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Austintown school board votes to put levy back on the ballot

Published: Tue, November 18, 2008 @ 12:00 a.m.


Doug Heuer

By Elise Franco

The attempt earlier this month failed by more than 600 votes.

AUSTINTOWN — The superintendent and school board hope May will be the last time residents will be asked to pass a 4.9-mill levy.

The school board voted at its meeting Monday to have it placed on the May 5 ballot.

The levy, which would raise $2.9 million annually, failed on Nov. 4 by 617 votes.

Superintendent Doug Heuer said this levy will be utilized exactly the same as the previous one would have been — 4.4 mills will be designated for operating expenses and 0.5 mill for permanent building improvements.

He said the district could be into a deficit by the end of 2009, even if the levy passes in May, because revenues from it won’t come in until early 2010.

“It’s projected that a deficit will occur in this calendar year,” Heuer said, “depending on what happens to things like the cost of diesel fuel and gas rates ... [and other] factors.”

He said immediate cuts aren’t planned, but the board will pay close attention to the district’s financial situation for the fiscal year 2009-10, which begins in July, especially if the levy fails again.

“The board will have to look at what the deficit is going into the [next] school year and make a determination on what to do,” Heuer said. “If it fails [in May] we’ll have one more opportunity to put the levy before the public next November.”

He said he believes that the levy is necessary to keep the school district at its current level of operation, and township resident Joe Caruso agrees.

Caruso said he doesn’t think any graduate of Austintown Fitch High School would want to move back to the township if the school system deteriorates.

“We have a whole lot to protect,” he said. “If our school system goes down, so will our community ... then our homes are worth nothing.”



1MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

The board made a great choice on putting the levy back on the May ballot. I have full confidence that the community now knows whats at stake if we were to go under with another failed levy, and for the negative people on here which I know are coming, its time for you to take your hatered and dislikement aside and support the children in YOUR district.

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2dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I hope the people realize they need to make some cuts before voting yes! If no changes are made vote NO! This is why I think we should vote NO: "He said immediate cuts aren’t planned". You see they are not even trying to make cuts so they are not in a defict! Why should I, a property owner, have to pay the extra tax when there is no effort givin here?!?! Your superintendant does not care! If he did he would be here more then two days a week and live here, not in Columbus! Get rid of him!

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3AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Austintown grads don't come back here as it is. A levy won't make them return.

This levy will do nothing to support the children. They spend no money on technology in the schools, books in the library, etc. Why should I pay more money so my child doesn't get the education that they deserve? I only hope that us No voters can get the word out for people to go to the polls and defeat this levy once again.

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4metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

So they are going to try to do the same thign that they know jsut fialed by 600 votes and feed us the same crap that we all know are lies? Man at least te;l us sometihng new or actually make the cuts. proves they were just threats and nothing else so now I am more inclined to vote NO! guess they have a mental disorder or sometihng to think they can fool us twice in a row and change notihng.

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5MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

WOW. All of you are really sad. Im ashamed to say I share the same community as you, ESPECIALLY you AtownParent.

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6AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh please No, not me.

Can you see the sarcasm dripping off those words?

What's the matter, does the truth hurt? This levy won't even keep the district out of the red. How is that financially sound? Go back to school MR AL3X, you still have a lot to learn.

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7metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

It sint' and the ebst i can say is sure it may help for a couple moths but then their waste f money will catch back up and they will be back where they started.

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8MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

AtownParent are you Ms. Kliner? I think not, so before you want to say the levy wont keep the district out the red, just stay quiet!!
All of you complain like theres no tomorrow and YET you relect the SAME people that have been on the board for years. None of you have a right to complain AT ALL. You could have made change when Ritchie was up and Creator left but you didnt, and I doubt any of you ran that election year either.
And the truth, ummm yeah I know my facts, and your NOT my parent (THANK THE LORD) so dont you even dare tell me "GO BACK TO SCHOOL", oh yeah and what is it you do?

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9AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey slow learner - read the above article - Mr. Heuer says it himself. I didn't vote for Ritchie or Pogany, thank your teachers and para pros for that.

You need to go back to school junior, or at the very least take some debate classes, you have no idea how to support your argument. All you do is spout off at people and that is a sure fire way to prove just how young and naive you really are. Don't you have studying to do? Go read a book and get off the internet, open your mind to the world.

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10metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Well It's not sjut the board that is hee problem. do we vote for superintendet? I don't recal lthat we do,the board des ad if we ahd know this is what they were going to do we would have never voted them in. sometiems you jsut don't know that until they are elected though.

