington Bank, agreed and pledged more "collaboration" with parents and citizens to help improve schools.

"My community involvement has always had a common theme - helping children," she said.

Republican Stephen Goldman, 61, a professor at UT, said the district needs substantial change, starting with "a budget that identifies academics as its first priority" and a "teacher enrichment program" that lures quality talent into classrooms and keeps it there.

Mr. Goldman has been critical of the district's budgeting practices, calling for reforms. But he has remained a strong supporter of Issue 5 on Tuesday's ballot, a 6.5-mill levy renewal to pay for the district's operations for the next five years.

Mr. Sykes and Ms. Barnett said they also support passage of the levy.

The renewal request was rejected by voters in September. District leaders have said dire budgetary consequences will follow if Issue 5 fails.

The candidates agreed on the need to work together with teachers and others in the district to solve problems. They pointed to a recent agreement with the Toledo Federation of Teachers to consider adding a co-pay feature to the teachers' health insurance plan as evidence the union will sacrifice for the good of the district.

"You have not seen fighting. You have not seen strikes. You have seen progress," Mr. Sykes said.

"You have to work at it," Ms. Barnett said. "The Toledo Federation of Teachers has now demonstrated their willingness to collaborate for the betterment of our children."

Critics of the district, including leaders of a group opposing the levy - known as the Urban Coalition - have cited the lack of a teacher co-pay as a reason the levy request went down to defeat two months ago.

The co-pay feature could save the district $1 million a year in health insurance costs, district officials have estimated.

Mr. Goldman said that the co-pay agreement helps but that the district lacks a sound fiscal plan.

Asked what valuable "quality" the candidates would bring to the board, Ms. Barnett said her "community ties" would be an important factor.

"We need community investment, where we bring partners to the table," she said.

Mr. Sykes said he would bring "my time, my talent, and my commitment."

Mr. Goldman said he would bring a forthright personality.

"I am candid, and I tell the truth," he said. "We have complex problems, and we have to address them. The truth will help."

The debate was sponsored by The Blade, WTVG-TV Channel 13, and the UT College of Education Alumni Affiliate. It was hosted by WTVG news anchor Lee Conklin. Panelists were Blade staff writers Clyde Hughes and Tom Troy and WTVG reporter Kristian Brown.

November 5, 2003

Voters gave Toledo Public Schools what the district wanted this time - a 6.5-mill levy renewal that provides about $16 million annually.

"We are obviously very excited and we are grateful to the citizens of the community for investing in their children," Superintendent Eugene Sanders said. "We are going to continue to work hard to earn their trust, and we're going to be even more accountable and responsible to our citizens."Toledo voters also returned board of education member Larry Sykes to the five-member panel for his second full term.

Newcomer Deborah Barnett, a Huntington Bank executive and an endorsed Democrat, bested Stephen Goldman, a University of Toledo genetics professor and an independent who was endorsed by the Lucas County GOP, for the second available seat. Incumbent Terry Glazer chose not to seek re-election.

On the ballot as Issue 5, the renewal levy provides about $16 million annually for operating costs for the roughly 35,000-student district. First passed in 2000, it was to expire at the end of next month. The renewal will last five years.

Peter Silverman, president of the Toledo Board of Education, said he believes recent programs that increase the district's public accountability, including an independent budget review committee, helped with last night's results.

"It's very rewarding. We had promised the voters that we would become accountable. They gave us our trust and we're going to try to live up to our promises," he said.

But even with the levy funds, the district has projected an $18 million deficit for the 2004-05 academic year. "Tonight was the first step in addressing our very large fiscal matter," Dr. Sanders said as the final votes were being tallied last night. "We'll be working together with the board and our labor unions as we balance our budget for next year."

The district first asked voters to approve the levy's renewal in August, but it was defeated 55 percent to 45 percent with just 17 percent voter turnout.

A recent agreement from Toledo Federation of Teachers' leadership to accept co-payments for office visits, urgent care, and emergency room visits and save the district more than $1 million annually was believed to have swayed some voters toward levy approval.

