Saturday, October 10, 2009


Some folks living in Canal Fulton, Clinton (Summit County) and Lawrence Township would argue with the phrase on the Northwest Local School District website.

Well, at least part of it - "fiscally responsible."

But be that as it is, it could be that a September 30, 2009 article in The Massillon Independent (Northwest enrollment impacting finances, Erin Putsay) signifies that Northwest officials have begun their campaign to get a levy passed in May, 2010.

It is hard to follow the mathmatical logic of the piece because of the confusing Superintendent William Stetler statement quoted below.

Here is how the SCPR computes the numbers:

Northwest is losing 230 students a year through graduation, while gaining 140 in at the entry level.


Minus 90 a year on the basis of current trends, right?

But Stetler says:
What we are finding is that students, between the fifth- and sixth-grades and sixth- and seventh-grades, are leaving; they aren’t staying,  With the exception of the (middle school age students) we aren’t really losing students, but we aren’t seeing an influx because no one is moving in.
Sounds like, not only is Northwest losing through attrition (the 230-140 equals a minus 90), but, apparently, because of Northwest's financial woes - students' famililies moving out of the school district to other area school districts.

On the Northwest website Stetler cites a statement from Charlotte Perkins Gelman:, to wit:   "You cannot put a quart in a pint cup."

And then he goes on to paint a rather dismal picture for Northwest schoos:
The Northwest School District is trying to do just that. Please consider:

  • Northwest's revenue per student is in the bottom 3 percent in the entire state of Ohio.

  • Northwest is one million dollars in debt.

  • Northwest has lost and will continue to lose essential programs and services that our children and families need.

Earlier in October, yours truly had a brief exchange with the Stark County Educational Service Center's Larry Morgan (superintendent) who expressed great concern about the Northwest situation.

The SCPR believes that a Northwest levy campaign has begun.  But the question is this:  Is there any hope?

Stetler says there is.  In is superintendent's message on the website, he quotes Christopher Reeves:  "Once you have hope, anything is possible." Kind of sounds like:  "With God, all things are possible?"

Statler himself is a believer in miracles.

And, it will take a miracle to pass a levy in Northwest, even with this early start on the campaign.

Stetler himself articulates the reason:
We are in this dire situation due to a lack of trust and an absence of communication, (emphasis added) according to our recent community survey. Let's begin working together. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to help save our community and schools.
 Government officials from the local school board to the White House never quite get it on the matters of trust and communication.

Trust and connection are not lost in one large, cataclysmic event.

Trust and connection are lost grain by grain over a long period of time.

Getting them back does call for a miracle.

Right now that seems to be the only thing for Northwest officials have to hope for.

Now we shall see if William Stetler is the "miracle worker" the Northwest Board hired him to be.

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