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Monday, May 2, 2016

Board member discusses options with public

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Forrest Buell
CLAY CITY -- According to one current Clay Community School Board member and one former member, residents of the "Mayberry of the Midwest" have four options.

Citing great concern regarding the state of the school corporation, board member Forrest Buell met with residents of Clay City Sunday to discuss those issues.

Buell's main goal was to receive more input from residents, something he said is difficult to obtain at regular board meetings.

"I have wanted more public involvement," Buell said, adding he has asked the school board to conduct Cracker Barrel sessions. "I couldn't get that done. They've shut me down. We have very little public input.

"I feel like I've been shut off. I can't accept it anymore. I'm not going to resign. They can't push me out."

Buell and former school board member John Bradshaw met with close to 20 residents Sunday. Armed with statistics, they both said they felt operating costs by the school corporation in regard to each township in the county were "unfair."

As a result, several residents expressed a desire to achieve "more bang for their buck."

Bradshaw told those in attendance at the session Sunday the assessed values per township equaled close to 27 percent being made through residents in the Clay City schools district compared to 73 percent through townships that represented the schools in the northern portion of the county.

Both Bradshaw and Buell stated since Clay Community School Corporation proposed building project is going to cost more than $26 million, residents with children in the townships served in the Clay City schools district will be "overpaying."

And some residents agreed.

The men said the school district had four options, including:

* Going independent,

* Joining another school corporation,

* Staying with CCSC, or

* Joining with a charter school district.

"I have reached the point where I have faith in the Clay City people of operating their school and taking care of their own students," Buell said. "I think our students could be better served. There could be some advantages of separating the two.

"(The building proposal) is just buildings, buildings and build more buildings. That's more upkeep. I think their building program should have educational value."

Buell also expressed concern with kindergarten enrollment at the Clay City district, where two teachers have approximately 30 students each.

"Our students are being hurt," he said. "I do not want pupil morale to be destroyed. Clay City has other options."

The two estimated there were 10 corporations statewide smaller than the current enrollment within the Clay City school district, giving both of them reason to believe the district could survive on its own.

Bradshaw added residents needed to band together and express their desires to school board members.

"I think we have a nucleus," Buell said, "and it can expand."

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Go for it Dr. Buell. You can be the president of that school board. Please make sure you get "your" corporation up and running before my tax dollars help pay for Clay City's renovations. I have 2 children in the CCSC corp, the northern portion, and I am very thankful to most of the current school board for going forward with the renovations that are going to take place. They are much overdue.

-- Posted by kibbemi on Sun, May 17, 2009, at 11:20 PM

Are you serious? Think about the transportation of students, the cost of administration, etc.. Clay City does need upgrades, but I think it gets treated fairly fair. It sounds like the school board is divided between 70 as well as the county, and generally that creates unnecessary tension. The students in this corporation are already divided up and have competition amongst either other the way it is, lets get rid of the high school drama on the school board. The school board needs to work together and stop tension.

-- Posted by Criminology08 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 1:46 AM

I think you would make a mistake if you removed the Clay City School district from the tax base for support of all the northern schools. It is all part of the public record. Clay City does, and has for years had part of its tax dollars used in the north. I'm pretty sure that was Dr. Buell's point. If Clay City would have their own district, they would have more money to work with in their system. Because of the number of farms and land owners in compared to the Brazil city and northern parts, they pay more taxes per capita. The votes are all in the north, so who gets to spend the money? All you have to do is look at the schools to see the difference.

-- Posted by freepatriot80 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 7:08 AM

Well, I can understand the point of looking at the options available to the residents of the portion of the school corporation that attend the Clay City schools. It has been a lurking question since I was a student there and there were three high schools in the northern part of the corporation. Then, it was the impression that Brazil High School went first class and the other three got whatever was left to split three ways. Now, with Northview combining the three northern schools into an "AAA" sized school and Clay City Jr. Sr. High being an "A" school, the disparity or the perception that there is disparity can only be greater.

Many people like to say that the Clay Community Schools Corporation is doing a fine job and making good decisions. The facts prove that it is wasting money on things that have little or no educational impact other than to take money out of the classroom where it is needed.

That the Clay City Schools are more cost-effective has been shown the last three years when Clay City High was named a "Best Buy" school while Northview has not. This shows that not only the high school works, but that its "feeder" system works as well. Many people like to believe that it is a difference in demographics, but a look at the demographics do not support that conclusion. The difference is that the Clay Community Schools Corporation actually operates two distinctly different educational systems from a common higher office. The system of one elementary school "feeding" one Jr. Sr. high school educates better than the six smaller elementary schools feeding one middle school that feeds one large high school.

Until people realize that and decide to change the system in the north, I would have to agree with Forrest Buell that it would be in the best interest of the taxpayers and students of Clay City to consider other options.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 9:20 AM

Doesn't Dr. Buell represent Posey Township in the North also. Those constituents are supposed to be representd by him also. Isn't this a removable offense when a man wants to break away from a group that he was chosen to represent. I was under the impression that Clay City high school is new and the elementary was renovated before any of the Northern ones. (is that not true?)

