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Dems endorse Canfield levy

Published: Tue, March 22, 2011 @ 4:31 a.m.


The Mahoning County Democratic Party voted to endorse the Canfield Schools May levy. Members of the executive committee and central committee of the party who live in the Canfield school district voted on the issue.

Party Chairman David Betras said the motion passed by a vote of 4 to 3 at Monday’s meeting.

“I have always maintained that I will sit neutral on candidates seeking endorsement but I have not maintained a neutral stance on issues. ... Some issues are not Republican or Democratic but rather community issues,” Betras said in a press release.

Betras added that those three who voted against endorsing the levy were not voting against the levy itself but the on the principle of not endorsing issues.


1spinman(70 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Since when does the democratic party endorse levies ???? Mr. Betras are you coming to Poland next ????

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2Silence_Dogood(1670 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend tax and spend.

Thats all they know.

Poly want a cracker.

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3piak(508 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Typically Democrat. More "tax & spend". If the Republicans had endorsed the levy, the lynch ropes would have been out in force.

There's a lot of money in Canfield. That's as it should be. Democrats. Levy. Canfield. Only the rich Democrats have any money. Maybe they can pay for the levy?

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4spinman(70 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Why doesn't Zambrini talk about paying part of his 24% he gets in his STRS. Teachers at least pay 10%. Why do the administrators have the luxury of this benefit. Can somebody ask him this question at the next forum. Do you realize that is at least another 25k on top of his salary annually along with the other administrators such as principals and etc.....Maybe Betras can pick it up...

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5walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Maybe I'm mistaken, but I don't remember the county political parties taking a stand on local levies. Maybe a countywide or statewide issue, but not local. Why doesn't Betras tell Buckwheat Bob and the rest of his klan to get to Columbus and change the way schools are funded as mandated by the courts?

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6Realist(62 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


What should the superintendent (CEO) of a school district with 3000 students and a 25 million dollar budget make???? I would guess in the private sector that this person would be making somewhere around $250,000 per year.

I know the answer already, it's one dollar less than you make, right?

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7apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

That's really all the public sector knows is continuous tax increases. They've been working that way for so long, they think it is eternal. Even as taxpayers see declining purchasing power, cuts in health care, and self funded pensions, the public trough continues to expand.

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8simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

@ Realist

The difference is the CEO of the company would have been fired already for mismanaging the company. Maybe Canfield's superintendent would make more if he didn't have to share with his business manager. Oh that's right, he isn't qualified to do his job so he NEEDS a busines manager. That guy makes 78k per year. There you go, there's your 200K per year!!!

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9Realist(62 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


How is this mismanagement? The board and superintendent are giving the public the option of A) we need more funds through a levy because of state funding reductions and rising personnel costs OR B) we cut staff and programs to balance the budget that will have an affect on students.

In the private sector, any CEO with the same scenario would have to either raise prices of the products they sell or cut costs. Looks pretty similar to me.

I also believe that a private sector company of this size wouldn't just a have a CEO, I believe they would also have a couple of vice presidents making $125 k+.

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10ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Well, seeing that the 25 cuts announced in February are "permanent", what will be the additional job losses should the levy in May fail? Something tells me anyway that, if the levy passes, the laid off employees will be brought back. Maybe not in FY 2012, but FY 2013 at the latest.

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11saddad(655 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Betras' job is to advance the influence of the Party. I dont see a thing wrong with his asking the Committee members in Canfield to take a position on the levy. You guys are just jealous that he has the influence he does. Now maybe more of the 25 Democrats in Canfield will support the levy. I'm with them. I'm going to vote for every tax increase from now until I die. Why? Because I dont like people that bytch about taxes and the gasbags have now really p'd me off.

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12simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

@ Realist, first of all the school isn't receiving a decrease in funding. I'm pretty sure that Kasich made it clear that he was increasing school funding by 3.5%. The only decrease the schools are seeing is in the stimulus money they received. Which they were told was a one time thing and not to factor it into budgets. I'm pretty sure Canfield didn't receive much if any of that money.
Second, I would love to see a CEO of ONLY a 25mil company make 200k a year. A company of that size is nothing in the business world. My spouse ran a 100mill/year company and didn't come close to 200mil/year.
Third, if Canfied's budget is 25mil, why is it that they received 26mil just in property tax and can't make it work? Makes absolutely no scense!

