Working together for schools

The end of 2020 will soon be upon us all.  This has been an extremely challenging year as COVID-19 has impacted us all personally and professionally. Many will quickly look to put this chapter in the rearview mirror as there is a new level of hope ahead with the recent approval of vaccines and discussions about timelines to return to some level of normalcy. While we will all undoubtedly want to put these struggles behind us, it is important to remember the courage that was necessary to move through this unprecedented event.  I will obviously forever remember the challenges of the pandemic; however, it will also be the acts of courage that will be a large part of this memory. This includes:

The tremendous response to quickly pivot to remote learning in March with no notice or notification.

An overwhelming effort to convert, retrofit and prepare facilities with layers of new mitigation strategies in a short amount of time by our classified staff to ensure the necessary things were in place for our students and staff to return safely.  

A teaching staff that returned to school with fear of the unknown and stress of personal health risk knowing the importance of being there for our students.

Staff stepping forward and working outside of their classification and areas of responsibility to ensure we could keep moving forward with in person learning.

Teachers that learned to balance students in the room and at home striving to continue to develop the academic, social and emotional development of our students.  

Administrators creating, implementing and modifying schedules to best meet the needs of all students in an ever-changing environment.

In person students wearing masks and sitting behind shields as they strived to find some sense of normalcy while continuing to learn.

Virtual students focused on continuous growth while overcoming technological challenges in a completely new educational environment.

Board of Education, parents and community working with our schools through difficult decision points. 

The Chagrin Falls Schools community stepping forward to support our schools by successfully passing an operating levy with one of the highest rates in the history of our schools.

While this year has been difficult and tested us all, it has once again proved the strength and power of our community. Together we have made it through many difficult chapters of the COVID-19 story; however, this story is not yet over, and it is not a time to take a reprieve.  We need to continue to look out for and support each other while practicing the basic principles that prevent community spread.  

Soon we say goodbye to 2020 and move into next year with a stronger sense of community.  My hope is that you have a wonderful holiday season with a focus on spending time with the closest of family members.  

Superintendent Robert Hunt

Chagrin Falls Exempted Village School District

Bidding farewell  

To residents of Geauga County. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your trust in me during the past 12 years.

Due to Recorder-Elect Celesta Mullins’s management skills, I was able to accomplish many things as Geauga County Recorder. I am leaving this office in very competent hands.

 My first big project was the discovery of the Book of Indentured Servants that was hidden away in the archives. I transcribed, scanned and put it on my website.  The “servants” were children whose families could not afford to care for them, so they were indentured to a family who would raise them and teach them a trade. There was an official contract between the family and the township trustees.

The Good Deeds Program was a strong program that helped residents learn about their estate matters. I spent countless hours working on that project. Special thanks goes to all the attorneys who reviewed them pro bono for the program. Our attorneys are the best.

Step two of that program was taking it to recorders across the State who now host the program with judges and local attorneys. It was rewarding for me personally to see not just Geauga, but residents statewide learn about their property ownership and how to avoid court when a loved one has passed.

In 2013 we implemented a Veterans ID Card Program. I personally issued the cards in my office and helped other recorders across Ohio start the program. I learned more about the history of our country in that setting than I ever did in school. Thank you, veterans, for that privilege.

I brought e-recordings to the county. I met with a lot of resistance on that one and it took me two years to get past the hurdles that were thrown at me.

Our indexes are now online, and through a concentrated effort at back-scanning and indexing, thousands of documents are now easier to access digitally.

I started the Ohio Historical Family Farm Program in Geauga. It was exciting to help long-time landowners trace their families and achieve historical farm status. I truly enjoyed getting to know all of our wonderful farming families in Geauga.  

In my role as recorder, I was able to work with Totally Dogs 4H to raise funds for the Geauga Dog Shelter until COVID-19 struck.

Thank you to the Geauga County Bar Association for allowing me to be a member of the Grievance Committee. I enjoyed every minute of it.

Special thanks to former recorder Margie McBride Bonk. We have emailed almost every day since my first election. She has been a wealth of knowledge and support.

I struggled through two years of cancer treatment that began in 2015. While those were some rough times, I was thankful to have this job.

I will miss the visiting dogs, the people and the work. I will not miss the political games, which were brutal at times.

Thank you again for voting for me, for supporting me, for allowing me these years to try to help the people of Geauga, and for your prayers. I appreciate every one of you. Just remember, you can do anything you want. You can overcome anything life throws at you. Continue to push through and you will reach your goals.

It has been my pleasure to serve you.

Sharon C. Gingerich

Geauga County Recorder

Holiday song for Newbury

Here’s a Newbury version to the tune of “Walking in a Winter Wonderland.”

“Doorbells ring, it’s the season,

And you know, what’s the reason,

The Task Force needs cash, hold on to your stash,

They’re sticking out their tiny little hands.

Gone away, is the high school,

Here to stay, is a new rule,

We’ll pay for it twice, now won’t that be nice?

Sticking out their tiny little hands.

In the vacant lot where kids were playing,

Laughing with their school friends every day,

We used to have such fun but now they’re saying,

“You need to buy the land we gave away!”

In the end, we’ll all be paying,

For the lies, they were saying.

It’s sad but it’s true,

We’re all feeling blue,

They’re sticking out their tiny little hands.

Phil Paradise Jr.


Vote on school funding now

For anyone who cares about equity in public school funding, this is an important month. More than 20 years after Ohio’s method of funding public education was declared unconstitutional, Senate Bill 376 has been proposed to fix this problem. It is three years in the making, sitting in the Ohio Senate Finance Committee. The companion bill, House Bill 305, was passed by an overwhelming majority (87-9). Along with broad bipartisan backing, SB 376 also has the support of school district superintendents and treasurers across the state. 

So why is this bill not advancing? Matt Dolan, state senator for the district including Chagrin Falls and Solon, is chairman of the Finance Committee and has chosen not to put the bill on his committee’s agenda in order for it to advance out of committee for a full Senate vote. If nothing happens before the end of the year, the bill dies.

Dolan’s excuses for this inaction ring pretty hollow. It seems unfair that one person should stand in the way of years of bipartisan work and compromise. Matt Dolan needs to do his job and give SB 376 a vote.

Jackie Godic

Pepper Pike

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