-- Posted by rdevil8 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 10:43 AM

My family and I left Brazil 23 years ago and moved to Iowa, but after reading this I see things haven't changed. Clay County is still in the 1970's. Things run a little different here in Iowa Schools. Schools have to stay solvent and have a rating system to show that. If the Board gets out of hand the State steps in. It does this to protect the tax payer. There is very little input to redistricting when the school is insolvent or in trouble and there has been a lot of that here lately because of state funding cuts.

DR Buell has already cost the tax payers of Clay County dearly because of this north --v- south thing and broken promises and I see that he still hasn't let go. After coming back to Clay County to visit and seeing how far students have to travel today just to keep the Clay City Schools open is a joke. When the redistricting happens here it's the adults that have a hard time of letting go, NOT THE KIDS. The Kids understand that they will have better buildings and a better education which is what it's all about and the tax payers are not getting led down the road of higher taxes. Just think of all the saving that could have been made if the adults of Clay County would have put this north --v- south thing behind them back in the 70's when it first started. Look at some of the school district that made the hard choice early and where they are now. Maybe it's time for Dr. Buell to finally let go and do the right thing for the kids in the county by entering the 21st century.

John D. Robison

Clear Lake, Iowa

-- Posted by somethingsdontchange on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 11:24 AM

You know, I used to think that Dr. Buell and his group were only out to see that nothing happened as far as building programs in our school corporation went. I used to think that his "shenanigans" were all a smoke screen to insure that the northern part of the county did not get what they wanted at the expense of the southern part of the county. Or so how he saw it.

But you know, 30 years ago I was convinced that the other side was right about consolidating the three northern high schools, and that Dr. Buell and his group were something just short of pure evil. Now I see that the consolidation was a mistake education-wise. Now I'm not saying that the teachers and administrators at Northview are not responsible people doing there jobs as well as they can, it is just my opinion, again education-wise, our students would be better served in two 500-600 student populations rather than the one 1100 or so one.

And when the middle school was being planned, again I sided with the faction that said we should include the sixth graders in with the seventh and eighth graders in a new state-of-the-art facility. Again, Dr. Buell questioned the educational value of this. Now maybe this was a stall tactic, but still this many years later now, I too question the wisdom of this. In fact I'm pretty sure once again that a mistake was made.

I think everyone should drop their past prejiduces and really ask the hard questions...is the current building project the best bang for our buck? I don't think it is! But I've said this before, and the battle has already been fought, though there is a question of whether it was a fair fight or not.

I guess this county is always going to be divided maybe we should be seperate. At least it should be looked at and not just be dismissed.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 11:41 AM

Dr. Buell is a joke! Why in the world would you take Clay City schools and put them into their own corporation? Dr. Buell is stuck in the 1920's......why not just build one room school house on every farm corner....I am sure that would be right up Dr. Buell's ally. What about the teachers that work at Clay City are their benifits and senority going to transfer to the new corporation? So if a teacher has taught 20 + years are their starting back a square one because Dr. Buell thinks its 1920? I think its time for Dr. Buell to visit the real DOCTOR cause he has some problems. O and by the way you can quit your post on the school board any time you want....Cause remember residents in the north he is the one that also said that NORTH CLAY is not a good learning enviroment. QUIT BUELL!

-- Posted by BigCB20 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 2:28 PM

While the insults from big CB towards Dr Buell are inexcusable, I must agree 100% with the writer from Iowa. We moved here to Clay County 14 years ago and I was part of a committee that looked at redistricting in order to better distribute students among the elementary schools in view of the changes in student population in various areas of the county. While numbers supported this, most patrons and corporation staff did not. When I suggested that some of the kids might move from Jackson to Clay City or to or from Staunton, It was insinuated that I was not a good parent from moving my children here from out of state as I disrupted their education. Still today;ten years or so later, board members use the "I will NEVER close a school" speech to get elected when making a blanket statement like that is totally irresponsible when demographics change as well as educational needs. No Clay Count is not only using 20 year old criteria. It has regressed even further. While some building administrators and teachers continue to work hard to stimulate learning, the tone set by the board and administration is mediocre at most and frequently corners are continuing to be cut curriculum wise while physical plant and the budget involved to maintain and administer it continues to grow. Not until we place more importance on what goes on in the classroom and less on the building name, size, and location, will we ever see a real improvement in this school corporation. Yet we continue to play north against the south and good ole boy politics. This entire county is sinking into poverty and a good portion of the reason is the low standard of education. While individuals will succeed if they know to choose the right courses and the parents augment what they don't get in school, those who think that they will come out the other end without doing their own research and fending for themselves academic wise, are likely to have as bleak of a future as this community with little to attract employers as the county has little to attract outside investors. While people in this county are pleasant enough and would do anything for each other, they have been too shortsighted and trusting when it comes to trusting their future to local politicians for a long time now... and when someone tries to make a choice that favors education with a nostalgic trade off due to finances, or comes in and suggests that they try something that has been successful in another location, they many times shun both the idea and the person just because they aren't one of their own. Like the divisions between the north and south of the county, when are people going to realize that we ALL are in this boat together and if we don't do what's right for another's child, it's going to eventually come back and bite us too, whether in fewer opportunities for your grandchildren or less investment returns in real estate. It's all me me me. If your neighbor brings in more money and spends more at Kroger or Walmart, it helps more who work there. If your neighbor buys a new car, it helps the dealership. Then the dealer can put more in the basket at church and the church can have more outreach programs. It's all connected people and so are we to each other and the rest of the world. It's time we looked at how others are being successful with their schools and follow their example. Why does it matter so much that we do it like we've been doing it for years? It certainly is no longer working or Clay County wouldn't be such a poor one.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 4:00 PM

