740-472-0734
< P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793  <
monroecountybeacon@sbcglobal.net

 

Below are links to portions of this week's news articles. For the full story, pick up a  paper at your local newsstand or send $1 with your name/address to P.O. Box 70, Woodsfield, OH  43793.

 


 

 Sept. 20, 2007 Edition

< District Deconsolidation Denied
by Arlean Selvy
Publisher

The Switzerland of Ohio School District will not be
split into three districts.
Based upon information in a Feasibility Study, the
State Board of Education has denied requests to create
three school districts within the Switzerland of Ohio.
The recommendation to deny was made to the State Board
by Susan Zelman, superintendent of public instruction.
Two local committees had made the request to the
state to deconsolidate the current Switzerland of
Ohio District and create three separate districts,
Beallsville Local, River Local and Monroe Central
Local School Districts.
With deconsolidation, in addition to financing each
new district, a new joint vocational district would
have to be provided.
�The Ohio Department of Education and State Board of
Education have investigated the situation and have,
through their action, encouraged us to focus our
efforts on improving our district,� said Larry
Elliott, superintendent, Switzerland of Ohio school
district.
Elliott, along with Kevin Robertson, district
treasurer, Ron Winkler, president, board of education;
Jim Miller and Ron Sebring, representing River High
and Wayne Clark and Chris Pack, representing
Beallsville High, attended the Sept. 11 meeting.
Elliott noted that, with the decision made, �We�ll
not be spinning our wheels in the unknown anymore.� He
said the district was in limbo as long as there was a
question as to whether there would be one school
district or four. �Now we can move forward,� he said.
According to information submitted by the local
committees for deconsolidation, the three new
districts would have provided career-technical
programs through membership in a new Joint Vocational
School district that would operate in the current
Swiss Hiss Career Center. It is mentioned in the study
that: �Typically, joint vocational school districts
levy 2 to 3 mills to support operating expenses.� The
study goes on to say that until the JVS-District
begins receiving state foundation funding, each member
district may, on a proportional basis, contribute to
the expenditures of operations. In a summary of
deconsolidation considerations, it is noted that three
districts would be less efficient than one, with
Monroe Central and River experiencing a greater
financial difficulty than Beallsville. For the same
number of pupils, there would be three
superintendents, three treasurers, less opportunity
for efficiencies to be gained in transportation and
more complexity in terms of operating career-technical
programming. It would also be necessary for districts
to hire additional educational services personnel to
meet the requirement of having a minimum of five
assigned areas covered, and the coverage would be
spread over fewer students.
According to the feasibility study, deconsolidation
would drive transportation costs higher for both
districts. The Switzer-land of Ohio has two
maintenance facilities, one in the River area and one
in the Monroe Central area. There are two mechanics at
each area. There would be a need for an additional
maintenance facility in the Beallsville district, as
well as another mechanic. These needs would carry
additional cost on top of the greater costs of
operating a smaller fleet.
The school district�s area is 546 square miles -
three times the average of similar districts and over
eight times the state average. The pupil density is
only five per square mile - less than half that of
comparable districts and one-eighth the state average.
The feasibility study shows that student population
is declining an average of one percent a year. It
notes that the three proposed districts would be
small, ranging from 534 to 1,340 students. High
schools would operate with an estimated student
population from 209 to 285.
The current Switzerland of Ohio District is expected
to have available revenue equal to about $8,226 per
pupil in FY09 (the earliest year in which
deconsolidation could have taken effect). Under a
deconsolidation scenario, the Ohio Department of
Education estimates that, in FY09 the Monroe Central
district would have $8,0754 per pupil; River district,
$8,002 and Beallsville district, $10,423 per pupil.
The data shows that Monroe Central and River would
emerge with slightly less foundation funding and local
revenues per pupil than would be available if the
Switzerland District stayed intact. In addition each
new district would have experienced the loss of
tangible personal property direct reimbursement
payments, which presently total $936,644 for the
Switzerland District.
ODE is concerned that the roughly six percent loss of
available resources per pupil - two percent due to a
disproportional loss of property valuations and
another four percent due to the loss of tangible
personal property direct reimbursement payments -
raises serious questions about the ability of Monroe
Central and River districts to operate a program
equivalent to that of Beallsville. ODE further
concluded that deconsolidation would not improve
efficient operations per se, and would lead to more
inefficiency.
The study further shows results of a staffing
analysis conducted in February: �The schools that
constitute Monroe Central are overstaffed by 17
positions, River schools are overstaffed by 18, and
those of Beallsville are overstaffed by eight
positions. It concludes, �The most plausible
explanation is that the district has three high
schools, each with less than 300 students. Under such
a configuration, certain classes are bound to be
smaller and drive the staffing patterns to inefficient
levels.�
�My primary consideration as the State Superintendent
of Public Instruction is the present and ultimate good
of all the pupils concerned in the Switzerland of Ohio
Local School District,� said Zelman. �In this regard
there does not appear to be evidence that the quality
of education for all students would significantly
improve as a result of the creation of the Beallsville
Local, River Local and Monroe Central Local
Districts.
In the summary to the State Board of Education it is
concluded that: �The primary motivation for the
request [for deconsolidation] does not appear to be
discontent with the district�s academic performance.
In fact, the committees [for deconsolidation]
acknowledge that the district has maintained an
�effective� Report Card rating for the past two school
years, and ... new districts would utilize existing
curriculum framework. The primary issue, rather, is
the admittedly poor condition of the District�s
facilities. The committees believe that, if local
districts are created in each attendance area, the
local communities will be more inclined to support
their district�s respective bond and levy efforts. We
can speculate that this may occur in each new
district, but what if it does not?�
Local board of education president Ron Winkler said
he is hoping that the type of energy used to try to
deconsolidate can now be used to �pull together and
try to get new buildings for our district.� Winkler
noted that until the state gives the district a higher
percentage of funding - taxpayers can�t afford the
cost of all new schools.
During the meeting, Winkler told state school board
members that people are upset because school districts
all around are getting new schools with high funding
percentages.
�Our fight is with the state legislation, not with
the people of the county,� said Winkler.

