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Things that make a great town



Published: Sun, April 17, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Things that make a great town

There are many things that come together to make a community a great place to live. Parks, safety, property values, roads, schools — these all work together.

On May 3 there are several levies on the ballot for Poland residents that could greatly impact our status as a great place to live. None of them are there due to money management issues — they are due to state cuts and increasing costs.

Now it is time for the residents of Poland to come together and keep our community great by supporting the levies.

Julie Liddle, Poland

Support McDonald schools

Almost 15 years ago, as my now husband and I began searching for a home, we happened to find one in our price range in a quaint neighborhood in McDonald. As the years went by, we began to realize what a special place it really was, and we chose to stay as we purchased our next home. We loved the park, the community events, and, once our children were old enough to enter, the school district, including the caring teachers, the wonderful support staff, and the great students.

Now, unfortunately, because of a series of intentional or unintentional poor financial decisions made by former administrators and others who have moved on to greener pastures without any legal repercussions or even an apology to the school community they left in fiscal shambles, our school faces a terribly hard road. All of the best things about McDonald schools are still there: the teachers, the staff and the students. But, without the money that would be provided by the May school levy, it may all be gone, including the opportunity to participate in any extra-curricular activities, of which McDonald athletics excels.

My husband and I are both teachers in other school districts, and with SB 5 and the question of our own salaries looming, we know it is hard to commit a large sum of money right now. But, aside from our own children’s educations, we know that the home we bought, which is already worth much less due to the economy, will likely be unsellable in a school district limited to providing only a basic, stripped-down education to its students.

Please support the McDonald School levy on May 3. It is for the good of our whole community.

Cathy Guerra, McDonald

Anderson’s neutrality unrewarded

In last Sunday’s column, Ber- tram de Souza suggested that YSU President Cynthia Anderson is “tough enough” to be cowed into silence by Ohio Republicans’ attack on public sector workers. De Souza implies that this stance will protect YSU from retribution, but the governor’s budget cuts YSU’s funding by 15.9 percent — the third largest cut in the state. So much for the value of remaining neutral.

Two other points deserve clarification. First, de Souza implies that YSU’s faculty received significant enrollment bonuses in our current contract, but those bonuses applied only to YSU’s classified staff (YSU-ACE). Although the current YSU-OEA contract for faculty did include raises, YSU faculty has among the lowest salaries in the state. We also have among the highest teaching loads in the state, and tuition here is the second lowest among other state universities.

Second, de Souza turned to the Buckeye Institute — a right-wing think tank with ties to conservative foundations and donors — to get my salary. It’s interesting that he uses this partisan source when faculty salaries are a matter of public record, available at Maag Library to anyone who wants to review them. He also implies that my salary is unreasonably high. But consider this: the Williamson College of Business Administration, of which I am a proud member, was recently reaccredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) The average salary for an assistant professor at an AACSB-accredited business college in 2009-2010 was $106,500, $2,000 more than I earned that year. That means that after 30-plus years at YSU, as a full professor and one of just two YSU faculty to have been awarded distinguished professor awards in all four categories (scholarship, teaching, university service, and community service), I was paid less than the lowest-ranking faculty member at most accredited business schools

Greed cannot explain my strong opposition to SB 5. I am fighting this bill because I believe in collective bargaining, which the United Nations, ILO Conventions, and signed treaties have defined as a human right. Support for unions is not an economic issue, nor should anyone’s position on human rights be determined by political expediency.

John Russo, Youngstown

The writer is a professor in the Williamson College of Business Administration at Youngstown State University.

Ohio budget hurts Austintown

From a personal standpoint, I consider myself fiscally conservative and fiscally responsible. From a fairness standpoint, I think Senate Bill 5 is a travesty. It should not take an act of state government to make your elected officials fiscally responsible to the taxpayers. Were there issues in the process that needed altered, yes. But now, just like in the federal government, partisan issues have taken over, and the pendulum hits both ends, instead of reaching a happy medium.

I can tell you that Gov. Kasich’s plan to push the tax burden to the lowest forms of government may work for his state budget, but it will not benefit us as taxpayers, nor will it entice out of state businesses to come to Ohio.

Austintown stands to lose almost $2 million from a $12 million budget with the projected elimination of business’s tangible personal property tax, local government funds, and inheritance tax elimination. Gov. Kasich has stated that; local government should not need to create new taxes, and that SB 5 gives them the savings to balance their budget. I can tell you that if we totally eliminated health care for all 97 township employees, it would not overcome the deficit created in our budget by the state cuts.

