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Canfield levy must pass to avoid more cuts

Published: Mon, March 7, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.

Canfield levy facts

The basics on the May school levies, including salary figures and benefits.

6.8-mill operating levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.35 a month and generate $3.8 million annually, for five years.

1.6-mill emergency renewal levy to generate $890,000 annually, for five years. It was first passed in 1986 and last renewed five years ago, and would not raise taxes.

Average teacher salary: $60,641.

Average administrator salary: $76,276.

Health-care contributions: Employee pays 8 percent of premium and employer pays 92 percent of premium.

Retirement contributions: Employee pays 10 percent of salary to STRS/SERS and employer pays 14 percent of salary to STRS/SERS.

November’s levy failed 3,653 to 5,097.

For more information, visit www.canfieldlevy.info

By Kristine Gill



School officials say voters must pass the district’s May levy to avoid more cuts and layoffs like the ones announced last month.

The school board announced 25 layoffs and the discontinuation of busing for high school students effective Sept. 1 as the first phase of cuts. Superintendent Dante Zambrini will announce phase two of possible cuts should the May levy fail at the March 16 board meeting.

A committee of more than 30 parents and teacher volunteers met Thursday to start campaigning. The school board has also scheduled four town-hall meetings for March and April to inform voters.

“Before, it was kind of generalizations,” said Laura Ward, a parent on the committee with two current students. “But people who live in Canfield support the schools and if they know that a ‘no’ vote on the levy will result in these specific cuts at least they can make an educated vote. We don’t want to put fear into people; we want them to know the consequences.”

Her husband, Bob Ward, is also a committee member and agreed the cuts have raised more questions among voters.

“It’s made people ask the obvious question: Where has the money gone?” he said. “The misperception is that it’s a spending problem but it’s an income problem ... Canfield is one of the most thrifty districts in the state.”

Staff cuts will save an estimated $1.2 million and will be permanent.

The district is asking for a 6.8-mill operating levy that would bring in $3.8 million annually, for five years, along with the renewal of a 1.6-mill emergency renewal levy that would sustain the district through fiscal year 2015. Levies of the same millage failed in November.

“School boards do not wish to put levies on the ballot, but that’s our only source of income,” Zambrini said, adding that most districts raise the millage after a levy fails to make up for the money it didn’t bring in during the fiscal year.

“To bring back 25 positions, we’d have to go above [6.8 mills],” he said.

Zambrini emphasized that the district will have paid off a $13 million bond issue, passed in 1998 for building renovation, by 2013 that will reduce what voters pay in taxes should the May levy pass. Residents would pay taxes on a 6.8-mill levy the first year and essentially a 4.3-mill levy beginning in 2013.

“The levy gives the community and opportunity to invest in their school,” school board President Brian Kesner said.

The district warned of cuts in campaign materials mailed to 10,000 Canfield voters in the fall, saying: “The reality is that without new revenue, the debt will grow, resulting in severe cuts in classroom instruction, educational programs and extracurricular activities.”

Committee member Kathy Scheel said being more specific about future cuts will help this levy pass.

“We need to be very clear about what the effect is if it fails and what the effect is on your taxes if it passes,” she said. “We need to be more specific about what’s next.”

Layoffs still came as a shock to parents who filled the board room after cuts were announced. Zambrini said two staffers have announced retirement and a third resigned since the cuts and those changes will affect which positions are cut.

The board will announce the positions March 16, but acknowledged they could continue to change up until Sept. 1.

“It’s a moving target,” business manager Richard Archer said.

Committee members will continue to meet until voting day and are accepting volunteers. The group will focus on college-age residents and more communication to all voters. Questions will be answered through an interactive feature on www.canfieldlevy.info.


1spinman(70 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Canfield has a business manager and an assistant superintendent. I do not believe a school system of that size is warranted such luxuries.

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2lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We want more cuts you fool. We can't afford any more taxes

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3AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Why is it that the students and the taxpayers are always the ones to be punished? (i.e. cuts in busing and higher taxes) Maybe the teachers should be required to give something out their pockets. Bring on SB 5 it is long overdue!

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4wondering2(32 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Not everyone in Canfield is rich, there are a lot of older people on fixed income who cannot afford more taxes.
And if an " Emergency levy " gets to be renewed every five years since 1986, is that still considered an emergency ?

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5gump7312(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Not until the district gets new Administration should ANY levy be passed! Canfield is not currently in deficit spending. And to the BOE & Administration--don't you dare start to blame the public for failing to pass the levy this fall. It's your job to manage this district regardless of the budget restraints. In any other sector of business you all would be fired for stupidity! If the passing of this levy was so dire last November, why didn't you organize town hall meetings then, why didn't you have the Vindicator print articles like this one, why didn't you outline the specifics? You didn't do it, because you didn't really need the money. In fact, in 2010 and at the same time you decided to ask for this 6.8mil, the teachers received a 2%INCREASE in pay, the 2 high school prinicpals each received RAISES of over $7,000 each, you still weren't managing the busing situation properly. Oh, and let's not forget the famous Chinese language program that was implemented at CVMS that you had no action plan to maintain. That little exploration cost the tax payers over $16K plus you wasted the time of the middle school students. If you had $16K you should have put it into math or science for ALL students. HELL NOOOO TO ANY LEVY!! Get some top notch, qualified administrators who have a clear vision for this district and I'll give you 6.8mil PLUS!