Dr. Buell may be headed in the right direction. He has always been an extremely strong advocate for children and while his thinking may seem odd, the results could be impressive. By making the right moves, he could garner more tax dollars for the children around Clay City and put more control in the hands of the people in that area. These efforts could make the current system obsolete. His thinking is on target.

-- Posted by scwh1974 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 7:52 PM

Regarding what rdevil8 said:

Clay City High School and Northview High School were built at the same time during the consolidation. Clay City Elementary was renovated to be an elementary when the high school left.

In regards to Dr. Buell:

He has worked very hard on the school board. He fought for years to keep Clay City from being consolidated into the North.

-- Posted by cc225 on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 8:46 PM

Jenny Moore-I wish you would write out in plain and simple terms as to what you think should be done. Regarding budget, buildings, admistration, and teachers. I would like to see a plan from you. I read what you write all the time. At times I agree and sometimes I dont. You and Mr. Southworth are always upset with the administration and board members, so I would like to hear a plan. Simple and to the point. What needs to be done in your eyes.

-- Posted by HappyTimes on Mon, May 18, 2009, at 9:34 PM

I agree with HappyTimes. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don't. I want to know exactly what you think should be done. Most the of the time your ideas are good.

-- Posted by cc225 on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 6:31 AM

I have lived all my life in "The North" part of this county and realize bigger schools don't necessarily mean better schools. Unfortunately hind sight is 20/20. When the new high schools were built this county DESPERATELY needed new buildings. Even in that era there were a few people in the county making decisionss for all the residents of our county. Its easy to point fingers at those who made those decesions and at the people making the decisions today. The root of the problem is that the vast mejority of the citizens of Clay County won't get involved in the decision making process. Proof of this is in the fact that Dr. Buel "met with close to 20 residents". An issue of this nature should draw 10 times that number, and especially in the Clay City area. My hat is off to Dr. Buel for his efforts to get input from citizens. I think the remainder of the board should follow Dr.Buels lead and hold some cracker barrel sessions around the county.

-- Posted by IHMagnum on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 8:28 AM

I would be upset too if I were from the northern part of the county and stood to lose money. I say go Dr. Buell.

-- Posted by Jed on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 9:10 AM

Jenny Moore and I, along with several other citizens, have carried on a running dialogue with several members of the school board and educators concerning education and educational issues via e-mail.

I would be interested in forming a more organized coalition of citizens to look at how to improve education for everyone in the corporation. The way I see it, that would mean not only expressing an opinion, but producing research to support it. Right now, I could "drop" about 5 gigabytes of data and over a hundred websites on a person to show why I hold the opinions that I do on the subject.

Any person who would be interested in working on education improvement within the Clay Community Schools Corporation, please contact me at leosouthworth@gmail.com .

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 9:39 AM

Why have crackle barrel sessions. I have watched the school board meetings on cable, and there isnt any public there. How can you be informed of something if you do not attend the meetings. If the public doesnt show anymore intrest than that, I wouldn't waste my time to have extra meetings for a public that didnt even show interest in regularly scheduled meeting. Mr Southworth, thats my problem, I want to see a plan. Not just your opinion. Anyone can have an opinion. I want to see a plan. You disagree with this, and that. Lets say you are on the board, teachers union, or in administration. What is your plan to fix the problems. Kind of like "show me the money", you "show me a plan". I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I'm just tired of people always having an opinion and NO solution. Let us know what needs to be done.

-- Posted by HappyTimes on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 4:11 PM

I agree with Jed. If I were from the North and thought I was going to lose money, I would be upset, too.

-- Posted by cc225 on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 4:14 PM

Let's face it. Our school corporation is becoming more and more imperfect. Life is hard, and it is hard to accomplish much of anything. Complainers need to have a solution or shut-up. Bashing Dr. Buell is not the answer. He's the only one saying ANYTHING! Have you ever heard Atkinson, Barr or Jackson utter the words "EDUCATIONAL VALUE"? I don't think he pulled this stuff out of thin air. Perhaps he comes from an era of responsibility and takes his role as representative very seriously. MAYBE, his constituents asked for a time to speak with him?????? Umh.