<   Higher Education Partnership Announced for Monroe County          

Report by The Strategy Team and titled "Measuring the Post-secondary
Market Potential of Monroe County"

         
Announcement to move Monroe County forward in higher
education came on the heels of a Sept. 17 presentation
by The Strategy Team. The firm recently completed an
extensive feasibility study headed by Belmont
Technical College. From left are Dr. Joseph Bukowski,
president BTC; Elizabeth Gates, BTC Board of Trustees
chair; Karen Snyder, Ph.D, The Strategy Team; Francis
�Sonny� Block, president, Monroe County Board of
Commissioners; Senator Joy Padgett and county
commissioners Bill Thompson and John V. Pyles.
Representative Jennifer Garrison was also in
attendance. Photos by Arlean Sevy

More photos from the evening...

The impact of higher education on residents of Monroe
County was quantified this week in a report by The
Strategy Team and titled �Measuring the Post-secondary
Market Potential of Monroe County.� Dr. Karen Snyder,
principal researcher of the Columbus-based firm,
presented the findings of the report to the community
at a joint meeting of the Belmont Technical College
Board of Trustees and Monroe County Commissioners on
Monday, Sept. 17.
�Since the concept of a higher education center was
broached nearly two years ago, much discussion and
debate has occurred,� said Elizabeth Gates, BTC board
of trustees chair. �With the results of the higher
education study in hand, it is now incumbent on the
leaders of this community to act.�
About the feasibility study, Francis �Sonny� Block,
county commissioner, noted several areas reviewed were
positive and some were negative. �I have a tendency to
think positive rather than negative,� he said. �We
have tremendous support tonight and we will keep the
ball rolling. We will move forward with higher
education in Monroe County.�
Belmont Technical College announced at the meeting
that it will create a Monroe County based
administrative position to actively participate in a
proposed partnership.
According to Gates, some of the goals of the
partnership will be to: act on behalf of the citizens
of Monroe County to increase access to higher
education; enlist community support for higher
education; implement strategies to increase the higher
education going rate; identify and evaluate existing
resources for higher education delivery; create a
master plan for delivery; prepare an annual plan and
generate financial and material resources for higher
education in Monroe County.
�The commissioners and the BTC Board of Trustees are
very enthusiastic about the higher education
partnership,� said Gates. �The college has pledged to
support the administrative needs with staff and other
resources to sustain its development and ensure its
success.�
The feasibility study was funded by BTC, the
Governor�s Of-fice of Appalachia and the county
commissioners. Residents of the county were asked to
cooperate in a survey of post-secondary educational
needs. Interviews were conducted with key people
individually and in focus groups.
Overall, 600 surveys were completed with randomly
selected Monroe County households. All respondents
were 16 years and older and were screened into two
categories: potential students and influencers. In the
report�s executive summary, The Strategy Team
described the process of implementation. Along with
the interviews, secondary data for Monroe County was
reviewed as well as national trends and models for
delivery of higher education to rural areas. Dr.
Snyder gave a thorough presentation on the report at
the meeting.
In their recommendation, Snyder reported that,
�Although interest is high, market potential for
post-secondary education is weak in Monroe County and
apt to grow weaker unless conditions change. BTC,
should it decide to lead the effort to establish a
post-secondary center, might want to limit its
liability by being a partner in the effort, with
suggested other partners to include: the county
commissioners, other institutions of higher learning,
such as Ohio University Eastern, local high schools,
the Broad-band Center, Department of Job and Family
Services and local businesses.
�If, based on BTC�s financial analysis of market
potential, the decision is to proceed with a Monroe
County post-secondary center, it is also recommended
that government support and/or foundation funds be
sought to help with planning and start-up costs.�
Belmont Technical College has been offering classes
in Monroe since 1997. Evening classes in general
credit and non-credit courses are offered at Swiss
Hills Career Center. It has also offered classes at
River High, Monroe Central, churches and the library.
BTC has hired 26 instructors to teach classes in
Monroe County.
The Strategy Team's complete Executive Summary report
may be found on the Beacon's website:
monroecountybeacononline@sbcglobal.com

