I would like to begin by thanking our students, parents, and our staff for an outstanding beginning to the new school year. I was pleased with the smooth opening to the school year and would encourage anyone that is experiencing difficulties to reach out to the building principal or teaching staff to address any concerns immediately. We are hoping for a great school experience for you and your child, and we want to head off any problems as soon as possible. Again, I thank you for your support and your patience as we begin a new school year.
This is a very important year for the Coventry Local Schools as we are faced with a Renewal Levy in November. This levy is not a new levy but a continuation of current school funding. While there were no significant cuts or reductions associated with the May issue, this time things are different. The Fiscal Commission currently monitoring the Coventry Local Schools has directed the district to begin making major cuts should the levy go down to defeat in November. Those cuts will have a major impact on busing, sports programs both school and youth sports as the facilities will not be available for use. Also impacted will be band and choir programming and other considerations to be discussed by the Coventry Board of Education. While some people will tell you these are threats, they are not; these are reductions the district is being directed to make by the Fiscal Commission. An easy solution to this issue is getting out and voting in the November election. Passage of this issue will result in the district getting out of Fiscal Emergency, a positive five-year forecast and the ability of the district to concentrate on improving our entire academic program instead of focusing our time and energy on cuts and reductions that will have a major impact on your children. This is the time for our parents to step up and take control of this school district. If you are tired of the attacks against this school district, Board of Education, teachers and the children that attend our schools then let’s join together and show this community that the quality of our children’s education matters. Anyone needing voter registration forms or other information is encouraged to call the Coventry Board of Education office at 330-644-8489.
Finally, I would like to thank the many students, staff, parents, business people and residents that have supported the Coventry Local Schools throughout the years. I have had the great pleasure of serving as the Superintendent of the Coventry Local Schools for the past ten and a half years. Every decision I have made or recommended to the Coventry Board of Education has been done with the best interest of the students as the driving factor. After thirty-nine years in public education I have decided to join my wife in retirement and will be leaving the district officially on December 31, 2017, but my actual last day in the district will be October 27, 2017, as I will use up my vacation days and compensation days earned over my time here in Coventry. I arrived here with three major goals:
1) Improve the facilities and attempt to pass a Bond Issue to build a new high school. I believe we have met this goal going from six academic buildings to three, renovating both the middle school and current elementary and being part of giving our students, teachers and this community a beautiful new high school that I hope everyone is very proud of.
2) Improve our academic program. One of my greatest moments in my career was when the Coventry Local Schools received recognition as Excellent with Distinction. The district went several years with the designation of Excellent and Excellent with Distinction until the state changed the report card and raised the cut-off scores significantly. While the state scores are much higher and more difficult, I have every confidence that once our finances are in good standing, which they will be with the passage of the Renewal Levy our academic program will once again soar. You have great teachers and administrators here in Coventry, and they are constantly working to raise the academic expectations for all students.
3) Get the district out of Fiscal Watch- As many of you know the district has a history of school funding problems and has been in Fiscal Watch or Emergency since 1997 and experienced many issues long before that time. The good news is the district is one Renewal Levy (not a new tax) from getting out of twenty plus years of state oversight. The passage of this levy gets the district out of Fiscal Watch and Emergency and provides the district with a positive five-year forecast. This has been a long hard climb, but the Board of Education’s decision to enter into Fiscal Emergency was truly the only way to get out of the many years of financial difficulties without putting a large new money issue on the ballot. You are lucky to have the experience of Bob Wohlgamuth and Dave Andrews on the Coventry Board of Education as they are child centered and have led this district through some very difficult times.
With those goals accomplished or within grasp I am walking away feeling good about the Coventry Local Schools. I am excited to welcome Lisa Blough, our Assistant Superintendent and twenty-three year employee of the Coventry Local Schools into the position as Interim Superintendent when I leave. Lisa is an outstanding educator and is also a resident of Coventry with two boys who attend our schools. You may not fully understand what a great school district you have and the wonderful people who work here but I can tell you as a person with thirty-nine years’ experience in seven different school districts you are truly blessed, and I hope you realize what you have before it disappears.
Thank you, take care and best wishes for another great school year and beyond.