Now with budgetary cuts to deal with, what loses? Austintown was recently asked to offer matching funds on a road improvement project, for a business looking to invest $20 million into relocating to Austintown, instead of to another state. We had to decline participation, which will jeopardize the project, and the opportunity for 100 new jobs coming into the Valley. All because of state funding cuts that were in Gov. Kasich’s words, aimed at making Ohio a more advantageous option for new businesses to locate.

David C. Ditzler, Austintown Trustee

Partisanship hurts Austintown

I am writing in response to re- cent articles regarding Austintown and the trustees’ clear partisan slide over the past few weeks.

Lately it seems that every time I look at the front page of The Vindicator I find a quote from Trustee Ditzler, Trustee Oles or Administrator Dockry. In each and every instance it seems they find a need to drive a wedge between Austintown Township and Gov. Kasich. The leadership in Austintown has begun to tow a heavily partisan line, building up a wall between Austintown and the rest of the state.

As a resident of Austintown I find this unbelievably discouraging and severely frightening. The fact that at their April meeting they let an individual from Canfield take the floor and demand that Austintown withdraw from the Regional Chamber on a purely partisan basis is outrageous, irresponsible and destructive.

The Vindicator recently reported that Trustee Ditzler blamed Gov. Kasich for the lack of local government funding to help secure a $20 million development project. This remark is outrageous.

See letters A15

Letters

Continued from A14

Ditzler’s accusations were made prior to Gov. Kasich’s biennial budget being brought to the floor of the Ohio House. Perhaps Trustee Ditzler should have picked up the phone and called the Department of Development to inquire about funding. I would also blame his fellow members for permitting him to speak without doing his homework.

If this $20 million project is important to Austintown and to Mahoning County, every option should be considered, including talking to the governor’s office and working with the Regional Chamber, rather than chastising it. If help is not sought for this project, help will not be given. There is no indication that they have given a single thought to asking Kasich for assistance.

I put it to both the Austintown Trustees and the Mahoning County Commissioners to have the courage to put partisan politics aside and do what is right for the Valley. This project benefits everyone living in Mahoning County, and it would be a travesty to let this slip through our fingers because of foolish partisan pride.

Donovan O’Neil, Austintown

The writer is chairman of the Mahoning County Young Republicans and political director for the Mahoning County Republican Party.

Hypocritical bashing

I find it totally hypocritical of The Vindicator to write an editorial complaining about the Covelli Centre, and a week or so later show pictures of a packed crowd to see the Goo Goo Dolls.

If you buy a new car it’s fabulous, but you have to make the payments. The paper stated that the money could’ve been better spent tearing down old houses. Yes, old houses definitely need to be torn down, but what do you end up with: an empty lot.

People no longer have to travel to Cleveland or Pittsburgh to see a great show. You save money on gas and parking. Downtown restaurants benefit greatly from the arena. I believe an amphitheater would be a great investment and add to the overall luster of the Centre.

Eric Ryan has done a fantastic job. The Centre is here for this community to enjoy. Stop crying and pay it off.

Mike Cholensky, Youngstown

Something to hate

The most important thing I learned as an instructor of economics and statistics at Youngstown State University was “taught” to me by an economics faculty member. His name is not important; his thought is important.

He told me that hatred is evil. Furthermore, there is only one acceptable hatred, and that is the hatred of evil.

I later thought to myself that horrible medical problems seem evil to me. I think it is OK to hate ALS, leukemia, congenital heart problems, etc.

Otherwise, I have nothing more to say about hatred.

Louis N. DeToro, Youngstown


Comments

1mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Support McDonald Schools - it must be nice for two teachers to be able to support and pay for this levy. I'm sure that over the last couple of years they've enjoyed pay raises along with "step" increases. What about those of us who haven't? What about the people in the community that are on fixed incomes? What about those of us who haven't seen a raise in the last couple of years who've had to pay more for their medical and other benefits? This community just supported a new 4.9 mill levy in 2009. Why didn't this board wait to see what the ramifications of the new budget would mean for the schools, give us a good idea as to where the finances will be and put on an affordable levy in August? This is a HUGE levy. Has anybody noticed where the budget numbers for McDonald are at right now? According to information printed in this newspaper, McDonald is one of the lucky districts that will be receiving a funding INCREASE. Should we "trust" that this board has given us accurate information and that they really need this much money? This is the same school board that got us into this mess and still have yet to come clean.

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2Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Agreed on the Covelli Center, but an addition of an amhitheater in Northeast Ohio where it is usable 3 months out of the year (if you are lucky) would probably not be the best invesment.

