Trotwood mayor, board president trade letters on school performance

The mayor of Trotwood and the president of the city schools board have challenged each other in open letters to work together to improve education in the district.

»RELATED: Trotwood, Jefferson each have a “worst in state” score

Trotwood-Madison schools ranked last in performance index out of Ohio’s 608 school districts for the previous year on the state’s report cards.

“As the top elected official from the city side, I am speaking to the top elected official on the the school board. I am asking them to look deeply into themselves and find the answer to this,” Mayor Mary McDonald told News Center 7 after issuing an open letter to the school board last week.

In the letter, McDonald said that “perhaps looking further into the need for improvement might be necessary.” She also said her staff was willing to help the school district “in any way.”

»MORE: How did your school perform on the 2016-17 state report card?

School officials said they are they are taking steps to address performance, but there are socioeconomic issues in the city that makes the school district unique.

“Our school district and our city face complex challenges for improvement,” Trotwood-Madison Board of Education President Adrienne L. Heard responded Thursday in an open letter to McDonald.

Heard’s letter also includes information from the Economic Innovation Group’s “distressed community index” showing Trotwood’s unemployment rate for adults 25 to 64 (33.6 percent), housing vacancy rate (15.6 percent), poverty rate (21.1 percent and residents without a high school diploma or equivalent (11.3 percent). The index also shows an 18 percent drop in both the number of businesses in the city and the unemployment rate from 2011 to 2015, according to Heard’s letter.

»RELATED: Trotwood candidates propose fixes after schools rank last in Ohio

“Yes, we all agree that the school district is faced with huge challenges,” Heard wrote. “The Trotwood-Madison school district — along with our parents, the City and the community at-large — will have to work together to find solutions to resolve this educational” dilemma.

The district also struggles with absenteeism with roughly 480 of the district’s students across all grades missing at least 18 days of school, Superintendent Kevin Bell said.

“You go over 18, and you’re well into missing a good quarter of the school year,” Bell said. “That means there are a lot of standards you haven’t been introduced to. That has an impact on achievement.”

District staff calls parents of absent students and asks them to bring the student to school.

Bell also talked about the challenges some students face.

“We have 172 students who are actually classified homeless. On a daily basis, the stability isn’t there for them,” Bell said.

The district is asking parents to track their child’s progress, make sure their child is coming to class and attend meetings with teachers and staff.

The district is holding a series of meetings through October to share information with residents about the district’s performance on the state report cards and what’s going on in the schools.

Trotwood City Schools report card informational meetings

In a series of meetings this month, school officials are sharing details about the district’s performance on the state report cards for schools as well as information on what’s happening in the classrooms.

Monday, Oct. 16, 6 p.m.

Trotwood-Madison Middle School, 4420 N Union Rd.

Wednesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.

Trotwood-Madison High School, 4420 N Union Rd.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 10 a.m.

Phillips Temple Church, 3620 Shiloh Springs Rd

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