Ever try attending or speaking at a School Board Meeting. NOT patron friendly....so how do our representatives hear the needs and wants of their constituents. Do they not care? They have never asked me what I want. Now it's to the point that people are so disgusted that the snow ball of shame and discontent it is out of control. We as public members have NO contact with our Board Members in a fashion in which we will get feedback. Buell has just solicited ideas and maybe is trying to ward off the complainers who have no solutions. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!

I live in the North and I believe that he also does a fine job representing the township in the north. He's the only school board member that you ever see at functions. I work at a place where it is constant "Clay City bashing" whether it be for sports, schools, or whatever. The problem is with us, not with them. Let's face it, they do a better job educating. They have better families per capita, they support their school and they do get whatever is left over from Northview or North Clay. That's not right.

The squeaky wheel is definitely the North and Clay City makes do with whatever. If this corporation can't get it together, and Clay City continues to be successful with less and less, all the while paying more and more (look at the projected expenditures for this new building program......Clay City is NOT going to get their moneys worth) then Clay City has a leg to stand on in regards to asking for more "bang for their buck".

The North end can't make it without Clay City's 27%. No way, no how. They had better start taking this seriously. We are the bratty kid in this family and just because we are bigger doesn't justify not being accountable.

I say, don't bash Buell. He's the only one doing any representing. He never asked you to like what he says, just has asked folks to think. I find him to be quite personable and a high order thinker. The others on this Board merely want their names on yet another new structure that is doomed for failure. ACCOUNTABILITY!!!

-- Posted by __2--- on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 8:14 PM

I believe EXACTLY what xyz123 says. This constant Buell bashing is ridiculous! He is the only one who makes any effort to stand up for what is right! This Clay City bashing needs to stop, too. Maybe the North should spend more time raising higher standards for their school instead of bashing ours.

-- Posted by cc225 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 5:58 AM

Well I tried but my response too long for this forum. In short, Buell bashing is inexcusable especially since he is trying to get more public input.

Short answer is that there ARE and HAVE been alternate plans out there all along but they required community to make decisions between nostalgia and academics and nostalgia won out every time.

It was suggested that I write out a "plan" on my blog. Maybe that would be a good idea, but in mean time please go to school board meeting tomorrow night if at all possible and speak up telling board that it's time to stop forfeiting community's future and side with education before the community collapses altogether.

I can also give you lots of examples of communication with board if you want to get in touch at jsmoore@ccrtc.com

We can't afford it to be north vs south as that further divides us when wanting better education for entire community. Wish I had the money to demolish both Northview and Clay City HS and put one at about Ashboro for the entire county to help this mindset disappear.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 6:39 AM

I have had dealings with both ends of the county in the school corporation. It is very sad how the school board treats the students @ clay city. Do you ever see them congradulate the kids for any thing from Clay City no or do you see them at any school functions for Clay City no . Only time is if it is a media opp. I Say GO BUELL.

-- Posted by confused33 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 7:52 AM

The nostalgia thing is what it is. We don't one school for all of these kids, if anything we need more smaller schools that is going to be more effect educationally and financially. Ms. Moore I respect your willingness to speak your mind, and its obvious you have the best interest of the schools at heart, but are you suggesting that the problems of this corporation are because of nostalgia for the county or "the way its always been done"? I see bad, but also good in those notions. Clay Co. used to have a lot to be proud of. In fact, Clay City is the only lingering light of the prosperity of yester-year.

The "old boys" wouldn't even recognize Northview at its present with the trouble, poor leadership and its a breeding ground for unaccountable adults. I'm sorry, I'm a Knight at heart, but geez louise.....we have issues.

Confused33 and cc225, you are logical thinkers! I assume cc225 might stand for Clay City, I don't know, but I bet if some Clay City people stand up and start asking for what is theirs some heads will start turning. Regardless, the monster is out of control and we don't have a board to represent the people.

I agree people should go to the Board Meetings, but you can't speak and get a response, nothing we say is acknowledged....I don't blame people for not wanting to go. We need to fire the whole school board and start with either committees or public forums or something to get this stuff accomplished. Maybe the state needs to step in and scold us all.

But no more Buell or Clay City bashing. It's gotta get tough before it gets better. Buell is trying and the reason that he's unpopular is because he's right and that rubs people the wrong way. I just wander if some people aren't getting a little payback or "benefits" from this ridiculous building program.

RE: survivingmotherhood Are you joking? Pretty sure your money isn't doing diddly squat for anything at Clay City. Have you any idea how much money the farmers in Southern Clay Co pay for these schools????? That was a very improper thing to say. Meridian Elementry for example needs some renovations there is no doubt. But, could we do some things better that is not as costly considering how many Elementaries are in the town of Brazil??? And, are those patrons doing their part?

Northern Clay County can't survive without the tax appropriations of Southern Clay County. It can't happen. The money, folks, is in the South. We had better start appreciating the fact the money needs to trickle down there. They are doing there part and meeting goals that we aren't.

