The Ghosts of Lakota: Fear, and illusion from Superintendent Mantia

I woke up on the morning of February 24, 2012 with the note you can see below. It’s from a parent in the Pickerington School district who has been watching the actions of Superintendent Mantia here in Southern Ohio. This parent is uniquely positioned to give a statement about Mantia because Pickerington is the school district that the current Lakota superintendent came from in August of 2011. It read as follows:

I’m a parent of students from Pickerington and let me tell you that Dr. Mantia will ruin your schools. She removed almost all music, art, phys ed teachers and librarians. Our libraries used the most current media material and the students loved library where they learned to use podcasts, they wrote book reviews and they had the greatest book clubs. The students loved to read because of the fantastic librarians. They are gone. She has combined music, art and gym together. They currently meet as a group at a school every 6-9 weeks. That means that they only receive physical activity for one week and it isn’t intense activity either.

She took a pay raise one month before she left after resigning. Please watch her and her agenda for the sake of your students, teachers, support staff and your wallet.

As my readers here know, I declared the Lakota School District officially dead after the February 13, 2012 meeting, so I saw no point in going to this latest meeting. It was as predicted more of the same strategy of protecting the wages of the school employees with the smoke and mirrors of fancy terminology that essentially meant nothing. The concession by the Lakota School System to retreat backward as a district with these three public school board meetings instead of restructuring their very expensive labor contracts is deplorable. With this third budget cutting school board meeting, the No Lakota Levy has officially begun the campaign to end this fourth levy attempt which appears to already be underway on behalf of the school board decisions. No Lakota Levy will soon announce a major initiative in reaction to these decisions by the school board. I am done with Lakota as a governing body. I officially cast my vote of no confidence in their direction.

Lakota under the leadership of Superintendent Mantia from Pickerington elected to eliminate 36 more jobs centering on art, music, and physical education, which is consistent with the behavior indicated above by the note from the parent. This is in addition to the 69 positions cut from last weeks meeting that caused me to regulate my opinion as a nail in the coffin to the Lakota educational body as a whole.

During the meeting last night several people were texting me and asking what I was doing, and why I wasn’t there. I told them that I was watching the DVR backups of Ghost Hunters, and my TV show was more important. I said that I thought the ghosts walking around on that TV show were more real than the ghosts walking around at the Lakota School Board meeting on stage, because both were just as effective as managers. In the TV show the ghosts make noise by banging on doors and sending out cryptic EVP recordings. The Lakota School Board does the same; they make a lot of noise with a stupid program named S.T.E.A.M (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) while at the same time cutting those programs with staffing and as Jeff Kursman said at the meeting,

“These aren’t efficiencies, these are reductions. Efficiencies will include things that hopefully we’ll hear about in the next week or two. Things like outsourcing of technology when it comes with dealing with the central office, cutting back on central office administrators…centralizing purchasing or negotiating a better rate in health care. What I see you talking about here today is a degradation of liberal arts education.”

All that was occurring at the school board meeting was a bunch of ghosts making noise to a captive audience. Just like the ghosts in Ghost Hunters the ghosts are powerless to do anything in real life because they are in fact dead. The school board is powerless to do anything but scare people, just like the ghosts in Ghost Hunters. So I see no difference between the school board meeting and an episode of Ghost Hunters. With that in mind I stayed home in the comfort of my home and watched the ghosts on TV rather than waste my time at the school board meeting.

I’m happy to see the comments from Jeff Kursman and others who are now beginning to question the merit of this entire money scheming operation known as the Lakota School System. The key to meeting a balanced budget is to reduce the cost of the services, and that is to drive down the labor costs. Cutting a few teachers here and there is only a band-aid to the situation. Only by making across the board cuts to the 80% of the $160 million dollar budget can the Lakota School System meet its budget supplied generously by the community. Anything less than a contract restructuring with the Lakota labor force will be sufficient.

Karen Mantia has brought with her to the Lakota School System a strategy used at her last job of Pickerington to diminish the quality of the district in order to force parents to pass a tax increase to sustain their inflated union contracts. And to execute that objective she and the school board are willing to destroy everything that is good about Lakota to protect the wages of their union allies. That’s what these ghosts of Lakota were doing, and why I’m not interested in anything they have to say any longer. Instead, the No Lakota Levy will be shifting gears to approach our tax fighting methods without the assumption that Lakota will see the light and come to their senses by listing to our arguments. Now, we must assume that they are not even relevant, and we must find ways to remove their impact from destroying our community in an extortion ring that is evidently well underway. If this fight for more taxes were for the kids truly, then these ghosts of Lakota would not use the kids by stealing from the community’s $160 million dollar budget and take away programs while protecting employee incomes at the expense of the children.

So for now on, I will treat these employees like the ghosts they are, as irrelevant to the land of the living, and powerless to us all if they are robbed of their ability to invoke fear. Because as far as usefulness, they are lacking completely in any ability required in the real world, and are truly manifestations from the land of the dead.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior

Check out Rich Hoffman’s favorite website, (besides this one):

38 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Lakota: Fear, and illusion from Superintendent Mantia

  1. I read that disturbing comment yesterday, and couldn’t believe it when I saw this in the enquirer this morning. My first thought was to what that person wrote and how it is happening all over again.
    This was one of my favorite columns of yours I have ever read and it’s disturbing to hear the defeat and disgust in your words. if its any consolation, more and more people are starting to realize this is a never-ending request of money, a black hole……..


