The view from 30,000 feet.

Jim Hooper lives in the Loveland High School neighborhood

Jim Hooper

Catchy common phrase. Heard it used a couple times at the LCSD Adhoc committee meetings. Thought I ‘d try it out to gain perspective on the LCSD Levy situation.

Whoa, it’s high up here!

 I see Loveland as a whole, comprised mainly of ranch style homes, modest neighborhoods, occupied by homesteader types who have lived in Loveland for decades – more semi-rural/rural than urban. Look down on West Loveland Ave, Rich Road, Rte 48, The Heights, Lebanon Road, the Glen Lake neighborhood, out towards Grailville , all the smaller roads off these arteries and you will see Loveland. Pocketed among these byways are sub-divisions like Chatham Woods, Pheasant Hills on the Lake, Woodford, White Pillars.

I see the Loveland School system. Led by the Board of Ed and the LCSD Superintendent. The BOE members are elected officials which automatically makes them politicians, whether they see themselves that way or not. We all know how politics works – from the local constituency the politician seeks out his/her core bloc of voters, those voters who will deliver the necessary votes to successfully elect. These politicians (BOE) are beholden to this core bloc. The bloc group influences the Board by way of their backing.

So what influence does 2,447 bloc voters have on a School Board and Superintendent?

In the case of the LCSD  Board of Ed I think we can fairly safely establish the core bloc of voters is 2,447 persons. I am thinking anyone voting FOR a 16.78 mil levy is definitely a BOE core bloc voter. So what influence does 2,447 bloc voters have on a School Board and Superintendent?  A LOT!  Especially under the “normal circumstances” of a levy issue – off year voting, little interest by the silent majority who assume their financial

The “Board Whisperers”

interests are being conservatively managed – the 2,447 voter bloc, under these conditions, pretty much guarantees the election of their candidates.  And, pretty much guarantees the Board of Ed will be very receptive listeners. These people are the Board influencers – the “Board Whisperers” – the people in the ear of the Board members. They are the localized version of lobbyists. And, many of them are inside the school system where their voice is amplified many times over. Their job circumstances are directly impacted by money the LCSD spends.

Now I’m listening, now I’m reading, now I’m researching, now I’m in it with both feet.

Now under normal conditions, I don’t really mind this influencing activity. The only time I would perk up my ears and take an outsized interest would be, let me think,  perhaps when this influencing campaign produced an unheard of, unconscionable, state record 16.78mil levy. Now I’m listening, now I’m reading, now I’m researching, now I’m in it with both feet.

I have heard a lot about trajectory, vision, maintaining forward growth, maintaining gains. Hey, I’m all for it! I support 2-3% trajectory, 2-3% vision gains, 2-3% growth gains. I fully support increase in hard work, efficiency, increased productivity. I fully support the LCSD taking baby steps to move up the rankings ladder. Set a vision of moving up 5 steps at a time. Great! Let’s not set a vision to move from a Value-Added rank of 433 to 22. I applaud the excellent 22 ranking. I do not applaud the fact that a lot of taxpayer dollars went into buying that result!

You know, the Bengals could be in the Super Bowl – all it takes is spending  $$$. You know, the Reds could be in the World Series, all it takes is spending $$$. You know, the LCSD could be better than Indian Hill and Sycamore – all it takes is spending $$$ – taxpayer money!

My opinion is that there are “silent agendas” in our schools that the silent majority know nothing about.

Returning to the LCSD/Superintendent vision for LCSD. Firstly, what is that vision? I know only one thing about it – it costs lots of money($$$). Sorry, I do know another thing, that 78% of voters do not know Dr. Crouse’s vision for LCSD. Although, I am beginning to get some hints – $6,365,528 spent on technology improvements. Is this a Dr. Crouse vision, to be the most technologically advanced school system in the area. A four year 69.1% spending increase in “Support for the Instructional Staff”. $5,717,737 spent with Hamilton County ESC over 5 years. My opinion is that there are “silent agendas” in our schools that the silent majority know nothing about. These silent agendas are driven by the “Board Whisperers” – backed up by their votes at election time.

The taxpayer asked for $20/month over and over doesn’t realize they are slowly being taxed to death.

Again let me say, I have no issue with school agendas moving forward at a conservative, sustainable, within a budget pace ( 2-3% a year). I do have a huge problem with the LCSD making quantum leaps bought with my tax dollars. Now I have heard it said, “it is only $20.27/month per $100,000 appraised home value. Let me use an old saying – the frog in a pot of cold water over low heat doesn’t realize it is being slowly boiled to death – and the taxpayer asked for $20/month over and over doesn’t realize they are slowly being taxed to death.

What is really beginning to bother me is the total lack of self-reflection by the 22%. Based upon all I have read on social media the attitude is that “nothing wrong here – nothing to see here”, we know what is right, you (78%) are uninformed, and get out of our way. I must interpret that to mean spending will continue unabated. Not exactly the response hoped for (or expected) after a 78% to 22% drubbing at the polls. 

I also hoped the myriad of testimonials from “forever” Yes voters that had been pushed to the difficult position of voting No would have enlightened the minority to question maybe something does need to change.

A consequence of losing a vote by a landslide 78-22% and in so doing shattering a trust that had been working for decades is the “trust but verify” is now “verify, verify, verify”. All aspects of the LCSD are now under a microscope for review. 

The child learns not to touch a hot stove once; it seems the adults must touch the hot stove twice before a lesson is learned.

I am a “Know Vote”!

Jim Hooper lives in the Loveland High School neighborhood



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