#23 Nov 4, 2012
'Open enrollment' actually saves you money. The cost of educating those students falls to the school district that they left.
As for teacher salaries and benefits, you've now resorted to grasping at straws. There are far better jobs than being a teacher. In fact, 3/5 leave the field in less than 5 years. But, you may be right. If the job is so great, quit your current job, go get a degree, see if you can find a job teaching, and then continue to pay $3-5k/year to maintain your proper certification. Then, if you survive the first five years, feel free to return whatever you feel you don't deserve to the school board.
What the unions really do is protect teachers from being abused. Contracts are public record, go read one. Most are well over 100 pages. Only 2-3 actually cover financial compensation.
#24 Nov 4, 2012
Actyually I was part of the inital focus group. After several of the options were completely ignored, I decided they were going down the same path as the previous levy attempts.
I'm not insulting anyone, I just recognise that, before you come asking me for money, you should have tried to take care of the problem yourself. This has not happened.
Regarding Open Enrollment; I warned the BOE how open enrollment would erode their income because allows those students to attend WL-S while the school receives only ~$6000 from the state. For a normal resident student, the amount, including property taxes and income taxes is nearly $9000. This difference amounts to approximately $300,000/year.(incidently $8.1 million over 27 years or nearly the amount of the local share of the estimated repair).
Make your own choice but for me, my vote is NO until they start acting like responsible stewards of my money.
#25 Nov 4, 2012
I'm going to use your math.....
The income tax is 1.5%, and the property tax is right around .25%. So, if the 'normal' resident is paying $9000/year, they would need to be making $56+k in income and own a home valued at over $200k by the county auditor.
I'm pretty sure that is not the average. But, let's now assume you meant family income/taxes. Well, then we are also talking about family of students. So, while the family might pay $9k, two children bring in $12k.
I also have yet to hear of any changes to how money has been spent. Did they install a bowling ally or swimming complex? Wait, they must have state of the art scientific research labs? Are the buses air conditioned and equipped with satellite radio?
Don't be the person who complains but can not identify a clear solution to a seemingly obvious problem. Where would you make cuts? Why? If you were successful in passing such cuts, how would the community react?
#26 Nov 4, 2012
After re-reading your post, it looks like you meant $9k/student at west liberty. That may be true.
The difference in open enrollment compensation should give you an idea how much the cost of education has inflated. And, how much funding has been cut by the state. So, that $8.1 million is being passed to local residents.
Look at a school budget. Finding $8.1 in annual cuts is nearly impossible without hurting the kids and community.
#28 Nov 4, 2012
Trust me, I'm always happy to offer solutions to the problem. It has, in the past been completely ignored, but I still offer them.
1) Phase Out Open Enrollment; The top schools in the state do not have it so, if we want to have one of those schools, we shouldn't either. One option would be to stop accepting new students. Over the next 12 years the currently open enrolled students would graduate and people would need to live in the district to be part of the school. This would raise property values and ultimately add additonal property and income tax.
2) Base the salaries and benefits of the school teachers, administration, and others as a percentage of the average district income. This will tie wages directly to income and create a sustainable system. If the average income goes up, the salary should go up by the same percentage.
3) Eliminate the "fluff"; Do they really need 4 adminstrators? Do they need the vocational programs or should those be at the nearby vocational school? Should they continue to offer "advanced gym" as a class? These are ways to spend the limited resources on those programs that benefit the most students.
4) Create a maintainence fund for the facilites. This should be a normal part of doing business and should not be the afterthought it is currently. Just because you do not have mainatainence items this year doesn't mean you can spend the money somewhere else. It needs to be saved for the big ticket items.
Changes such as these would not negatively affect the school and would lead to a better future for the school district.
I could go on but, in the end, it will not change anything.
The school BOE will continue to pursue the short sighted efforts they have in the past and will continue to beg for money from the taxpayers with no clear plan to fix the cause of the problems.
For these reasons, I will continue to vote NO.
#29 Nov 4, 2012
Also ,why can't they build a shelter to keep the busses in,this would save money on fuel,wear and tear,and bus driver salaries waiting hours in the morning to melt off the snow and ice.Just a smple pole barn with no doors facing the east would help. I still vote NO!!
#30 Nov 4, 2012
Excellent rating for the past 7 years - we already are one of the top schools in the state. When BOE positions are vacated, no one wants to run. If you don't like the decisions made by the BOE, be part of the "solution" and run for a seat instead of complaining.
#31 Nov 4, 2012
I will say those are thoughtful suggestions. However, not as plausible as they seem.
1. Open enrollment brings in more money than it costs. There are point where the district makes money, breaks even, and where it starts to cost money. I'm sure the treasurer keeps a close eye on this line.
2. Salaries are already based on projected income and potential longevity of teacher careers. The 'base' is already lower than the community median. The reason it looks like it is higher is because west liberty maintains a consistent staff from one year to the next. The only way to hover at the base would be to hire 'rookies' every year.
3.'Advanced Gym' probably isn't necessary at most schools. But, this is probably a cross between a study hall for some and a way to meet emergency graduation requirements for others. Having eliminated so many 'electives' there aren't enough teachers to offer much more than the minimum. Since you have a gym teacher, they use that person to 'educate' kids for the one or two periods they don't have a regular class to schedule.
