Our recommendation: Springboro voters...

Our recommendation: Springboro voters should say 'yes' the first time to school levies

There are 31883 comments on the Dayton Daily News story from Feb 5, 2008, titled Our recommendation: Springboro voters should say 'yes' the first time to school levies. In it, Dayton Daily News reports that:

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ricardo

Germantown, OH

#20429 Jun 23, 2012
nice try little birdie wrote:
<quoted text>
Nice try little birdie, but no Booster money WHATSOEVER was used for the turf project. But again, don't let the facts get in the way of a good juicy rumor!
If no Booster money is being used toward this project, exactly in what way is it being financed?
Keep Reading

Youngstown, OH

#20430 Jun 23, 2012
Oz of the Boro wrote:
Maybe Ms. Kohl's donated the money via her credit card?
SPRINGBORO'S BOE MAJORITY MEMBERS DESERVE AN "A"

"Change" is not a four-letter word. And, despite what many seem to believe, it’s not always bad either.
Change is especially important when it comes to K-12 education. Reformers often appropriately use the term "kids first" when it comes to our educational priorities. Too many times, however, "adults first" is the prevailing philosophy. That has to change (there’s that magic word again) and it is in one Ohio school district.

Check out the excerpts from an excellent report by the Education Action Group:

Springboro’s old philosophy was like that of many public school districts: Teachers were given annual “step” raises and administrators received nice salary perks, whether there was money in the district’s budget or not. If the district couldn’t afford it, voters were expected to approve tax hikes to pay for it all, or accept cuts to student services.

That old “adults first” approach was on full display in 2009, when district officials chose to address their financial woes by eliminating busing for high school students, laying off 30 district employees, and raising pay-to-play fees for after school activities.

Not long after that, Kelly Kohls, a mother of five and a former college professor, joined the Springboro school board and a new “children first” philosophy began to emerge.

Kohls’ approach of challenging the “business as usual” mindset has proven very effective. The district now requires employees to contribute more for their health insurance plans. Backdoor bonuses for administrators have been eliminated, annual teacher “step” raises have been frozen, and a variety of spending cuts have been implemented.

The results are evident in the school’s financial trajectory. A few years ago the district was projecting a $30 million deficit. Today it’s projecting a $4 million surplus, even though the community is still reeling from the weak economy, which has caused a 400 percent increase in the number of people needing assistance from the local food bank, according to Kohls.

Kohls’ self-described “kids first” approach has caused a lot of heartburn among Springboro’s school establishment. During her brief tenure on the board, district officials have publicly blamed Kohls for the defeat of a $6 million school levy, the departures of a superintendent, a district treasurer, a school board president and the large turnover in school administrators.

-continued keep reading
Keep Reading

Youngstown, OH

#20431 Jun 23, 2012
-continued

Members of the Springboro Education Association – the local teachers union – use school board meetings to excoriate Kohls for opposing teacher pay raises and proposing budget cuts.

“Some people get so entrenched in the old philosophy that it’s tough to get them to think whether or not something is going to help the kids,” Kohls says of the criticism.“We need a different way of thinking.”

Voters seem to agree. Last November, they elected two of Kohls’ allies, giving fiscal conservatives control of the five-member school board, which began its current term in January.

Kohls says her approach has been to “ask a lot of questions” and to explain the board’s spending decisions to the community.

During her campaign for school board, for instance, Kohls asked why Springboro taxpayers were paying both the district’s and administrators’ contributions to the state retirement fund, especially since high school busing had just been cut to save money.

She reasoned that the amount of money spent on the retirement perk ($180,000) should be used to reinstate high school busing ($125,000). Kohls shared her proposal with the community on the Educate Springboro website and now the administrative perk is gone.

When the district’s health insurance costs increased by $830,000, Kohls proposed that employee contributions be raised to 20 percent – in line with what average Springboro residents paid – to offset the extra costs. She thought it made sense, especially since the district was in the middle of a financial emergency that left schools unable to purchase new textbooks or make basic building repairs. Her fellow board members at the time didn’t agree, and the district absorbed the increase.