According to district records, health insurance is projected to go up 13 percent each year of the next five. The district spent about $35.6 million last year on health care and prescription drugs - a $15.6 million increase from the 2000-01 fiscal year.

"There are a number of issues that still surround health care," Dr. Sanders said. "We will try to save as many dollars as possible to impact our potential budget deficit."

District officials also credited yesterday's higher voter turnout - buoyed by a beautiful day with a record 80-degree high - with the levy's passage.

The Urban Coalition, a network of district watchdog groups, had campaigned vigorously against the August levy but was not as visible during the late days of this campaign.

Last month, coalition leaders publicly announced they would oppose the November request as well, arguing that voting it down would be the best way to make the school board manage money more effectively and listen to community concerns.

Flute Rice, the coalition president, and Steve Flagg, another outspoken member of the group, did not return telephone calls for comment last night.

"The public started to question the honesty of that organization and the credibility of that organization," Mr. Sykes said. "I think they found out the organization doesn't have any credibility. All their issues were personal."

November 7, 2003

AFTER Toledo Public Schools' policy-makers announced an array of measures to provide financial accountability and a commitment to more openness in their decision-making, voters wisely supported Issue 5, and by a surprisingly large margin.

TPS' new, independent budget review process helped a lot. So did a promised re-evaluation of a mentoring program for new teachers, under which a single peevish person, by luck of the draw, could make or break a professional future.Significant, too, was the board's plan to hire an ombudsman, and, along with Superintendent Eugene Sanders, to sign a "contract with Toledo." The contract wisely expanded the board's accountability and communication commitment beyond long- and short-term finances to cover academic progress, the building program, and community involvement.

It was also helpful that most parents could see positive movement in TPS' initiation of new programs, such as the same-sex academies, and in upgrading the solid performance and scores on proficiency exams.

TPS is still viewed by some as academically challenged, and much still needs to be done. The district was hurt by the fact that test scores of special education youngsters were added to those of students without disabilities, thanks to the federal "No Child Left behind" law.

Significantly, and with the help of public pressure and other labor organizations, TPS secured a pledge from the Toledo Federation of Teachers leadership that it would accept the same sort of co-pays on medical coverage common to nearly everyone else these days.

The TPS board has tended to get cranky under criticism, rather than exploring complaints with an eye not only to resolving them but also to using them as a tool for its own growth and renewal. The re-elected Larry Sykes and new board member Deborah Barnett must strive to help it permanently shake its former dismissiveness in this regard.

Thanks to its new flexibility, brought on in large part by the defeat of its August levy proposal and issues raised by the handful of people constituting the Urban Coalition, the board is in a good position to deal with ongoing challenges, and self-examination. Many in the coalition seemed uncompromising. Many had personal axes to grind, but some of those axes, in a general sense, needed to be considered.

TPS officials must keep their many commitments alive, for the sake of finding a resolution to their anticipated shortfall next year and for helping Mr. Sanders meet his five-year goal of turning Toledo's school system around.

November 27, 2003

The Ohio Elections Commission will consider a complaint filed by a Toledo Board of Education member about the Urban Coalition's anti-levy campaign tactics, officials said yesterday.

The complaint alleged that the group violated state election laws that require a political action committee to fund campaign materials and be identified on them.In addition, board member Larry Sykes said the coalition violated the laws when it printed and distributed false or misleading statements about district finances.

"I think it was necessary [to file the complaint] because, although this is America and people have the freedom of speech, they cannot say things that aren't valid, that aren't warranted against people," Mr. Sykes said.

"The point is that we have potential levies that will come up in the future. If you want to go against those, you have to do it right," Mr. Sykes said. "You cannot lie about what the district is doing."

Joe Kidd, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections where political action committees register, said no one registered a PAC called the Urban Coalition.

Betty Springer, spokesman for the elections commission, said a panel will decide after a Dec. 11 probable-cause hearing in Columbus whether to set the matter for formal hearing or to dismiss it. "They will not make a final finding," she said.

