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To the Editor:
I respect everyone’s right to decide their vote at the polls and encourage voters to base their choices on accurate information. Information continues to be distributed which explains Brown Local’s May 7th bond issue. Anyone is welcome to call the administrative offices at 330-863-1170, ext. 1 with questions. In response to some misperceptions from Mr. Leyda’s letter to the editor last week, I offer the following respectful clarifications:

* The assessment of our facilities and estimates to repair and/or replace it were prepared by the Ohio School Facilities Commission (OSFC), not “some friend” of the Board of Education in Columbus. The OSFC is the agency responsible for the state assisted school building projects in Ohio. Last week’s letter written by Mr. Bille gave a good overview of the OSFC and their lack of fiscal resources to school district needs.

* In response to getting quotes from general contractors, we have local contractor proposals and work agreements on many of the repairs to our facilities.

* The May 7th bond issue funds can only be used for the building project, not general operating costs. Mr. Leyda is correct in his statement that schools, including Brown Local, will need to seek support of general operating cost levies in the future. We make every effort to absorb and decrease costs to avoid new ballot issues unless absolutely necessary.

* Just as we make choices in our personal lives about expenditures, our school district prioritizes repairs, purchases, projects, etc. based on our current budget. We are continually completing maintenance of our facilities, including new roofs, boiler replacements, lighting upgrades, floor refinishing, plumbing revisions, technology/electrical wiring upgrades, security installations, etc. It was decided at this time it isn’t fiscally prudent to spend a quarter of a million dollars on a temporary fix to the peeling façade above the old front entrance when a new building may be in the near future. Obviously, the outcome of this bond issue may cause a revision to the prioritization of our maintenance projects.

* The OSFC conducted a very thorough assessment of our facilities with a team of qualified professionals to determine it would take $21 million to upgrade to current standards, not just repair the current facilities. The assessment also ranked our school district in the top four in Ohio as to exceptional needs for new facilities. That report is available in our office if anyone wants to see it.

* I appreciate Mr. Leyda’s suggestion of precast, prestressed, box culverts, tilt up concrete construction options. Our architects, FMD of Fairlawn, are very knowledgeable of different construction processes and will explore the most economical options in an attempt to complete our project under budget. FMD will be seeking community input in the planning phases of this project. We welcome Mr. Leyda and others to share their expertise and ideas with us.

* Brown Local operates three schools (elementary, middle and high school) within one facility. Our district completes the same amount of reports, tasks and duties of school districts with more than one building. Small school districts, such as ours, get great value from their staff because the same level of education and responsibility is completed without the support staff positions that exist in many districts. In other words, we do the same amount of work without assistants and full-time coordinators that districts usually employ. Administrative salaries are earned according to levels of experience, education and responsibility. As I finish my 23rd year in school administration (14 years as Brown Local Superintendent) and have begun my 34th year as a professional educator, I have more years of educational administrative experience than all of our neighboring school district superintendents combined. I am pleased to work with quality colleagues from the area districts, honored to have served Brown Local for a large part of my career and proud to call Malvern my home.

* Our evening custodians clean the facilities and check the security of our windows and doors. Sometimes air conditioners are run in the summer to keep rooms cool for summer classes, computer maintenance and custodial tasks.

* We are very proud of our growing band. One of our band members was chosen last week to participate in the All Ohio High School Band in Columbus this summer.

* Grants have been written and funds sought to replace our track. One of the challenges is the poor drainage, which has been explored and included in our grant efforts.

* Exploration into the oil & gas growth in our area indicates the school populations should not be impacted by large increases. Their work force doesn’t always move their families due to the transient nature of their employment.

Connie Griffin
Superintendent
Brown Local Schools

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