< WIA One-Stop Merges with JFS

Monroe County�s WIA, One Stop program is now under
the umbrella of Jobs and Family Services.
The announcement was made by Deb Haney at the Sept.
12 meeting of Monroe County Commissioners. Attending
the meeting in addition to Haney, were Jeanette
Harter, assistant director, JFS; and Tate Ayers.
interim director of the WIA, One-Stop program.
The merger was approved on a 3-0 vote. The motion was
made by Commissioner Bill Thompson, who said he felt
the, �... combination of resources and the assets of
both entities will be wisely and more efficiently used
together to help the citizens of the county; those who
are looking for employment, and the employers looking
to move to Monroe County.� Thompson said he felt all
those individuals will be better served with the
merger.
�This has been a long time coming,� said Commission
President Francis �Sonny� Block, �it�s a great step
forward for our county � it will strengthen our
opportunities for economic development and the
educational process for our employers.� Block went on
to say he has looked forward to this day for some
time. �It will give the departments an opportunity to
work together hand in hand to make great things happen
in Monroe County.�
With that, attendees applauded the action.
Haney commended Ayers for doing a �remarkable job�
during the transitional period. �We could never have
done it without your help,� she told Ayers.
Thanking officials for their compliments, Ayers said,
�I believe you are moving in a positive direction
toward improving services here. ... I believe positive
things will happen in the county.�
�... uplifting that we�re all able to work together,�
said Commissioner John Pyles. �It shows that when
several agencies can sit down and talk things over,
discuss things, and make a positive impact, it�s
good.� He added it is his hope that other offices in
the county will be able to look at this as a roll
model � and be able to sit down and work together. �I
sure hope that they will,� he concluded.
Haney agreed and reiterated, �This was a group
effort, not anything done in a vacuum or out on Home
Avenue.� She explained that several meetings were held
with several stakeholders from around the state. Those
attending the meetings included representatives from
the Ohio Dept. of JFS, the state economic development
office, state workforce development as well as local
people from offices such as the CIC and Chamber of
Commerce.
�This decision was made by a large number of people,�
said Haney, noting they agreed the merger was the
�best route to take.�
Haney said JFS will move forward with advertising for
an Economic Workforce Developer. The new position will
be under Jobs and Family Services.
The advertisement can be found in this week�s Beacon
as well as the daily newspapers.
Following discussion, an executive session was held
at the request of Ayers for personnel with regard to
disciplinary action. No action was taken at the
conclusion of the session, which lasted for 35
minutes.

<Monroe Central Homecoming Candidates & Attendants

Homecoming festivities for Monroe Central begin
Thursday evening with a bonfire at 7:30 p.m. and
crowning of the king at 8 p.m. On Friday, Sept. 21, a
Homecoming Parade will begin at the Central Office at
6 p.m. and progress to the football field. At
halftime, the 2007 Homecoming Queen will be crowned.
Shown, from left, are: kneeling, Zach Ring and Seth
Oxley, king candidates; first row, Zach Burke, king
candidate; Amanda Schumacher, Carly Schwaben, Morgan
Ramage, queen candidates; Derek Tippie, king
candidate; second row, Kyle Rader, king candidate;
Rebecca Parden, Jerrica Kinney, Taylor Jorris, queen
candidates; Kyle Piatt, king candidate; back,
sophomore attendant Taylor Hansen, junior attendant
Kim Lafferre and freshman attendant Katlyn Burke.