Flute Rice, a former Toledo principal who headed the group, did not return a phone call yesterday.

The Urban Coalition, a network of district watchdog groups, announced during the summer it opposed the August 6.5-mill levy renewal because of three main issues: the district's plan to review, evaluate, and hire first-year teachers; the student discipline policy; and the master plan for the Ohio School Facilities Commission building project.

The coalition also had campaigned against the November measure that ultimately passed.


Please note that this post is simply articles that I've found in The Toledo Blade archives, and are not my own words, unless said otherwise. All articles have do do with the TPS BOE and it's members. Some things are good, some things are bad, and some are simply ugly. When readers forum letters were used, I removed the writers name.


January 30, 2002

A local businessman urged the board of education to adopt better accountability for employees and more student assessment measures to make Toledo Public Schools run more like a business.

"We in the business community can't hire people that can't read," Ford Cauffiel, president of Cauffiel Industries of Toledo, said at the boards meeting last night. Mr. Cauffiel, a longtime education supporter, was one of about 55 educators, business people, university officials, and Toledo Public Schools administrators who visited Houston schools last year. Many of his recommendations are a result of that visit, he said.

Board President Peter Silverman invited Mr. Cauffiel to become involved with district initiatives. "We share your passion," he said. "We're doing many of the things you've recommended."

Board member Larry Sykes, who went on the Houston trip, said the Texas district achieved successes in the last 10 years but hasn't fixed everything, including its low graduation rate and high teacher turnover. "Houston has its problems also," he said. "What I'd like to ask you and everyone else is to help us."

April 22, 2002

Toledo industrialist Ford Cauffiel doesn't understand why students in Toledo Public Schools can't read at grade level, and he doesn't understand why the district isn't letting him do something about it.

"Here's my problem: I don't want to be critical of the board. I don't want to be critical of the teachers. I don't want to be critical of the superintendent," he said. "I'm trying to get school reforms and a system into the schools."

But Mr. Cauffiel, owner of Cauffiel Industries and other businesses, has been critical in a series of meetings, correspondence, and public forums this year.

He's made demands of the district in letters, during private lunches, and at board meetings that the board adopt a resolution he wrote.

He wants the district to focus on improving the reading scores of its fourth-grade students - the youngest students assessed on state proficiency tests - through measures he outlined in a proposed resolution.

On the March, 2001, test, 29 percent of Toledo Public Schools fourth graders met the state standards for passing the test. That was down from 34 percent in 2000 and 38 percent in 1999.

"This is not acceptable," said Mr. Cauffiel, who lives in Springfield Township.

Is he a frustrated citizen who is answering the district's call for the community's help in getting out of academic emergency and improving education? Or is he an independent, wealthy businessman trying to impose his own vision on an elected board and a public school district where he does not reside?

"You must have people who think differently. Ford might be an example of that," said Brenda Lanclos, director of the Center of Reform for Education at the University of Toledo. "When he comes to the table, his voice is different from anybody else's. That ruffles people."

But Ms. Lanclos, who helped organize a December trip by Mr. Cauffiel and about 50 other district, university, and business people to the Houston Independent School District to learn about reform there, admitted she's not working with him anymore to foster improvement in Toledo's schools.

"My style is not his style," she said, declining to elaborate.

Released first to the media this year, Mr. Cauffiel's resolution would change how student performance is measured, adopt a district reading curriculum, offer financial rewards for high-performing schools and sanctions for low-performing schools, and change what authority and responsibility principals have.

He wants the district to change to a 41/2-day school week for students so teachers could have an afternoon of communication between each other or with parents. He also wants the district to give him half the elementary-level students slated for state-mandated summer reading programs for his own instructional program, which the district would fund.

"We're only trying to do some reform for reading at the fourth-grade level," he said. "I want things to happen fast."

At issue, he said, is the economic and social well-being of the community. He's enlisted the support of several businessmen who say they recognize the importance of a quality public school system in Toledo to the future of northwest Ohio.

