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Canfield schools leader: Tough choices ahead

Published: Wed, May 11, 2011 @ 12:10 a.m.


Canfield Superintendent Dante Zambrini

A 6.8-mill operating levy failed last week. It would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $17.35 a month and generated $3.8 million annually, for five years.

A 1.6-mill emergency renewal levy to generate $890,000 annually, for five years, was approved.

Average teacher salary: $60,641.

Average administrator salary:


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 an amount equal to 14 percent of salary to STRS/SERS.

Sources: Canfield schools, Mahoning Board of Elections

By Kristine Gill



School board members met in executive session Tuesday to discuss some tough decisions they’re facing.

Superintendent Dante Zambrini said the board will have to decide among three options on the November election: Putting on an operational levy of the same millage as the May levy, putting on a levy of a different millage or not filing for the November election.

Treasurer Pattie Kesner said she would know of the filing deadlines for that election by today.

“November is a very critical point because if a levy doesn’t pass then, there will be no new revenue for 2012,” Zambrini said. “The board has to study what impact that would have.”

They’ll also have to decide which positions would be eliminated as part of phase two cuts for the district after last week’s levy vote.

“Now we have to put names to positions,” Zambrini said.

Those teachers and classified staff will learn of the layoffs before June 30, when the teachers’ contracts end.

Phase two cuts will total $1.8 million to make up for what the district does not receive in additional revenue next year.

The cuts include reductions of 12 teachers and 15 classified staff, state minimum busing with a half-mile between bus stops for kindergartners through eighth-graders and pay-to-participate for extracurricular activities.

Board President Brian Kesner said members discussed pay-to-participate fees but have not decided what extracurriculars will cost students next year.

“That decision will be made by the central office,” Kesner said.

He said state-minimum busing will be implemented, and the weight room positions have been eliminated, meaning that facility no longer will be open to the public.

Kesner said no final decisions were made during the meeting regarding which positions or employees will be eliminated as part of phase two since “phase one is still shaking out.”

“Phase two is going to take just as long,” Kesner said.

Zambrini said that financial-oversight meetings in the coming months will determine what further cuts would have to be made if the board does not have a levy in November or if that levy doesn’t pass.

“We understand economic times are tough,” Zambrini said, adding that he has received phone calls from voters who said they supported the teachers and the district but still couldn’t afford to pay increased taxes.

Zambrini said the next step will be to solicit comments from residents about why they voted for or against the levies last week. He stressed that anyone wishing to comment will have to provide their name and address.


1Philo(99 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

This just keeps getting more and more interesting. Actually, the Canfield Board and Administration may have a hit reality TV show on their hands and they don't even know it. That might solve the budget problems. Seriously, 85% of the districts costs are in salaries and benefits, and they're talking about closing the weight room to the public??? You couldn't make this stuff up and have it sound any crazier. It's time for a cut in salaries and benefits. Otherwise, they'll never get another levy passed.

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2Miki(99 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Tax Baby Tax - This is all due to the state (Hagan & Gerberry) failing to properly fund the schools. This did not just happen last week and you can’t blame it on Kasich. The Ohio Supreme Court has found school funding unconstitutional years ago and our representatives continue to do nothing to solve this problem! OH! They do collect their pay and benefits while they continue to do nothing.

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3sc7422(23 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Sorry but this falls entirely on the Superintendent! He should have been prepared for this..Boardman will have an almost 7 million deficit in the next 2 years..Yes, they are getting hit hard by the state too..Instead of 'laying' off teachers they offered a nice retirement incentive. 29 positions will not be filled but no one will lose there jobs either..There are more creative things to do than threaten jobs and programs..

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4Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

you can’t blame it on Kasich.YES I CAN and do.

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5mariocat777(3 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

People, people....listen....if you can't afford to live in Canfield, Poland there are plenty of properties in Youngstown with higher school millage,higher school dropout rates, higher diversity and higher crime..right in your price range..and..and NEW school buildings all paid for by the State of OH! Oh.....Canfield and Poland don't get state paid new school buildings..only highest grad rates & awards....somebody is doing something right ...with alot less !! . The words "academic emergency" will never be spoken in Poland/Canfield...ever.. Go tell the police/fire to redo their government contracts...they will laugh at you idiot complainers.....remember "you get what you pay for" still rings true...

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6UNCOMMONSENSE(626 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Tough choices ahead...how to screw the taxpayer into paying more while they protect their salaries. If the school system and children are so important, then every employee should be willing to share in the sacrifice. Give something up as you expect the taxpayer to do.