But Kohls used the Educate Springboro website to bring her case to the public, and the philosophical shift became evident.

“People started looking at the other four board members, and asked,‘How could you say yes to the increase?’” Kohls says.

Today, employees pay 15 percent of their health insurance costs, and the district has joined a health care consortium which has resulted in nearly $6 million in savings.

Since January, the new board has enshrined its “children first” philosophy in a series of 28 goals, which include setting district money aside to help prepare students for the ACT test, among other things.

The board has switched to zero-based budgeting, meaning that school budgets will not automatically increase every year. Instead, teachers are being asked to submit annual budgets outlining specific resources they need.

The board is also developing policies that prioritize district spending, to ensure that student-centered spending needs are met before employee benefits and wage increases are considered. Kohls is crafting a point system to determine which employees will receive bonuses from the leftover funds.
Im listening

Tipp City, OH

#20432 Jun 23, 2012
Keep Talking wrote:
<quoted text>
Are you talking about the sports field project of covering up the dirt at Wade Field; and does anybody know if the newly elected Clearcreek Township trustee is affiliated with Booster Athletics? Does anyone know if records are available to the public on contributions that were made to that political campaign; and how would an average concerned Boro citizen get this information?
Since the "powers that be" are claiming "no comment" then "we the people" must be responsible citizens and take our time to keep digging in the dirt and keep talking.
Please see Springboro Basketball web site and you will see Jason Gabbard as a board member. The Warren County Board of elections has to give you his campaign finance reports if you ask for them. Hope that helps.
Big Question

Youngstown, OH

#20433 Jun 23, 2012
ricardo wrote:
<quoted text>
If no Booster money is being used toward this project, exactly in what way is it being financed?
According to comments made by Scott Anderson, BOE president, covering up the dirt on Wade Field with synthetic turf, is an "example" of our community spirit of volunteerism.

According to comments made by George Long, business maanger, it's not costing the school district anything. But the Cook Foundation and the City of Springboro government and the Clearcreek Township government "all came together to cover up the dirt at Wade Field" as a "gift" to the Springboro Schools.

Keep digging into George Longs's "business" as recorded in the school board minutes and dig into the public records of Clearcreek township business meeting minutes; can probably find out how much the city and township donated to the amount donated by the Cook Foundation; during the public meeting George Long held with the city/township government officials.

Big question now is Exactly WHO is in charge of the Wade Field project? Is it the business manager at Springboro Schools or the township/city government officials or the Boosters Athletics or the Cook Foundation?
Big Question

Youngstown, OH

#20434 Jun 23, 2012
More big questions?

What IS the Cook Foundation and where does the Cook Foundation get money? Also does the Cook Foundation donate money to the athletics programs and school sports coaches? Are financial statements of the Cook Foundaton public records and how can you get access? Does the Cook Foundation file reports to the IRS?
Big Question

Youngstown, OH

#20435 Jun 23, 2012
Answer wrote:
Can you ask the bird if it was approved by the Board of Ed and the Superintendent first? Was it properly bid out? Is there a signed contract? Does the Business Manager know about this, since part of his duties include construction projects on school property?
Hello....anybody out there....able to answer these BIG questions about who is in charge of this "community spirit of the school government/township government/city government all working together to cover the dirt at Wade Field??
much ado about nothing

Dayton, OH

#20436 Jun 23, 2012
Im listening wrote:
<quoted text>
Please see Springboro Basketball web site and you will see Jason Gabbard as a board member. The Warren County Board of elections has to give you his campaign finance reports if you ask for them. Hope that helps.
yeppers, ole Jason got $5000.00 from our beloved (?) mayor out of his union treasure chest, as if Jason didn't have enough money out of his sale of land to the township! Talk about conflict of interest!
Big Answer

