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Voters face school levy in Poland for 3rd time

Published: Mon, February 6, 2012 @ 12:05 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



School officials are hoping the third time is the charm.

After two additional tax levies were defeated in November 2010 and May 2011, voters on March 6 will decide a 3.8-mill, five-year additional emergency operating levy to generate $1,448,561 annually.

When all factors are taken into account, the levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $91.88 annually, said Anthony Magnetta, deputy auditor in Mahoning County.

Magnetta said the annual cost of a 3.8-mill levy for an owner of a house valued at $100,000 is $116.38. However, the district is paying off a 0.8-mill bond levy, making the net effect a 3.0-mill levy, he added.

A 3.0-mill levy would cost $105 annually on a home valued at $100,000, and once tax rollbacks are accounted for, that amount drops to $91.88 annually, Magnetta said.

The Poland school district should have a balance of about $1.5 million in carry-over at the end of this school year and about $200,000 at the end of the 2012-13 school year, according to the district’s financial forecast.

But by 2014, the district likely will have a $2-million deficit, followed by a $4.3 million deficit in 2015 and a $6.9 million deficit in 2016, the forecast states.

The last time an additional levy was approved by voters was in 2003, and it was for 6.9 mills. That levy was supposed to last for five years and was stretched until 2010, when the district put an additional levy on the ballot, said Superintendent Robert Zorn.

The district lost more than $2 million in state funding between 2005 and 2012 and has implemented $1.4 million in cuts, Zorn said.

Personnel cuts include 24 tutor positions eliminated; 25 bus drivers cut back; 12 educator positions eliminated in fall 2011; one secretary cut from full-time to less than four hours per day; one administrative position cut back; one courier position cut and one cook’s helper position cut, Zorn said.

More information about the district’s cuts, personnel, per-pupil funding and finances are available at PolandBulldogs.com by clicking on the “Why Is a School Levy Needed?” link near the bottom of the page.

“We can’t cut our way out of the financial situation we’re in. ... We need more revenue,” said school board president Dr. Larry Dinopoulos.

He said it’s unfortunate that state lawmakers haven’t fully addressed how Ohio funds school districts, which was first found unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997.

“We certainly don’t want to raise taxes, but we don’t have a choice. No school district really does, and I’m sure we’re going to look at more cuts and all kinds of things if the levy doesn’t pass,” Dinopoulos said.

A town-hall meeting to discuss the levy is set for 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at the Poland Seminary High School auditorium.

Also on the March 6 ballot for Poland schools is a 1.0-mill permanent improvement renewal levy, which was originally approved by voters in 1978. That levy generates about $370,000 annually that is designated for so-called brick-and-mortar maintenance and improvements. It costs the owner of a $100,000 home $30.63 per year.

Poland Township also is seeking a renewal levy. The township is asking for approval of a 2-mill renewal levy to maintain roads and bridges, which was first approved by voters in 1977. The levy generates about $194,000 annually and costs the owner of a $100,000-valued home $20.64 per year.


1repeaters(313 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

At that meeting, ask them what they did with their share of federal stimulus money. If Poland, like most of the other schools, used two years of funds for raises(which is what it was not intended to be used for), hence this is why they will ALL need more money. If I gave you a raise with free money, then someone has to anti-up to keep it going. Oh yes, it must be the taxpayers.

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2UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Just say NO to the levy. Let the school employees pay their fair share for healthcare and no levy is needed. How's it looking now for you SB5 NOsayers as every school district is asking for more money after it's defeat?

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

You do have a choice. Actually you have quite a few choices before imposing a levy. Have administrators contribute to their STRS and pay a percentage of their health care. Close an elementary school.Why isnt the 1.4 million in cuts itemized...also you have a new contract coming up...are you giving out pay raises again ????

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4taxme(361 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Hope everyone likes their new football stadium! No more busing, no more swimming, no more wrestling, and less teachers, limiting curriculums, and more. Nice football stadium that the taxpayers are helping pay for instead of education. FOOTBALL has a funny way of running a schools finances. Look what football does at other schools. Cigars, Champagne, gang like beatings, takes money from education. Nice!

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

Hey Larry...why dont you tell us what you are going to cut if the levy does not pass ??Saying that you are going to look at all kinds of things is a crock..So much for your transparency...

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6lee(544 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

No more tax--- starve the beast

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7Byzantine(7 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

You people who own houses in Poland and don't vote for school levies may be the stupidest people residing in Mahoning County.

The only thing that keeps property values in Poland from depreciating are its schools. It's really the only real asset that community has, and moreover, it's the only reason why new families move into Poland from other communities.

So quit cutting off your nose to spite your face. You'll make back the extra $90/yr. -- plus some -- on the sale of your home.

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8Realist(62 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I agree with you 100% Byzantine.

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9JME(802 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

So Byzantine, since house values have dropped over the past few years does that mean the value of the school district has already dropped.
Or perhaps the school district should return some of the money to the homeowners since the value has dropped.

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10polandfan(27 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Did any of you bother to check out the info, as was suggested?
>>More information about the district’s cuts, personnel, per-pupil funding and finances are available at PolandBulldogs.com by clicking on the “Why Is a School Levy Needed?” link near the bottom of the page.

If you had, you would know that the last contract froze wage and step increases through the 2013 school year...that all cuts are indeed itemized...and that the Federal money did not come close to filling the void left by the cut in state funding.

The school is running yearly deficits...can't give out raises even if wanted to, and this small levy is not going to change that. It would be nice to see new books, replace worn out equipment, and keep a first rate school...all for around $100 or $200 a year.

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11redeye1(5612 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I will be voting NO on all levies , no matter what.

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12repeaters(313 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

If you really think, you can fill ALL the voids in local, state, and eventually federal cuts, then you either better get a tremendous raise annually, or work three jobs, and yes, save all your money so others can have a good time and retire in the lap of luxury.

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13lumper(301 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Apple is going to revolutionize the textbook industry. hang in there for about another year and textbooks will be downloadable. don't waste money on new books. keep voting no.

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14taxme(361 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Mrj. .im no more bigot than you are a hypacrit. Mooney has become the poster child for what's wrong with high school football in our area. It's caused a financial problem in Poland schools. The need by some to have a new football stadium has caused the school system to cut busing, cut swimming and wrestling and now they want more from taxpayers. All because of football. Well not maybe all but it obviously contributed to the problem.

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15polandfan(27 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Real Truth needs to change his name to Complete Inaccuracy.
Do you seriously believe that the stadium payment is $730,000 per year? If it were, that loan would be paid off in 4 years!
If you seriously believe that is the payment for 20 years, then you think it is costing a whopping $14.6 million in total. Don't let the facts get in the way of your mantra.

I guess you and I have different definitions of what "really doesn't amount to much". You think $1.3 million cut for this school year isn't much...and I think $150 a year for the average Poland homeowner (deduct around $50 of that amount if you itemize) isn't much to help keep the school strong.

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