< RHS Homecoming Candidates and Attendants

The Homecoming ceremony for River High School
will be held during halftime of the Sept. 21 football
game against Caldwell. A parade will begin at Hannibal
Locks and Dam at 6 p.m. In front are Miss River
candidates Leighnell Roberts, Hannibal; Sharon Cain,
Hannibal, Kassi Thomas (seated in center), Clarington;
Megan Ensinger, Hannibal and Lacey Saffell,
Clarington. Standing in back are Mr. River candidate
Troy Starr, Powhatan; Sophomore attendant Ashlee
Henry, Powhatan; Mr. River candidate Jared Trifonoff,
Powhatan; Freshman attendant Harley Caretti,
Clarington; Mr. River Candidate Kyle Wright, Powhatan;
Junior attendant Kelsey Krempasky, Hannibal and Mr.
River candidates Corey Frasnelly of Powhatan and Jamie
Brown of Sardis.

< Obituaries
(read the full obituary in the paper) 

< Janice Faye Lohr, 70, Gainesville, Fla., died Aug.
30, 2007, after bravely battling cancer.

< Patricia Ellen "Trish" Dierkes, 45, Zanesville, died
Sept. 16, 2007, at Genesis Good Samaritan Hospital
emergency room. She was born Oct. 13, 1961, in
Barnesville, a daughter of Don L. and Amy M. Masters
Hupp of Woodsfield. Condolences to
www.Bolin-dierkesfuneralhome.com.

< Ralph Carpenter of Delaware, formerly of Lewisville,
died Sept. 14, 2007, at his home.

< Clayton W. Denbow, 77, of Monroe County Care Center,
Woodsfield, died Sept. 16, 2007, at the center. He was
born Dec. 8, 1929, near Lewisville, a son of the late
Joseph "Babe: and Ethel Lafferre Denbow. Online
condolences may be expressed at
www.wattersfuneralhome.com

 