-- Posted by __2--- on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:06 AM

Plans, Part 1

In the two years that I have been actively concerned with the CCSC, many times I have been asked for a plan. The mission statement for "my" plan is simple, the details are not yet formed as they cannot be the product of one person; they must be researched before they can be formed and that will take time along with a concentrated community effort. The mission statement is simple, it is "Maximize education at minimum cost."

When you operate two elementary schools within a mile of each other with an enrollment of less than 700 students, that does not maximize education at minimum cost. It simply wastes money by operating excess plant. When you plan to spend 11 million dollars to renovate two fifty-year-old buildings when you can build one that would replace both of them for 15 million dollars, you are disregarding the life-span of the buildings, investing poorly, and wasting money from your operating budget on an annual basis for the extended usable life of those buildings. The fact that we can do better is apparent from the data contained in the Indiana Dept. of Education databases. All you have to do is look at it for the numbers to indicate a better way to maximize education at lower cost; yet the facts and figures never come out of the administration and the school board never bothers to ask for them. When the board voted to renovate, the board didn't even ask how much the buildings were worth as they now stand so how could they know what a reasonable amount to invest could have been?

When a building reaches the point where it is no longer usable, as was the case of the maintenance facility, we need to replace it. It was planned to replace that facility during the plan put forward in August 2007. The planned replacement was a 11,500 sq. ft. building on approximately 2.5 acres, designed to house both the Transportation Dept. and the Buildings and Grounds Dept., at a cost of $4.2 million dollars. That plan was rejected by the public due to cost; there simply is no need to spend that much money as the need can be met for less. The administration was made aware that a building plan was available locally that the administration researched and said would fill the need that could be built for $800,000. However, the building that housed the departments became untenable and had to be evacuated and no plan to replace it was formed; replacement of this facility having been dropped from our renovation plan even though this facility should have been one of the highest priorities due to the condition of the building. The board approved demolition of the building, and the installation of a temporary trailer to house the administrative offices of the departments. Then, the administration brings forward a recommendation to purchase a property to house the Buildings and Grounds Department, located on Depot Street, and a separate 22,000 sq. ft. facility to house the Transportation Department even though these departments have no need for separate facilities as much of their shop equipment is common to both and never fully utilized by either department. We have purchased one property and are considering another that is about a mile from it for two departments that should be located in one place. We are paying employees to move between these locations and that takes education dollars away from the classroom.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:41 AM

Plans, Part 2

We also need to replace the Central Office building. If we had replaced our two elementary buildings with one new one, the Central Office, the Transportation Dept., and the Buildings and Grounds Dept. could have moved to that location for less than what it will cost the way we are now headed, centralized our administrative operations and allowed the corporation to reduce its number of locations, sell off property to recoup money and return property to the tax-paying rolls allowing more money to be targeted back into the classrooms.

Meanwhile, education is taking a "back seat". We have kindergarten classes with over 30 students. Many of our kindergarten students start out behind their peers, yet statistics indicate that can be recouped by the third grade IF classes are kept to under 20 students and the teachers can spend time teaching. In our high schools, NovaNet, a computer program, is being used to replace teachers in both regular classes and Advanced Placement classes because we simply cannot afford to pay people. Yet I keep hearing people say that Northview needs an auxiliary gymnasium to support its sport teams or other extra-cirricular activities without regards to the fact that, disregarding the cost of construction, such a facility would deplete an already meagerly funded budget just to heat, cool, and have the lights on.

We have a research-based curriculum that needs to be supported fully by a research-based building plan and a research-based operating plan. We need to look beyond our area for what works and abandon those practices that are failing both the student and the taxpayer by lessening education at excessive cost. However, that will take community commitment to education and for the individual to look at what is best for everyone instead of what the individual wants. That is the problem in education in Clay County, many people want things that are not needed but fail to realize that to have what they want means that we do not have the money to give someone else what they need. This is reflected by the members of the school board and the educators that we have hired. One on one, I have not met a person who I have explained this fully to that has not seen my point, yet, collectively, the same poor decisions that lead nowhere but to a lessening of education keep being made.

If Forrest Buell and the residents involved with the Clay City Schools can and do go in a better direction, all I can do is to wish them well. As for me, I've got to do the best I can with what I have to work with.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:42 AM

Response to-- Posted by HappyTimes on Tue, May 19, 2009, at 4:11 PM

"Mr Southworth, thats my problem, I want to see a plan. Not just your opinion. Anyone can have an opinion. I want to see a plan. You disagree with this, and that. Lets say you are on the board, teachers union, or in administration. What is your plan to fix the problems. Kind of like "show me the money", you "show me a plan". I'm not trying to be disrespectful, I'm just tired of people always having an opinion and NO solution. Let us know what needs to be done."

I have been putting my plan to the board for the past two years. At this point, it is to delay building anything until the research has been done to determine what we can and should with our buildings that will maximize education while minimizing costs. Like you, I don't like to do things based solely on opinions which is why I have been asking for a research-based plan. What was approved by the board is based, almost totally, on a few people's opinion of what we can do and not what research indicates will educate better or will cut costs in other areas to allow education dollars that are now being spent, for example, to drive pick-up trucks between locations back into the classrooms.