Germantown, OH

#20437 Jun 23, 2012
Big Question wrote:
<quoted text>
According to comments made by Scott Anderson, BOE president, covering up the dirt on Wade Field with synthetic turf, is an "example" of our community spirit of volunteerism.
According to comments made by George Long, business maanger, it's not costing the school district anything. But the Cook Foundation and the City of Springboro government and the Clearcreek Township government "all came together to cover up the dirt at Wade Field" as a "gift" to the Springboro Schools.
Keep digging into George Longs's "business" as recorded in the school board minutes and dig into the public records of Clearcreek township business meeting minutes; can probably find out how much the city and township donated to the amount donated by the Cook Foundation; during the public meeting George Long held with the city/township government officials.
Big question now is Exactly WHO is in charge of the Wade Field project? Is it the business manager at Springboro Schools or the township/city government officials or the Boosters Athletics or the Cook Foundation?
Private donations made through Springboro Wee Panthers Football is the source of funding for Wade Field's reconstruction work.
Answer

Kenton, OH

#20438 Jun 23, 2012
http://www.ci.springboro.oh.us/files/Springbo...

Joint funding from City, Township, Panther Wee Football, Lacrosse and Cook Family Fund.
Wee football pledged $100,000 over five years.
Cook Family Fund pledged $100,000 over five years.
Lacrosse club pledged $50,000 over five years.
City and Township to fund balance.
School owns land and will own turf.

Not clear on who is fronting the estimated total cost of $479,000.
Not clear, but since school will own, have to assume school will be responsible for insurance and upkeep. Guess that is another job for George Long.

Cook Family Fund filed with Ohio Secretary of State on May 1, 2012. Did not legally exist at time of pledge. Hmmm.
Try Again

Youngstown, OH

#20439 Jun 23, 2012
Big Answer wrote:
<quoted text>
Private donations made through Springboro Wee Panthers Football is the source of funding for Wade Field's reconstruction work.
Ooops!... big attempt to cover up big dirt at Wade Field; but your big answer is FALSE!
Just Wondering

Youngstown, OH

#20440 Jun 23, 2012
Answer wrote:
Let's summarize:
The Springboro Athletic Boosters are supposed to collect the money from sports fundraisers and then buy things and donate them to the school, or give the cash to the school in some type of formal documented manner. This has not been happening for at least seven years.
The last time the Boosters filed with the IRS, which is required for a non profit, was in 2005 for the 2004 year. In that last filing, there was revenue from the Fan Store, Casino night and concessions totaling Over $260,000.
According to the IRS website, the boosters lost their non profit status in 2010. So, it seems suspicious when the booster treasurer wants to suddenly make a donation to the school.
Question: for the years 2005 to current, where has the money from the Fan Store, the concessions and Casino night been going? It is probably more than the $130,000 that the boosters wanted to donate. Let's add it up. At a modest $200,000 per year for seven years, that is $1,400,000.
Next question: where did all the money for the sports fundraisers and camps go? Was it the Boosters? If so, where is that money? Or, does each coach, for each sport, have their own checking account? Who is the signor on each account? Whose tax ID is on those accounts? By law, those should all be student activity funds, deposited to the school treasurer.
Next question: why do the coaches think that is their own money to spend on whatever they want? Are they paying themselves for running the summer camps? Using school property and name? They are not the boosters. They are not a nonprofit. Are they a business? Are they aware that it is specifically against both board policy and Ohio Law to make money using their position as a coach?
How many parents have been busting their butts for years with fund raisers, dinners, sales, liftathons, raffles, etc and now feel used and abused by the coaches since there is no accountability for those funds? Did we do all that work for new uniforms and equipment that the kids never got, only to buy the coach a new car or nicer house?
the answers are out there, they need to be found.
Wonder if all this has anything to do with the recent efforts that were made (by former union school board candidates, school administrators, and former union school board members) to overrule the recent BOE election? Wonder if any of this would have been uncovered if union school board candidates Lisa Babb and Jane Gregg would have been chosen as our two new elected school board representatives?
Answer Please

Kenton, OH

#20441 Jun 23, 2012
I still want answers:

Where is the money from sales at the Panther Store? Who is keeping the books?
Where is the money from the annual Casino Night? Who is keeping the books?
Where is the money from all the sports fundraisers? Who is keeping the books?

