Thursday, July 10, 2014





Column-Bob Valentine: St. Marys hasn't answered questions about school funds


August 24. 2013 6:23PM
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Factual information is needed for voting on the May 7th school levy. Unfortunately, I’ve seen little of it.



The schools Levy Committee in cooperation with board members, school officials, employees and their families, all of whom have benefit to gain, have deluged newspapers with emotionally based statements and dubious factual information concerning this levy. These officials along with family members have perpetrated an avalanche of doom and gloom about our school if the levy doesn’t pass.



Poppycock!



Information released to the public about the school’s financial status threatens massive cuts using a shotgun approach based on very little actual study and allowing no public input concerning proposed curriculum changes.



The school doesn’t need the combination 1 percent income plus 5 mill property taxes they’re asking for! Based on the school’s financial forecast they need an 11.2 mil property tax to see us through 2017 provided we pass the renewal levy next year! To my recollection, we have never turned a renewal down!



The levy committee claims teachers haven’t received a cost of living Increase for five years. That’s because the school system doesn’t give cost of living increases! Teachers received a 2.75 percent negotiated increase in 2009 and another 2.5 percent increase in 2010, just three years ago!



The 1 percent cut in teacher’s pay talked about was not permanent, but for one year only and that was in 2011.



The claim the school spends $47,0440 less on administrative staff than in fiscal year 2007 is false! The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) states that total administrative expenditures in FY2007 were $1,932,871 and in FY2012 were $2,107,755 and that was with 233 fewer students in 2012!



The levy committee claims the schools overall expenditures were $569,839.00 less in 2012 than in 2009. However, ODE records show overall expenditures went from $20,227,513 in FY2009 to $20,782,028 in FY2010 to $22,358,020 in FY2011 and back to $20,360,311 in 2012. These are “total” expenditures which is what taxpayers are accountable for!



The levy committee claims the state is giving less between 2004 and 2010. What they didn’t say is that a major factor in receiving State grants is Average Daily Student Population called Average Daily Membership (ADM). Again, the ODE shows our school received the following amounts since FY2004:



• FY2004 = $10,272,427/$4193 per student



• FY2005 = $10,416,006/$4371 per student



• FY2006 = $10,476,293/$4425 per student



• FY2007 = $11,222,325/$4758 per student



• FY2008 = $11,473,513/$4923 per student



• FY2009 = $11,955,993/$5545 per student



• FY2010 = $11,709,579/$5486 per student



• FY2011 = $11,252,698/$5233 per student



• FY2012 = $11,572,807/$5442 per studenr



The school and levy committee insult the intelligence of taxpayers claiming they don’t know the difference between Capital and Operational expenses. They add further insult by inferring adding unnecessary capital expenses do not cause operational expenses to increase. Who do these people think they’re fooling?



As I understand, Tom Sommer, school Treasurer told a local newspaper that school is spending around a million per year more than its revenues. So why is the school asking for 3.4 million per year?



Much more could be said including fallacies about the proposed budget cuts. After all who actually believes all sports should have to pay the same amount to play? The superintendent talks about costs of activities but says nothing about the revenue these activities bring in!



More work and public input is needed prior to passage of any tax issue! Contrary to what the Levy Committee says, we do have a spending problem!



— Bob Valentine, St. Marys





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