UPDATED 1 p.m.: The bold information is a CORRECTION and clairification.
The Avon Lake Board of Education approved a measure last night that would allow district treasurer Autumn Streng to ask the Lorain County Auditor’s to determine millage for a 10-year emergency levy that would collect $6.5 million annually.
The millage is based on property valuations by the auditor’ office.
Last week, the board met and began discussion for a levy that would generate between $6.3 and $6.9 million annually after discussing proposed cuts. The Jan. 16 meeting settled on $6.5 million.
Board President Charles Froehlich said last week a levy collecting $6.3 million annually which be an approximate 7.95-mill levy and $6.9 million annual levy would be an approximate 8.71-mill levy.
In November of 2012, voters defeated a 9.04-mill levy that would have cost homeowners would have cost property owners $277 more per $100,000 home valuation.
Streng went over a presentation explaining in detail cuts and expenditures (see attached).
Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said if passed, the levy will generate $6.5 million per fiscal year (FY) beginning Jan. 1 of 2014.
"If the levy fails the district would be facing a deficit of $3.6 million in FY 2015, $9 million in FY 2016 and $15 million in FY 2017……the FY 2016 and FY 2017 deficits are not cumulative, but deficits for just that year."
Questions and answers
Scott responded to an inquiry from a meeting attendee as to how Avon manages to educate children at a less-per-student cost.
Avon Lake spends a total of $10,904 per student (2010-11) while Avon spends $7,181 according to stateimpact.npr.org.
Scott said a comparison was difficult since Avon Lake offers significantly more classes, including honors and AP classes.
“It’s a good solid system, without a doubt, Scott said of Avon, noting that the Avon district is striving to become like Avon Lake.
“Avon Lake students got $17 million in scholarships last year; Avon gets a quarter of that.”
He said without a levy passage, the level of education the Avon Lake district could offer would diminish significantly.
“There is no way we’ll be able to offer the education even Avon has if we lose that,” he said, in terms of classes offered as well as the number of students per class.
“The next step in cutting really starts to hurt,” Scott said. “We’ll be putting more than 25 kids in elementary school classes. I don’t want to have classes with 30 kids in them, but if this levy doesn’t pass, that’s what we’re looking at.”
Members in the audience caused for a lively discussion including whether personnel, including teachers and administrators, should amend benefits such as health care premiums and retirement costs.
“It’s hard to give more when the feeling is I’m paying more and I’m not getting Social Security,” one audience member said. “You’re asking for us to approve teachers getting better retirement benefits. The majority (of personnel costs) is in retirement and benefits. My husband got a (significant) pay cut and we figured it out.”
Board members noted that some benefits, such as the State Teacher’s Retirement System is fixed by law, since teachers are ineligible for Social Security. Scott noted teachers have gone 5 years without pay increase and while benefits could be looked at eventually, it would not be before a levy is placed on the ballot.
Another special Board of Education meeting is planned for Jan. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Avon Lake High School Media Room.