Bowling Green City Schools

Lazy days of summer are crazy days for school maintenance

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Forget spring cleaning – summer is when schools get scrubbed down. During the lazy days of summer, school maintenance workers really get busy. When classrooms are emptied of students and staff, the Bowling Green School District maintenance workers can complete projects that just can’t be done during the school year. Chuck Martin, Bowling Green’s maintenance director, reported on the summer work schedule during last week’s board of education meeting. The lockers – that store everything from stinky gym shoes to moldy lunches – are thoroughly cleaned during the summer months. The classrooms – normally crowded with desks and chairs – are all emptied of furniture, Martin said. Floors are waxed, carpets are shampooed, and light tubes are replaced. Summer cleaning not only takes a lot of time, it also takes a lot of cleaning products, Martin said. The district goes through about 400 gallons of general cleaning solutions, 55 cases of bathroom cleaner, more than 100 gallons of floor stripper, and more than 200 gallons of floor wax. Though the regular school traffic is gone, there are some obstacles for maintenance staff, Martin said. All of the school buildings have some type of summer programming to work around. The high temperatures and humidity sometime create slow drying times. And maintenance has to work around summer construction repairs – such as new flooring at Conneaut and Kenwood this summer. Plus there are staffing issues, he added. Maintenance workers wanting to take summer vacations with families can lead to days of short staffing. And teachers sometimes often want to keep working on their rooms once school is out for the summer – and some like to get back into their rooms early before the new year begins. Summer is also the time for classroom moves. This summer, there were 23 room changes in the middle school, 10 at Crim, eight at Conneaut, plus a few more in the high school and Kenwood buildings. Maintenance staff also uses the summer to complete “work order” requests. There were 42 requests during the last month of classes, followed up by 81 more in the summer, Martin said. Also at last week’s board of education meeting, Superintendent Francis Scruci further reported on the district’s state report card. Bowling Green received an overall grade…


BG task force studies building blocks of school funding

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News More than 50 citizens went back to school Wednesday evening to brush up on their math skills – specifically how the Bowling Green City School District can pay for building improvements. This first meeting – like all that consultant David Conley will hold – was an “open mic night.” The citizens on the task force rattled off questions they want answered as they dig into financing the school district’s future. Such as: What’s the difference between income and property taxes? What public-private partnerships are available to fund school projects, such as naming rights for private businesses? What legislation is in the works that could make a difference for BG schools? Are there public-public partnerships that could help BG schools, such as with Bowling Green State University, the city, the public library or through public health? Can different types of taxes be combined for projects? The monthly meetings of the financial task force are intended to give citizens the building blocks to help them make a decision that can then be presented to the school board. Conley explained some of the basics, such as – financing tools are the instruments used to borrow money. A funding plan is how the district can pay off that financing for a building project. “Schools only have a few financing tools available to them,” Conley said. But the funding options are far more plentiful, he added. “I want to give every opportunity a chance,” he said. That includes exploring the use of an income tax put on by the city but used to pay for school buildings. Or the sale of properties owned by the school district that are no longer occupied by buildings. Conley, of Rockmill Financial Consulting, has worked with about 125 school districts in Ohio to find funding solutions. He stressed to task force members that they are in control. “We’re in control of our own lives – especially when it comes to government. We just have forgotten that we are,” he said. The district’s request for open minds fell on a few closed ears. A handful of the citizens vehemently opposed to the last two bond issues talked about the district being deceptive in its use of permanent improvement dollars to put an addition on the middle school. Conley…


BG school district sees growth in state report card

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   This Bowling Green report card may make the refrigerator door. The state released its school report cards this morning – a moment that many districts await with great anxiety. Bowling Green City School District shows improvement in student achievement and gap closing for students. It also shows continued “A”s for progress and graduation rates. And overall, the district received a final grade of “B.” The state did not award overall grades last year. But if it had assigned grades, Bowling Green would definitely have scored lower last year, according to Ann McCarty, executive director of teaching and learning for BG Schools. Most importantly, Superintendent Francis Scruci said this morning, is the fact that the district continues to score high for student progress, and has shown improvement in closing the gaps for students. “We are showing progress and we are showing growth,” Scruci said. “We’re showing improvement and that’s the most important thing.” “Our goal is to make sure a kid grows at least one grade level every school year,” he said. “We’re doing straight ‘A’ work in that area.” The state report card gave BG City Schools an “A” for the growth of students from one year to the next. The district received a “B” for gap closing. That looks at how well the district meets expectations for vulnerable students in English language arts, math and graduation. “When you’re looking at measures that mean something, certainly those are areas that mean something,” Scruci said. Though there is plenty for the district to be proud of in the preliminary report, Scruci said he realizes there is still room for improvement. While B is a good overall grade, the district needs to keep aiming for an A. “Until we have that, we’ve got work to do,” he said. The district also scored two “D”s on the state report card. Scruci repeated his belief that the state report cards use a flawed system for scoring schools. “It’s a convoluted formula. It’s a formula with a flaw,” he said. At a special board meeting earlier this week, school board members questioned how the district could receive a grade of “D” in the “prepared for success” category – yet an “A” for graduation rates. That is just one example, McCarty said, of…