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11MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Heuer said we COULD be not WILL be in the red, I can read perfectly fine. Nor do I need to thank the teachers for reelcting the same people, why would they reelect people most cant stand. Plus how many teachers are there versus community members in Austintown? You make NO SENSE!!
I'm glad to be young and naive. My studies are none of your concern or business, worry about your own children (GOD BLESS THEM).

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12AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

No MR AL3X, you make no sense. Nice semantics on the "could" versus the "will". That changes nothing. And every ADULT (see I can use caps to scream too) out there knows that during the non-presidential elections, voter turn out is crap. The only people that show up to vote are the ones that have stakes in the election. Ritchie is pro-union. Always has been, so they keep him on the board. Again, if you have followed the workings of the ALSD for any amount of time, you would know that too. I get that you have a vested interest in what is happening in your school. I commend you for that, but coming on this board and trying to berate and belittle people is just not productive.

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13sinthor(87 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago


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14AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I will vote no again. Just because someone votes no does not mean that they do not support the children. I already pay several thousands of dollars in property tax. If the children are so important, I suggest that the teachers reach into their pockets and give up some of their income to show their support. Bur it will never happen. If you are not willing to give something up what makes you think that I or any other resident wants to give anything up??

Vote NO until they understand the meaning!

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15metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

That may take a few tiems as they are not smart enough to figure ouut that we are not happy with how they are running the district.

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16MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

AtownParent, my caps is not yelling its stressing. I know I make sense, its sad you cant see that.
I have full confidence that this levy will pass next time around because the community now knows whats at stake.
AKAFR1, when you vote no you basically say I dont care about my childrens education and hand your child a crappy education.

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17xytown(63 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Austintown has become Youngstown's ghetto west! They should just annex with Youngstown since at least their able to pass a school levy....

The voters have spoken and spoken loudly with a NO for Austintown schools!

I used to reside in Austintown and was proud of it but over the years Austintown has decayed and rotted to the extent that it is not a suitable place to raise a family or obtain employment.

It appears the Austintown residents never leave the area and see how bad their township has decayed compared to other areas of Ohio and PA.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, get out while the gettings good because the township of Austintown is beyond repair!

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18metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

They listen to what people say? yeah right! What planet is your brian on pluto? They could care less what we think! the same levy=the same result No!!!!

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19dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

xytown: I hope you realize it took youngstown four tries and many, many cuts before their levy passed. I do not see all of austintown as the ghetto westside, some parts yes. Heck parts of the westside are still very nice. And honestly with the way the house market and economy is, how do you expect anyone to get out of Austintown?

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20metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

There are places that are better.

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21dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Of course there are, metz87. There will always be better places and worse places. I think if you just get out of ohio, everything seems to get better!!! But i would much rather live in Austintown, then any part of Youngstown! And I was raised on the westside of Y-town.

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22prodgodq(165 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I think the problems with the Austintown school system fall on the shoulders of the superintendent. Having attended a number of school board meetings, I observe that he has little sense of timing and tact. He's not suited to be the real leader that the school system needs. As an Austintown resident, I'm also struck by the fact that he's not even a permanent resident of the community.
I think this reason alone is what bothers most people. He continues to preach cost, and yet common sense tells us that the increased costs for paying a non-resident to travel back and forth weekly from his home in Columbus make no fiscal sense. Does anybody know how long is contract is?

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23dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I'm not sure how long the contract is, but he was supposed to have moved here by now. So he has no held up to his contract! It should be null and volid by now, so they need to fire him!!! Promote a principal to superintendant. They should be promoting within the district, not hiring some jack from three hours away! I agree and believe this all falls on the superintendent's shoulders!

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24AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

They extended it last year and I thought it was for 2 years, not 100% positive though.

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25metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Well they should terminate it. that is way too long for him to be messing things up.

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26AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

More money does not guarantee a better education. If you want proof, look at the Youngstown school system. Higher paid teachers do not guarantee better results. If you want proof, look to the parochial schools. What makes for a good education and school system are individuals that use the available resources wisely and in the best interest of all.

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27prodgodq(165 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I can understand to a certain extent wanting to bring in an outsider, because a "good old boy" network can form in a school system that can lead to unfair distribution of resources.

Unfortunately in this case, I think Heuer considers himself to be "on a mission". He also seems to be very defensive. People with that frame of mind tend not to look for compromises or a middle ground.