      1. Never defeat. Just disgust and the understanding that the organized labor portion of public education must go before any changes can be made for the better.

        This clip is the typical teachers union when they are asked to work past their contract hours.


      2. LOL. probably the same reaction to the levy not passing and them not being able to get thousands in raises…….


  2. “Cut N Run” Mantia is a miserable wretched double-dipping thief. We are SO GLAD she’s gone from Pickerington, but sorry she is still in this country and inflicting her ideas on your community.

    Not only did she destroy the “specials” (art, music, phys ed) she was also beginning to implement the UN’s Agenda 21 with all the “global learning initiative” BS. She had the morons on our school board wrapped around her fat-ass fingers. They added a clause to her contract when SB5 passed that she would still get her raise NO MATTER WHAT. For the children, indeed. She said she was leaving Pickerington for family reasons. We know who her family is: the OEA.

    She is a cancer on the children (and parents) of Ohio.


  3. This is thanks to you and your other money grubbing cohorts. We’ll be moving to Mason. Enjoy losing more property values


    1. Their stupidity and greed is my fault, and the fault of my “money grabbing cohorts?” Wow, it must be terrible to see the world through your eyes.

      Enjoy moving 7 miles down the road only to have the same thing happen there, because they won’t pass any more levies there either. You better move to California if you want blind obiediance. Because we’re too smart here. That’s why we have money sweetheart.


    2. Money grubbing cohorts? Mantia took a raise a month before she resigned to double dip…( I suppose collecting 2 high salaries at once is not money grubbing?) Mantia actually had a clause put in her contract with Lakota that if an 5 passed-she would still get a raise–but those of us paying thousands a year in property taxes who would like to stay in our homes are money grubbers80% of the budget is employee wages–people that work 184 days a year


      1. It sent too soon. Your comments at fear based and terribly ignorant. You are looking to reward money grubbers. Mason will be more of the same.


  4. Rich is big on using analogy to illustrate a point. Here’s one that describes where we are in the Ohio education funding situation.

    A while back, after listening to our Congresmen and president argue and demagogue about the Federal budget, I learned what the “800 pound gorilla in the room” was that no one would adress. The fact is that when you look at where our Federal money goes, the vast majority of it goes to “non-discretionary spending”: Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on our 15 trillion dollar debt, and defense. The “rest”, called discretionary spending, is what Congress and the President is arguing over. That includes foreign aid, “bridges to nowhere”, studies about how cat food tastes to cats…pretty much everything else we see the government spend (and waste) our money on. The problem is that this is a relatively small percentage of our budget ; I’ve seen figures as low as 12.5% You could *eliminate* ALL of the discretionary budget and still not balance the Federal budget every year! Very few politicians want to adress this fact. Paul Ryan tried and we see what it got him. Like Greece, it’s the entitlement spending that’s bankrupting us.

    The microcosm in this analogy would be Lakota Schools. Superintendents like Mantia come in and cut busing, low-paid teachers aides, music programs, and the like. The problem is that the “800 pound gorilla” in that room is the union contracts giving high salaries and benefits to teachers and administrators. On a national level the “non discretionary spending”- so named to make you think it’s untouchable or out of the hands of the politicians- is what has caused our crushing debt. On the local level the “untouchable” spending is due to the union contracts, which is “off the table” for discussion. That’s why you see figures like schools being nine million dollars in the hole and after cutting busing, art, music, PE, and a bunch of non-tenured employees they’re still seven million in arrears. They’re all fighting over a relatively small piece of the pie and wanting you to ignore the real problem. In both cases they count on an uninformed public and emotional decisions to carry their argument.

    In the private sector these high costs would be adressed by a reduction in the workforce and streamlining the business…or else the company goes out of business. In the government or school system, the answer is “get more money from the taxpayers”…the union contracts are untouchable. That’s why we are against these levies…not because we’re mean people or hate teachers. We need to adress the real problem or it’s just as bad as throwing endless tax money at the Federal government without asking for accountability.


    1. That’s a great explanation. I may steal it in the future so I’m not tempted to respond angrily to someone who calls me a money grubber! Idiot:):)


  5. Great analogy Phil.

    If Lakota is anything like Pickerington, the morons are too busy watching “Desperate Housewives” and talking about the death of crackhead Whitney Houston than to worry that their pocket is being picked by the teacher’s union.