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13Realist(62 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


1) You are half correct, Kasich did say that the education line item is getting an increase 1.3% in FY12 and 1.7% in FY13 but what he doesn't say publicly is that he is cutting a Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursements that were not supposed to be phased out until 2017. Depending on the % of your budget it represents will determine how much will be cut. I'm not sure what the amount is for Canfield but I would guess its pretty relevant. FYI - Canfield received about $400k for each of the last two years in stimulus which equates to about 6 teachers.

2) I find it very hard to believe that a CEO (not managing partner) of a $100 million company would make less than $200k per year.

3) Canfield Total General Fund Revenue was $24,996,615 with $17,161,139 coming from total tax receipts. Not sure where you are gettting $26 million in tax receipts. Anyway according to the districts 5-year forecast, without the current cuts from the state or districts forecasted, the district is decent for this year and just ok for next then the money is gone. The district seems to be proactive rather then waiting two years until the money is completely gone.

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14ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


As a McDonald alumnus, the strong "Village pride" would never accept those from Ridge or Niles. Sorry, just giving it to you straight. I mean, Miserable Ridge?? C'mon, let's not get crazy

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15repeaters(314 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Did anyone ask the board what became of the 1.6 million dollars in federal stimulas money? Does anyone really think that taxing residents beyond their ability to pay that tax makes a community better? I will never vote Democrat again...

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16simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

@ Realist, you're right, they received $24, 587,746 in tax monies out of which $14,285,139 was personal property tax. However, they still had expenditures of $23,942,687 leaving a surplus of $645,059 added to their savings acct. Which according to a school board member they have over 5mil. Also told that they are financially fine until at least 2013.
That being said, instead of waiting to see what the government was going to do they just stick it to us now. Not valid! Furthermore, we had nothing to show for the money that they did have. Our children still have old, used materials, no math intervention at the elementary level and the list goes on and on! I pay $5700/year in taxes. Out of which 63% goes straight to the school. This is a huge amount of money and we have nothing to show for it. He boasts about buying used computers. That's really what a tax payer paying this kind of coin wants to here. Then I still have to shell out money for this that and the other. And, they need more money? Really? I Then I pay an additional 1% to the city for their services (which, btw, I don't mind). The city of Canfield can have my money, they are well worth it. The school needs to get rid of the Superintendent and the Board of Education and start over! I wonder if the democrats conducted an audit of the school books before they decided to back it? Probably not!

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17republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I hate state and federal taxes, but I always vote for school levys and levys for handicapped children. If we can't vote for our kids, who can we vote for? Cut my federal taxes by $250 and that would cover my increased burden from the local schools.

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18saddad(655 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Cant do that Rick, we have three wars to pay for.

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19Realist(62 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


I do understand the frustration you are showing but waiting until the money is gone is not a good business strategy. The cuts from the state are coming and probably for non-urban,semi-wealthy districts to the tune of 10-15%. Each year you cut into your savings account the higher the millage rate will need to be to cover future expenses. Now imagine what the asking rate will be in 2 years, probably 50% higher than now.

I am in favor of SB5 which will give administrators tools to help reduce costs (personnel) without having to deal with the unions, but don't be upset when extra-curriculars go away: art, music, shop, foreign languages, sports, and busing. By voting no you are saying that the district doesn't need those programs and that is fine since it is your right as a tax payer to vote no. Canfield has a wonderful school system but would be facing the same issues with anyone in the superintendent's chair.

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20simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


I have to be honest when I tell you that I would love to see some of the extra-curriculars go away. Our seventh and eighth graders sit in choir/band eight periods a week. Meanwhile they still only have 40 minutes of math per day. That's crazy! This country needs to go back to focusing on the major academic classes. I don't care if my chidren have art, music, home economics or some of the other ones. I do however care that they are not getting enough of the fundamentals that are going to carry them thru.
As for SB5, I too am in favor, I'm hoping it will save some of the best teachers and eliminate the ones who are burnt out and need to retire.
As for our Superintendent, I can't and won't vote for a levy requested by him when all he has done is hurt the kids and the teachers. He received a raise in July 2010, as did his business manager and their clerical staff got raises and bonuses, to tune of $1000 per person. How should I, as a tax payer feel about that?
As for the cut you mentioned in property tax, not sure I have heard about this one. Please explain?