"If a kid can't read, he's set for failure," said Keith Brown, owner of Brown Realty in Toledo. "We get a lot of our workers that work in the suburbs from Toledo city schools. And if you have an uneducated population out there, it's proven that you have higher crime rates. All that affects the ability for our community to grow and prosper."

The district agrees with the importance of early reading success.

"There's clearly a frustration, and it's a frustration on my part. I want to move faster and jump higher as well," Superintendent Eugene Sanders said. "Everybody wants the same thing."

But board members and administrators, while saying they welcome and invite public input and community involvement, are wondering why Mr. Cauffiel needs to be so heavy-handed in his approach.

"What he says about the school board people is insulting. He questions us, our ability, questions our knowledge, and insults our intelligence. He threatens us with starting a school, and then demands us to fund it?," said board member Larry Sykes. "He's looking for a fight."

Mr. Cauffiel said he's looking for answers. After attending three board meetings and last month's curriculum committee, he said he doesn't think district officials have them.

"The board needs to be educated," he said.

Mr. Cauffiel has criticized board members for publicly asking questions of district administrators - about program costs and state law, for example - that he thinks they already should know.

"I have seen a considerable amount of wasted time while [Board President] Pete[r] Silverman and other board members ask questions," he said.

But Mr. Silverman said Mr. Cauffiel's observations are wrong. Some of the questions are asked publicly for the benefit of the audience and others in attendances who haven’t been involved in work on issues prior to the monthly meetings, he said.

"There are a number of reasons to ask questions. One is you need to put things on the record so everybody understands what it means," he said.

Mr. Cauffiel also has bristled at the board's limiting him to the five-minute requirement for speaking at board meetings and not responding to his questions in the forums.

"Anybody can meet with us privately or telephone us," Mr. Silverman said. "Board meetings are a chance for people to make a public statement to all the board members and all the media present."

Many of the reforms Mr. Cauffiel is asking for are already under way, Dr. Sanders said.

"It would be inappropriate to say we aren't doing anything," he said. "I think many of the things that Mr. Cauffiel has proposed are things we are either doing, have done, or will be doing as part of our effort for reform and change."

Board Vice President David Welch said he hopes the district and Mr. Cauffiel will find a way to work together, despite their many differences of opinion.

"He's frustrated, just the same way as I am and the whole school community and labor - everybody. We're all trying to change this," he said. "He's just trying to do what he thinks is right."

July 17, 2002

They thought they were all set.

Months ago, the Toledo Public School District approved transfers for 11 kindergartners to attend Beverly Elementary School this fall instead of their neighborhood schools. Older siblings of some of the students already attended Beverly on transfers.But after some Beverly parents objected to the increasing number of transfer students attending the school and the planned installation of a portable classroom, the Board of Education earlier this month rejected an administration recommendation to put the modular classroom there

The one member who opposed the decision, Larry Sykes, said it was bad policy - and worse - to disallow transfers months after they were approved.

"It's racial and it's going to remain racial," he said. "I voted against it because I think it's wrong."

Mr. Glazer disagreed.

"To raise race as an issue because parents don't want their kids sitting in a portable outside is the most ridiculous statement I've heard yet," he said.


Please note that this post is simply articles that I've found in The Toledo Blade archives, and are not my own words, unless said otherwise. All articles have do do with the TPS BOE and it's members. Some things are good, some things are bad, and some are simply ugly. When readers forum letters were used, I removed the writers name.


May 18, 2001

Members of three community groups and others last night urged the Toledo board of educations policy committee to keep a five-minute time limit for public participation at meetings.

Board members Larry Sykes and Terry Glazer heard demands from citizens to change the district’s policy of allowing only people who sign up before noon on the days of meetings to address the boards. More than half of the 40 people who attended the forum in the Thurgood Marshall Building, 420 East Manhattan Blvd., spoke against a board proposal to change the five-minute public participation time limit to three minutes.

Mr. Sykes said the pace of recent board meetings has been slowed by numerous people talking during the public participation period, causing the meetings to last late into the night.