BG Schools losing teachers due to low salaries

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green City Schools is starting the school year with 25 new teachers. During their exit interviews, many of the experienced teachers said they were leaving due to the low pay. That is raising troubling red flags, Superintendent Francis Scruci said Tuesday during the monthly school board meeting. “We have teachers leaving us because they can make more money someplace else,” he said. Scruci referred to a recent story in the Toledo Blade about area school salaries for 12 districts in Wood and Lucas counties. With the average teacher salary in Ohio being $58,849, only Bowling Green and Toledo City Schools were below that average. According to information from the Ohio Department of Education, the state median salary for teachers is $56,117. The median salaries at school districts in Wood County are as follows: Rossford: $75,766 Perrysburg: $60,412 Eastwood: $59,523 Otsego: $58,221 Northwood: $53,186 Lake: $50,544 Elmwood: $50,134 Bowling Green: $48,843 North Baltimore: $39,668 While Scruci said he is pleased with the 25 new teachers hired for this school year, he is concerned about the loss of quality experienced staff. The district relies on consistency in its teaching to continue improving the state report card grades. When the district loses seasoned staff, it loses the investment made in those teachers and then has to start from scratch with new staff. “If we start over with 25 new faces every year,” it will be difficult to keep making consistent improvements on state report cards, he said. “If that happens every year, we’re in trouble.” Scruci warned that raising BG salaries will require an increase in operating funds. The district is going into negotiations this year with staff, he said. Scruci also mentioned some troubling trends that could worsen the teacher attraction and retention issue. Nationwide a teacher shortage is being predicted. So low salaries will make it even more difficult to attract and retain good teachers. “If you’re not paying, they’re not coming,” he said. The shortage has already hit some areas in the western U.S. Some of those districts have been hiring people without education degrees to teach, and others are going to four-day school weeks to save on costs. Todd Sayler, a parent at the school board meeting, said Bowling Green’s low ranking in the teacher…


BG Schools takes steps to make buildings safer

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As Bowling Green City Schools students went back to school today, they entered buildings that had been made safer over the summer. Superintendent Francis Scruci reported to the Board of Education Tuesday evening that several changes have been made and are in progress to keep students and staff safe from intruders. All school entrance doors have had 3M safety film installed. The change is not visible to the eye, but the film is designed to slow down anyone trying to break through the doors. According to Scruci, the safety film takes about three minutes to break through – which gives people inside the school time to seek safety and notify law enforcement. Ballistic shields have been added to the large windows in the middle school cafeteria. The district also made some changes in the new wing added at the middle school. Rather than have locker bays in the hallways, which give intruders a place to hide, the new wing has all the lockers lining the hallway walls. Also, the outside doors into the new wing are solid – with no windows. “We’ve taken some steps to make that a little safer,” Scruci said. In order make other school entrances more safe, bushes were removed or cut back outside school buildings. The district is in the process of installing indoor and outdoor surveillance cameras at the buildings, he said. Plans are being made with the Bowling Green police and fire divisions to make weekly walks through the school buildings – in addition to unscheduled visits. A security meeting is being planned with school staff, police and fire personnel, to talk about some type of safety training at the schools. That training may be on the ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evaluate) system, or some other safety program. Scruci and the district’s head of school building maintenance, Chuck Martin, recently attended a seminar on safety and security. Many of the ideas from the seminar had already been identified and were being worked on at the district’s buildings, Scruci said. Scruci said he will be looking for grant funding for safety measures. However, he added, “if they’re just one-time grants, then the district is going to have to sustain it.” Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Scruci reported on capital improvements made…


