Highlights of 11/19/15 school board meeting

Milford Main open for last tour on 12/12
How do we understand others?
Athletics Update – to come
Extracurricular Update – to com

Please attend our Community Forum this Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 pm, MHS cafeteria. We will be discussing issues facing Ohio public school districts, including local control, unfunded mandates, and charter schools. WE NEED YOU to help us make change! The more people we have involved, the more likely our voices will be heard. We know it’s a busy time of year, but please invest a few hours in your local school and come listen – understanding is the first step! Wednesday, December 2, 6:30 pm, MHS cafeteria. Learn more here. Continue reading

Milford Main open for last tour on 12/12

Top: one of the oldest photos of Milford Main, courtesy of Bill Stockland, MHS class of '63 and his http://www.billstocklandphotography.com/

Top: one of the oldest photos of Milford Main, courtesy of Bill Stockland, MHS class of ’63 and his http://www.billstocklandphotography.com/

Tour Milford Main on December 12, 9 am–noon – more information 


At the November 19, 2015 school board meeting, the board approved a resolution asking for bids to abate and demolish Milford Main. The district has been attempting to sell the building for years, and there has been no interest (other than from Jim Cohen of CMC – that deal fell through early in 2015 when the City of Milford denied zoning changes for his apartment complex plan). A variety of developers have looked at the building, but their feeling is it would take too much of an investment to update and abate (it contains both asbestos and lead) to be able to garner a reasonable return. Community members who care about the building have also attempted to find developers who specialize in old buildings; there has unfortunately been no interest from this court, either. While the building means a great deal to many who have attended school there, it does not qualify to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Continue reading

How do we understand others?

Thanks to McCormick Principal Don Baker for sharing the Washington Post article cited in this blog post.

“Empathy” is defined as “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” This goes far beyond sympathy, “an understanding or common feeling between people.” Truly having empathy for another can be challenging – how many people do you know who are truly able to empathize with a situation they have not experienced? And yet, even empathy is, in some situations, not enough. Continue reading

Highlights of 10/15/15 school board meeting

Where can you get information on school board candidates?
Board approves October 2015 Five-Year Forecast
What would Don Lykins’ priorities cost?
Proven records will continue to take Milford forward by George Lucas
Help return the team by Debbie Marques
Does size really matter? by Gary Knepp
Athletic Update
Extracurricular Update

  • A few weeks ago, all 480 freshmen participated in Re-Do Day, coming together to break down barriers and understand each other better. It was a huge success, with parents and students alike citing the benefits to the new perceptions gained.
  • MHS has also been approved as an AP Capstone school beginning next school year. The AP Capstone program is a 2-year program that develops skills in independent research, collaborative teamwork, and communications. Milford is one of only 8 schools in Ohio who have been selected to offer the program. Others locally are Indian Hill, Oak Hills, St. Ursula, Walnut Hills and Wyoming.
  • New MHS principal Josh Kauffman instituted a new tradition this year. At the Fall Sports Senior Night, not only were our senior athletes and band members recognized, but also our scholars: 13 seniors were recognized who have achieved AP Scholar with Distinction (an average score of 3.5 on all exams and scores of 3+ on 5 or more exams), including two National Merit Commended Students and one National Merit Semi-Finalist. As senior year finishes, even more students will become AP Scholars with Distinction, and some may achieve National AP Scholar recognition. Congratulations to all our talented and, most importantly, hard-working students!
  • Red Ribbon Week started Friday, October 23 and runs through Saturday, October 31. This is a drug and violence prevention effort where students are encouraged to stand up for a drug-free community and lifelong education on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. The week kicked off with a film, “The Anonymous People,” a documentary about the more than 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. This Thursday, October 29, a presentation called “A Night of Hope & Healing” will present the science of addiction; testimonials from loved ones who have suffered loss; and a memorial dedicated to those we have lost because of drug addition. The presentation will take place in the MHS cafeteria from 6:30-8:30 pm. It is free and refreshments will be served.
  • Constrution on the new elementaries continues on track. It’s easy to see how far we’ve come if you drive down Rt. 131 and look at the Seipelt property from the road. Rest assured just about equal progress is being made on each building.

Where can you get information on school board candidates?

The November 3 election is a week away. We have five candidates running for two school board seats – two are incumbents, one with 12 years’ experience, one with 4; one previously served on the board for 8 years; one has run before and lost; one has never run before. Many people have expressed bewilderment about the process of deciding on the most appropriate candidates. How to choose?

Unfortunately, there has not been a candidate forum this year, but there are some other options for gathering information. I have listed the various outlets below; different candidates have participated in various of these, some do social media and some do not, but by looking and comparing, you can get a feel for what each candidate stands for, their qualifications, knowledge, understanding of public school issues, commitment, and more.

Remember, being a school board member is a job – a big job, bestowed by the community. It takes a lot of time and a lot of personal sacrifice.