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21walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Not everyone is mentally fit to spend their lives in math and the sciences. The fact that Canfield can offer such an array of options for the students is a positive. The math and science scores are still rather good for the district. Kids need a well-rounded education and the extra-curiculars are great for motivating kids to excell in their studies, as a whole. I studied in the Youngstown City schools and I wish I has the opportunity to play a musical instrument like my kids. I saw their music as a great reliever of stress that they have maintained to this day. In fact, my son's knowledge of music gained in Canfield allowed him to teach himself how to play the guitar. You know, music is highly mathematical. And, most of the major extra-curriculars have booster clubs with great parental involvement.

No, it's not crazy. It is a great opportunity!

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22author50(1121 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Will Chairman Betras convey a meeting of the Democratic Party to consider an endorsement of the slot machines for the racetracks that might go in Austintown?

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23Mom4God(5 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The Democrats support and endorse this levy? That's a sure way to make me vote against it.

Why won't the schools and school board address bullying and stop pushing incidents under the rug?? When a student is forced into a bathroom stall in the middle school by 3 other students, assaulted and harrassed and the incident is called "horse play", something is wrong with the ethical views and policies of the school staff. When a student is threatened to be shot by another student while in the hallway at school and the incident is referred to as being "blown out of proportion", something is wrong with the views and policies of the school staff.

There are high school kids who drink vodka from water bottles right in front of the police officer stationed at the high school and he is clueless.

Of course, these incidents will never be publicly known.

I have family members whose children attend other school systems that are in "financial emergency". Yet, their schools are rated excellent and they offer additional "enrichment" programs the likes of which Canfield will never think to offer.

According to Mr. Zambrini, money is needed to keep the excellent rating. Well, Mr. Zambrini, the "excellent with distinction" rating should have never been lost because you apparently had the money to keep it.

Why should we vote for something when the results we are looking for are not addressed or even acknowledged??

The levy will not pass because of the actions (or lack of actions) by the school administration and school board.

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24palbubba(802 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Two things to remember. 1)Democrats have NEVER seen a tax increase they didn't love 2) they have never seen a spending cut that they did love. They wonder out loud why they are called "TAX and SPEND". Surely they are not that dull.

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25GoodPerson(15 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

If i remember right, i thought that the Ohio Lottery was supposed to be used for school funding..... What ever happened to that??? I see people all the time playing $20, $50, even $100 at the gas stations every day. Someone help me understand that????

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26JME(802 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

GoodPerson, the Ohio Lottery was not additional funding for schools, it replaced the previous source of funding.

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27walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


If you had the facts, you would know that the profits the lottery generates is a smidgen of the total budgets for schools in Ohio. The lawmakers just reduce the amount of funding that schools get from the general fund proportionately in a sleight of hand. Although the lottery has large revenues, most of the money is paid back out in winnings and commissions to agents. It is nothing but a poor man's tax.

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28ytown1(398 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

So Wolf06, save us the time to research and enlighten us on how much they have actually agreed to pay for the health insurance, along with the co-pays, the real important numbers. Also while you are at it go ahead and tell us how that compares to the average Joe lunchbox going to work everyday.

I assure you it does not even come close to the percentage of the premiums they have to pay and the large co-pays required for doctors and hospital visits, along with the amount they currently have to pay for their prescriptions. And these are the ones who have an insurance option.

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29simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


Pretty sure Wolf is our superintendent. You might be interested to know that there is a CD going around Canfield. It is a taped conversation between a parent and the school board president. Definately something people should hear. The president not only bashes several teachers in the school. He also states that he himself would like to "back on over with his car". He also goes on to say that the superintendent "doesn't always tell the full truth". In addition he (the president), went to this parents employer and threatened his job if he didn't back off the school board. The issue at hand was over the bullying of kids on an athletic team by the teacher/coach. The superintendent ALWAYS brushes things under the rug and protects the teachers. Wake up Super, you're not getting the money because we don't want to give it to you and your buddy Archer! You also cost the tax payers over 700k in insurance fines because of your poor decision making. I guess that's where our stimulus money went. The community doesn't trust you!!!!