BG board studies preliminary state report card

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Ann McCarty stressed, then restressed, that the state report grades she would be showing Tuesday evening for Bowling Green City Schools were preliminary. The final grades, she said, wouldn’t be out until the end of September or early October. The preliminary grades showed mixed results – one being so good that McCarty is bracing for it to change in the final report. The district had languished in the “gap closing” category which measures the area between students with disabilities and all students. Last year, when the grade went from an F to a D, that was considered a “huge accomplishment.” This year – at least so far – the “gap closing” grade is B. “If this remains where it is, this is huge for us,” McCarty said to the board of education. McCarty also cautioned that since the district had received an A for progress the last two years, it was unlikely to hit that high grade again this year. “It won’t be an A,” she warned. In the “prepared for success” category, the district slipped from a C to a D. However, she mentioned that the school scored well on ACTs, Advanced Placement courses and graduation rates. Unlike many other high schools where students have five years to graduate, Bowling Green has a “fantastic” graduation rate after four years. The district’s overall grade is C – at least for now. “That could go up. That could go down,” McCarty said. McCarty went on to address some specific gains seen in the standardized tests for the students. Bowling Green saw “great gains” in high school algebra, along with reading improvement in several areas. Progress was also seen in biology and American government scores. McCarty credited teachers’ willingness to share lessons for the success. “That is a collaborative effort of all the teachers,” she said. McCarty then went on to report to the school board about efforts to provide equity to the district’s students. “We cannot treat all kids the same,” she said. “We meet them where they are, and we bring them to where they need to be.” An equity committee is in the third year of working to get all students engaged. To gauge feelings about school, a survey was given to staff, students and parents….


More than 100 sign up to join BG School task forces

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 100 citizens have signed up to help find the best path forward for Bowling Green City Schools. An email went out Friday to the 117 people who have agreed to serve on two task forces created to study future school facilities and how they will be financed. “Both are big,” school finance consultant David Conley said of the task forces. But he is not concerned about the citizen groups being so large that they are cumbersome or complicate the process. “As long as the participants involved are sincere,” the size of the task forces will not be unmanageable, Conley said on Saturday. “It’s only difficult if people aren’t sincere about the process.” Conley said he has worked with task forces numbering more than 100 people in two other school districts – Rootstown and Lexington. Like Bowling Green, those school districts had to make decisions about the future of multiple buildings. The notice sent out last week suggested the first gathering be a joint meeting of both the facilities and financial task forces on Aug. 28, at 7 p.m. The primary goals will be to set up ground rules for how the task forces will operate, review the purposes of the task forces, and establish an estimated timeline. Conley will be serving as facilitator of the financial task force. A facilitator for the facilities group has not yet been selected. Conley is searching for a person with general experience in construction, who is not a resident of the Bowling Green School District. “It would be helpful if it’s someone who can leave their feelings out of it,” he said. “I’m dead set on finding a good candidate.” Conley predicted the process – for determining the future of school facilities and how they will be paid for – will not be quick. “I fully anticipate this being a year,” he said. “There’s a lot of work to be done. A lot of clarity needed. It’s absolutely worth it.” Not only will the task forces need to make decisions on multiple building issues, but the district also needs to overcome the divide that formed during the last two levy attempts, Conley said. The goal of the task forces is to work together to find a solution. “They have…


BG School Board takes back seat to citizen task forces

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green Board of Education handed the car keys over to the community Monday evening. After two failed attempts to pass a $72 million school bond issue for buildings, the board has now put the community in the driver’s seat. Approximately 150 citizens met in the school’s performing arts center to listen to where the district goes from here. Board President Jill Carr invited citizens to sign up for one or both of two task forces being formed – one to study school facilities and the other to study finances. The task forces will set their own meeting schedules, decide what information they need, and report back to the board. “This will be a community-driven process,” Carr said. “The board will step back.” Though the administration and board will make requested information available to the task forces, they will take a back seat in the process, Superintendent Francis Scruci said. The goal is to come up with a “solution that the community can support,” Scruci said. “Regardless of which side you stood on in November and May.” The district is at a “critical juncture,” the superintendent said, urging the community to work together, and refrain from name calling and personal attacks. “We need to rise above for the good of all,” Scruci said. The process of putting the community in charge of building projects and funding is quite unusual, according to David Conley, an expert in school finance hired by the district earlier this year. But it has been done by about 10 of Ohio’s 600 school districts, Conley said. In those 10 cases, most of the districts ended up winning at the ballot, he added. The task forces will identify the needs of the district, then decide how to pay for those improvements. Conley will act as facilitator for the finance task force. The facilitator for the facilities group has not yet been selected. “You’re being given the power to make the decisions for the district,” he said to the audience. Conley cautioned that anyone joining a task force should make a commitment of at least six months, with one or two meetings each month. He also warned that those unwilling to work on the project have no right to complain later. “Don’t criticize the result…