I acutally liked some of the things he did initally, like inviting the public to look at the school budget line by line at Fitch a few years ago. More than 600 people turned up and I thought the discussions were productive.

After that he seemed to lose touch with his sense of tact. A superintendent has to be as much of a "PR" person as an administrator. A good example of this was the closing of Davis elementary, and then asking for another levy. Anyone with common sense would see that he should have done the opposite. Put the levy up first, THEN close Davis if you have to. His explanation as to why he did this was pretty vague.
This is making it even more difficult to raise any tax revenue, because he's enormously unpopular with the community, and worse, no one trusts him, particularly the teachers.

If his contract has been extended, they're going to have to terminate it and pay him whatever severance is stipulated. I would think at this point the board will have to, since their own positions will be on the line. No one is going to keep voting them in if things continue this way.

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28metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

It;s pretty bad when the very people that report to him or are under him no longer trust him. when it gets that bad the only thing to do is get rid of the bad link.

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29MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Met87, I live on a planet called, which you should visit, also they do listen I WOULDNT HAVE TYPED IT IF I DIDNT KNOW IT.
OldManGrump, I cant wait for this levy to pass and shuts you up. Why dodnt you just move out of Austintown since you hate it so much. In the end your negative pushing for the levy to fail WILL fail with its passage.

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30AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh yes, you know, because what your teachers tell you are always the facts. MR AL3X, we bought our houses here. Why don't you move out of your parents place and be the adult that you seem to like playing on the message boards. We pay the taxes that support the school system and we have every right to question where those funds are going. Until you do, please don't tell contributing members of this community that they should leave if they don't agree with you, one student.

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31dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Hey AtownParent. Just think if all us homeowners/property owners moved, where would all the funding come from for the schools? I think we the property owners should be the only ones who get to vote on the levy since we are the only ones it effects!

MR AL3X maybe one day you will understnad when you are all grown up, own a house, and see the taxes you pay misused by the school district you live in.

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32metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Dumb,have you seen them or heaard them do what they said they did. WHo knows what they do behind clsoed doors. Not what they tell us for sure. Msut be wishful thinking on your part to suport the schoo baord who hired Heuer in the first place!

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33prodgodq(165 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

As we can see from the posts on this board, the problem with passing the levy has very little to do with residents' ability to pay the additional tax. The problem is that Austintown residents either don't trust the superintendent, or are unhappy with the administration. That's a far worse problem to have. As an Austintown parent, I'm generally happy with the education my daughter receives. Her teachers are passionate about what they do and demonstrate a good amount of care.
My biggest problem with the system at the moment is a simple one:
The superintendent is not a resident. That fact alone makes no sense to me. I just don't feel that someone who doesn't live in the community can get an adequate grasp of the problems facing the community or the school system. He also doesn't pay a resident's taxes. There's no point in paying a glorified accountant a superintendent's salary. For a school system facing cost issues, it seems wasteful to me to pay the additional travel expenses for an out-of-town superintendent. There are plenty of talented administrators in the area who can handle the job.
The experiment didn't work, and it's time to move on.

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34metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

And neither of thsoe are going to change. Heuer will still be there and the same people will be on the bosrd so why would anyone change their mind unless someihng strnage happens like Heuer actually starts doing things right and moves into the area. I don't see that happneing anytime soon.

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35prodgodq(165 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Heuer can resign, but that will come only under pressure from the school board, or if he's offered another job.
If the levy fails again, and it looks like it will at the moment, the pressure will mount.

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36metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Evetually they will hae to do sometihng drastic.

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37MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

ATownParent, and dmets, I am so FOR the residents to know where the money goes, and they have done that. If you would like Ms. Kliener will be glad to show where money is being spent. I know that taxes are not fun for anyone but when it comes to the schools I'll support them all the way. Why? Because great schools equal a great community its common sense. No parent BESIDES YOU would want their child in a horrible school district. I'm not telling anyone what they need to do, I'm suggesting.

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38dmets(575 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

So you think having a super who lives three hours away, and our tax money goes to his travel, and place to stay is not a waste of money? He has done nothing for the school district. He is a huge waste of our tax dollars!

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39metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

And that can be proved. You really think the treauser is going to ocme out and say we are wasting money? No because it would cause the baord to ocme down on ehre so eitev nif she knows money is being wasted she will keep her mouth shut. What about someone find the finacial records and look at them themselves. You might find some fishy numbers in there if you know what I mean.