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30Philo(99 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Here's the bottom line. like it or not, more than 80% of the Canfield schools budget is in salaries and benefits. Cut the salaries and benefits by 12% across the board for every employee that makes more then $50,000 per year. Then see how many quit. If the churn or turnover is minimal, cut salaries and benefits another 7% in year two. That'll solve the budget and levy problems right now. And if things are so bad in the public sector, that will encourage these poor suffering teachers to go out and find more meaningful, satisfying employment that they so richly deserve.

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31simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


This Canfield Snob isn't going anywhere. Didn't you hear, our mansions took a hit in the recession. Now they're not worth a dime. Maybe you would like to buy my home. We had to sell all of our Coach bags just so we could eat.

My guess is your one of those people who hates Canfield because you can't afford to live there. Or maybe that twisted perception you have is what has kept you out of towns like Canfied. I'm sure you don't mind collecting a paycheck. Odds are it's men and women who live in Canfield that keep your employer in business.

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32simpleton(33 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


You my friend have my vote! Would love to see you on the school board. You just put into words exactly what the majority of tax payers in Canfield are thinking. It's time the teachers realize that we aren't out to eliminate them, we are demanding a better administration.
You have my never ending gratitude!!

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33vor2011(14 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I am a teacher who is very good at my job.

I am a teacher who spends 10-12 hours a day working for your children.

I am a teacher who spends my own money to buy supplies for your kids.

I am a teacher who teaches students who have horrible home lives, abusive parents, no food or clothing, and they still learn.

I am a teacher who makes a positive impact on the community every day and who has seen students go off and achieve great things in the subject I teach.

I have taken a pay freeze for the past six years and incurred more insurance expenses gladly to support the hard economic times.

I am a teacher who has as much schooling as a doctor but gets paid less than a turnpike worker.

I am a teacher who loves nothing more than seeing young adults reach their potential in my classroom.

I am a teacher who contributes to the local economy, the local tax base, and local charities.

I am a teacher who has a job offer in a state where I will be appreciated and respected for my efforts.

I am a teacher who has friends who are teachers who have similiar offers.

I am a teacher who doesn't want to leave, but doesn't want to be treated like a criminal for working hard to earn a decent wage by the people whose children I have given my heart, passion and time too.

I am a teacher, a good teacher -

What will you do when I am gone?

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34vor2011(14 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

You mean one right out of college... the ones who are changing their majors and/or looking for work in other states because they do not want to give their live for the betterment and education of children in a state that treats them like criminals?

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35walter_sobchak(2674 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


"I am a teacher who has as much schooling as a doctor but gets paid less than a turnpike worker"

Really?!? You did 4years of undergraduate work, 4years of medical school and 2 to 3 years of residency training, racking up bills over $200,000 like a doctor? And you personally make less than a guy that sits in a both saying "$2.50"?

"I am a teacher who loves nothing more than seeing young adults reach their potential in my classroom."

If seeing this potential reached is sufficient, why are you making such a big deal about pay and benefits?

"I am a teacher who has a job offer in a state where I will be appreciated and respected for my efforts."

My advice is to pack your bags and take the "appreciation" in the other state. You are far too good for us! Don't let the door hit you in the arse!

Typical! When they say "It's not about the money" , it is usually about the money.

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36canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Dear Vor2011

I think you are trying to impress us, make us feel sorry for you and make us all jealous of you. Am I jealous of you? Yes you can say I'm jealous. I truly am. I would love it if my company matched 14% of my salary and stuck it in a retirement account for me without me contributing a penny of my own. I would also be very grateful if my company would pay my entire health care premiums and dental premiums and grant me no co-pays on visits to the doctor and prescriptions. I would absolutely love it if my company paid my annual Life Insurance premiums. It would also be joyous if my company allowed me to accumulate 15 sick days a year and let me bank them so that when I retire I get one fat lump sum for 135 unused sick days in one very large check. Oh how lovely it would be if my company gave me all of these perks saving me an enormous chunk of money and have the summers off to spend it. And finally, I would jump for joy and kiss the sky above if I knew that I could retire at age 55 and earn at least 70% of my highest salary for the rest of my life.

I never knew how good teachers have it until I started to investigate further. The deeper I investigated the more astonished I was. Yes teachers have it good. Awesome for them. I guess if I knew all of this when I working toward my undergrad degree I may have switched my major.