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6cavs1981(32 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago


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7casper77(136 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

All these teachers with foreign cars want us to support them but yet they don't support US companies...hum

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8AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Casper...my foreign car, built in Kentucky, has 80% US content. The American Chevy Cruze, built in Ohio, has 45% US content. Which is a foreign car?? Source: Car and Driver

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91970mach1(1005 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

So the average teacher salary is $60,000 and they get spring break, Christmas break, MLK day, Prez Day, Columbus Day, T-giving break, and Memorial Day off with pay. AND they get summers off.

Wow. Sounds like they need a tax increase so teachers do not lose any of their time off.

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10walter_sobchak(2728 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Canfield Police are funded through a 1% income tax on city residents. It is the one tax bill I really don't mind paying because the city is very safe, it is clean, my streets are plowed by 5:00 am, my leaves are picked-up curbside in the fall for over a month, my brush is picked up each spring curbside, etc. So, you see a few police cars sitting in lots waiting for traffic violations? I have known since I was a youngster that you don't exceed the speed limit in Canfield. It is no coincidence that the Giant Eagle Get-Go was burglarized last week and the criminal was caught on the premises. My property values are tied very closely to the fact that Canfield is a very safe city.

As for the schools, my kids received an excellent education at Canfield but I won't vote for new levies until the state complies with the Supreme Court decree to end the reliance on the property tax. How many years has Buckwheat Bob been in Columbus and not done his duty?

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11simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Thank you for pointing out what really needs to happen. Voters are so blind to what is really going on with the school district. You did forget to mention that the Administration's secretaries all received $1000 bonuses in July of 2008, 2009 and 2010. I wonder how the school secretaries feel about that. I'm pretty sure they work a lot harder and didn't get a bonus. Oh yea, the superintendent and his business manager also got $1500 bonuses in 2008. I didn't realize the school was a profit organization that justified bonuses. Hmm! While alot of people lost jobs between 2009 and 2010 the administration not only got raises, they got bonuses!!
Oh also, they have over 5 million dollars in savings. Not sure how that equates to being in debt! Another thing, how about if you ask the parents in Canfield what they think about how our superintendent treats parents who have problems. Pretty much the same way he treats the teachers and bus drivers. Like their nobody! No freaken way will I pass a levy. Especially when he is the the one in charge of my money. My taxes will go up $70/month not $36/mo.

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12simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Canfield School Levy fails in November 2010........in the words of one Charlie Sheen....WINNER!!!!

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13spinman(70 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

When looking at the salaries add another 14% on top of their base for STRS and add another 24% for administrators. So if Zambrini's base is 120k add another 30k for STRS bringing his salary to 150k. When he retires his pension will be at least 10k per month. How many of you can say that....teachers retiring on average with 5k to 6k per month...85% of their general fund goes to wages and benefits. So if a levy passes 85% of new dollars will be marked for wages and benefits.

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14applelady56(1 comment)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Spinman, you need to get your facts straight. Canfield Schools does NOT have a business manager and an assistant superintendent. There is no assistant superintendent, only a business manager. Canfield has less administrative positions than most of the school districts in Ohio that are similar in size and per capita income.

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15ohiovoter(8 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

BUT does anyone ever bother to check what is really happening?
Kasich is cutting state funding to ALL Ohio schools! He has been very open about that.
It doesn't matter if you had a balanced budget, you won't after his cuts. It doesn't matter if you squeeze all you can out of Ohio teachers. It will not cover the hole left by Kasich's cuts. Schools already are taking these cuts into account when planning.
It is your right to not want to spend money on kids and education but get the facts where this hardship is coming from. There will be many more schools in Ohio with levies and layoffs.
I happen to think Ohio is cutting and investing in the wrong places! Kids are our future.

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16Philo(99 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

With over 80% of Canfield's budget going to salaries and benefits, it's only logical to start cutting there. Is anyone actually crazy enough to think that if the Board implemented a 5% across the board cut anyone would quit? And if they do, there's a glut of teachers and administrators in this valley. There would be no shortage of qualified replacements, and probably at less cost to the taxpayers. With all of the so called intelligent business people living in Canfield it's insane that they wouldn't use the law of supply and demand to resolve this money issue. Instead, the Board will continue to "blackmail" the taxpayers into supporting the levy by making insignificant cuts to things such as bussing, pay to play, and extra cirricular activities. The only real answer is to cut salaries and benefits.

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