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3fran(14 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Well I think that everyone should be aware of what was published in the Trib when they are looking at the whole picture. "I would really like to know if anyone has even done any of their homework on which board members were here to cause all of the problems in McDonald. I know I have and only a few others have. Here's what I have found. In December 2006 the board approved to borrow $150,000.00 which Kate Harvy & Ladonna Lunn were there at the time & agreed to it. In June 2007 Board member Ladonna Lunn & Kate Harvey voted to approve a $250,000.00 loan. In December of 2007 the board approved borrowing against a 3.7 mill emergency levy ($200,000.00), again Ladonna Lunn & Kate Harvey voted for it.In June of 2008, the board approved borrowing $600,000.00 which board member Ladonna Lunn, Kate Harvey & Jeff Hughes all agreed to. In September 2008, the board adopted annual appropriation for fiscal year 2009 of $7.624 million board members at that time were Jeff Hughes, Ladonna Lunn, Kate Harvey,Joan Miles, & none of them questioned any of what was going on. So now the board wants the people from the village to bail out the district because 4 of the 5 member "HAD NO IDEA THAT ANY OF THIS WAS GOING ON" So then who voted for all of these loans? The best thing for McDonald Board of Education is for these people to RESIGN NOW!!!!!!!"
So I think if this board wants a levy to pass, resign by the end of the month & just MAYBE it will pass.

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4bigwheel(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

mcdres-don't believe everything you read. McDonald Schools are seeing a decrease in overall funding. As one aspect of the funding appears to increase, other aspects decrease but the news fails to show the whole picture as they often do. Call the treasurer, I'm sure he can give you a better informed answer than the newpaper.

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5FrankRizzo(5 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

mcdres, the step pay in a surrounding district amounts to $1707 per year. Divide that by the 21 pays (not including summer) and that equals an extra $81per pay. Divide that by the 10 working days in a pay period and that amounts to a pay increase of $8.12 a day. All districts in our area are taking zero to maybe 2% pay raises if they are lucky. Many are taking a pay freeze. This doesn't sound exorbitant, considering all starting teachers have a bachelors degree,many have a masters degree and many have a masters degree plus 20 -40 sem. hours. Do the math on that investment!!!

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6mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Bigwheel - I don't believe everything that I read, that's why I went to the Office of Budget and Management website. Not only is an increase in state aid projected, there is also a projected savings of over $80,000 because all employees are expected to contribute 12% to their retirement and the district will see a decrease in their contribution from 14% to 12%.

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7mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

FrankRizzo - you totally missed the point which is that there are a lot of us that haven't seen an increase in pay and have had to pay more for health care. I'm sure that there are a lot of people that wouldn't mind having an additional $1700 a year in their paycheck.

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8bigwheel(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Mcdres- again, misinformed. The change in retirement contribution has not even been settled yet. They may make employees contribute 13% and keep 14% the same for employers which would be no savings to the district. Read up it hasn't even been decided yet. Again McDonald Schools will be receiving less money from the state. Your source is abosolutely wrong. Go to the source that actually receives the money.

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9mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Bigwheel - you are totally wrong and misinformed. Currently employees contribute 10% to their retirement and the employer pays 14%. Not sure where you got 13% from. Go to obm.ohio.gov and review the information from the Office of Budget and Management . Go look at it for yourself. On the main page is a link for state funding projections for K-12 Education. After you click on that, there is a "NEW: Savings for School Districts from Proposed 2% Shift in Pension Contribution Payments" link. Also, I commented that it was "projected", never said that it was settled yet. If you look at the FY12-13 School District Funding links, the PROJECTED revenue that McDonald will receive for the 2011-2013 school year is $188,378 more than what the district received this year. Maybe you should talk to the treasurer, or better yet, go to a commission meeting. The state people on the commission stated that the propsed budget is more than kind to McDonald, since it shows an increase in state aid. Finally, I did talk to the treasurer and he said that it's quite possible that it the budget passes as it is right now, the school will be receiving more in state aid than what we are receiving now.

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10bigwheel(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Losing $500,000 in stimulas money sounds like a lot more than $188,378. The schools will be getting less money from the govt. no matter how you look at it.

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11mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The BOE is asking for a 10.75 mill levy based on their 5 year forecast that assumes that the district will receive $6.1 million in total revenue for both 2012 and 2013. If the proposed budget passes as is, those revenue numbers will be $6.5 million for both 2012 and 2013. That is not a loss.

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12bigwheel(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

Ok mcdres, checkout govt. watch section of the vindy.com. Sorting out school funding. Is school funding really increasing? There are more variables that even the experts in school funding are not sure about. But I guess you know more than the experts.

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13bigwheel(12 comments)posted 3 years, 8 months ago

The first district-by-district breakdown of school funding, posted in late March by Kasich’s Office of Budget and Management, reflected what Kasich said during his budget rollout: funding increases for 421 districts — more than two-thirds — in the 2012 fiscal year, and 405 districts in 2013.