<Around the Burnside

By Denny Easterling

    A false witness will not go unpunished, nor will a
liar escape.
Many beg favors from a prince; everyone is a friend
of a person who gives gifts.
Corn Hole, I still can�t feel comfortable saying it,
however, it seems to have become a rather popular
game. Who would have thought playing bean bag would
have become so popular by changing the name of the
game and limiting it to one six inch hole for the bad
to fall through?
I read of Corn Hole tournaments being held at several
places in the area, Summerfield Festival on the 8th.
Even the woodshop at the prison near Caldwell made
Corn Hole games for several schools in the area. All
of them painted with the school�s logo on the front.
Does this mean that Corn Hole will become an accepted
high school sport down the road? Don�t be surprised,
bowling made it.
Even I am planning to construct a Corn Hole game, one
of these days. The snow may be flying around by the
time I get it completed. My plywood is only 22 inches
wide so it will not be legal. On the other hand,
probably by the time I get mine constructed, the Corn
Hole craze will be over. With my own outfit, I can
practice without anyone seeing me.
I understand the splitting of the Switzerland of Ohio
School District into three districts has been settled
once and for all. I heard the vote was 14-3 against.
Now it�s time for us to work together as a school
district and think of what�s best for the students of
the district.
You know weather is something just about everyone
talks about. I don�t know how many folks have
mentioned to me how they appreciate the little break
in the hot weather we�re having as I write. To be
honest, I kinda like it too.
We are all kind of funny when it comes to
temperature, some like it hot, some like it cool.
I can�t seem to remember much fuss being made over
the weather growing up. I don�t remember any fans
except some of the ladies waving one during church.
Most of the ladies spent the evening sitting on the
front porch or visiting a neighbor one their front
porch while the house cooled down and the men are all
sitting on benches in front of Bond�s Store, lying to
each other. We kids are running around playing some
type of active game till dark.
We lived in a big brick house that was not
uncomfortable during the summer but it was cold in
several rooms during the winter. When your breath
freezes on your covers during the night you know it�s
cold.
I know from experience as we get older we may like
things a little cooler and a little warmer. When we
visit one of our son�s, the first thing we do is head
for the thermostat and turn it up when it�s cold
outside.
When we first moved to Lewisville it was an electric
fan in just about every window. If our house did not
have a good foundation I think it might have been
carried off in the distance with all the fans.
Our next step was window air conditioners. These did
a good job of cooling the house down for a good many
years. A tink on the noisy side, but you got used to
that.
Here, a couple of weeks ago our furnace inspection
resulted in our old one reaching the point of probably
causing much trouble this winter, so it had to take
the trip. Following the advice of our offsprings, who
had mentioned it several times in the past, �you
should get whole house air conditioning� so we
splurged.
It didn�t take long after it was installed to realize
what we had been missing. The house was cool, no noise
from the window conditioners, and would have been good
when the weather was really hot.
Knowing very little about it, the thermostat was set
up to 75 degrees, this worked well but the boss of the
house �suggested� 74 later on, which seemed better.
This brought something to mind regarding temperature.
During the winter time we try to keep our thermostat
around the 70 degree mark, maybe just a tink higher if
it�s really cold. during the summer we will jack the
thermostat up to 75 degrees. Does this mean our house
is hotter but feels cooler? Sounds funny, turn it up
to keep cooler and down to keep warmer? I guess maybe
the weather outside has something to do with it. when
you�re hot you�re hot, when you�re not you�re not.
Hey, how about the Beallsville Blue Devil and the
River Pilot football teams, both undefeated so far and
the Blue Devils have not allowed a team to score a
point on them as yet. the Blue Devils seem to just
reload every year, while the Pilots are surprising
some folks. I just hope they keep it up into the State
Playoffs this year. I also expect the Noles to get
back to their winning ways as they have had some rough
sledding so far.
I almost forgot, if anyone is interested in a window
air conditioner, I know where there are a couple
available for the asking. Both have a remote control.
It�s surprising how many persons unselfishly will
neglect their own works in order to tell you how to
run yours.
Go to church Sunday? Why not?
Bible readings: All from Genesis (Mon.) 16:1-6;
(Tues.) 16:7-16; (Wed.) 21:9-13; (Thurs.) 21:14-16;
(Fri.) 21:17-19; (Sat.) 21:20-21; (Sun.) 25:12-18.

< Our Readers Write

Dear Editor,
Is the Post Office in Woodsfield going out of
business? The reason I'm asking this question is, they
took out the mailboxes around town. The one I used is
or one time was at Riesbeck's. Whenever I need to mail
something I get a stamp and mail the letter at the
store.
This is no more. They took the box out, but the
mailman still stops at the store delivering the mail
daily.
Then I started going up town to mail my bills and use
the stamp machine in the lobby. Now behold, they took
out the stamp machine. What is going on? I work odd
hours. It would be helpful if the Post Office would
work for the public.
While I'm on the subject what happened with local
people who work there? the Postmaster is from
Barnesville and two other people from Belmont County.
I don't like what I'm seeing.
Chuck Givins
Lewisville


Dear Editor,
Suzanne Polloc'ks letter in last week's Beacon really
surprised me. I had no idea that anyone had any
thoughts about breaking up a small, functional, if
poor, school system. The very idea of creating three
tiny individual school systems strikes me as totally
unbelievable. Do the people behind this have any idea
how much it costs to run a school district? If the tax
base can barely support one school district, how can
it support more than one? School superintendents are
hired professionals who expect adequate compensation
(i.e. they expect a decent salary). How many
superintendents can this area support? Needless to
say, they will require the supporting staff necessary
to run a school system. That also requires trained
people who expect a salary. where will that money come
from? Pollock mentioned textbook purchases. Are the
people of this community aware that the smaller the
number of books purchased, the higher the cost? But
perhaps, the deconsolidation advocates expect parents
to purchase their children's textbooks as they do in
charter schools (which have a notoriously short life
span due to financial problems)?
Has anyone asked the really hard question: what
happens when these mini-districts can't pay their
bills? Of course the state will not let our children
go uneducated, but they will take over the local
schools and operate them in a fiscally responsible
manner (i.e. balance the books). Wouldn't it seem
reasonable that the first thing the state would do
would be to consolidate the area schools into one
system? They would possibly even decide that the high
school students of the area would receive a better
education if all the little high schools were combined
into one comprehensive high school. The end result
could end up being just what the deconsolidators don't
want.
Merry E. Vargo
Woodsfield