About 13 members of ACOR – Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now – attended the forum. Some of the association’s members went into the meeting holding signs, which Mr. Sykes said they could not display.

Jamie Kaufman, who is co-chairman of the groups, said he believes the district should provide more opportunities for parents to participate in the decision-making process that affects their children’s education.

“I am wondering if school board members are limited to talking three minutes on a particular issue,” he said. “We don’t want to be shut out.”

Representatives of the Lagrange Village Council and the watchdog group Parents for Public Schools also spoke against reducing the time allotted for public participation.

Jennifer Blakemore was among the people who urged the committee to eliminate advance registrations to speak before board members at the meeting. “You would get more community involvement if you could sign in at the door,” Ms. Blakemore said.

Patricia Hurtado, a member of ACORN, suggested forming a task force of parents, teachers and administrators to address public participation at the meetings and issues in the district.

After listening to the comments, Mr. Glazer said he was willing to recommend to the board that it retain the five-minute limit and adopt two other suggestions offered during the forum.

He said he would recommend that the board discontinue the policy that people must sign up before noon on the day of the meeting.

He was willing to recommend that the board consider Ms. Hurtado’s suggestion to implement a task force.

Mr. Sykes said he was agreeable to keeping the five-minute time limit for public participation. However, he said he was not ready to commit himself to MR. Glazer’s recommendation for eliminating advance sign-up and forming the task force.

“I have a problem at this particular time with people walking through the door and the board not knowing the subject matter,” he said.

August 16, 2001
Changing its own selection procedure - again - the Toledo board of education yesterday chose a former board member and former Democratic Party official to fill a four-month vacancy.

And the action immediately drew criticism from some of those who applied for the appointment.Keith Wilkowski, 45, a lawyer, will replace Patricia Kennedy, the board's only woman and only Republican. She resigned last month, citing health reasons. The seat is open in the November election.

Mr. Wilkowski served two four-year terms on the board, beginning in 1983. A former Toledo law director, he was Lucas County Democratic Party chairman for nearly four years, ending in 1997. He works as the Rossford law director and is legal counsel for the struggling Rossford Arena Amphitheater Authority. His two daughters graduated from Start High School; and his two sons attend private schools.

Republican candidate Jeffrey Greeno, who applied for the vacancy, called Mr. Wilkowski's selection "typical party politics: appoint someone they want to the position rather than somebody who applied."

Darlene Fisher, president of the district-wide organization, Parents for Public Schools, applied for the vacancy.

She said she was disappointed in the board changing the selection procedure as it went along.

"I feel like they wasted people's time. They should have been up front about what the process was going to be and stuck to it," she said.

In July, the board set an Aug. 12 deadline to receive applications for the vacancy, and eight people applied by that date. Then, the board accepted applications from two more people before its meeting Tuesday.

Mr. Wilkowski, who did not apply, said he agreed to serve after board President Peter Silverman called him Tuesday to ask if he would be interested in being appointed. Earlier that day, the board met to hear statements from the most of the nine applicants for the vacancy.

One applicant withdrew at the meeting.

Anita Lopez, general counsel and director of enforcement at the Toledo Fair Housing Center, is a candidate for the open seat in the November election. In July, she said the board should consider appointing a candidate for the vacancy, but Tuesday said the board should choose someone who wasn't running and withdrew from consideration.

Mr. Silverman said in July the board would consider candidates in the November election for the vacancy.

Yesterday, he said the board decided not to.

"We agreed it should be someone who is not running so as not to give them an unfair advantage in November," he said.

Mr. Silverman said he wanted board consensus on who would serve the remainder of Ms. Kennedy's term, but the four board members could not agree on any of the applicants. "We all had our candidates. We all debated about who we wanted. We didn't come to any consensus," board member David Welch said.

Board member Larry Sykes said he would have preferred a minority woman to fill the vacancy. "There's five with testosterone on the board now," he said.

Six candidates are running for three open seats on the board this fall, including Mr. Silverman and Mr. Welch, who are up for re-election.