The Springboro Athletic Boosters are supposed to be the sponsors of all of the above? If so, why are they not filing with the IRS? Why has their non profit status been taken away by the IRS? What tax ID is being used for all the accounts? Would their banker know?(what if their banker is on the Board of Ed? Wouldn't that be something? Ironic or sad, don't know which)

Are the coaches keeping the summer camp money? How do we know if there are no records? Do the coaches have their own bank accounts? Whose tax ID are they using? Or are they just paying cash for their new cars and trucks? Are they paying themselves out of the hard earned fund raisers that parents struggle to pay for?

Please, we need answers, not the usual "we know what's best" and "don't worry about it, we'll take care of it".
manifest destiny

Germantown, OH

#20442 Jun 23, 2012
Answer wrote:
http://www.ci.springboro.oh.us /files/Springboro%20City%20Not es%202nd%20Qtr%202012.pdf
Joint funding from City, Township, Panther Wee Football, Lacrosse and Cook Family Fund.
Wee football pledged $100,000 over five years.
Cook Family Fund pledged $100,000 over five years.
Lacrosse club pledged $50,000 over five years.
City and Township to fund balance.
School owns land and will own turf.
Not clear on who is fronting the estimated total cost of $479,000.
Not clear, but since school will own, have to assume school will be responsible for insurance and upkeep. Guess that is another job for George Long.
Cook Family Fund filed with Ohio Secretary of State on May 1, 2012. Did not legally exist at time of pledge. Hmmm.
For what reasons were the city of Springboro / Clearcreek township originally invited to the Wade discussion in the first place?
That's easy!
Because Springboro schools lacks administration personnel who are ept enough to handle the magnitude of such a renovation.
Just Gotta Keep Laughing

Youngstown, OH

#20443 Jun 23, 2012
manifest destiny wrote:
<quoted text>
For what reasons were the city of Springboro / Clearcreek township originally invited to the Wade discussion in the first place?
That's easy!
Because Springboro schools lacks administration personnel who are ept enough to handle the magnitude of such a renovation.
That's Funny! The Clearcreek township administrators aren't "ept enough" to settle a $30 dispute between a trustee and a police officer? So the administrators wasted $94,000 of taxpayers' money going through a legal process to assure the public that the government employees "integrity" is intact!
no can do

Dayton, OH

#20444 Jun 24, 2012
Just Gotta Keep Laughing wrote:
<quoted text>
That's Funny! The Clearcreek township administrators aren't "ept enough" to settle a $30 dispute between a trustee and a police officer? So the administrators wasted $94,000 of taxpayers' money going through a legal process to assure the public that the government employees "integrity" is intact!
there's a bundle of corruption at the township level, Ed Wade is just better at covering it up. The only honest one there is Cathy Anspanch. Not least of all but the double dipping township mgr, Dennis Pickett.
Big Questions