Dear Editor,
To the taxpayers of Monroe County,
Again, our Switzerland School Board members have
ignored the cries of fiscal responsibility.
Headline of the Monroe County Beacon, Sept. 6,, 2007
issue reads?�Switzerland School Board Approves Teacher
Contract.�
Four members vote for the contract, Scott Dierkes
votes �nay�.
It would seem that Scott, whom I would not know if I
were face to face with the man, had the foresight to
understand the reason school levies have been soundly
defeated over the past many years. Property owners are
fed up with the spending for �wants� instead of needs.
Many home owners make less money than our teachers,
yet they have labored hard over the years to become a
home owner, and most did not have the side benefits
that the teacher union demands. The base salary is not
the only perk?90 percent of a great insurance package
being paid by the taxpayers? Wonder how much money
that takes per month? Read the Beacon article?
Comprehend the extent of the perks. You will find
yourself wishing you had all those perks also. Get the
picture? Homeowners are fed up and have been for
years.
Oh, they fear to speak out as to their true feelings,
but thank God for the ballot boxes on election day.
they can vote how they feel without fear of reprisal.
Hey, board members? Your actions again spell disaster
for any additional levies that are to be voted upon!
Good show! You have ignored the cries of the taxpayers
and sucked up to the barrow of pork spending.
In the end, our children, grandchildren, and
great-grandchildren pay the ultimate price.
Now? If we have teachers that are not being paid
enough to give the school district and the children
their best effort, more money will not improve their
lack of integrity. doing your best should never have a
monetary value placed upon it. You got a paying job?
Give it your best or have the integrity to quit!
Later, I will have more to say on this issue.
Wonder what all these pay increases (wants) will add
to the already out-of-sight deficit? Later we will
speak to this issue.
Hey, board members? You have tried to solve a problem
for years by increasing the deficit. It�s past time to
start trying a new approach. You might be pleasantly
surprised in seeing how the voters respond. We may
even pass a levy.
Hilbert Ault
Woodsfield


Dear Editor,

As a member of the Committee for Deconsolidation, I
would like to share the facts that can be confirmed by
the Ohio Department of Education. Right from the
beginning, the ODE knew that we were satis-fied with
everything in the SOLSD except the conditions of our
school buildings. We met with the Territory Transfer
Subcommittee on Nov. 12, 2006, to discuss our Initial
Request that had been submitted earlier as required by
the Ohio Revised Code 3311.26. Having met this legal
requirement,, the TTS stated that the next requirement
was to establish the need for the �Feasibility Study.�
On March 12, 2007, we presented and met all the legal
requirements. We answered 37 very comprehensive
questions, followed by 41 supplemental questions on
the following topics: administration & organization,
programmatic performance issues, fiscal & facilities
issues, career-technical programs, students with
disabilities, racial issues, transportation, misc. and
additional considerations.
On April 9, Ron Winkler, Linda Josefczyk, and Mike
Staggs stated their reasons against the
deconsolidation. Following their presentation, Mike
Cochran, chairman of the subcommittee asked, �What are
your plans to get new schools?� They could only offer
the DeJong Report. Mr. Cochran added, �At least the
Deconsoli-dation Committee has a plan, that by
deconsolidating, there would be a better chance of
getting voters to support bond levies to approve new
schools for their own children whereas the SOLSD has
failed to do so for more than 30 years.� He added,
�Consolidation was a trend of the 60�s and it was not
for everybody and it is obvious that it was not the
right thing for your people down there. If you think
that the State of Ohio is going to come in and build
your buildings for you, you are badly mistaken. It is
not going to happen!�
Following the hearings on May 15, the Subcommittee
voted 4-1 on a recommendation to proceed with the
feasibility study. Upon hearing the recommendation,
the total state board voted to do the study. The ODE
will not spend the time, money, or resources to do a
feasibility study unless a district has a substantial
need.
On Aug. 20, Matthew DeTemple, chief legal counsel,
Pete Japikse, transportation, and Mike Hubbell,
curriculum instruction, of the Feasibility Committee
held meetings with the Superintendent and others in
the Central Office to discuss 10 basic questions. The
three men proceeded to Beallsville to meet with Wayne
Clark, Chris Pack, Ron Sebring, and myself to exchange
information on the topics that were in the feasibility
study.
Throughout this whole process, our committee did not
let emotions cloud or dictate our decisions. Although
no one from Monroe Central attended our meetings, we
want a new school for their students as much as they
do. Deconsolidation would actually be their best
change of getting a new school because the townships
in their attendance area nearly always vote in favor
of the passage of bond levies. Ron is the only member
on the school board that is opposed to deconsolidation
and that is okay with us, yet he is the only board
member left that voted to close Woodsfield High School
and put the students in the portable buildings.
Jeannie Libby and Lawrence Pack were incumbents with
Ron in opposition to deconsolidation but were defeated
by candidates, Jeff Williamson and Edward Carleton,
who ran on the platform. �For withdrawal into 3
independent districts.� Surely these election results
prove that more people believe that we can provide
better schools for our children when there is local
control of the schools in one�s attendance area.
Prior to the consolidation of SOLSD, all school
buildings were new or in very good condition. The
former schools in Bethel, Graysville, Laings,
Lewisville, and Midway appear to be better kept by
their local communities than our present schools that
are maintained by the SOLSD. Yes, we can continue as
SOLSD, and most likely will, as the State is very
reluctant to allow us to down-size our operation as
many businesses have had to do to stay solvent. But,
we are afraid that our buildings will continue to
deteriorate and the sad part is that the State Board
of Education members say that they know that we have
problems in the SOLSD. We do not question anyone�s
integrity whether they are for or against
deconsolidation because we believe that everyone is
doing what they think is right in their own mind. We,
on this committee, just believe that if we are ever
going to get new schools for our children, we must
listen to the voters who say, �We will only pay for
schools that our children attend.� Many consultants
and many different strategies have been tried in the
past 30 years to obtain support for new facilities and
all have failed. Deconsoli-dation seems to offer the
best means for obtaining the new and/or renovated
school facilities our children need and deserve.
Jim Miller
Sardis