When I became involved, I asked four questions. I was handed a sheaf of paper, 19 pages that are the Facility Study for Clay Community Schools of August 2007. This did not answer my first two questions concerning the age of our buildings and when they are planned to be replaced. What it did was enlighten me to the fact that only data that would support that study and its conclusions was being presented. One of the key "facts" that caught my attention was that the study recommended 147 sq. ft. per student when the average for new schools was only 124. That is a difference in cost of about $3485 PER STUDENT. That was the "tip of the iceberg" that made me start looking very hard at our school corporation and gathering data from outside.

You ask me for my plan, well, my plan is already in operation. It is to wake up the community to the fact that the community needs to get involved instead of letting things go on as they have. The community needs to demand that research be done to prove the benefits of something before the board approves it. That puts the responsibility where it should have been all along, on the administration that recommends actions to the board. These are the people that we have hired for their professionalism, we need to demand that they earn the money the taxpayer pays them by doing the job instead of giving opinions without facts to base those opinions on. Demand that they explain the pros and cons of the recommendation in full public view.

Let the public understand that every tax dollar taken from your pocket can only be spent once. It must be spent wisely. We have a finite amount of income, if we need teachers to educate students or maintenance bays for buses, where is the priority? Simplistically, we could teach classes in a maintenance bay, but we cannot teach without a teacher. Jenny Moore and I would disagree on the next priority, that of AP classes versus remediation of students at risk of failing to be educated. I do not subscribe to her stand that those who can achieve the higher wages in life through education should support those that do not achieve the minimum ability to be self-sufficient. My stand is that a person should be self-reliant, if only for self esteem, and every one that can, should pay their own way through life.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 11:43 AM

Can we get an independent auditor to check the 73-27 numbers. Figures don't lie but liars figure. The State of Indiana will not allow DECONSOLIDATION. They are trying tomake a law that smaller corporations have to consolidate to save money!

-- Posted by rdevil8 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 1:41 PM

Leo is correct about the schools operating close together as there was a study in late 1990's and I was in the group of teachers and community members. It was very clear at that time that we were not operating at full capacity at some elementaries and were over full at others. The simplest solution that was also CHEAP was to redistrict Elementary school lines as well as High School lines, balancing out the student population so we could have three classes per grade at some schools and two at others and less with 2.5 classes which either made for two big classes or the unaffordable 3 very small ones of about 15 per class.

It also looked at closing one elementary school in Brazil and relocating Central Office, LEAP center and Cumberland Academy there [this was before that was built], thus shedding two buildings and preventing the need for building a third.

Shifting HS lines could have given Clay City HS more students so that they could have more course selections as their population so low that third year foreign language didn't even make the cut some years.

All of this could have been done by relocating lines. I suggested this then and still do now. Then when I stated that it was not hard for a child to adapt to a new school and my children had done just that recently when moving to Indiana. I was informed that some would not think of doing that sort of thing to their child, indicating that I had damaged my children somehow.

So we still have same lines and same schools. That's the kind of nostalgia that keeps us stuck in past.

A solution of that type would have helped ALL students in the county. Would have had minimal cost and would have both improved student/teacher ratio at all elementaries and increased course options at Clay City High.

Each student in this county deserves the same education and I personally would NEVER support anything that would be otherwise however due to the quality of education being linked to the economic health of the entire county, my "feeling/belief/faith" makes me feel that those who have more invested in the community via land/business ownership have more to gain from the county being more economically sound so why should they not want to invest more to gain more from that wealth? Seems to make perfect business sense as well even if they don't feel that they are their brother's keepers.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 1:42 PM

*Dean's list at Rose-Hulman last year 2nd semester

8 were Northview Graduates

0 were Clay City Graduates

Equation=Northview's best is better then Clay City's best. Some will argue that is wrong and random and produce some other number to refute it and that is the point. You can get numbers to say what they want.

Everyone knows who has studied the research knows that the socio-economic factors and parental involvement are the two most important factors in the education of a child. When I look at schools I look at their top 10%, top 25% and top 75%. The bottom 25% is based on socio-economic/special education factors that are for the most part out of the control of the schools unless they change the laws and the courts get involved and .

I applaud Clay City for having a fine school and having more parental involvement and less free and reduced lunch patrons.

-- Posted by rdevil8 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 2:20 PM

rdevil8: You are right... about some things. Separating from the corporation is not going to happen, and if the judge, lawyers, parents, teachers, students, supporters, governor, legislatures, whoever try: it has about a 98% failure possibility at best. One thing that is painfully true is that over 35% of the counties revenues come from Harrison Twp. ALONE. Farmers pay a lot of acres in taxes, so who knows if the school voucher money equals out to 27%....whatever. Point to be made is simple.

Perhaps your figures are not correct either. RHIT is a fine school, but what if the majority of the students in that graduating class year decided to go to Purdue, or IU or ISU. Maybe Northview sends a tremendous amount of students to Rose Hulman. To say that Northviews best is better is ridiculous. Northview also graduates like 10X as many students. Come on....ludicrous.

