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Campaign Video Insulting To Springboro School Superintendent
SPRINGBORO -- Springboro Schools Superintendent Todd Petrey is fuming over a YouTube video that he believes makes several inaccurate assertions about the district's school board members.
The video was produced by "Olentangy United," a Delaware County-based group.
Petrey sent the following message to teachers and staff Tuesday, as a response to the video.
"On October 4, a video was posted on YouTube that makes our school district a divisive campaign point in an election more than 140 miles away from here. This video recently came to my attention, and I know that many of you have seen it through social media. Like our school district, the Olentangy Local School District (in Delaware County, north of Columbus) will elect members to its board of education in November. Unfortunately, our schools are being insulted and disparaged in that campaign, and now this video is being widely shared online here in our community.
"Please know that no one dislikes the recent controversies more than me. They make it tougher for all of us to do our jobs. If the campaign video had been truthful in its description of our schools, there would be no need for me to respond. However, I have watched the video and it is not accurate. Through three and one-half minutes of white-board animation, several things are said about our schools that are simply not true. Let's set the record straight.
VIDEO STATEMENT: "Imagine schools "with no sports, no extracurricular activities, no booster groups and no PTOs."
FACT: No extracurricular activities have been eliminated within the Springboro School District. Our sports, extracurriculars and support organizations have not been eliminated or defunded. Furthermore, the pay-to-participate fee for all students has been reduced two years in a row.
VIDEO STATEMENT: "Creationism replaces science."
FACT: The discussion on two different district policies - one on controversial issues and one on patriotic observances - has been confused for some time. Our curriculum is impacted by federal law and state law requiring us to dedicate instruction to our nation's founding documents, which we already do. As for creationism, it was one theory in a long list to be permissible for classroom discussion as we encourage our students to be critical, independent thinkers and learners. Again, the outstanding teaching in our classrooms is unchanged as we exhibit tolerance for diverse points of view and teach our students to do the same. No changes have been made to our curriculum.
VIDEO STATEMENT: "Confederate flags displayed at school board meetings."
FACT: The sad fact is that this happened once this summer, and no one was more offended than I was. I cannot and will not defend it; however, it was not orchestrated or condoned by this district in any way. This incident was so disturbing that we have taken additional safety measures at our board meetings.
VIDEO STATEMENT: "Springboro was "once an award winning school district."
FACT: We still are. We remain among the highest tier of schools on the new state report card. Nearly every week, we celebrate as our students continue to achieve scholarships, as well as honors in athletics and the arts. Our best days are ahead of us as we continue to work together.
VIDEO STATEMENT: "Nearly 20% of teachers and principals quit."
FACT: The district offered a retirement incentive plan for the second time in three years. As a result, numerous administrators, teachers, and support staff personnel retired. Some staff left to take positions in other districts to receive a pay increase. This was due to our staff not receiving a base increase for five years or step increases for three years. After the completion of negotiations in July 2013, all Springboro staff received a base salary increase of two percent or $1000. In addition, all staff will once again receive step increases.
"The discussion in Springboro should be about why our esteemed teachers went without base and step increases until now. We should consider how our district will continue to accelerate student achievement while maintaining a highly qualified staff. The impact of an outstanding teacher accelerates learning more than any other single factor. It is unfortunate that our schools and the Springboro community are so wrongfully represented in this video. Please do not let this discourage you. It saddens me to think anyone would use such tactics for personal or political gain.
"As superintendent, I am compelled to set the record straight and remind us all that we are here to educate students and provide for them examples of truthful, responsible communication. Our focus must be on the needs of our students, and the great things that happen in our classrooms every day."
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