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Group: Levy would keep district’s excellence

Published: Sun, October 21, 2012 @ 12:04 a.m.

By Ashley Luthern



Supporters of an additional levy for Boardman schools say the money is necessary to maintain the district’s academic excellence.

The district has been ranked excellent in state report cards 11 times in 13 years, a distinction recognized last week with the release of state report cards.

On the Nov. 6 ballot, voters will see a 3.9-mill, three-year additional emergency operating levy that will generate $3,178,231 annually. The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home $119.44 each year.

The school district’s general fund budget is about $38 million.

Putting a levy on the ballot “was not an easy decision for the board to make,” said Superintendent Frank Lazzeri.

“They are very aware of society and the local community,” he said.

Several parents who are part of the Friends of Boardman Schools levy committee said they support the additional levy because school officials have proved to be good stewards of taxpayer money.

“This is to maintain what we have,” said committee member Jeff Barone, noting a new school levy was last approved in 2003.

Although expenditures for the district have remained at about the same level since 2006, revenue has dropped, Lazzeri said.

From 2003 to now, the district lost $15.4 million as a result of state-level legislation, such as cuts in the State Foundation Program.

The bulk of lost money, $10.5 million, has followed Boardman students who left the district for charter or open-enrollment schools.

To help make up for the loss, 40 positions, 33 of them teaching, have been eliminated, and the base wages have been frozen for the last five years.

The teachers union approved a three-year contract in June 2011 that also froze step increases for the first two years.

The annual average teacher salary is $55,126, and the annual average administrator salary is $77,832.

“This new levy is enough to keep us excellent without restoring positions or giving salary increases,” Lazzeri said.

But even with passage of a new levy, there’s no guarantee there won’t be more cuts in the future because of changes that could occur at the state level, Lazzeri said.

Members of the levy committee said they are focusing on the four “A’s” of the district: academics, arts, athletics and accountability.

“If we cut to match the loss [of revenue], everything that makes Boardman special would be loss. Nobody’s asking for extras,” committee member Vince Bevacqua said.

Lazzeri asked residents to support the levy because the schools are an integral part of the community.

“Boardman is special because of the safety workers, churches and great schools. You don’t want one leg to be weak and topple the stool over,” he said.


1repeaters(314 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

If those "special friends" of the levy committee want the levy so badly; let them pay for it. That will determine how "bad" they really want it.

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2golfnut(30 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

If these comments are a sign of the intelligence in Boardman, I've got to wonder how in the world the school system gets Excellent ratings.

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3youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Oh no, here comes the pro-levy comments. Ever wonder why these Friends of the Boardman Schools are the same Friends of the police department, etc. Mr. Barone doesn't come across a tax that he doesn't like!

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4lee(544 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Because we went to school before the libs started there bs in the schools.

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5ytown1(398 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

"To help make up for the loss, 40 positions, 33 of them teaching, have been eliminated, and the base wages have been frozen for the last five years."

Think about that for a minute.

"The teachers union approved a three-year contract in June 2011 that also froze step increases for the first two years."

Then this for a minute,

What do yo think this levy is actually for now.

Raises and benefits. Raises later on when the dust settles and the huge benefits they have now and wish to continue. Did you hear anything about contributing to health care premiums in line with the average citizen, neither did I.

They just don't get it do they. Intelligence has nothing to do with the aversion to being taxed into oblivion.

This levy increases every persons taxes an additional 11.9 percent, or $119 per $100K valuation of your real estate. Think about that for a minute.

Times up, now go vote your conscience.

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6ytown1(398 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

One more thought this morning, When was the last time you were able to increase your income by 11.9 percent without having to pay more for health care benefits or give up something else like vacation time or holidays.

Something that the Teachers and Administrators are not about to do.

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7CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It will pass and thats that. Whine if you want, but the yes votes will have the numbers.


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8GoPens(397 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

If Kasich and his cronies hadn't cut education so much at the state level,then there would be less reason to have property tax levies on the local level.

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9ytown1(398 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Since when is discussing the facts called Whining?

Don't hold your breath, how many levies have been turned down in the recent past, quite a few if my memory serves me right.

The need to control costs and bring the benefit packages in line with the realities of our economy is a reality that still needs to be addressed, even educated individuals can see this.

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10CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Id rather Spend 119 on education in my community than not spend 119 on education in my community. Kids or no kids. Thats how I roll.

Our communities are built on the education our kids get and the better it is the more productive they will be in making this a better place to live.

Oh, and to your raises comment..
“This new levy is enough to keep us excellent without restoring positions or giving salary increases,” Lazzeri said.

If you cant give 10 bucks a month to help support the education of the children living on your street, you arent a very good person, and I would probably not want you as a neighbor.

Thats just me and my unselfish ways though. I mean really, can't you give up one of your twelve packs a month?

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11southsidedave(5199 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

It is easy for all of the armchair critics to say cut, cut, cut...but cuts have already been made. What else would you like the District to cut?

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12busyman(239 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

So, money can by happiness or should I say excellence. I substitute taught in a large school district in Mahoning country a few years ago, and I could not believe all the aides and para professionals in the school system. Why not let the primo teachers take their own kids to lunch and recess? Most of the teachers I saw were in the break room before the last kid was out of the room. Why not let some of the students make copies and help in the office instead of using payed help. Even the UAW has given up on non value core support to keep their union strong. The amazing thing is that this levy will failed in this general election because of the numbers, but then the board will run it again in the middle of winter when the friends of the levy will be there without resistance. ONLY IN AMERICAN. If you really care about the children, eliminate all non core support staff and outsource the janitorial and mantainence services. I do not think the school systems have cut in the right places. You will lay off a $30,000 teacher and keep a $45,000 janitor. What can the janitor teach contribute to the education of these young students.