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40AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Until you actually request the information, you have no idea what kind of hoops you need to jump through to get the full accounting of where the district money goes. Mr. AL3X, while I appreciate the fact that you support your schools, there are 9600 people JUST LIKE ME who voted NO for that levy, and a lot of us are parents that are not satisfied with the way the school system is being run. What would you even know about property taxes - you are a child who lives at home, you don't own that home.

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41metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

i doubt you could ever just go in there and ask for the schools' finicial records. they would just laugh at you.

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42MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

dmets, no I dont think a man who lives three hours away should be the head of our district. I want Heuer gone as much as everyone else, but thats very unlikely if you dodnt express it to the board, not on vindy.com. Also, if memory serves me right he doesnt live there, his son does who he visits, but that is no excuse at all.
Metz87, and ATownParent, for one I have seen those finicial records, not all but a good majority of where we were losing money. I didnt ask to see them, but out of the kidness of Kliner's heart she did. The 9600 that voted "no" on the levy werent all against it some had no clue why money was needed, or just plain clueless. Its hard to believe but it is true. What do I know about property taxes? A lot than you think, I do my research very good on matters that I care deeply about, not only that I'm a journalist who has done reports on the levy. Thats how I know about property taxes. I'm not one of YOUR children so dont call me a child when you dont even know me. The nerve of some of you on here is AMAZING. You can talk the stuff online but cant do it to the public. WOW.

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43AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

If you do your research then you would not be arguing against everything that is put up here. You would know that it is completely and accurately factual. People know why the money is needed - do you? Do you know that some of that money that is so desperately needed is actually going to be used for matching funds to build the super elementary? I am sure you got the information because you wanted to do a positive spin on the school district and its desperate need for money. You may know how property taxes work, but you have no idea what it is like to pay those costs - you don't own a home. You have no idea what people are doing trying to just make ends meet in this town. The nerve of you is amazing. You are a student, a child, and yet you sit on here and bash grown adults. At least I teach my child to respect their elders.

You have no idea what we have or haven't said to the board. Frankly, a lot of people send letters, e-mails and make phone calls. Just because they are not at the board meeting does not mean that things are not being done.

You really should remove those rose colored glasses, or else you are going to get a BIG surprise when you join the "real" world of adults.

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44AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh wait, I just realized that you said not all who voted No, were against it. Really? Isn't that what no means. It means I am against it. Oh and some were clueless huh? Did you ask everyone that voted NO or are you psychic?

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45metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Not that i am not supppting the schools just that the way the adminstration is doing things why should i support their lack of knwledge of a budget?

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46MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

AtownParent, You have some nerve to talk about RESPECT. I give respect when it's earned and/or deserved and YOU clearly dont deserve it from me and NEVER will. I have tolerated your disrespectful comments about the school district and me. Your ignorance and aragance will never be rewarded by me EVER.
Now, no i did not talk to every "No" voter, but I do have friends that are parents and I do talk to them about how we can make this next levy pass and a good majority of the "No" voters they talk to either said they didnt know why it was needed or what was at stake. To the "super elementary" comment that is completely FALSE you cant build a new school with a levy, ONLY with a bond issue, which is currently building our new bus garage making room at Watson, clearly closing Davis was a bad decision.

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47AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

You make comments that you have no substantial information on. Yes, you can build a school on a levy - ask the voters of North Jackson what they have been defeating for years. There are 2 ways to build a new school, bond or levy. Once again, your ignorance on this whole topic is brought to light. You stomp and scream on these boards like the child you are.

The building of our bus garage is being done with funds that are currently in the construction fund - not a new bond. I thought you knew all about voting? No one voted on a bond for the bus garage - it was for the new middle school. I could care less about your respect, you act like a two year old and come on here like you know what you are talking about when you have NO CLUE. If you want to come on here and present real facts and educated opinions, then join us. You have done nothing but tossed a tantrum to those who don't think you or the district is the end all be all.

You need to stop worrying about things you have no choice in. My comments have been nothing but the truth. I am sorry if it hurt you, but sometimes when people open your eyes to your own faults it tends to do that. Welcome to the real world son.

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48metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

honestly the way they do things is how you run a busniess into the ground. unwisely spending the little money you have.

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49MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

I would love to know where your're getting your information on how to build a new school because you cannot build a school with a levy at all UNLESS (I'm assuming, which I shouldnt) its stated on the ballot.
Im not stomping or screaming like a child at all, I dont need to, I go to the board meetings and voice my opinions like a CITIZEN.
You clearly did not know what I was talking about with the bus garage, I know its with the AMS funding, obviously there was a misunderstanding. I know how my school district is ran, not completely but I have a CLUE, PLENTY OF THEM.
I have no reason to be hurt by your lies and rude remarks at all. If anything you look like a fool to the whole ALSD.
And if you would like to become a model citizen there's a BOE meeting at AMS at 6:30.