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7smurf0898(17 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Someone forgot to mention the $1500 bonus our superintendent and his buddy Archer gave themselves in 2008. Oh and the $1000 bonus the administrative staff in the administration office received in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
Here's a way to make money, maybe the superintendent could tour the country and give seminars on how not to run a school into the ground.
Why stop at the weight room, maybe you should make sure no one uses the track, then you can start charging parents to see little Johnny march in the Halloween parade.
For anyone hurt by these tough economic choices, I have a Total Gym I will sell you cheap!

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8walter_sobchak(2716 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

It is obvious that it is going to take a complete overhaul of the school board to right the ship. Then, Zambrini's contract can be permitted to run out and they can hire someone that knows how to run a large business. These administrators always think the money is going to be there and they have blinders on. But, keep on handing out the percentage pay increases along with the step increases. I don't think it is necessary to solicit comments from the public since the public spoke May 3.

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9tkytown(43 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Employees need to pay 20% of their hospitalization and take a wage freeze, if Canfield citizens see the employees making a move, the citizens will also make a move towards helping out, Canfield is risking a great dal by refusing to help out the schools

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10paulparks(235 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Interesting that when a levy finally does pass for a school district - no matter what cuts that have been made - busing is restored and pay-to-play vanishes. The question is this - is the public dissatisfaction with: salaries, raises (both given and step), tiny contributions by the employees toward health coverage/retirement - high enough to weather the coercive measures taken by the BOE? In essence it's a game of "chicken." Information is power - we need the Vindicator to publish the raises and bonus information set forth on this blog, i.e., over 10% in teacher raises the last three years, bonuses to the Superintendent and Business Manager the last three years, as well as the union concessions given by McDonald and other school district employees in "Fiscal Emergency" school districts. Then we have the benchmarks to try to start getting the most for our employee dollars. The "secret" nature of the union's contract features is now at these times finally seeing the light of day. Only by giving the public the maximum information will the voters be able to make intelligent choices on how we want to spend our money. One other thought: take a lesson from the sales tax defeats in Mahoning County. You don't see the Commissioners giving a lot of raises. It is only by voting "NO" that you communicate with the elected officials that "business-as-usual" is not acceptable anymore.

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112muchtax(897 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Zambrini, Do your job and start figuring out how to do more with less. Stop taking the bonuses is a start. a bonus is a crime for someone making six figures, especially when is being paid by taxpayers who are hurting and make much less! You should be ashamed of yourself. Here is a hint take a look at the golden pensions and healthcare percentage being paid by your employees and how about the 24% being paid by all of us going to your pension with you paying nothing! Get a clue, get out of the trough and quit putting this on the ballot every 6 months! Keep making the voters by playing with busing, sports,etc instead of making some hard decisions and see if they want to vote for the levy next time

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12PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Canfield needs to consdolidte with Western Reserve Schools. Then teachers with small numbers of students in classes can be eliminated. Then, only one Super is needed, one Treasurer, one Athletic Director etc.etc..........Many positions can be eliminated in both systems. Ohio needs to start consolidating schools..........PHISHIE

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13PHISHIE(105 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

Also, by consolidating, only one of each sport team s needed. Savings mucho money on equipment and coaches.Most likely would only need 1 nurse and a asst. No need to maintain two stadiums. etc etc

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14indvote(6 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

One of the reasons that the BOE isn't willing to make any tough decisions on the administration and wages, salaries, bonuses, benefits is that they just don't know the way to say or spell NO. Look at the school districts record of meetings for ALL of 2010 and 2011. http://www.canfieldschools.net/boe/

According to their published minutes, there was not one single....NO vote by ANY board member. At the 5-19-10 meeting there were 2 members that abstained from a vote, but. not ONE NO vote to anything Zambrini and company put before them. You have to question how 5 people could all have the exact same vote on every single issue presented to them in 26 meetings with numerous votes per meeting on issues ranging the entire spectrum of running the school district.

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15indvote(6 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

I know one decision that will not be tough for many voters in Canfield. Voting YES to getting board members that can say NO at least once in a while.

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16repeaters(314 comments)posted 5 years, 2 months ago

"Zambrini said the next step will be to solicit comments from residents about why they voted for or against the levies last week. He stressed that anyone wishing to comment will have to provide their name and address." ...Yes, by all means, call him. Then they know where you live, how much in property taxes you pay, and if you can afford to pay MORE. You will then have a target on your back. Again my fellow taxpayers, the state needs to fill an 8 million dollar deficit...so any new monies not being paid by the state and voted to acceptance by the taxpayers..will NEVER go back to the state...you will fund it all if you choose to do so. Then after the 2012 election, the Federal Gov. is going to pass on it's debt to you, so you, your children, and grandchildren will own it FOREVER. VOTE TILL YOUR BROKE !!

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