Poland parents, teachers brainstorm to tackle district’s tough issues

POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – The Poland School District is looking for new ways to deal with crumbling buildings, declining enrollment, and decreases in state funding. That’s why parents and teachers are pulling together to try to come up with some answers.

Members of the administration say some of these issues have been on the table for over three years and resolving them is going to be a long process.

The parents and teachers who attended Wednesday night’s meeting split into six groups. They identified several goals and obstacles the district faces, including technology, finance, curriculum, facilities, and enrollment.

It’s part of a five-year plan Poland wants to create to combat the constantly changing education system.

“The environment changes too quickly. The state funding changes too dramatically. If we do a plan that’s longer than that, it can be useless after five years,” said Ronald Chordas, with Youngstown State University.

The school system’s aging buildings were on the agenda.

Two years ago, the district had to close North Elementary. Now the fifth and sixth grade McKinley Middle School is part of the discussion, though nothing has been decided on if those students would move.

“We’re trying to right-size the district, meaning we’re trying to align the number of facilities with the number of students and staff needed for their services,” Superintendent David Janofa said.

Rebekah Delatore has two teenagers in the district now. She also has two toddlers who will attend kindergarten at Poland in a few years.

“I worry less about the buildings and more about the education. There are difficulties that have to be overcome with the buildings, but I think the primary thing is getting the best education for our kids that we can,” she said.

The district’s next major meeting will be a two-night event on February 8 and 9. The administration will meet with each committee separately to discuss what the next step is in accomplishing district goals.