But those numbers focused solely on state per-pupil aid and did not include other key data: $450 million in lost federal stimulus money that districts used for basic operations this year and an accelerated phaseout of reimbursements for lost tangible personal-property and utility taxes that would cost schools more than $700 million in revenue.

When the bigger-picture figures were taken into account, small funding increases turned into a 9-percent cut in 2012 and an additional 2.5-percent cut in 2013 — a two-year reduction of $852 million. In all, 211 districts are looking at reductions of 10 percent or more in the 2012 fiscal year, which begins July

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14mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

I never said that I knew more than the experts, I'm just looking at the information available, talking to our treasurer and members of the commission, trying to understand what all of this means for our district. I realize and recognize that until the budget passes, nobody knows what the true impact will be. According to your post, there are increases for 421 districts in 2012 and 405 in 2013 and there are districts that will see reductions of 10% or more. I agree with that because it's been published in more than one place. McDonald happens to be one of the lucky 421 districts, confirmed by the state members of the commission overseeing the district. The commission indicated that the district will know in June what they can expect to receive from the state. All I wanted to point out is that the BOE should have waited to see how the budget would impact the district and place an appropriate levy on the ballot in November.

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15ohgirl(7 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Just vote for the McDonald School Levy - it is simple. Do you want extra activities for your children, sports and etc, busing, academics, your house to sell, do you want a community. Without the levy this is all going to go away. The doors will shut at 4:00 pm - no sports - Nothing !! Do you want to live in a ghost town and better yet you will still pay as now you will have to pay to send your child some where else no matter if it is a public or private school as someone has to make up the 1800 dollars - the state only pays 4000.00 for open enrollment - McDonald has to pay the 1800 per child and it will not have the money. If you don't want to pass the levy - move out !!

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16yes(10 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

Teachers are not over paid. Neither are doctors or attorneys or wherever the average individual works. We are all underpaid, but we all watch the overpaid work. By this I mean those who watch television. Compared to actors, football players, basketball players, or baseball players and newscasters, we make peanuts.

The fact confronting Canfield, Poland, McDonald, and many school systems is that the TAXPAYERS are the persons paying the salaries. TAXPAYERS are the boss or business owner in a sense. At this time in Ohio we have become top heavy with government employees and less private sector workers. Public servants are no longer servants to the taxpayer, but a burden. All the school systems I have reviewed have paid their teachers some handsome increases along with some really nice administrators increases. Problem is that there are not many TAXPAYERS if any making enough money to fund these increases.

In 2006 my wife’s teaching job was eliminated. After 28 years of service no union could save it, nor could her good employee evaluations. As a result she found a new teaching position and had her salary reduced about 32%. When I look at the pay increases in these school districts, I see salary increases of as much as $19,000 since 2004. Sure those people may be worth it, but can we afford to pay it? Shame on those public servants for even asking the TAXPAYER for pay increases in the current economic time, expecting us to approve it in a TAX increase. We are in hard economic times. Why must the employer (the TAXPAYER) commit to this type of pay increase when we have not had that increase ourselves in most cases? Think about the fixed income individuals that will share the burden of the TAX to pay our public servants that make over $50,000 per year.

When every teacher and administrator takes 32% cut in pay like our household did, most TAXPAYERS would not mind helping out too if needed. Let us all think outside the box and look for other ways to pay our public servants. How about some contributions from those people we watch work everyday or may be just stop watching the actors and sports figures work.

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17mcdres2(30 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

ohgirl - never said that I didn't EVER want to pass a levy, just think that the levy at this time is too high when not all information is known. I want to support my community but I also want to have a life! Seniors on fixed incomes will have a hard time paying for this. I haven't seen a raise in 2 years, had an illness that took a huge chunk of my savings and my costs keep going up! Put on a levy in November that factors in the impact of Kasich's budget and it will be at a millage that people can afford and that I can support.
By the way, only 11 homes were sold in McDonald last year and 60 homes are on the brink of foreclosure. Look around to see how many homes are empty or have been for sale for months. If people walk away from their houses, there won't be any property taxes collected. If you can afford this, that's great, you're lucky. Some of us can't.

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18ohgirl(7 comments)posted 3 years, 7 months ago

So glad the Levy passed now we don't have to worry about the school closing. I too have a pay freeze, gas is up, health insurance costs are up but you got to do what you have to do. I cannot believe that 60 homes in McDonald are on the brink of foreclosure - that surprises me. Well, since the levy passed more homes can now be sold in McDonald. Also, we could not of waited to November to pass this levy, we would of lost open enrollment which brings in One million dollars to McDonald - who would of wanted to go to a school with no sports. Anyways all worries of the school at this time are over and we can move on - HIP HIP HORRAY !! :)

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