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Avon Lake School Levy Defeated

Personnel will be cut, superintendent says.

A 5-year, 9.04-mill Emergency Levy for the Avon Lake school district failed Nov. 6, losing 6519 to 5815.

“It was a good race,” Avon Lake Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said. “We knew it was a large number and we tried to get our story out as much as we could.

“Well go back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Scott said the district will begin making decisions on when to come back to the voters.

“The deficit is not going away,” Scott said.

The district has another, separate levy coming up in May 2013.

Next for the district is determining where cuts will need to be made.

“We’re going know fairly quickly what the dollar amount is we have to cut,” Scott said. “It will be personnel. That’s what we have to work on, that’s a process.

“The disappointment is that we’re an outstanding school and I think that could be in jeopardy now.”

Had the levy passed, it would have cost property owners $277 more per $100,000 home valuation.

Levy supporters created a Facebook page, held informational meetings and a website to disseminate information.

*All results are unofficial until certified by the Lorain County Board of Elections.

jeff moore November 08, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Jamie k , you are right,I should quit posting I need to spend my time collecting all the money off my money tree so when the schools fail and my property values go down and our town that already cant support any business gets worse. i will be able to support my family.When that happens you will be ok because all the dead beats that move into your neighborhood wont take care of there house either so nobody will notice your garage door.maybe now you can put that money towards your stove.
Jamie K November 08, 2012 at 08:19 PM
Nevermind, you're making me laugh now. Keep going.
jeff moore November 08, 2012 at 08:30 PM
George, The figure is 30 % not 50%.Also have you noticed how many levy campaigns there have been in Avon in recent years.maybe they are having money issues because of the lower price per student.
George Z November 08, 2012 at 08:31 PM
Jeff - You didn't answer my question. You can call me a moron, but you can't answer a simple question? One levy doesn't mean the end of our town. It means it was the wrong solution. Trust me, they'll come back for more money and we can argue then. Maybe we could run for the school board? I'm out.
AvonLaker1234 November 08, 2012 at 10:16 PM
Please move.
Terska November 08, 2012 at 10:34 PM
Maybe I did. I thought you were making an unfair comparison of work loads between professions with a large disparity in typical salaries. Free periods are rest breaks. They are used for one on one teaching students needing help.
Becky R November 08, 2012 at 11:18 PM
I agree with George Z...I do whatever I can to support our schools. But I could not justify this levy at this time.
Becky R November 08, 2012 at 11:27 PM
Kristen, Personally, I have supported every other levy and vote for support to the school system. We recently completed renovations to the football stadium, built a new bus garage and completed expansions on several of the schools. I think it was too early to ask for that much more from residents. The teachers and programs deserve our support, but I didn't feel confident in the plan for this new levy. Give me something that I feel good about, don't just ask for more money.
Becky R November 09, 2012 at 12:50 AM
Is there a long term plan in place? The emergency levy would cover the next 5 years, right? What happens then? How do we recover from the loss of state funding and the power plant? Those things aren't going to magically come back in 5 years. The levy would be a temporary fix. In order to support a levy of this magnitude, I want to know what we plan on doing to help avoid this situation in the future. Our children are important, are teachers and programs are important. I am not against higher taxes or a levy to support the schools, but I want to see a long term plan.
jeff moore November 09, 2012 at 01:41 AM
George, The answer to the question "when do tax rates become too high and make our city unattractive" is when your school system becomes average because of its residents lack of forethought.
Get Real November 09, 2012 at 02:18 AM
Is it the resident's lack of forethought or the superintendent's and school board's lack of forethought for not recognizing in a recession that funding cuts were coming from the state and it was irresponsible to spend wastefully on buildings. Yes, those may be different funds of money to the schools, but it all comes out of my one and only pay check. Incompetence by the superintendent and board must be addressed. It is a shame that the great teachers and staff of the district will likely pay the price of a poor administration at the district level who failed to plan and have forethought to see a budget crisis coming. Until I see 20% voluntary pay cuts from all the administrators in this district and them showing a willingness to share in the pain for their bad decisions I will not be voting for another levy of this magnitude. They need to own up to their part in this mess and be willing to feel some pain too. That is true leadership. When you have a community of tax payers that are taking pay cuts at their jobs and getting miniscule raises if you're lucky I fail to see how they think that their electorate can afford this massive increase.
Steve83 November 09, 2012 at 03:06 AM
Jeff Actually, it is 52% not 30% (10904-7181)=3723 3723/7181=52% Avon Lake spends 52% more per student than Avon Also, a lot of Avon's levies have been bond issues for new buildings not operating levies. This last one took 3 tries to pass to build a new middle school. Avon Lake has been significantly outspending Avon for 10 years so it its not a shortage of money that they spend less. Again, I don't mind paying for good teachers and schools, just tell me what we are getting for the extra 50%