Please also consider....since you brought the topic up :) that Clay City doesn't offer the same classes that Northview does. Don't know how many South-enders are aware of this, but our kids have more opportunities, and the point is both schools are great, and have potential, but compare apples to apples and bang for buck, and you rdevil8 will be shouting into the wind everytime. Clay City parents are fired up because of large class size, inadequate education materials, etc. and this school corporation is failing their students.

What if you were the Bowling Green farmer with 2000 acres that you pay for through the nose--DEARLY-- in taxes, and your son would like to take some AP Science or Math, but because Northview needs new computer chairs, we can't offer that class at Clay City. Are you kidding. You would be livid as well. We are supported by several hard working men and women who are sitting idly by and not being heard. Shameful.

-- Posted by __2--- on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 2:38 PM

We don't need a giant school in Ashboro. There was a school until it got consolidated! In the 80's, Clay city and dr. buell fought like crazy to keep clay city from being consolidated with the North.

Some Northview people say they don't want to pay for our school renovations. What renovations? Those people seriously need to walk around our school. When we went to the Clay City vs. Northview basketball game, we were amazed. Northview had light-up backboards and we don't even have stall doors in the restrooms!

That's pointless spending!

-- Posted by cc225 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 3:43 PM


Yea I know about Rose and Dean's list. One is my daughter. I don't think though that can be a fair comparison though as XYZ123 says. There have been good students who attended Rose from Clay City as well. The fact just what redevil indicates. Both the student and the parent have to know how and what to do to get maximum benefit from any school for their child to progress to highest level possible.

What the schools here need is a higher general standard for ALL students so those parents who are not familiar with educational needs will not miss so many opportunities for their children. Take Early Bird for example. 7 classes per day is standard at almost every other school in state [or trimester system that allows student to get 15 credits per year], while in Clay county 6 is the standard and only those who are aware that the need is there AND can afford to get their kid to school early can take advantage of this extra boost in academic exposure. Parents doing shift work, have younger siblings in family so kids can't leave til bus comes, cannot take advantage of this even if they wanted to. Talk about widening the socioeconomic divide. What is available to one group of students should be available to all. ..

So now they are closing the gap a little bit by taking away teacher taught classes in EB and having only computer Nova Net classes available! So instead of raising the bar for all, CCSC is again lowering the ceiling.

These things keep creeping in along with the larger classes and every other year classes and dropped classes at certain schools.

We are failing the students. More about this in letter to editor in paper from Monday if you want to read more.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 4:06 PM

xyz123, you think EXACTLY like I do! Everything you are saying is absolutely correct! Unless there is an uproar by Clay City, nothing is going to happen. The board will continue to act in favor of the other schools.

-- Posted by cc225 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 7:57 PM

I'm not trying to stray off topic, and I don't want to start a big argument, but i was wondering why only two meetings are held at Clay City. The rest are at North Clay. Some people don't like driving to Brazil. Maybe if they evened out where the meetings were held...

-- Posted by cc225 on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 8:46 PM

I honestly do have a life, and don't know why I'm addicted to this. I've never done this before. So....ok.....Thank you CC225, I don't think its rare that we think alike. I think we must be being HONEST and RATIONAL. Most people feel the same way I think.

I always heard that the reason (always a rationale you know) that they don't grace the doors of Clay City is because it could be too confusing to patrons who want to go to the meetings. If it is always in a central location (North Clay is definitely the CENTER of the county) then everyone knows where it is. Also, some of the buildings aren't as nice, blah blah blah. I guess some of the new Board Members would like to rotate and even go to some Elementaries, but North Clay's set-up is so wonderful.

That, was EXTREMELY sarcastic. Like I said, I've went and spoke at board meetings...like a fool...although I think it's important, when they don't even dignify your presence it's sort of embarassing. Anyway, the acoustics in North Clay's library----stinks. The room is divided, down the middle by TALL, and I mean you can't see over them-- dividers or tables, you can't see who is talking or one side or the other of the Board members. It is intimidating. The absolute worse possible place to have a meeting of give and take and community respect. I don't know why they don't do something about that, but then again....they don't act like they want patrons there and they do a superb job of making that crystal clear.

-- Posted by __2--- on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 9:01 PM

Actually they used to rotate the meetings more than they do now. Not saying it would help attendance but at least it got admin and board into other facilities.

How central is Jackson township Ele? Maybe that would be better place and more equidistant to more? Real close to me but might not be to bulk of those who have to attend. The man who records it all too has to haul his equipment to the meeting. Maybe he lives in north part of county?

Any location now though is better than the music room at Forest Park Ele. It used to be there and not even enough room for everyone attending.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Wed, May 20, 2009, at 10:44 PM

Thanks! I was just wondering if there was a specific reason.

