Riverside School District’s Lack of Transparency

LFC Comments by Brian Massie, Concord Township resident

Transparency is a key to good governance and an informed electorate.

Regretfully, I must call out the Riverside School District’s Administration and School Board members for their lack of transparency with the taxpayers in their district.

The following ballot language was submitted to the Lake County Board of Elections by the School’s Superintendent, Dr. James P. Kalis.

[Ballot language given to the Lake County Board of Elections]

Please note that the term of the Bond Levy is a maximum of 37 years, and the total project cost is stated as $147,725,000.

It is also apparent that the ballot language is stated to deceive the voters into thinking that they are paying the paltry sum of $.537 for every $100 of tax valuation. This is permitted by the Ohio Revised Code, but it is another deception, in my opinion.

Now let us take a look at the information provided to the taxpayers in the school district by the Administration and the School Board.

Here is the brief summary sent by the School Administration to the taxpayers via an email.

They neglected to mention the term and the amount of the Bond in the email message to citizens. Perhaps it was an oversight.

Let’s check another source. Here is a copy of the information on the Bond Levy published on the Riverside School’s website. They neglected again to mention the 37 years, and the $147,725,000 total cost.

We can understand forgetting to mention the term and the $ amount in the email, perhaps because of space limitations, but to not mention the true facts about the levy term and cost on the website is a DECEPTION!

When we add the $38.5 million to construct the two larger elementary schools less the $660,000 from the sale of old assets, plus $147.7 million for the new middle and high schools, taxpayers in the Riverside School District will spend $185,565,000 million to educate the children in the district. This is in addition to the other existing levies, inside and outside millage, being collected. With the inflation continuing to rise, it would not be a shock if the final number for the new schools is substantially higher than the $147.7 million.

Let’s tale a look at the grades received by the school district. From the Ohio School Report Card website, we can see that Riverside, for the 2018 – 2019 school year was given a grade of “F” for FAILURE! There are no grades for 2020 and 2021 because of Covid, but we can assume that the education did not get better in those unprecedented years.

Here is the source of our information on grades:

https://reportcard.education.ohio.gov/download

Here is a detailed report we compiled for Riverside by grade and subject:

Riverside scored less than similar districts in 11 subjects (52.4%). They even scored less than the abysmal State scores in 2 subjects! Their high school algebra program results are terrible with only 54.5% proficient. With a 75.0 overall average grade proficiency, it brings their school in at a solid “C”.

When I look at the dollars that I spend each year, and have spent in the 16 years I have lived in the district, I wonder what justification is there to support a school district that is average at best? They only met 37.5% of the State of Ohio standards!!!

For the three school board members (Belinda Grassi, Lori Krenisky, Jennifer Harden) to put this levy on the ballot at this time, based on the school’s performance and the uncertainty of the current economic times, I seriously question their thinking. Most of the current Concord residents will not be walking on this earth by the time this boondoggle is finally paid.

Look for more information to be revealed about the Riverside School district in future articles. We will also be revealing the performance of the other Lake County School Districts.

Something is seriously wrong with Ohio’s public education system when the State’s overall proficiency average is 65.2%. State school officials are focusing on indoctrinating the children to “Woke” social justice issues, and undermining the parents’ influence, rather than the 3 R’s. Taxpayers must wake up to the fact that they are funding their own demise.

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Here is the documentation that Riverside sent to the Lake County Board of Elections:

It contains all the legal documentation to get the Bond Levy on the ballot in May, 2022.

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Categories: Concord, Education, Local News, Real Estate Taxes, Riverside S.D.

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