George Z November 09, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Our schools are anything but average. The admin spending 50% more than comparable counterparts makes us a less attractive area to move into. One levy won't change this. Frankly, the community has spoken loud & clear (twice) -- be better managers with OUR money before you get any more. Everyone cries foul about the state cuts, but they were telegraphed well ahead of time (the Board ignored them). I think Scott will not get re-elected when his term is up (if he even runs). Anyone know when his term comes up?
Dave November 09, 2012 at 12:55 PM
in Jeff's world 52% = 30%... for the sake of his argument. Here's a question for all, if the levy was for .... say 4.8 ml, would that have changed your vote? What do you think the asking price will be come the next vote?
George Z November 09, 2012 at 01:16 PM
In my mind it would go from "heck no" to "possibly". I would want more advance notice of the info meeting (I found out day of and could not go) I'm generally distrustful of the admin's #'s. (ie "if you can't dazzle me with brilliance, then baffle me with bs"). The fact the teachers did not get a raise when many in the community being asked for money isn't much of a "give back". I don't consider a raise a god given guarantee. I would be open to a increase when I know of the cuts MADE to make us more in line with other cities.
MZ November 09, 2012 at 01:39 PM
That's a shame. All that hatred cannot be good for you.
MZ November 09, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Jen, thanks for your service in educating our children. I hope it is a calling for you and that you aren't doing it for the money. With that said, please keep in mind that there are litteraly thousands of out of work teachers, and new graduates who would be happy to trade places with you. Keep up the good work, keep things in perspective and be the best you can be for the kids you teach.
Steve83 November 09, 2012 at 02:42 PM
Here is the spending per year per student (total) per Ohio Department of Education. Note that it can be broken down into categories of instructional, administration, building support, pupil support, and staff support (see Ohio DOE website for details). Avon Lake outspends Avon in all categories except staff support (training, etc.) which is Avon Lake $36 vs. Avon $287 (per student): Year Avon Avon Lake 1995 5,363 5,556 1996 5,174 6,037 1997 5,455 5,763 1998 5,403 6,659 1999 5,449 6,746 2000 6,393 8,266 2001 6,582 7,735 2002 7,094 8,299 2003 6,501 8,406 2004 7,366 9,397 2005 7,264 9,799 2006 7,465 9,571 2007 7,702 9,686 2008 7,974 10,047 2009 8,001 10,334 2010 7,707 10,564 2011 7,181 10,904
Ashley Riddle November 09, 2012 at 03:42 PM
They are cutting teachers, so thanks.
George Z November 09, 2012 at 03:44 PM
Great info. Any chance of posting the link -- I'd like for myself?
Ashley Riddle November 09, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Good thing the school just rebuilt the football stadium, right? I completely agree with you though. My fear is their going to cut out art. And more so, the teachers.
Ashley Riddle November 09, 2012 at 03:50 PM
All I have to say is that I'm really upset that the levy failed. My favorite teacher is at risk of being cut and it is completely unfair. I don't even know what to say about it. I just hope that everyone who voted against the levy, knew exactly what they were voting against and had a good reason for doing it.
Dave D November 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Jeff, the correct amount is 51.8%. That's how much more Avon Lake Spends than Avon per student. Let's see, if we multiply the difference by the number of students in Avon lake, I bet we would have the money we need. It seems that no one can explain why we need that much more money. I drop my grandsons off at school on Tuesday and Thursday at 8:30. I see at 3-4 teachers flying into the parking lot going into the school to start work. At 3:25 I see a good many of them leaving...... Just my observation.
Dave D November 09, 2012 at 04:40 PM
Just more fuel for the fire. Avon Lake spends 13 million more per year than Avon. Maybe we should be looking to Avon for answers? Their school system is ranked as high or higher. Here is the link from the state of Ohio. http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2012/01/17/see-how-much-each-ohio-school-district-spends-per-student/
George Z November 09, 2012 at 05:23 PM
That would be very unfortunate and I hope they find better solutions than "slash & burn" (maybe more self pay for healthcare or retirements for example). Remember the cause here -- the EPA putting strong regulations shutting down the power plant. 7 in OH are being shut down. Can anything be done to reverse this (I assume the city has explored that and no). But we do have the advantage of a cleaner environment. It's a no win in either case.
Steve83 November 09, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Ohio Department of Education http://education.ohio.gov/GD/Templates/Pages/ODE/ODEDetail.aspx?page=3&TopicRelationID=1214&ContentID=708
Steve83 November 09, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Interesting link - note that Avon is the lowest district in Ohio for total spending per student and Avon Lake is 133rd highest (out of 614 districts). If you look at instructional spending per student - Avon is 16th lowest in the state while Avon Lake is 135th highest.
Terska November 09, 2012 at 06:20 PM
My guess is that Avon has lower costs because they are rapidly expanding and have newer teacher hires with lower salaries. Their costs will escalate as their teachers gain seniority. Avon just passed a levy to build a new middle school.
Laurie November 09, 2012 at 07:38 PM
I think I should become a teacher or administrator - I make half of what teachers do yet I am expected to foot a bigger tax bill. Who in the h*ll do you think will pay for another vote in May? We the taxpayers. STOP THIS NONSENSE, AVON LAKE SCHOOL DISTRICT!!!
Steve83 November 09, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Terska - If you look a the data - the difference is cost goes back 11 years - longer than the current boom. Avon Lake also had expansion in the last decade with all of the new subdivisions/homes including re-opening Troy and expanding the other school buildings and high school. It would be interesting to see the difference in teacher demographics (years experience) between the two.

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