As always, feel free to message me with any questions or concerns.

Candidates are listed in alphabetical order:

Jennifer Funk

Rob Hewlett

George Lucas

Don Lykins

Debbie Marques

** Vote411.org: This site allows you to personalize your ballot and compare two candidates at a time. It is a bit confusing, but you enter your address on the left, then click “Enter.” A green bar pops up in the middle that says, “Get personalized information on candidates and issues.” Click that, and another box pops up. There is another green button that says “Show my races.” Click that, and the first race will pop up. Keep clicking the link next to “Next race” until you reach “School Board Member – Milford Exempted Village School District.” You then must choose two candidates to compare.

Proven records will continue to take Milford forward

By George A. Lucas, Member, Milford School Board and candidate on the ballot this November. Website: www.lucasformilfordschools.com

Our democratic system of government provides voters opportunity to elect individuals to represent you. Those who are elected then appoint individuals to administer and manage government. The administrators hire managers, manages hire supervisors, supervisors hire skilled workers and services are provided to the community. Continue reading

Help return the team

By Debbie Marques, a candidate for Board of Education on Nov. 3. Debbie was a member of the Board from 2006 to 2014 and served as president for two years. For more information about Debbie or to contact her, please visit marques4milfordboe.com.

As a former Milford School Board member with two terms under my belt, I was part of the team that transformed Milford to what it is today: a high-performing district that is so fiscally responsible it consistently spends less than the state average, one that is continually moving forward to serve our students and community.

For two years of my second term, I worked with a solid school board team consisting of George Lucas, a current candidate for school board, and current board members Dave Yockey, Andrea Brady, and Gary Knepp. I would like to re-assemble that team and help continue to take our district forward.

I wanted to take this opportunity to give you a glimpse into what we do as school board members, and to explain why I believe George Lucas and I are the best choices in this election.

Being an effective and conscientious board member takes a great deal of time and commitment.  It can mean missing your child’s open houses, concerts, and ball games. When you run for the Board, you do so knowing that your priority is all of the students in the District, not just your own. While it may look like we just show up for board meetings once a month, effective board members who truly represent the community spend a great deal more time behind the scenes. I am one of those board members, as is George Lucas.

Committee meetings
Each January, the Board splits up the Superintendent and Community committees so there are always two Board members on each Superintendent committee and at least one Board member on each Community committee. Click here for a list of the committees and to see which board member is assigned to various committees.

The Superintendent committees are particularly important, as administrative staff—and Dr. Farrell—discuss pressing issues that oftentimes need to be voted on at the board meetings. Why can’t all five board members attend every meeting? The Ohio Open Meetings Act prohibits a majority of board members to meet or discuss unless they are at a publicly announced meeting. Instead, they must rely on the Board members who attend the meeting to provide input that represents the community’s best interest. Every Board member receives a summary of the meeting and can discuss issues one-on-one with other board members prior to voting at the meeting. So you can see that if a Board member continually misses committee meetings, s/he is doing a poor job of representing the community. Both Mr. Lucas and I feel very strongly that attending these meetings is a priority–and our record shows this.

Staying up to date on trends in education
The superintendent and administrators provide critical information to the Board members so they stay current on important trends and changes, understand what other districts are doing, and become informed about the business of education. Both Mr. Lucas and I always take that extra step by researching on our own, attending continuing education for board members, sitting down with administrators for further clarification on complicated issues, discussing issues and ideas with other board members, and much more.

Evaluating the Superintendent and Treasurer
The superintendent and treasurer report directly to the Board of Education. It is the responsibility of all five board members to participate in the annual evaluation process. Not only do the superintendent and treasurer deserve to have this evaluation performed and to develop goals for the coming year with the board, the community deserves to have this yearly evaluation done of these two very critical positions. Both Mr. Lucas and I have worked in management positions and performed employee evaluations, so we are experienced in providing comprehensive, useful feedback to these two leaders. We spend the required time to provide the input needed for comprehensive evaluations.

Attending special board meetings and events
Board of Education members represent the community to the District. It is important they attend special events and continuously reach out to constituents. This means attending special board meetings, ground breaking ceremonies, art shows, football games, etc. Because of the time commitment, no one should run for the Board unless they plan to make this job a priority in their life. These events can conflict with personal events. Sometimes this means missing family events or programs. Of course, no one can attend everything, but there are certain times a board member’s presence is appropriate, no matter what. Although both Mr. Lucas and I have families, we are committed to making school board events a priority.

Having differing opinions
Finally, I am supporting George Lucas because he and I do NOT always agree. We often have differing points of view—and that is what you want in board members. We offer differing opinions to represent the community in different ways. However, we know how to determine what is best for the students and work together to find compromise.
So on election day, November 3, I ask that you vote for me and for George Lucas for the Milford Board of Education.