Vocational classes may actually be funded by high point. They do pay for satellite programs.
4. There is a maintenance fund. It's called permanent improvement money. It's tax based from previous bond issues, which do need to be renewed periodically by the voters. This money can only be spent on long term projects. It's not for salaries. This would be the money they use to fix the building. And, this is what needs replenished because the state is requiring more than what is currently provided.
Again, these are valid points that are easily explained. Difficult to understand, but worth asking and trying to explain.
Schools are not like other businesses. The product (students) do not yield financial reward. Except that they become productive, contributing members of a community. So, the school is now asking you to help them continue to provide for students as others have done before.
#32 Nov 4, 2012
In response to multiple people:
Top schools; WL-S is ranked 92 of the 610 districts in Ohio. This is not bad but not what I would consider one of the top schools in the state
BOE Openings; I looked into it but, unless the majority were changed, it would be nothing but a frustrating experience. They don't listen to the taxpayers, why would they listen to 1 of 5 BOE members.
1) Open enrollment and the costs; While it's true open enrollment brings in short term money, it actually costs in the long term by reducing property values and income tax revenue. These outside students take oppertunity from resident students by affecting class rank and scholarship oppertunites.
2) Salaries start at slightly above the median income without including benefits costs and progress to more than double the median. This is not a sustainable system. Exactly how much should a 1350 hr/ year job pay? I think $60,000+ is too much. http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/teacher-salar...
3) If the students need to take Advanced Gym to earn enough credits to graduate, what are they going to do for a living? They should probably look at JVS.
4) Maintenance fund; If they actually had money here, it would have been shown on their 5 yr forecast and the treasurers report of fund balances. They have nothing significant for capital outlays and nothng in a rainy day fund.
Voters have been told the State "requires" these upgrades. It's actually been a nice sell job. The state will provide money to improve facilites once the local share is approved. There is no state requirement to do anything.
Schools are exactly like any other service business. They receive money (taxes), Spend money (salaries and expenses), and provide a service (educate students) just like any other non profit.
The problem occurs when they start behaving like a government agency and are not held accountable.
If they had good financial management, could show a plan for the future, and were responsible with our money, maybe they would get my support.
Until that time, I'm still voting NO.
#33 Nov 4, 2012
As long as NO $$$$ is going to that loser volunteer fire department
#34 Nov 6, 2012
The majority has spoken. The Levy Failed.
If only the school would learn to be more responsible with what they already receive maybe they would get more support. This is 3rd time they have tried to pass something in the last 6 or 7 years.
The school administration has already said they would try the same levy again in the spring. I guess now is the time to start the rally to defeat it a 2nd(or 4th)time.
#35 Nov 7, 2012
I really feel this is going to continue to fail until our boe starts explaing some of their actions.
1. Why is a dean of students needed in such a small school?
2. Why rehire a retired school official to fill a non needed position?
3. Explain the pros and cons of "open enrollment"
4. Would bigger class rooms be needed if we stopped open enrollment?
5. How can we afford a bigger building, if we can't afford to keep up on what we have?
6. Did we not think about future maintenance cost when making our budget the past ten years?
The list could go on and on....... Cut the un needed positions and draw up a budget, then maybe you will get a little more community support.
#36 Nov 7, 2012
Apparently you failed to attend any of the levy meetings offered by the school. Every one of those questions was answered, in detail, several times. If you check out the WL-S Levy page on Facebook, there is a post which explains #3 -#6, as well. Those might have been questions to ask BEFORE you voted, maybe?
#37 Nov 7, 2012
Nice try but again, not quite true.
Open enrollment is only discussed with respect the state money gained. It does not address the effect to property values and housing demand. Before open enrollment, houses would stay on the market for a very short time because people wanted to move into a good school system. Now, they build outside knowing WL-S will accept them to get their money. This reduces their cost since they do not pay income tax and ultimately lowers the value of the homes in the district. Consider, of the top schools in the state, almost none has open enrollment.
How can we afford a bigger building? The statement was the new building would be more efficient and HOPEFULLY offset the costs of the improvements. Well you can hope all you want but it doesn't pay the bills.
Why didn't they think about maintenance costs? They seem to think they don't need to use "regular" tax money for these things and can instead only use construction millage. Had they gotten rid of extra admin position and put the pay and benefits into an account for the building, they would have up to $100k / year to pay for the new roof.
The enrollment has been projected to rise for 10 years now. It hasn't except for the open enrolled kids. Just because the State decided new buildings should be bigger doesn't mean the one you have is not good enough. They have actually reduced the use of the modular classrooms and have several empty ones. This does not indicate a need to add space.
Ultimatly this levy was about trying to pass a new gym and building expansion off as a "required" repair. The voters didn't fall or it this time (or the last 2 times either).
The answer is simple;
1) Make a plan to get rid of open enrollment so people want to live in the community where their kids go to school (and pay their share)
2) Reduce the plan to whats needed and not what you want.(i.e. lose the gym and build a state matched cafeteria)
3) and most importantly, make a good budget including a plan for the future and cut the slack. This should be the extra admin people and not the people who directly affect the kids.
Without these, it's just too risky they will repeat the mistakes of 1986 and 1989 when they built a building they couldn't operate and had to ask for additional taxes.
Assuming nothing changes I'll see you in the spring with my vote NO signs.
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