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On 4th try, Youngstown school levy passes

Published: Wed, November 5, 2008 @ 12:10 a.m.
  Mahoning County: Election Night

By Harold Gwin

Despite the approval, Youngstown school officials say there are more cuts coming. In Niles, voters approved a bond issue.

YOUNGSTOWN — “Now we can get back to the business of educating students.”

That’s how Dr. Wendy Webb, Youngstown superintendent of schools, summarized the results of Tuesday’s vote on a four-year, 9.5-mill tax levy approved by voters.

The unofficial margin of victory was 53 to 47 percent.

“We still have about $2 million more in cuts,” said Shelley Murray, president of the Youngstown Board of Education.

The board has trimmed spending by $26 million and promised more reductions, even if the levy passed, Murray said, noting that those cuts are being finalized now.

It took four times for voters to approve the levy that first appeared on the ballot in November 2006 when the district ran a $15 million general fund deficit.

Scott Schulick, levy committee chairman, said voters got the message that a strong economy depends on a strong school system.

Youngstown has borrowed $25 million from the state solvency loan fund to balance its last two budgets and is faced with another $10 million deficit this year. The levy will produce about $5.3 million annually in new revenue with about half of that amount being realized this school year.

That would mean borrowing about $7 million from the state, said Bill Johnson, district treasurer, adding that the levy revenue should return the district to solvency within a few years.

Voters in Niles approved a bond issue to help finance the construction of three new buildings, the third time the issue was put before them.

The unofficial margin of victory was 58 percent to 41 percent.

Superintendent Rocco Adduci said the planning stage for the new facilities (two elementaries and a high school) will now begin and should take about a year, and the new buildings should be completed in three years.

The 5.3 mills approved by voters will generate about $20 million, with $18 million for construction and the rest for maintenance and facility upgrades.

In Austintown, voters rejected a new 4.9-mill levy to offset a $3.5 million budget deficit with 48 percent voting yes and 52 percent voting no. School officials have warned that some programs, including pupil transportation, could be cut.



1boardmanneedschange(364 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

The people of Youngstown have failed once again. A 9.5 mill school levy that was voted into effect by people who don't even pay for it. People who only left their welfare secured homes and video game screens so they could vote for the moneymakers in their city to pay for the schools their children don't go to because they are too busy running drugs and shooting each other. I firmly believe that in the process of running for president, Obama has failed the country by putting uneducated voters in the polling booths. Most peple who voted for the first time were blindly checking boxes they knew nothing about. It's a shame really.

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2MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

OldManGrump you could not be any more wrong or dumb. Austintown needed this levy more than anything. Cuts have been made EVERY year!! You can only cut so much. You may think you hurt the school district with your "No" vote and negative energy but in reality you hurt yourself because YOURS and EVERYONE else's property value is going DOWN, so good luck trying to sell your home if you or any others would like to move out of Austintown. The levy did not ask for much at all. The levy motto spoke for itself INVEST A LITTLE PROTECT A LOT. Due to the levy not passing Fitch and all other schools in the district will be changed in the most catastrophic way. AND also if you don't know the facts of what you were voting for just shut up!!

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3MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

The only fool is you isn't it time for you to check out yet??
ALSO the teachers pay ENOUGH for their benefits.

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4dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

First of all I think the only people who should be allowed to vote for school levies, are property owners!The people who pay property taxes and who the levy effects. There are so many people who voted who will never pay a cent into the schools. As for Austintown's failing. Our property value is already in the crapper with the way the ecomony is. This is was just bad timing with the economy being so bad. Everyone is having to make cuts and rebudge their own money. This was their first try, and I am sure it will be on the ballot til it does pass. That's what seems to happen. Or they will just borrow against their milliage and our taxes will go up anyways.

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5MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

dmets you really need to get a grip, how do you expect the economy to get better with a horrible education being passed on to the children.
The levy will be on the March ballot forsure and I know it will pass because what the BOE has plan will shock this whole community.

