.

Mentor Schools Superintendent Talks Shrinking Enrollment, Possible Staff Reductions

Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes used projected enrollment numbers to estimate how many teaching positions would be cut from each school in the district over the next four years

Mentor Schools Superintendent Jacqueline Hoynes has discussed the .

However, on Tuesday at the Board of Education meeting, she went into more detail and discussed the impact the projected drop is expected to have on each school in the district during the next four years.

She expects many of the schools will have teaching positions cut because fewer students will require fewer teachers.

Hoynes said she anticipated , , , , and elementary schools would each lose one teaching position during the next four years.

As per middle schools, Hoynes predicted that both and would have to cut four teaching positions – one from each major discipline.

Meanwhile, at , eight teaching positions would likely need to be cut – two from each major discipline.

Hoynes said the district avoided layoffs previously by cutting positions through attrition. She added that she expected the administration would be able to do the same with the aforementioned cuts.

Mentor Schools has closed three school buildings in the last decade to reflect its decreasing enrollment. Most recently, closed at the end of the 2010-2011 school year.

Hoynes said she is sometimes asked if a middle school, most often , is next in line to be closed.

She told the Board of Education Tuesday that she did not think the district would need to close a middle school in the next four years.

"By moving the preschools (to Ridge,) we're actually at a pretty good capacity," Hoynes said.

Also at the BOE meeting:

  • The administration congratulated Ridge Middle School for receiving the Lake County General Health District's "Working Well" award. They received it for their afterschool Right Healthy Eating club, which taught kids about nutrition and showed them how to prepare affordable, healthy recipes. The club was originated by Lisa Cmunt.
  • The Board decided to have its October meeting at Brentmoor, so its members could see renovations that were made during the summer.
Pathfinder September 14, 2011 at 11:32 AM
So, does anyone know WHY enrollment is declining? The number of family homes in Mentor is at worst staying the same, and in reality is increasing some thanks to Newel Creek and NE Mentor. Are people just having less kids these days? Is the population getting older? More kids going to private schools? I would think folks beyond the school district would be concerned. I don't think the city wants to lose a base of young families, if that indeed is what's happening. Just curious if it's been looked into.
Jason Lea (Editor) September 14, 2011 at 12:20 PM
Enrollment is declining for two of the reasons you're suggesting. The population is getting older and, because it's older, is having fewer children. Fewer families are moving to Mentor than in the boom days of the '70's and 80's.
James Thomas September 15, 2011 at 07:43 PM
This article is good news for the Mentor School System. Downsizing through attrition to an appropriate size to do the job, what more could anyone ask. Just because a teaching position dissapears does not mean that the school system suffers. The correct amount and faculty and staff to do the job is what the the Schools should be aiming for. Why such an atmosphere of gloom and doom over this?
Charles Riffle September 17, 2011 at 05:59 PM
I imagine the gloom and doom is due to the fact that there are going to be more people out of work, as well as the fact that in order to effectively teach students, it's better to have a low student to teacher ratio. So if we have two teachers to teach 60 kids, and then next year that drops to 40 kids, and the school has to drop a position, then one teacher will be handling 40 kids. There will be even less of a chance for these kids to receive special attention, and more of a chance for them to fall in the cracks as kids in the Mentor system are already wont to do (what with it being a large system with, arguably, not enough teachers). People may make the argument that a teacher should just be able to deal with a larger class size, but many studies have shown that kids are hurt by this.
James Thomas September 18, 2011 at 03:08 AM
Charlie R, this is a classic "Straw Man" argument. When was the last time that an Ohio Public School Teacher taught, on average, a class of 30 students? I think you'd have to go back pretty far. If you did you might also find that they did pretty well at those levels. I went to Catholic School 1-7 and my class level was never less than 30. I now hold a Masters Degree so don't even try to tell me that it can't be done because I'm living proof that it HAS. When teaching positions are not needed they should not be funded.
Charles Riffle September 19, 2011 at 05:42 AM
My numbers are made up, so it doesn't matter whether the 30+ student class size works. What isn't made up is that the concept of more teachers per students turns out a better quality of education. The issue is that we must look at who is deciding when teaching positions are not needed. If the people in control of the money/responsible for saving money are deciding this, then it is easy for them to say, "they can deal with X amount of students" instead of saying, "what will leave these students with the most amount of help/attention, and what will bring the greatest success?" The fact that you've earned a Masters Degree is a sign that you've worked hard and must be somewhat naturally intelligent, or at least studious. Not all kids are (or have the ability or home life to study/work hard at school), and some do need extra help. As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised (based on the fact that most people do not earn Masters Degrees) if most people fit into the "need extra help" category. A major problem with a lot of U.S. high schools is that they have become diploma factories. The only goal a lot of them have is to keep graduation rates up, and for this reason, they will push a lot of kids through rather than giving them the attention they need in order to produce quality students. (If you want an example of poorly educated graduates, ask five college freshmen if you can read their first few papers after the Fall semester.)
Charles Riffle September 19, 2011 at 05:55 AM
My apologies on using a straw man argument, I guess I really should have attacked the idea of who decides what the correct amount of faculty and staff is in the first place instead of trying to build an example that shows how these decision-makers may act. But let me add that just because you have some anecdotal evidence that all people succeed just because it worked for you doesn't mean it's true. Not to be a jerk or anything, but thought that was an important thing to point out. And as one quick reference to show the importance of teacher's being more involved with students, thereby showing that more teachers is better, here is an article about Finland: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/08/16/secrets-of-the-world-s-best-school-systems.html Note that they also say teachers must be well trained. Teachers start out children, who mostly come from the same system. If we used a more personalized method with each child, they would theoretically become more successful in anything they do, including teaching, thereby leading to a continued cycle of success.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something