An open letter to the entire Loveland City School District Community
From all five members of the LCSD Board of Education – Dr. Kathryn Lorenz, Ms Michele Pettit, Mrs. Eileen Washburn, Mr. Kevin Dougherty and Dr. Eric Schwetschenau
LOVELAND, OH (November 13, 2020) – The following “open letter” to the Loveland community was submitted by the Loveland Board of Education and is being published unedited in its entirety as it was received by Loveland Beacon.
This last year has been filled with divisiveness within our community. Clearly the failed levy issues from last November and this past March fractured trust and created a confidence challenge to the leadership of the School District and Board of Education. We accept responsibility for putting an ultimately massively unpopular proposal up for vote. In retrospect, we realize our vision for our schools went well beyond what the community desired and we clearly misread the public. What began as an honorable intent to build new facilities and programs that would elevate the educational experience for our children regrettably resulted in creating division and controversy for the community in the process.
On the heels of failed levy propositions, the COVID crisis struck and challenged once again the cohesiveness of our community. The Board & the Administration are striving to find the right solution for our children and their families in these unprecedented times.
Schools across the country are operating on a myriad of models and everyone is learning how to deal with the virus as we gain experience. We are trying to operate in the most responsible manner we can determine and be flexible enough to deal with changes in the virus ’s impact as we and the nation, continue to understand the nature of the threat.
As is the essence of how our country works, voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on Board members at future elections. We accept that. It is both important and fair to realize that these past levy decisions were ultimately made by the Board.
The duties of the Superintendent and Treasurer are multifaceted and, as employees of the Board, they execute the decisions of the Board as well as exercise leadership roles in the vision and operation of our schools.
We recently announced we would begin the normal process of meeting to review the performance and employment contract renewals for our Superintendent and Treasurer. Shortly following that announcement, online discussions began. We respect the public’s right to voice opinion on the decision to renew these employment agreements. We intend to listen carefully to all input, but we urge civility and basic human respect if you elect to provide perspective. The Board began this activity by aligning all parties on the process on Thursday, November 6 in preparation for contract renewal decisions which are due by March 1, 2021.
As a Board, we have received significant feedback from the community. As a result, we are continuing to take steps to improve fiscal controls to help delay the need for new levies. We are also striving to create a new level of transparency into the workings of the District. All of this is a focused attempt to heal the division within the community and restore us to a level of shared support for our schools, helping them deliver on the promise of an excellent education for every child in our care.
We believe that our focus has to be preparing our children for their futures through schools that provide the best educational experience we can design and deliver – guided by our shared values and within our available resources.
Each one of us is committed to these principles as we continue to navigate the challenges before us. We urge everyone, regardless of what has happened in the past, to share in that commitment. We hope that this common goal will serve as the pathway to healing our community.
The Loveland City School District Board of Education