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37Philo(99 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

The only reason I can think of why a school administrator would rush to negotiate a contract with the teachers before SB 5 goes into effect in to give his cronies 3 or more years of additional benefits before the law forces these teachers to pay their own share of their retirement and a reasonable portion of their health care costs. Why else would an administrator do this?

Most School Superintendents, School Business Managers and Treasures are not nearly the best individuals to negotiate contracts with their employees for a variety of reasons; (1) they have little or no incentive to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers because they generally end up getting the same benefits they provide to their teachers and other employees, (2) more often than not (check this out if you don’t believe me) school administrators marry other school employees whether in their district or not, and their children frequently end up working for schools and or marrying other school employees. That being the case, these administrators are reluctant to do the hard bargaining that needs to be done to protect the taxpayers and keep costs in line, and (3) if these administrators were promoted from within their districts, it’s really not fair to ask them to try to negotiate on behalf of the taxpayers with people they once worked with.

These schools are well past the point of needing a freeze in pay and step increases. With the mess the budgets are in, they need a pay cut! And with the glut of teachers in this valley does anyone actually believe any teachers would quit if a 5 or 10-percent across the board cut in pay and benefits were implemented? Furthermore, if any did quit, there would be 40 highly qualified, certified individuals standing in line to take their place, and at less cost to the taxpayers.

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38unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

what you chose to go to school is irrelevant in this case. the economy sucks. your lucky to have a decent job. live with it like the rest of us do. god bless you and the rest of us through this terrible time in America history.

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39Mom4God(5 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Here is another issue regarding the Canfield quality of education. Scenario: An elementary school teacher has a PLANNED two-week absence. Why, then, does the principal allow FIVE different substitutes to be involved in covering that absence??? Essentially, that means every two days there was a different teacher. It was a PLANNED, not sudden absence. Test and quiz scores during that interval were atrocious; when the teacher returned, material had to be taught again and the children had to be retested. Consistency is what is needed with a planned teacher absence. How can an "excellent" school system allow this to happen???

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40kriv(2 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Let me just say, Dave Betras is an unelected part of the Democratic Party and is in no way a true liberal. He whorishly promotes his law practice, is a priest in the Eastern orthodox church (which is vocally anti-homosexuality and anti-choice for abortion), and has NEVER been elected to public office. This man has very little in common with true Mah County democrats.

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41canfieldrebel(37 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago


The Canfield school administration is a farce. This is just another example of their indiffrence to the welfare of our children. They are so busy protecting their salaries and the perception of their "expertise" and so busy selling their "excellence" to the masses that they have lost touch with the reason for their employment....KIDS. There is no reason that the disruption to the elementary school-age children in that class could not have been kept to a minimum. That would require some foresight and consideration of the needs of the kids. It is a very simple thing to arrange for consistency. If a substitute teacher cannont commit to a week or two, then another should have been sought. The substitute teacher should have been chosen on the basis of their prior elementary school teaching experience. I am sure that the teacher left a very detailed lesson plan in advance of his/her absence. I am sure he/she gave great consideration and care to the planning.

The problem is that many of the substitute teachers in Canfield are mothers who live in Canfield. They have college degrees, but usually no teaching experience. There is no rhyme or reason for how a substitute is picked for a job....many are picked because they have ingratiated themselves with a principle of a particular school or the person who is in charge of calling out subs to work when needed. Many of these mothers are neighbors or relatives of the Superintendent, the School Board, school administrators, or teachers in the district. This problem also applies to many paraprofessionals in the district with direct student exposure and responsibilities. These mothers often do not have college degrees and have little/no teaching experience. They are put in charge of special needs children who often have complex health educational or behavioral issues. These jobs are coveted and fought over...good pay, decent hours, little responsibility other than babysitting, and you gain exposure which may get you a more permanent position in the district . It is a job to simply occupy their time and alleve their boredom...they have no vested interest in achieving any educational objectives or goals.

In this district, from the top on down to the lowly paraprofessionals...its is all about the money. Kids are the last thing considered.

You are lucky this was only a two week absence. The kids will recover and not lose much ground educationally. It is not unheard of for this phenomena to occur in classrooms where the teacher is gone for months.

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