Thursday, March 19, 2009


Recently, the Jackson Local School District (JSD) passed a levy. Being the pro-education person yours truly is, the STARK COUNTY POLITICAL REPORT (The Report) was glad to see it pass.

But there is a disturbing question concerning how JSD got there.

For those in Jackson who opposed the levy, they undoubtedly would like to have known that there is a financial relationship between The Canton Repository and Jackson schools.

What is the relationship?

The Repository publishes the school quarterly named the Polar Bear Pride (Pride).

A local communications and publishing company had been publishing the Pride, but was losing money. That company wanted to raise rates to advertisers, but Jackson school officials wouldn't allow it and continue to use the local company as its publisher.

What difference does it make to the JSD if its publisher makes the publication free to the school district but needs to raise advertising rates to make the enterprise a profitable one for the company?

The Report believes the answer is who was lurking in the background to take over the publishing of the Pride when the original relationship gets terminated.

Who might the lurking company be?

Yes, indeed. One of Stark County largest publishers: The Canton Repository.

The Report has learned that The Rep has cut a deal with the Jackson schools to publish the Pride "free" and pay money to the schools, to boot.

How much money? That The Report does not know. But any money is significant. What this means is that The Repository is making money on the advertiser money WHICH IS HIGH ENOUGH (remember JSD officials would not let the original company raise advertiser rates so it could make money) that The Rep could make money and pay a percentage of its profits to the Jackson Schools.

Did the Jackson Local School District have other motives for establishing a financial relationship with The Repository?

Back to the recent effort to pass the Jackson levy.

Exactly how much "ink" (free publicity) did The Rep give the JSD on the levy effort. What degree of scrutiny did the editors and reporters give Jackson school finances as a base of information for Jackson voters to make a decision in the voters booth?

Did Jackson schools set up the original company to fail, so that it could enter into a co-opting relationship with The Repository.

The Report thinks both The Repository and the Jackson Local School District have damaged their credibility in the public eye because of this "secret" relationship?


Probably not from the JSD perspective. The Report believes that somewhere buried in minutes of the proceeds of the Jackson Board of Education is a board approval of the contract with The Rep.

Probably from The Rep's standpoint. Is there a press release somewhere within the bowels of The Rep's archives where The Rep's operations guy, Chris White, details the existence and details of the Jackson/Rep relationship.

How many such other relationships does The Rep have with government units it reports on and which the reading public has no idea exists.

Why doesn't Executive Editor Jeff Gauger get on his soapbox pontificate on these "ethically challenged" relationships.

Why isn't The Rep inserting disclaimers in the pieces they publish when the subject matter is an entity with whom The Rep is financially involved?

Whenever The Rep publishes a "letter to the editor" by a candidate for public office, Editorial page editor Gayle Beck always has inserted for example: "Joe Doe is a candidate for Stark County commissioner."

So we know The Repository folks know how to write disclaimers.

How is it they fall silent when The Rep has a financial state in the entity being reported on?

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