Courthouse tour lays down the law for BG students

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   There was a bit of disorder in the courts  Monday as Bowling Green sixth graders got a close-up view of “Lady Justice.” They sat in on a court case, they offered ideas for new laws, and they met with the sheriff. And as a bonus, they learned a bit on how the county handles emergencies. The kids were awestruck by the court proceedings, and suitably impressed by the grand Wood County Courthouse. But kids being kids – they sometimes found a different focus than the intended. For example, as architect Heidi Reger pointed out the intricate stone work on the front of the 1896 courthouse, she asked the students to find the faces and animals carved into the stone. “They liked to tell a lot of stories in the stones,” she said. But during one group’s tour, Reger had some competition from above when one of the Peregrine falcons roosting in the courthouse clock tower snatched a bird for breakfast. It wasn’t long before a burst of feathers came floating down from the clock tower. Once inside the courthouse, the students got to listen to cases presented to the Sixth District Court of Appeals. The lesson there might have been that real court cases aren’t necessarily as exciting as those portrayed on television. But the students sat respectfully with little fidgeting as a case was argued about who was responsible for paying for roadwork and causeway maintenance for Johnson Island. Though the legal arguments were tedious, technical and long-winded, the students sat quietly. One court constable suggested that the sixth graders were likely intimidated by the panel of three robed judges, or by the ornate courtroom with its stained glass ceiling. After sitting through the governmental arm that rules on the law, the students heard from state legislators that make the laws. State Senator Randy Gardner and State Rep. Theresa Gavarone, both R-Bowling Green, talked about their routes to the statehouse. Gardner started out as a teacher, and Gavarone as an attorney and part-owner of Mr. Spots – which seemed to impress the students. Gardner stressed to the students that they are the bosses of state legislators. “If you live in Wood County, that means you’re our boss,” he said. “We listen to you.” Both talked about…


Studying up on ‘neighborhood’ vs consolidated schools

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some Bowling Green area voters find the school levy numbers disturbing – not the monetary numbers but the numbers of students that would be using one centralized elementary if the levy passes. While some have protested the costs of the 5.7-mill levy spread out over 37 years, these citizens object to the merging of three elementaries into one centralized building. Supporters of the change say it will enable the district to provide consistency and equity in resources and opportunities for young students. Critics say students learn better in “neighborhood schools” as opposed to “factory schools.” Both sides of the issue have presented their rationale. And as with most controversial issues, there is plenty of data to support both points of view. Kimberly Christensen, of the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, said research shows pros and cons for smaller neighborhood schools and larger consolidated schools. Centralized schools offer “higher educational quality as a result of the wider menu of educational experiences” they can provide, Christensen said. There is more consistency and greater equalization, she said. In a building where all the grades are consolidated, the educational teams can offer more connected and integrated lessons, she said.  The children benefit from having all the support staff and specialized teachers in one location, she added. For example, if a student needs to see the school therapist, the child won’t have to wait days until the therapist makes rounds to that school building. And consolidated schools have higher fiscal efficiency, she said, since there are fewer redundancies. Smaller schools, Christensen said, tend to do a better job of making students feel connected. Studies have documented better relationships are likely to occur in smaller settings. “Students feel supported and cared for,” she said. Some research has shown reduced rates of student participation in extra-curricular activities in larger schools, Christensen said. And there are concerns about kids getting lost in the largeness. “Are you going to see some left out of the process,” she said. However, the latest trend seen in school districts seems to offer the best of both educational worlds, Christensen said. Districts are working to create small schools inside big consolidated schools. “If you create that environment, it makes the larger school seem smaller,” Christensen…


