PHS students dig into issue of state school funding crisis PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by By PETER KUEBECK Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 22 May 2010 07:21
Perrysburg students who worked on a documentary about budget issues are Drew Coutcher (from left), Garrett Walborn, Patrick Short, Trisha Ashenfelter and Craig Potthast. The iMac screen shows their project.
PERRYSBURG - With budget cuts affecting not only their home school district but others across the state, a group of Perrysburg High School students decided to do something about it: They made a documentary.
Months in the making, their final product, "School Funding Crisis: What Do We Do?" will be shown June 3 and 7 on Buckeye Community Cable channel 69 and be available for viewing through Video on Demand.
The documentary emerged from The Cellar, the name for a multi-media, project-based technical writing course taught by English teacher Kathryn Housepian. In the past, students in the course have done everything from Web site building to converting stories to podcasts and making videos. The class has worked with the community on a number of projects over the years, including with veterans and the fire department.
The genesis of the hour-long documentary came in December after a suggestion from Housepian. The students talked about the issue and began a two-month-long research process, discovering it was a statewide problem, and pointing to unfunded mandates from the State of Ohio as the crux of the issue.
Interested in getting a comprehensive view and acquiring a cross-section of opinions, the students working on the project recorded interviews with Perrysburg Superintendent Thomas Hosler, state Rep. Randy Gardner, and John Stanford, education advisor to Gov. Ted Strickland, who the team interviewed in the governor's office in Columbus.
Seniors Garrett Walborn and Drew Coutcher were the chief researchers on the project and also wrote the documentary, with Garrett additionally serving as narrator. Senior Craig Potthast and freshman Patrick Short acted as videographers, while senior Trisha Ashenfelter shot video, performed research, and had the task of edited the video.
For them, making the video proved to be an eye-opening experience.
After seeing teachers that you know go away, Drew said, you realize that "you're not exempt from this either," bringing the topic into reality.
Garrett, who is interested in journalism, stated that the project forced him to become more politically aware and sparked an interest in being more involved in politics.
"A lot of it seemed really bogged down, like we were in a mire," he observed of the state's political environment. "It's really concerning to kind of see where we are and the overall deficit," with no one seeming to have a way to alleviate it.
The documentary itself leaves the topic open without trying to end on a tidy conclusion.
"We're not saying at the end of it, 'It's all great, it's all fine,'" Housepian said, noting that the program will let audiences decide for themselves.
Last Updated on Saturday, 22 May 2010 08:34

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