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School commended and legislation condemned at meeting

November 29, 2011
By Richard Sberna
The faculty and staff at West Boulevard Elementary School were honored Nov. 22 at a recognition dinner in honor of being named a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education. State Rep. Ron Gerberry and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni offered their congratulations at the ceremony. They also presented official proclamations, along with Sarah Poulton, a representative from Rep. Bill Johnson’s office, in honor of the achievement.

The Boardman Board of Education held a brief meeting at the school following the dinner, where the accolades continued. The board presented their own proclamation, delivered by President Ken Berarduce, which commended West Boulevard Principal Al Cervello, teachers and administration. The board’s proclamation pointed out that West Boulevard is one of only six public primary elementary schools in the state to earn the recognition. West Boulevard also earned the highest performance index of any elementary school on the 2010 Ohio Schools Report Card and was named a 2011 Hall of Fame School by the Ohio Association of Elementary School Administrators.

Board member Kim Poma commended the hard work of students the involvement of parents in addition to the efforts teachers and administration. “Boardman is a community, and our school district succeeds because this is a community school district,” said board member John Landers. “This is what happens when we all work together.”

The quality of education and state funding came to the forefront of the meeting when board members unanimously approved a resolution opposing Ohio House Bill 136. Introduced earlier this year, H.B. 136 would expand Ohio’s existing voucher program for private or charter schools.

In its current form, the Ohio EdChoice program offers vouchers to parents of students attending low-performing public schools, which have received a “D” or “F” rating from the Ohio Department of Education. Priority is also given to low-income families since they frequently live in communities with poorly-rated schools.

By contrast, H.B. 136 would greatly expand income eligibility, making vouchers available to families with household incomes up to $95,000. The bill would also eliminate the school performance stipulation, extending voucher availability to students in even the highest-performing, “A” rated public schools. In addition, school districts would lose $5,800 in state funding for each student that transfers to a private or charter school on the proposed voucher program.

“This is a bill that would negatively impact every school district in the state,” Superintendent Frank Lazzeri said. He pointed out that, with a median household income of $45,000 in the township, H.B. 136 could cause a great migration of students from Boardman Schools to one of the many local private, parochial or charter schools. According to Lazzeri, the result for Boardman Schools would be potentially crippling funding cuts of up to $2 million. He also encouraged parents to contact the Ohio PTA for more information and contact their state representatives.

“They need to hear from parents,” he said.

In his closing remarks, Berarduce urged parents to recognize and thank the teachers and administrators at all Boardman schools for the level of education that they provide the children of the community.

“We’ve recognized West Boulevard because of its specific achievement, but all of the schools strive for and have exceeded our expectations,” he said.

Berarduce marked the recent passing of Leroy Olson, a former Boardman Board of Education member and president, at the age of 85. “We all look at our fellow board members as teammates, and we lost a good one,” he said.

Article Photos

A table covered with awards and proclamations greeted attendees at the Boardman Board of Education’s Nov. 22 meeting at West Boulevard Elementary School. Administration, faculty and staff were congratulated on being named as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Education.

 
 

 

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