In addition to Mr. Greeno and Ms. Lopez, Becky Berry, who like Mr. Greeno is endorsed by the Lucas County Republican Party, and Steven Steel, a Green Party candidate, are seeking a seat.

Board members elected in November begin their terms in January, but Mr. Wilkowski said he would resign immediately after the election to allow for the winner's immediate appointment.

Mr. Wilkowski said he would not run for the position.

August 24, 2001

Mayoral hopeful Ray Kest yesterday reiterated the possibility of the city's intervention in Toledo Public Schools as board of education members spoke angrily about his criticism of the district during a candidates' debate Wednesday.

"What Toledo Public Schools needs is a helping hand and not political grandstanding," Peter Silverman, the president of the Toledo board of education, said. "Ray Kest should first try to pitch in and help before condemning the whole system just to score political points."Mr. Silverman, a Democrat, is seeking re-election to the school board in November. A former city councilman and mayoral candidate, Mr. Silverman is supporting Mr. Kest's opponent, House Minority Leader Jack Ford in this year's mayoral race.

During the debate, Mr. Kest, an unendorsed Democrat in the Sept. 11 primary, called Toledo's school system a "failure," charging that many of its graduates are unprepared for college or the workforce.

"We need the school system to improve. The mayor has to take that leadership. If it means some legislative changes to do that, that's what has to happen," Mr. Kest said. "We have a new superintendent; we're going to give him a chance. We're going to give the school board a chance, but the school board has to improve."

Mr. Ford said takeovers of districts in Chicago and Detroit offer some ideas for improvement for public schools, but he was not excited about a municipal takeover of Toledo's 38,000-student district.

"Dr. [Eugene] Sanders is in there. We've got to give him some time to do what he can," said Mr. Ford, who is endorsed in the mayoral election by the Lucas County Democratic Party.

Mr. Kest, Lucas County treasurer and a former city councilman and county commissioner, said yesterday he thinks the district should be given three years to show improvement. That would be an appropriate time, he said, to evaluate the efforts of Dr. Sanders, hired last year, and to reap the benefits of the passage last fall of the district's three-year, 6.5-mill levy.

"I think the superintendent and the school board should be given a chance to produce," he said. "I'm fully supportive of what they're trying to do. But I'm saying if they don't succeed, then some drastic measures have to be considered."

He refused to elaborate on details of such a plan, but said as mayor he would seek input from business and education leaders.

"We would sit down and we would come to a consensus of what needs to be done to improve the Toledo Public Schools system," Mr. Kest said.

School board member Larry Sykes called Mr. Kest's comments "inappropriate" and said he doesn't consider the district to be a failure. "The majority of our kids pass the proficiency tests. When [Mr. Kest] talks about failure, I have no idea what he's talking about, nor does he, obviously," Mr. Sykes, a Democrat and former school board president, said. Mr. Sykes is supporting Mr. Ford.

Mr. Ford said he considers Mr. Sykes a "good friend," speaking with him at least weekly about school issues.

Francine Lawrence, president of the Toledo Federal of Teachers union, with about 3,300 members, said she thought Mr. Kest made his comments because he did not receive the union's endorsement, which went to Mr. Ford. "We don't take his comments too seriously," she said.

The quality of public schools is considered integral for cities to attract and keep residents and businesses. Candidates and school board members have said Toledo's governmental agencies, businesses, and schools should form a partnership to improve education.

Dr. Sanders said public education and debates about how to improve it are on voters' minds.

"It makes sense to add education as a main concern for all the elected officials," he said.

Board member David Welch agreed that debate about school improvement is a necessary and important discussion in Toledo.

"It's good for the school board. It's bringing the school issue out front," Mr. Welch said. "The more attention we get, the more people get concerned."

Mr. Welch, a city employee and a Democrat, is seeking re-election in November to the nonpartisan school board. City employees are not allowed to engage in partisan politics. The two other board members, Terry Glazer and Keith Wilkowski, did not return calls.

(not sure what happened here, I can't find my other articles from 2001, sorry)