Gadfly Bites 2/26/18 - Small town issues

  1. It may or may not surprise you to know that not many school districts in Ohio have a diversity plan when it comes to hiring. Small town Mansfield is not one of those districts. Seems to me that they don’t have much to show for having a plan in place for a year, but district officials seem satisfied. (Mansfield News Journal, 2/23/18)
  2. Things are much more clear cut in Norwalk schools; almost too much so. Both the board and the teachers union in the small northern Ohio town are delighted with their recent contract negotiations. They even use the word “enjoyable” to describe the process. Can you imagine? And what alchemy could have led to this shiny happy outcome? A newly-implemented process called “interest-based bargaining” (isn’t that every kind of bargaining?). “Essentially it emphasizes working toward solutions and takes away conflict from the process,” the journalist explains helpfully. Oh, right. THAT’s what everyone else is doing wrong. (Norwalk Reflector, 2/25/18)
  3. Some of the small town districts in Northeast Ohio seem to be continuing a 30 year lament in regard to school levies. Some say that a 1976 law makes “boom and bust” cycles the norm for their districts – a situation which is hard to explain to voters when they are asked for new or renewal levies perhaps a bit more often than they would like. Other local levies (municipalities, parks, etc.) are also confounding problems for schools, they say. Controlling costs is not mentioned, but you probably guessed that. (Willoughby News-Herald, 2/25/18)
Jeff Murray
Jeff Murray is the Ohio Operations Manager of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute,