This year contained some end points, like the opening of the new Grandview swimming pool, but it was more about the continuation of projects that had been in the works for years. Next year might be the time for a final decision on the school facilities, or the plans for a new city office building. Here are the news stories that had people visiting this website.
Bomb threat at PNC Bank
A bank robber at the PNC bank on First Ave caused the first major story of January 2017. The street was closed and lockdowns in place at all the schools until bomb squad members determined that the bag left outside didn’t contain explosives. By February the Grandview Heights police announced they had a suspect in custody. Karl Schlenker, 60, of Cranford, New Jersey, was arrested at his home without incident.
I can find nothing online about a trial, so I guess it is possible Schlenker might still be walking the streets of Columbus after he posted bond and was released.
A reader found the info on the case, Schlenker plead guilty and was sentenced to 4 years, 9 months in jail. He is still appealing the sentence (from jail), if I am reading the casework correctly. Also, prior convictions were mentioned in the sentencing, so this was not a guy who just broke bad at 60 years old.
School facilities recommendation, and Good for Grandview group formed
The school board ramped up the public meetings to study the facilities at the schools this year, options for possible building plans were first presented at a May meeting. The school quickly narrowed choices down to three by June, and after an open to all (and hackable) online survey, superintendent Culp determined that the outcome of the process supported the “Tear down the middle school” option.
Some of the parents and community members who attended the facilities meetings got together, and decided they couldn’t agree with Culp’s recommendation. The Good for Grandview group posted a website with their complaints with the process the school used to chose a facility plan, and a warning that the cost of the new construction was just too expensive for this small community. As of December 31, 2017, they have 276 signatures on an online petition to the school board (March 2018, 325 sigs).
The board has remained absolutely silent about the G4G group. Culp had some jargon filled responses, but he rejected all direct questions. Two new board members will join the board in 2018, but past experience indicates there is little chance they will deflect the board from its current path.
Kasich budget hits Grandview hard, treasurer Collier tries to dance around bad news
After changes to the school funding plans by governor Kasich, Grandview lost the most annual funding on a per-pupil basis – $684 – among all Franklin County districts. Treasurer Collier attempted to minimize the cuts in one news story, and said “That will be a pretty significant dropoff” in another.
The republican controlled state government of Ohio still continues to plan for cuts in the future that will hit the schools hard. Not a word of complaint has been been made public by the Grandview school board. You would think the board might be motivated to say something because of the impact state cuts will have on efforts to raise taxes in Grandview for new schools.
Truett Falsified Meeting Notes on HPG Break
Board president Jessie Truett altered the meeting notes of the 10/18/16 meeting to delete his words before the board, keeping the public from knowing the truth of the break with Harrison Planning Group. While he said at the meeting that HPG “took request for change personally, attacked members of the board and the task force in an unprofessional way, and said he didn’t want to continue working with us”, that part of the meeting, the most important words, was deleted from the official record.
Truett also told parents who complained about the stealth meeting they should “be cautious in the decorum of our meetings”, then deleted that warning to parents from the record. Although Truett’s words are gone from all official records, a video recording was made that preserved his words.
Truett was re-elected in November in an election with no opponents.
April fools post asks unanswered questions
An April fools post highlighted the many questions that the Grandview school board has left unanswered. Why did HPG break with the school? What caused the end of former super O’Reilly’s tenure at the school, and how much did the school pay to end the lawsuit against him? What was the real reason for pushing out former band director Hennig? The Grandview school board has a long history of working in the shadows, and refusing to answer questions from the public. The present failure to answer questions about the facilities process is just business as usual for the board.
Council candidates answer questions
A positive note to end the review of the year, unlike the school board, the candidates for the city council were mostly happy to answer in full some questions I sent them. Part 1 and part 2 of my posts on the candidates seems to have been helpful for them, all were elected and will take office in 2018.