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13ytown1(398 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Cut, how about the $70K a year librarians, Contribute 25-30% toward Insurance like most private sector residents who are being asked to add an additional $119 to what they are already paying.

This is not just a new thought, this has been a contention for some time, 80% of budgets go to salaries and benefits. You cannot let the buildings go anymore, so the salaries and benefits have to be controlled.

This is not about being selfish, tell all of the people that have seen their pays shrink while all of the basic life items increase in costs, their pays go far less and now you want them to give even more when you are not willing to give a little yourselves, that is what I call selfish.

"Oh, and to your raises comment..
“This new levy is enough to keep us excellent without restoring positions or giving salary increases,” Lazzeri said."

Is just not true,

The first two years of the last contract only froze step increases, never stated any other raises that may be available in the contract language, and by the way in the third year there will be raises again. I will also state again that nothing was mentioned on purpose about the insurance co pays or contributions, as that is the same as it always is. You add all of these things up and you have no need for a fake Emergency Levy.

If you truly think this is about $10.00 a month you are delusional at best. Add that $10 to all of the thousands of our tax dollars they already receive. And that is still not enough.

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14CantStandYa(222 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Sweet melt ytown1,

You did a great job quoting our two worthless presidential candidates when you replied to the Lazzeri quote with

"Is just not true."

You can keep melting on this board however you want.
Come voting time, when the levy is approved, you can sit in your home and melt even harder.

People like you are why communities fail.
Too caught up with worrying about your money than your community.

You should be proud of yourself and your message to the community that you dont really care about Boardman's school kids because you earned your money and are being taxed too much.

If you dont like being "taxed to death", I suggest you move.
Move somewhere there are others that think like you. Im sure you will find those neighborhoods to be a fine place to reside.

But you wont. You will stay here and be bitter that others have better morals and values than you do. Enjoy your rage, Melt on bro.

CantStandYa.......over and out

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15DontBanThisDrone(1046 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

Check the county property-tax ledgers; idiots are paying plenty.

Which teachers are making minimum wage? That's a travesty!


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16DontBanThisDrone(1046 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

lol @ CantStandYa


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17BoardmanSpartan1(12 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

People around here are so cheap and negative all the time. I wish some of you would wake up, get your heads out of your behinds and look around at other schools around the state to see the facilities and other things these schools have compared to ours.

If Boardman doesn't pay their teachers a competitive wage/benefit package, you know what happens? They don't get the best teachers to apply or to stick around. When you don't have your pick of educators, odds are against you to provide the best education. The benefits package issue isn't a Boardman issue, it's a state-wide education issue. Boardman is the only one that loses if they are the only one that cuts their benefits, because they lose good teachers.

Boardman has been excellent recently despite having one of the area's and state's lowest spending per pupil. So, to say Boardman hasn't managed their money well is a lie. Also, look at the # of years they have got out of the school buildings in the district compared to most of the other schools, who just leach off the state to fund the majority of their new buildings.

Honestly, the district badly needs to build a new middle school(to replace the 100 year old Center MS) and make major improvements to all of the schools. But, unless the buildings caves in on the students, everyone around here is too negative to support a bond issue to upgrade facilties.

Seems like the majority of the locals don't want to pay for anything, but expect top-notch results. Like I said, wake up and get out of the Mahoning Valley for a change. See what the rest of the state has and then see if you think our schools are in great shape.

Same goes for our athletics. Everyone wants to complain how bad our football stadium is, but no one wants to put up their own private money for a new stadium. There's just very little community support around here and everyone is so negative. People need to stop being so negative and realize the only way we will move forward and succeed is to work together.

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18youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I disagree with Boardmanspartan. There are so few teaching jobs available these days that most around here would instantly take a job in Boardman if available? It's funny that all the districts in trouble around here financially (Poland, Canfield, Boardman, soon to be South Range) grossly overpay their teachers. Look at how ridiculous the step increases are and what salaries teachers max out at? Freezing 2 years of step increases means almost nothing in the overall picture if teachers are retained and many of them have already been working a long time. Teachers around here making 75K is much higher than the median incomes for our area, so instead of comparing teachers to state averages they need to look at the local areas more. The stadium is going to be built with private funding, just like the performing arts center was. That's the only option. When advocates of the levy start using talk of needing to "move forward" and "work together," you show your true allegiances of being a liberal progressive and turn off many people who would ordinarily be somewhat sympathetic to school levies, especially those that are Republican leaning.

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19BoardmanSpartan1(12 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

I didn't say build the stadium through a levy. I'm just saying our community support sucks for private fundraising. And working together and moving forward have nothing to do with the school levy but more our lack of community support. Everyone wants only what's best for their particular group and nothing gets done.

Not sure why you need to make this into a republican - democrat thing,that's what's wrong with politics now. If you think the community doesn't need to work together to help improve facilities for schools and athletics , and we can rely on a few big money people to pay for everything , you are nuts and that's not the way things should be. Everyone needs to pitch in and help. That actually sounds more like Democrat thinking.

Not saying you aren't right on some things you say, but let's be real, teachers salaries aren't going backwards. So the only people who will get hurt are students if this doesn't pass. Look at Poland.

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20BoardmanSpartan1(12 comments)posted 3 years, 9 months ago

The other thing is while Boardman's teachers salaries are far from the lowest in the area they are not outrageous. On average they are lower than schools like Canfield, Poland, and Springfield and comparable to many others. The avg salary in the district has also leveled off lately showing under a 5% increase in the past 5 years. While most districts have shown avg salaries increase by 10% or more. Boardmans avg salaries puts them just outside the top third of districts statewide. I dont thinks that is unreasonable. their starting salaries fall right near the state avg too. You speak as though the district is way over paid and that's just not true.

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