The Van Wert County Courthouse

Saturday, Jun. 6, 2020

L’view supt. testifies on voucher changes

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

The Lincolnview Local Board of Education honored Van Wert County Spelling Bee Runner-Up Samantha Schotters, while Superintendent Jeff Snyder talked about pending EdChoice voucher program changes and provided a calamity day update during the board’s February meeting on Thursday.

Lincolnview eighth-grader Samantha Schotters talks about her experiences at this year’s Van Wert County Spelling Bee. Schotters placed second in the competition. Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent

Schotters, an eighth-grader at Lincolnview Junior High School, waged a two-person battle for round after round with Crestview eighth-grader and eventual champion Brady Petrie after all the other competitors were eliminated, with neither able to get an advantage. Schotters even had chances to win the competition, but finally lost out to Petrie.

Schotters said she enjoyed the competition, although she said her mother gave her grief for misspelling the German word “schadenfreude” by starting with “s-h”, not “s-c-h”, even though her own name, which is also German, begins with the correct letters.

Schotters’ mother, Talin, did commend her daughter for her scholastic work ethic, noting that she has pretty much educated herself.

Snyder talked about changes planned by the Ohio General Assembly to the EdChoice voucher program, with more money going to private schools under the voucher program, while using what educators say are flawed data to characterize some public schools as “low performing”.

Snyder noted that he, Van Wert City Superintendent Vicki Brunn, and Crestview Superintendent Kathy Mollenkopf all traveled to Columbus to testify against the proposed legislative changes before the Ohio General Assembly.

All three superintendents have cited the state’s reliance on often-flawed data from the State Report Card program that has pushed more and more state school districts unfairly into the “low performing” category. Snyder also said he feels more needs to be one to make private schools as accountable as public schools.

“What we’re facing now is what I call the Pandora’s Box,” Snyder said, referring to the mythical box unwittingly opened by Pandora that let all the evils into the world. “…that everyone can get a voucher, basically, regardless of what the intent was to begin.”

The biggest change he said was the voucher money he said would go to students who he said have never attended a particular district.

He noted that the three superintendents also met with State Senator Rob McColley, who represents Van Wert County, concerning the issue, and testified their wishes that the program return to its original intent to help students in low-performing urban schools attend private schools with higher education standards.

Snyder noted that, with the changes, students could qualify for school vouchers easier than they could for the fairly lenient free and reduced lunch program.

“We’re pushing for that anyone who takes any public dollars on the private ed. side of that … they must be held to the same accountability standards (as public schools) … all of them,” Snyder said. “Right now, they want the public dollars, and they don’t want to follow the same things.”

The superintendent also noted that private schools should also have to take any student who applies, rather than just the best students. Snyder noted that many private schools make prospective students take tests and hold interviews with students and parents before selecting who can attend.

“We don’t have that here, we take every student,” the Lincolnview superintendent stated.

Snyder noted that private schools are not held to the same rigorous standards as public schools, which he said must happen if they want to receive public funds.

“As long as they do exactly what we do, and they are graded the same way we do … then if they can do it better than us then, by golly, it’s better for the child,” he said.

Snyder also updated the board on calamity days, noting that the district has now used six days this year. 

He did not, though, that a planned day out of class next week would still occur, but added that there could be make-up days added down the road if more days are canceled because of snow, ice, or fog.

Elementary Principal Nita Meyer talked about several events occurring in the elementary, including Read Across America Day coming up Monday, and kindergarten registration all next week.

In addition to recognizing Schotters, High School-Junior High School Principal Brad Mendenhall talked briefly about the upcoming Career Day event next Thursday, as well as the fact that juniors will be taking the ACT college admissions test on March 10.

In other business, the board:

Approved a resolution proclaiming this week National FFA Week.

Employed Debora Cowling as substitute secretary, Clay Akerman as a substitute custodian, Tanya Etgen as a Latchkey program assistant, and Rick Roehm as an on-board bus instructor.

Accepted the resignation, due to retirement, of bus driver Julie Miller.

Authorized several overnight trips, including the cheerleaders traveling to Columbus for the state cheerleading competition this Sunday, March 1, and the Senior Trip to Indianapolis March 22-26.

Employed the following volunteer coaches: Chad Webb as high school baseball coach, and Laura Osenga and Alena Looser as junior high softball coaches.

Accepted, with thanks, the following donations: $2,500 from First Bank of Berne for the gymnasium scoreboard, $650 from the Van Wert Area Photography Club for the yearbook/graphic arts program, and $410 from the Larry Poling Memorial to benefit the Latchkey program.

Approved an agreement with architects Garmann Miller & Associates for miscellaneous projects.

The next meeting of the Lincolnview Local Board of Education will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 26, in the Neubrecht Lecture Hall.

POSTED: 02/28/20 at 2:12 am. FILED UNDER: News