    And now, in Westerville Ohio, where there is another heated levy battle, the pro-teachers union group (i’m not going to call it a pro-levy group anymore, let’s call a spade a spade) stole a bunch of the signs and burned them in a bonfire at Hoover Reservoir. Just like Lakota, Picktown had almost all our no levy signs stolen and THE UNIONIZED POLICE FORCE DID NOTHING. Read more about Westerville here:


  6. I’m a past parent of Pickerington students. The happiest day we had was the day Mantia resigned her position here. I feel terrible for Lakota and I still do. It is true she took a pay increase 1 month before her last in our district. Someone called her out on it and her comment to the taxpayer was “How dare you nit pick”. She is a double dipper on top receiving her pay from your district. She is very rude to the community members, parents and staff. She threatens the staff with their jobs. One of the high schools marched in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and then 6 weeks later they were marching in the Tournament of Rose’s parade. The president of the Rose Bowl came for a very special visit. Mantia was invited but never showed. In fact when our band came home from the parades there wasn’t a single phone call or vist to the band to congratulate them on representing the district. That was a big concern you never saw her in any of the buildings or at any events be it theatre, sports, music programs, awards, etc. She destroyed the music, arts and phys ed programs. They are all combined. She also destroyed one of the finest library systems in the state. They still have the libraries but there is no instruction on tech or authors or how to do research. We had fantastic book clubs. Mantia told one librarian that she wants to close the libraries down because they don’t improve a child reading ability. What??? She called the program global infusion. She will tell you how great the program is but the teachers hate it, the parents hate it and the students hate it. The staff on the team can not give their opinion because they have been threatened with their jobs. I can almost assure you that they miss having a class room where they teach the programs and really get to know the students. She is not respected in this community and our hearts go out to what you are going through. Now for the exciting news. We have a group that is going after the school board to reinstate all these programs and get the teachers back into the class rooms where they belong. There is so much more I could write here about the demise of our school district because of Mantia.


    1. Please feel free to write all you want. A lot of people read here, so much of the Lakota population will have a chance to see what you have to say. Thanks for the insight.

      Lakota just got invited to the Macy’s parade. I didn’t know Pickerington had done that before


      1. Been to Macy’s 4 times, Fiesta Bowl 1 and the Rose Bowl 3. We were Macy’s honor band (first to step off) right after 9/11 . Each student was assigned a firefighter or police officer that died that day. They wrote to their assigned families and they wore the name of the hero on their uniform that day as a tribute as the marched proudly in New York.


      2. Very interesting. Thanks for that info. The media down here made a really big deal about Lakota going to Macy’s. It was an obvious push to promote the “quality” of the school under Mantia’s leadership prior to asking for more money.


      3. Mantia never was involved with our band program. No thanks or congratulations to one single band member or band director. We also marched in the Veterans Day parades in Washington D.C. and New York city while she was in her throne — never a word. The other high school did trips as well and as far as I know no congrats there either. Bottom line it is all about her and what she can get for herself. Shame on any school board that allows her to intimidate the staff (teachers, administrators and support) and the students and their parents. She did it here and she had most of the board with the noses so far up… well you get the point.


      4. Yes, I do. We see the exact same thing here. We warned our board, but they wanted someone who would talk business, but also sell the levy. So they ignored everything and played their own game. Now it’s a mess. I think Mantia has turned out far worse than anyone ever thought–and she’s way too expensive. Now because of her buy-out, we’re stuck with her, so tensions are high.


  7. As Rich and I have said many times, the books of Ayn Rand- Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged in particular- brilliantly lay out many of the motivations behind such things as Laura has described. When Laura wrote “She will tell you how great the program is but the teachers hate it, the parents hate it and the students hate it.”, I had a huge flashback to a scene in “The Fountainhead” where Ellsworth Toohey and his friends were discussing their “art” and how they all joked that it was crap but that if they, the “respected” critics praise it in the media enough it would be seen as great by the masses. It’s the same arrogance that has marked the Obama presidency: “We know better than you”.


    1. That is why the political left hate Ayn Rand. Because she pointed them out 80 years ago! These parasites think they are so cleaver as to hide what they really are. But we see. Everybody thinks it. However, until recently, nobody wrote it or said it in public.


  8. Mantia was hired for one reason only–to pass a levy. S she took a raise right before she left–no shocker. She refused to fight issue 2 unless she was guaranteed a raise whether it passed or now. Her priority is the money in her pocket–she is nowhere to be seen in the community. she is disgusting.


      1. check your linked in and perhaps you can be one of the thousands who are congratulating me on my new job:):)


  9. Hey Lakota, Rumors are running rampant here in Pickerington that Mantia is resigning/leaving Lakota. Any truth to that hopefully great rumor?


    1. But what about the money lost………..Mantia would never give up so much money? The trouble is, superintendents in Ohio schools are mearly tax increase advocates with no managment ability. Their hands are tied by the unions and they simply cannot control costs. That means they should be paid well under $100K per year, because the are nothing more than a mouth-piece. Not the quarter ofa million that Mantia is paid to basically float more tax increase that destroy our communities economically.

      You are the first one I’ve heard that from. I’ll check around.


      1. I find it inconceivable that she would leave with all the money, time off and perks she has. Hope springs eternal though!


      2. Even though it would cost her some money, it would be the smartest thing for her to do. If they put on another levy, I won’t hold back this time. Last time I held back because the No Lakota Levy people wanted to stay in a good light. I don’t have the same concerns now. So I’m not held back by some goofy standard. The next attempt won’t be pretty for them.


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