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6JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

*BOE has plan will shock this whole community.*
A "guns-for-books" program? Coupons for discounted handgun ammo for perfect attendance?

I kid. Not a Ytown voter but proving fiscal responsibility should be a precursor to getting more money, regardless of the entity and location. Major, major reorganization is the key to improvement rather than throwing money at the problem...perhaps when forced to understand by not getting more money the administrators will get the picture.

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7dirtydozen(5 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

It is time for the BOE to be accountable for it's actions.

There are 12 non-resident teachers that have thier kids attending school in Austintown. The BOE does not want to address this. That alone costs the taxpayers approx. 1.73 million $$$$$$ (6k per student a year @ 5% X 12 years plus 25k for 1\2 of what it approx. cost for a teacher position that they use @ 5% for 12 years).

Maybe the IRS should look into this because they are not 1099 ing this to the goverment.

How does the BOE explain that Heuer is paid for travel expenses to Columbus (that is where he lives)?

Is that 1099ed?

I don't think that it would be hard to find a superintendent that lives in our valley!

The BOE should start by having those 12 teachers pay back lost tuition and costs plus interest. If they want thier kids to attend school in Austintown move here or go somewhere else.

What other unnecessary spending is going on behind the taxpayers backs?

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8dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

MR_AL: No I am not crazy! You make it sound like Austintown Schools are in an academic emergency on their Ohio report card. They are not at all! I expect the ecomony to get better with the government doin their job, what they are elected to do!

AS for teachers who are non residents that bring there children to school in Atown. That is common in any school district. That is something I do not think should even be in question. A teacher should be able to do that!

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9dirtydozen(5 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

Although non-resident school teachers kid may be common in some areas, that is not the point. When the BOE asks the taxpayers for more money ever dollar must be accounted for. All perks must go. Your kids go to school where you live or pay tuition. That is why people buy homes where they can afford to live which therefore is an investment in that community. If you can't afford to live here or have some other reason to bad, that's reality. Your life choices dictate where you live and can afford.

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10dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

But from what I understand, they said most of these teachers live in Canfield or Poland. So they must not realize the school district where they live are alot better. Just look at the report cards. But I think they allow their kids to go to the austintown school, cause they can not be there for there kids to get to school. Would you rather a really excellent teacher in atown have to leave and go teach somewhere else cause they can not be to school on time cause they also have children. Does not seem right to me.

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11MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

dmets just SHUT UP. You have no clue what your talking about, unless you have a job in the ALSD then you know nothing. All of you are clueless and are going by rumors which is sad for all your characters.

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12TORR_TORR(3 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

I, a student from Fitch High School, am highly upset with the fact that the levy did not pass. Due to the selfishness of our community members our school no longer has sufficient funds to continue with what they have been doing. I have heard rumors around the school from both teachers and students stating that multiple things will be taken out of are curriculum and extra curricular activities. I am involved in both honors classes and in multiple sports which have been rumored to be removed. My privilege of being in honors classes should not be taken away. I also should not have to pay money to participate in sports. Also, though I do not ride the bus, my younger sister does and I don't find it safe for her to be walking to school everyday. According to teachers around Fitch busing with be removed after Christmas and quite honestly that would be horrible. Already it has begun to snow in October. Imagine how bad it will be in late December for those students who have to walk.

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13Mimi2BC(147 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

I have an idea for the cuts needed. Do away with all busing. These kids have parents... get them to school on your own. That's a perk that's not necessary. I voted yes on the levy... and still do not have a problem with no busing at all.

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14dmets(575 comments)posted 7 years, 8 months ago

OldManGrump: The school board care about the kids? That's a joke! They are using scare tactics to get people to vote yes the next time around. Quit with the scare tactics, and CUT THE FAT! Sometimes you have to do that, you know compromise to get what you want. You want the tax payers money, we want to see an honest try at making cuts to stay with in a budget. Then and only then will they change their minds.

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