Youngstown, OH

#20445 Jun 24, 2012
Answer wrote:
http://www.ci.springboro.oh.us /files/Springboro%20City%20Not es%202nd%20Qtr%202012.pdf
Joint funding from City, Township, Panther Wee Football, Lacrosse and Cook Family Fund.
Wee football pledged $100,000 over five years.
Cook Family Fund pledged $100,000 over five years.
Lacrosse club pledged $50,000 over five years.
City and Township to fund balance.
School owns land and will own turf.
Not clear on who is fronting the estimated total cost of $479,000.
Not clear, but since school will own, have to assume school will be responsible for insurance and upkeep. Guess that is another job for George Long.
Cook Family Fund filed with Ohio Secretary of State on May 1, 2012. Did not legally exist at time of pledge. Hmmm.
So, when our school district business manager was "negoiating" covering up the dirt at Wade Field (with Springboro mayor and Clearcreek Township trustee--who, btw, had benefitted from campaign funds from the mayor) our school district business manager (who is employed by school district taxpayers) did not even have the expertise to VERIFY that the Cook Foundation actually "legally" existed???? Our business manager is the ONLY big school administrator "left over" from the Baker/Dettwiller corrupt era of working from the inside with the baker advisory committee of community union bullies (which, btw, it now appears the community union bullies are at the core of all this "illegal" boosters athletics stuff here in the Boro). In spite of all the experience that our business manager has, and he doesn't even VERIFY whether or not the Cook Foundation is "legally" established to receiving "charitable donations" on a tax free status??? And in which local bank does the Cook Foundation keep their big money accounts????
Curious

Englewood, OH

#20446 Jun 24, 2012
Just Wondering wrote:
<quoted text>
Wonder if all this has anything to do with the recent efforts that were made (by former union school board candidates, school administrators, and former union school board members) to overrule the recent BOE election? Wonder if any of this would have been uncovered if union school board candidates Lisa Babb and Jane Gregg would have been chosen as our two new elected school board representatives?
We're Lisa, Jane, Tiffany or any of these ladies involved as Booster Officers?
Im listening

Tipp City, OH

#20447 Jun 24, 2012
Answer Please wrote:
I still want answers:
Where is the money from sales at the Panther Store? Who is keeping the books?
Where is the money from the annual Casino Night? Who is keeping the books?
Where is the money from all the sports fundraisers? Who is keeping the books?
The Springboro Athletic Boosters are supposed to be the sponsors of all of the above? If so, why are they not filing with the IRS? Why has their non profit status been taken away by the IRS? What tax ID is being used for all the accounts? Would their banker know?(what if their banker is on the Board of Ed? Wouldn't that be something? Ironic or sad, don't know which)
Are the coaches keeping the summer camp money? How do we know if there are no records? Do the coaches have their own bank accounts? Whose tax ID are they using? Or are they just paying cash for their new cars and trucks? Are they paying themselves out of the hard earned fund raisers that parents struggle to pay for?
Please, we need answers, not the usual "we know what's best" and "don't worry about it, we'll take care of it".
Great questions, is there anyone asking them of this district? My kingdom for an investigative reporter or and I know this is really way out there, an investigation by a public servant paid by us to investigate the public and private sector. It appears that the private sector is the only place where true investigations occur.
Im listening

Tipp City, OH

#20448 Jun 24, 2012
Big Questions wrote:
<quoted text>
So, when our school district business manager was "negoiating" covering up the dirt at Wade Field (with Springboro mayor and Clearcreek Township trustee--who, btw, had benefitted from campaign funds from the mayor) our school district business manager (who is employed by school district taxpayers) did not even have the expertise to VERIFY that the Cook Foundation actually "legally" existed???? Our business manager is the ONLY big school administrator "left over" from the Baker/Dettwiller corrupt era of working from the inside with the baker advisory committee of community union bullies (which, btw, it now appears the community union bullies are at the core of all this "illegal" boosters athletics stuff here in the Boro). In spite of all the experience that our business manager has, and he doesn't even VERIFY whether or not the Cook Foundation is "legally" established to receiving "charitable donations" on a tax free status??? And in which local bank does the Cook Foundation keep their big money accounts????
Wait a minute, our Mayor is a Democrat, so is Jason Gabbard a democrat? Is that why he was supported by a quiet minority but not a conservative? Another case of the community not being informed. Get on board people and get educated. This is Warren County where we respect freedom, our constitution and free markets. How did we elect these people? Apathy will do us in not the progressives.

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