School tours – some see obsolete, some see opportunity

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For more than 60 years, Conneaut and Kenwood elementaries have educated young minds. They continue to do so – but under some challenging conditions. The heat at both elementaries leaves some students sweltering while others have to be bundled in their coats.  The gym floor at Kenwood is buckled, and the microwave in the kitchen has to be moved around to open outlets. Lack of storage space in both schools has led to some items sitting in the halls. Asbestos contained in the ceilings means nothing – not even a staple – can but put in the tiles. Conneaut’s art teacher’s classroom is sometimes a cart, since some years there is no extra room for her class. Residents of the school district were invited into the two elementaries and the high school for tours on Saturday. The district is trying to pass a 5.7-mill levy to construct a centralized elementary, plus renovate and add onto the high school. The tours were in response to criticism by levy opponents, who would rather see the elementaries renovated, costing the district $30 million less than the $72 million price tag for the high school and new consolidated elementary. It seemed few minds were swayed by the school tours. Those against the levy questioned why the district would build a new building, when the 60-plus-year-old elementaries can be renovated. Those for the levy asked why the district would put a band-aid on big problems and delay constructing new buildings as the costs continue to grow. Both sides seemed to dig in during Saturday’s tours. Some parents on the tours expressed disappointment in efforts to “attack the integrity” of the school board and administration. “That’s what’s driving me nuts about this,” one father said. Getting lost in the verbal battles are the children, Superintendent Francis Scruci said at the end of the Kenwood tour. “It’s the best thing for kids,” he said of the building plan. That message was drowned out by David Apple, who is opposed to the levy. The district will be saddled with the bond issue for 37 years, but Scruci won’t last 10 years here before he is “run out of town,” Apple said. Following are some of the items pointed out by building principals during Saturday’s tours….


BG Schools property tax plan defended as best option

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A man who makes his living getting schools and governmental entities out of sticky financial situations has issued his verdict – Bowling Green City School District manages its money well, has tax levels lower than most in the region, and is asking for the right tax to fund its building project. David Conley, president of Rockmill Financial, was hired by the district to examine a question raised by citizens. Would an income tax be better than a property tax to finance the $72 million building project to consolidate the elementary schools plus add onto and renovate the high school? “I commend the board for making that decision” to have the issue researched. Many districts would “brush it under the rug,” Conley said during a community meeting Thursday evening. What he found was that a property tax is more fair to the majority of people in the school district. “The property tax they’ve put on the table in front of the community is the best funding option at this time,” he said. The bond issue will appear on the May 8 ballot. To fund the building project with a property tax, it would take 5.7 mills over 37 years. That would mean the owner of a $156,600 home would pay $26.03 a month. For an elderly person, that could decrease to $21.88 a month, Conley said. To fund the project with income tax, it would cost the average family $41.25 per month. It would require a three-quarter percent income tax for 20 years. Using an income tax would make Bowling Green among the least affordable school districts in the region – second only to Ottawa Hills, Conley said. “The increased cost of $15 a month wouldn’t be advisable,” he said. A property tax is more affordable since it is paid by residents and businesses, he said. “Property tax spreads the tax to more taxpayers.” Richard Chamberlain, an outspoken critic of the property tax, pointed out that the income tax for 20 years will generate $105 million, while the property tax for 37 years will generate $141 million. Conley agreed with the numbers, but said the property tax is much more affordable for the average income families in the district. “You have more income than most people,” Conley said…


Students petition for flexible seating to allow fidgeting

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   So much for stiff, hard-backed chairs in this Crim classroom. The students in Amy Kenyon’s fifth grade had enough of the uncomfortable traditional seats. They wanted flexibility – and they took action to get it. “I read an article about it,” Chasey Walker said. “So I started a petition.” “It helps us concentrate more,” another student chimed in. “Most definitely,” Dylan Krupp said. It all began when students in Kenyon’s language arts classroom were working on non-fiction reading and opinion writing. They took their lesson a step further. “We’ve made a petition,” they informed Kenyon. “And I thought – oh no,” their teacher said. Kenyon advised the students that their petition would need to be backed up by an essay. “This group then grows,” Kenyon said of the students pushing for flexible seating. Maddy Baldonado and Isa Wan started working on a persuasive essay, while Dylan began researching the costs of non-traditional seating. “I was stuck,” Kenyon said with a big grin. “I can’t tell them not to research.” The students even recruited Isabella Nardone, from another classroom, to help their cause. “They bring her in because she’s really good with words,” Kenyon said. The students researched the value of flexible seating, which allows kids to fidget and use up energy that builds up if they are forced to sit still in rigid chairs. Kenyon agreed that some students’ brains work better when their bodies are moving. “As long as the students are working, they can be comfortable,” she said. The students were so committed, they used free time on their mission to get a grant for flexible seating. “They worked on it on their own time, before school, during recess, they ate lunch in class,” Kenyon said. Dylan’s research turned up all kinds of non-traditional seating – bungee cord chairs that allow children to sink into a web of stretchy cords, wobble stools that give kids the ability to wiggle around, standing “stability discs” that allow kids to wobble, camp chairs, stools low to the floor, bouncy bands under desks that allow for foot movement, and even bicycle pedals under a desk. “I was so impressed,” Kenyon said of their dedication. Then came the next step. The students had to present their proposal to interim Principal…