Dear Editor,
"One Monroe County Taxpayer's Opinion" Sept. 13,
2007.
In the 9/13 edition of the Beacon, we read to yet
another decision made by the elected members of the
School Board; to ask the voters to approve an annual
one percent income tax levy for five years for current
expenses.
In response to last week�s front page Beacon
headline, �Switzerland School Board Approves Teacher
Contract�, I submitted a Letter to the Editor which
was not published in this week�s Beacon 9/13.
Unfortun-ately, my letter was sent too late for timely
publication, and it remains yet to be published. This
new Letter to the Editor will be sent by email, well
ahead of the Friday noon deadline.
In my opinion, the school board�s 10-minute, Aug. 30
�special� meeting (not a regularly scheduled meeting
announced to the public) held to approve teacher base
salary and benefits raises was a blatant attempt to
bypass public input to the matter. The latest
announcement of the Board�s intention to ask for an
additional burden on taxpayers adds further
questionable motive. It is quite obvious the 8/30
�special� meeting in which teacher raises were
approved (thus deepening the budget deficit) was
assembled under the radar prior to the public
announcement of the intention to ask for increased
funding. Only a fool would believe the sequencing of
the two events was not deliberately planned � the
first to increase the deficit, the second to ask
citizens to approve the expense.
The School Board, too, is well aware of the public�s
ballot box answer to a long string of levy requests.
Does the Board think their recent attempt to bypass
public input to the salaries negotiations make the
public more likely to vote to put even more money into
their hands? Does the Board think the public is
suddenly eager to increasingly fund what has been
rejected time after time in the past and which is now
� thanks to the personnel salary and benefits
increases approved without public input � an even
larger challenge to the provision of quality education
to our children? Is this the way to rally voters to
approve a levy? Think about it!
For over a year I have made public statements
designed to bring focus to the spending of public
monies for �wants� instead of �needs� when the budgets
are strained and deficient. If the money was
available, I would support everyone in Monroe County
having their �wants� satisfied. But we all know the
money is not available without digging a deeper
deficit. Until the day our County resources can fund
all our �wants� without increasing the deficit to
long-suffering taxpayers, we should confine ourselves
to our �needs.� This is just common sense and shows a
decent respect for taxpayers.
From this day on, I vow to keep a record of how
elected officials vote to spend the taxpayer� money.
God willing, the results of my record-keeping will be
published before the next official election. For those
elected officials who are good stewards of the vast
sums of money entrusted to them, this will be a good
thing. The electability of those who do not meet the
same standard will be decided by votes at the ballot
box. Meanwhile, we have what we voted for. I can live
with that.
Hilbert Ault
Woodsfield