-- Posted by cc225 on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 6:12 AM

Okay attending the board meetings as we know is a waste. But to the Rose comment I bet if you checked most Clay City grads attend PURDUE. Also I think the kids @ Clay City Should be able to attend the AP Classes offered at Northview not have to transfer schools to do it. I myself cant attend school board meetings as that is my night shift I have to work. But I was wondering does anyone else have trouble sending the school board members email from the CCSC website, I've never been able to get it to work. But I have been able to pick up the phone & call Doc Buell. Also for the person who was Bashing DOCTOR BUELL he earned that title give it the respect it deserves.

-- Posted by confused33 on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 7:57 AM

Side note to XYZ123: my family farms 1600 acres so I know your pain. I think you missed my point. I did not want to say Northview's grads were better. I was simply saying you can get the numbers to say what you want, when most of it boils down to whether your parents value an education or not along with socio- economic numbers. Clay City is a great school who has benefitted from being part of Clay Community Schools but there are problems in every school corporation in America to some extent.Another question; How many 200,000-400,000 dollar homes are in Clay City's district compared to the Forest Park area?

-- Posted by rdevil8 on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 8:24 AM

Rdevil8 - The figures that John Bradshaw and Forrest Buell used are public information, they are at the DLGF website and in the school corporation budget. John and Forrest worked on this about two months.

Jenny brings out some points. One thing that the public must be made aware of is the fact that the "money follows the student"; that is, the larger the student population is, the more money that particular building has to use, but also, just as in a family, the cost per student should go down. The cost per student should go down because you do not need to double everything to provide the same level of service but your income would double.

I got a little "hot" when the superintendant was quoted in the paper that "he wanted students to have buildings "on par" with schools elsewhere. That only intensified when one board member came up to me and stated that **** School should be made into a "model" school due to its location. Frankly, I do not want to get into the "keeping up with the Jones'" routine nor do I see the sense of favoring one group of students over all others. I do not care if a school, the size of Northview, down the road has a swimming pool or one up the road has an auxiliary gym. The question that comes to my mind is "Does Northview (and Clay City High) have what they need to support and deliver education to qualify their total student populations for a high school diploma and do their "feeder" schools prepare students for high school. Any and every other thing that does not contribute to those things is money wasted. Everything needs to be weighed against its educational value but that does not appear to be what is happening.

LOL, rdevil8, in applauding Clay City for having less free and reduced lunch students has "hit" the point that Forrest and John was making. Why should the taxpayers of the south pay for their poor neighbors in the north instead of investing in themselves. I have to disagree with his equation, though. While Northview may well have more students on the Dean's list at Rose last year, 8 out of a population of about 1100 (grades 9-12) equals 0.7 percent for Northview with 0.7% of Clay City's enrollment of 420 (grades 7-12) would be 3 students. It would take more research to prove the equation and balance all factors. Socio-economic and lack of parental involvement are factors that every school contends with. That is the hand that they are dealt and something that they must constantly strive to overcome.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 10:18 AM

I hope that everyone who commented here will go to the school board meeting tonight and make their comments to the board.

I, for one, cannot attend this evening as I have a commitment with a grandson in trouble and a therapist. As much as I would like to be, I cannot be in two places at the same time. I have to put family above my neighbors in this instance.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 10:25 AM

cc225, I don't think that the scoreboards or the back-lighted backboards came out of taxpayer money. I believe, like many other amenities added to gyms and athletic fields, it is accomplished through donations.

Jenny, I usually am right with you, and for the most part, I still am, but your statement about building one high school near Ashboro, as fantasy as that might be, would be a step in the exact wrong direction in my opinion. We probably have the exact right number of high schools with wrong district lines as you have pointed out, or we have one too few of high schools. Because in my fantasy world, education-wise, if Clay City is left alone, then the northern half of the county should be split east and west.

I don't care if there are high schools out there 4 or 5 times the size of Northview, and there are, the state has no business approving high schools of that size. While maybe you have consolidated costs, what price are you paying for the huge schools where individual students get lost in the process? In my opinion, we should have had two 500-600 student high schools in the north. But like I said, at this point in time this is fantasy world stuff.

We are stuck with the decisions that were made 25 years ago and Northview/North Clay aren't going away and we won't be building new at the high school level for a very long time. So to make the best of the situation we currently are stuck with, I don't see how you can't move that dividing line. Northview should get smaller, Clay City could probably do even better with a slightly bigger student population. Even just moving 100 students would make things better than they are today.

Now I would argue the other way on the elementary level. The city of Brazil has one more elementary than what it needs, and I agree with Leo, why are we wanting to spend millions on buildings that are closer to being past their useful life than they are otherwise? Of course, as I always prefice this...I may support less elementary facilities, but with the understanding that acceptable student-to-teacher ratios are maintained.

As far as the meeting places go, one in every 3 or 4 meetings should be held in the south. The ones in the north, it has been my experience that the best place for it is at North Clay, but in the "commons" area just inside the main entrance and not in the library. But believe me, those who are engaged in the process or have keen interest, have no problem finding the meetings wherever they are.

-- Posted by ClayCountyGuy on Thu, May 21, 2009, at 2:36 PM

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