School tax expert tries to clear BG bond issue confusion

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A school taxation expert hired to bring clarity about Bowling Green City Schools funding sources for the new school proposal tried to clear up the muddy issue Thursday evening. Citizens packed into the middle school cafeteria, and two police officers were on hand to make sure the meeting went smoothly. David Conley, president of Rockmill Financial, specifically tried to answer whether or not the school district could use income tax instead of property tax for its $72 million building project to consolidate the elementary schools plus add onto and renovate the high school. His simple answer was – “it’s complicated.” “In my opinion, what is on the ballot is the best option for the community,” Conley said. “A property tax is more affordable to most taxpayers than an income tax,” he said of the issue on the May 8 ballot. “Property tax spreads the cost to more taxpayers.” However, that answer was also complicated, since his statement holds true for the first 10-15 years, when tax statistics from the district show an income tax would then be better. Conley also added another “big ‘ole asterisk.” “The agricultural community is really getting hit with this,” he said. “But my conclusion is that the bond issue right now is the most equitable and fair for the community,” he said. District officials have said that income tax cannot be used for long-term building projects. More school districts are turning to income tax revenue for building projects, Conley said. However, even that is complicated. Districts can only use income tax for bond issues if they are eligible to get some state facilities funding. There is another option for using earned income tax – but that can’t be enacted by districts that have traditional income taxes in place, which Bowling Green has. Residents looking for black and white answers disregarded Conley’s complicated explanations. “We have been misled,” Bud Henschen said about the board’s decision to go for a property tax. “There’s no way for you to continue to lie to the public,” Richard Chamberlain said to the board as he referred to a letter from the Ohio Facilities Construction Commission. However, after the meeting, Conley said much of the information presented by Chamberlain in the letter was not as cut and dry…


More grandparents take over raising their grandchildren

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Parenting children the first time around is hard enough. Doing it again as a grandparent is even more daunting and exhausting. But more grandparents are finding themselves in the role of parent with their grandchildren. So on Wednesday, Bowling Green City Schools hosted a Grandparent Resource Night at Kenwood Elementary. “We have a lot of grandparents out there in the district raising their grandchildren,” said teacher Jonelle Semancik. “They don’t know where to turn for help.” Kenwood Principal Kathleen Daney said she previously worked in Lucas County, where a Kinship Caregiver program exists to help grandparents who find themselves as parents again. “There’s nothing here to support the grandparents,” Daney said. “And every year there are more and more.” So Daney asked Judy Paschalis, who previously coordinated the Kinship program in Lucas County, to share her expertise in Bowling Green. “It’s desperately needed everywhere,” Paschalis said of support for grandparents. “It’s one of the most complex family situations.” Paschalis said in 2010, an estimated 10 to 15 percent of children were being raised by their grandparents. That number has continued to increase, she said, with drugs and alcohol being the cause 99 percent of the time. “I can say I know what you’re going through – because I really do know what you are going through,” Paschalis told the audience of grandparents. She and her husband have been raising their 9-year-old granddaughter since she was 4. The job is tough for so many reasons, one being emotional. “It’s no fun having a grandchild cry because she wants her mommy,” Paschalis said. “She’s really angry at me because I’m not her mommy.” And when parents don’t show up for planned visits, the grandparents are left picking up the pieces again. So these children have lots of “trauma” and more “worries” than most children. There’s also the expense of becoming a parent again in later life, when incomes are fixed. “And then, of course, you have to buy new clothes and shoes every three months,” Paschalis said. Then, there’s the stigma that comes with raising grandchildren – as if their failures with their own children caused them to desert the grandchildren. “You didn’t do so hot with your children,” Paschalis said. “People can make them feel bad about that…