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50AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Oh yes, a model citizen attends board meetings. It is not with the AMS funding. That money was used for other construction purposes like the softball field and the upgrades in the stadium (turf and bleachers), a new dishwasher, and a gator among many other things. You can use construction money to do whatever construction projects you want. I've read the meeting minutes, unless you are the guy who is speaking against MI, then you are not speaking at the meeting. Oh, by the way, as I stated before, just speaking for 3 minutes at a meeting is not the only way to express yourself to the board. Telephones work wonders. Research what you think are lies. Trust me son, there are A LOT of TAXPAYERS and PARENTS who follow the same train of thought that I do. I am not the one looking like a fool.

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51metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Diid you ever notice that the people i nathelicts egt paid way mre ten any of the teachers. form the gold coach all the way up. Now isnt that something? teacher teach us atletics are sjut somethign extra to either look good go to college and are not nessary. that is were the cuts shuld be made before any other tihng is even talked about. ad yes I go on Austintown Local Schools website all the time and i check al the baord meeetings.

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52MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

AtownParent, You find me where that AMS construction funding went to. That money was in no way used for your bizarre purposes stated previously. Its sole purpose was for the new school and bus garage. THATS IT.
A telephone may work for you, but its a little cowardly if you ask me. God gave you a mouth so use it(in person).
I am not your son. What are you 70? Here's a suggestion, find a better phrase. Fool.

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53AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

MR AL3X, you just want to see what I look like don't you? Got the hots for older people huh? A telephone is only cowardly to you because you think that standing up in front of the BOE is the only way to get your point across. Enjoy those 3 minutes while I get to talk for as long as I like, but then again you seem to have a backward way of thinking so I am not surprised that you would see it as "cowardly".

Since you and Mrs. Kliner have such a great relationship and your as such an investigative journalist, you can ask her your self for the accounting of the AMS bond. You can see it all in black and white. And while we are at it, son, you can then ask about the bus garage. It was told to us during a meeting regarding open enrollment that the bus garage was built using funds CURRENTLY in the construction fund and that when the old AMS is finally sold that money will go back into the fund. The plan has ALWAYS been to build the bus garage using the proceeds from the sale of the old AMS.

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.

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54metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

but the buyer pulled out if I remember correctly right/ That means it is up for sale again. I wonder why?

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55AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

The buyer pulled out because the sales was an "as is" sale and they found out that the school had not been keeping up on the EPA inspections for the underground heating fuel containers. Those containers have contaminated some soil around it and now the cost is on the school to get it cleaned up.

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56metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 10 months ago

Well thats' a big suprise. Not really since they don't have money to do mch of anytihng or so they say. this was before the crap hit the fan too so to speak It's been going on for years.

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57MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

AtownParent, Eww your gross and need a life. I could care less what your 70 year old self looks like.
Speaking to a person goes a long way than a phone, for me at least. Those three minutes may seem like nothing to you but they go a long way for most of us. I enjoy every second of those three minutes just to let you know.
With MS NOT MRS, MS. Kliner, I will most definatly talk to her to see who's right on this matter.
And Denial is not just a river in Egypt, WOW.

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58AtownParent(565 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm done dealing with this kid. You bring nothing to the table but misrepresentations and half truths based in rumor, not fact. I don't care if it Miss, Ms. or Mrs., if that is the big thing you are so wrapped up in it proves my point. You have no basis of an argument here and you never did. You thought you could post here and all would bow down because you do articles on the levy. Now you are being challenged with the truth and the only thing you can do is correct a social title.

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59metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

And try to take the board's side. You are the ony one on here at least who does that you know so you misised the boat there. might I suggest you are buddies with the board o to you they can do no wrong.

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60MR_AL3X(24 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I Knew you give in.
About time.

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61apollo(1227 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

Is this all the public sector understands is more money for them and less for the taxpayer? So they just keep putting it on the ballot until they either find a month where people won't be home or the weather is bad? (August/February) Do they understand how to make concessions (unions) and cutting programs? (administration)

Time for taxpayers to continue to say no!

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62metz87(884 comments)posted 6 years, 9 months ago

I think thyy will have to learn the hardway that peole are fed up wih how they keep asking us for more money only to see it go down ther drian or in their pockets.

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