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Canfield levies raise questions



Published: Tue, April 26, 2011 @ 12:00 a.m.

Canfield levies raise questions

Currently, the Canfield Local School District levies, which will appear on the May 3 ballot, are an issue of great concern to our school districts’ taxpayers, and rightfully so.

There is no question that the quality of education as provided by Canfield schools is better than almost anywhere else in the State of Ohio. However, after attending the recent town hall meetings on this topic, there appear to be two major areas of concern to our taxpayers when it comes to deciding whether or not to vote for or against these levies, a 1.6-mill renewal and an additional 6.8 mills.

Concern No. 1: How will a Canfield resident, living in a house worth approximately $150,000 or more, come up with an additional $300 to $400, or possibly more, to pay the increase in taxes each year when the current economy has already made providing for his or her family more and more difficult?

Concern No. 2: If the levies fail, what will happen to the quality of education in Canfield?

Both of these concerns have prompted the administration of the school district to develop a plan to inform the taxpayers as to why the additional funds are needed.

Town hall meetings have been held, but have these meetings provided all the answers or have they created more questions? For example, why does the school district need an additional $3.8 million (6.8- mill) levy? This amount, together with $1.2 million of reduced costs from the permanent layoff of teachers and other employees in the school district (Phase One Reductions) totals $5 million of additional available funds. From what the taxpayers have been told, the school district will lose $1.5 million in state funding, $500,000 in federal aid and experience a one-time health insurance claim cost of $700,000. However, it is the need for the additional funding that has yet to be explained.

Certainly, some additional funds are necessary, but do they total $2.3 million in the first fiscal school year and $3 million in each of the next 4 fiscal school years? The administration has yet to provide a complete explanation.

This prompts a third concern: What is the school district not telling us and why? The school district’s Five Year Forecast contains a more than 25 percent increase in Employees’ Retirement/Insurance Benefits. Is this increase also part of the reason behind the need for this levy?

How this levy issue is decided is of great concern to us all. And while a more thorough explanation for the need for funds has not been given, one thing is very clear — we, as voters, must stop being complacent, inactive and uninformed. We must better educate ourselves as to how our school district works so we can appropriately participate in how the business of our school district is conducted.

Andrew Skrobola, Canfield


Comments

1nipsy(133 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Great letter Andrew...I agree that we need more information about why this money is needed and while I do not support any pay cuts I do think a pay freeze is in order... They also need to be completely honest with the taxpayers on all issues...They lost my support last time when, after claiming that the teachers took a 1% pay cut, I found out that they actually took a 3% raise, then gave back 1%...This fact, if it is true is extremely disturbing to me. Don't get me wrong, I was on the fence but having that in the back of my mind didn't help their cause..This said I suggest a totally open dialoge from all involved ...Union and School Board..We all want good schools and want to support Canfield schools ...

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2ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Good article, and with the complete absence of spring this year, I forgot how close we are to May 3!

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3Philo(99 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I would like to know how the budget would be impacted by an across the board 6% cut in pay and benefits for every Canfield employee who makes more than $50,000 annually? Is that truly such an outrageous idea given the challenges that district residents have faced during the past several years? I'd like to hear how the Board responds to this. Although Canfield undoubtedly has good teachers, the real success of that district lies in the parents who push their children to excel. And I would submit to you that the vast majority of children from those families would excel in any school district in the valley. With the glut of highly qualified, certified, teachers in this valley, there is little or no chance that any significant amount of Canfield teachers would quit, if faced with this minimal pay cut. The statement that reduced pay would impact the district's ability to attract quality teachers is a myth.
It's unfortunate for the taxpaying residents of Canfield that no one on the Board or in the administration seems to be representing them. I would think the Superintendent has a responsibility to be forthright with the residents, let alone look out for the financial interests of the district taxpayers, at least a little bit. The residents need to elect Board members who will engage the services of someone who has experience in negotiating contracts in the private sector, for the district. No sane individual would even think of paying a highly trained auto technician $90,000 per year, if they can hire that same individual for $50,000 per year. Why is it that the law of supply and demand works everywhere but the public sector? For a community that is home to so many talented, capable, individuals, Canfield residents haven't been able to transmit that same level of talent and capabilities to their Board and Administration.

