Momentum leads moms to pursuit of bond money

Kelly McCarthy

The following story originally appeared in the May 26 edition of The North Ridgeville Press.

Although school officials are still reveling in May 4 passage of the 2.7-mill emergency operating levy, they, as well as some

residents, feel there is still work to be done.

Two mothers of young children urged the school board at its May 18 meeting to consider a bond issue to fund capital improvements for district facilities.

Kelly McCarthy, incoming president of the North Ridgeville Early Childhood PTA, offered her thanks and congratulations to the board, adding she was “proud to have helped with the levy.” The 1989 graduate of North Ridgeville High School and mom to a four-year-old said while her family has chosen to live in the city “because we believe in the quality of education,” she feels “the facilities are sorely lacking” for both teachers and students.

“I urge the board members to put a bond issue on the ballot as soon as possible,” McCarthy said, recommending the board research private grants and other funding options for the buildings and facilities. “Now is the time to work with our momentum. I offer my full support.”

She informally accepted the board’s request she chair a bond issue committee.

Kim Carrasquillo, also of the North Ridgeville Early Childhood PTA, echoed McCarthy’s thoughts, stating she moved to the city prior to the attempt for the last bond issue.

“My husband and I moved in in February, and the first thing we did was change our address so we could vote ‘yes’ in May,” Carrasquillo said. “The time is now for a bond issue.”

Board of Education President Maria Sycz agreed.

“This is definitely a topic we are going to be discussing,” Sycz said. “The momentum is there.”

“It’s fun to be able to have these kinds of conversations,” Superintendent Craig Phillips added. “The next step is to update our plans (for facilities) and reconnect with the community.”

Despite the $1.9 million per year financial boost the levy gives the district beginning in 2011, Phillips emphasized “We are not out of the woods yet. Our buildings are safe, but some are over 80 years old.”

As part of a previously announced $1.2 million cost reduction plan, 10 full-time and one part-time teaching positions were officially eliminated by the board at the May 18 meeting. Those included kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers, as well as social studies and English instructors. A guidance counselor was also let go. Six full-time and one part-time support staff positions were also dropped.

“These were difficult decisions to make,” Phillips said, mentioning that two support staff members came forward and volunteered their positions for

reduction.

During the meeting, he thanked city officials for their support of the levy.

“The partnership with the city was greatly appreciated. We will be faithful stewards of the tax money,” Phillips said.

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