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4dawgalong(86 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Andrew and Philo,

Well said. The total lack of accountability in reporting the facts in regard to the sharp increase which have never been answered is a direct indicator of incompetency. I think I have found some "FAT" in the system. I was dropping my child off at the high school last night and there they were, approx 5-6 janitors lounging around out back on lawn chairs yucking it up, enjoying the weather at taxpayer expense. Maybe, just maybe, that's one example of why the administration isn't willing to open the books.

Take a look at the BOE website financial report. It is a complete joke. Until they open the books and FULLY disclose ALL expenditures, I will not give them a dime. It's probably time for a change from top to bottom in this system.

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5JimBuist(5 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

dawgalong, I'm pretty sure that evan maitenance people and janitors get lunch breaks and a couple 10 minute breaks on their shifts. It's people like you that are trying to destroy the reputation of the school system. Be part of the solution and not the problem.

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6walter_sobchak(1857 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

philo,
Great post. I have been making the same argument with residents for some time. No teacher is going to leave our district because it doesn't get any better than this. When the school board was interviewing candidates for the vacant superintendent position a few years back, I remember the teachers showing up in force for Dante Zambrini. That was all I needed to see and I immediately clutched my wallet because I knew what this meant. At that point, he would have been the last person I would have hired.

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7yes(10 comments)posted 3 years, 3 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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8meagain(80 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

I love all the passion surrounding these issues. The truth of the matter is we wouldn't even be talking about this if schools were funded more equally. I wish everyone so passionate about this would focus that energy on resolving this matter instead of pointing fingers at their neighbors and calling them things like greedy and selfish. Why are you not so impassioned about the fact that less than ten cents of every dollar comes back to support your local communities? That your taxes go to pay for other districts as well as line the pockets of exectutives heading charter schools isn't at all worrisome to you? If you found a way to fix those issues our local districts wouldn't be calling on us to approve a levy.

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9paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Quality? Are teachers not going to do "PROFESSIONAL" work if they contribute to their perks and bennies, get paid less, or otherwise have to live "in the real world"?

The great public image of selfless teachers (fostered by their union) is finally being exposed as a joke!

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10penguin86(11 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Skrabola is on their city council, who just last week voted to endorse the levy. Now hes got problems with it? Andy has finally gone around the corner. I wonder what kind of raises Skrabola has endorsed for the cities workers? Or is he confused about that, too. Maybe he wants nobody to look too closely at the cities books he been running.

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11tporter7(2 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Andrew,

To avoid answers to us taxpayers, the school board will retain out of town lawers at our expense. I'll never forget in 2006 concerned parents asked for public records from 2005 Volleyball expenditures. Why did the school board hire a law firm to make sure they did not have to reveal those records.The parents only wanted accountability of their students funds from a public school system. Any accountable organization would have shown these records instead of costing the tax-payers additional money retaining legal council. While our teachers are getting laid off, remember that the Canfield school board administration had spent slightly over $60,000.00 of our taxpayers money on attorney fees during the 2009 and 2010 years.This information was provided through a public records request. Obviously, others are continuing to ask the wrong questions.

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12paulparks(235 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

One quick thought... My daughter's roomy in college majored in education. When asked why, the roomy said, "I'm lazy."

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13irisheyez717(4 comments)posted 3 years, 3 months ago

Question: 1, Why is it that you can't make a comment on the former number one story on this website "Man Caught Tailing Police Officers"

Question: 2, Why is the Vindicator shutting off comments?

Question: 3, WHY is this happening, because I want to bring attention to this story about Jamie Ludt, and not for a debate on his character, etc.................

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