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Middle School Bond Issue Fails by 141 Votes

Renewal operating levy passes by wider margin

Now what?

That's the question officials with Avon Local Schools face after a $32 million bond issue to build a new  lost by 141 votes Tuesday night.

Issue 11 -- a $32 million, 2.25 mill, 32-year bond issue to build the new middle school -- got 2,816 in favor but 2,957 against.

The vote is unofficial. 

Early absentee voting was harsh on the bond issue. It trailed by an almost 60-40 percent margin early Tuesday night. But as the night went on, the gap narrowed to less than 35 votes at one point, giving supporters gathered in the middle school library hope.

That hope was dashed around 11 p.m.

"We still have a challenge," school board president Kevin Romanchok said. "The kids are still coming, the need has not disappeared and we still have to address it."

Short-term solutions at the middle school will include taking common space such as the library to use for classrooms, Romanchok said. Other possibilities include trailers for temporary classrooms.

And in the long term?

"Even if we don't build new, we'll still have to ask for money," he said. "Not just for additions here but for over at Heritage ( and )."

Issue 11 narrowly failed in the November ballot. It would have cost homeowners an additional $38.29 per year for every $100,000 in home valuation.

Issue 12, the combination of two renewal levies, passed by a wide margin, 3,326 in favor to 2,471 against.

Issue 12 combined two operating levies set to expire. It would be for $2.5 million at 3.21 mills. As this is a renewal levy, there will be no increase in cost to Avon homeowners.

Passage of Issue 12 was a huge relief for the school board.

"That gives us some stability," said school board member Scott Radcliffe.

The combining of levies is part of a long-range plan by the to reduce the number of levies and thus how often school levies are up for a vote.

The next levy renewal is scheduled for 2016.

Issue 11

32-year, $32 million bond issue to build a new Avon Middle School

13 of 13 precincts reporting

Results are unofficial

                Votes      Percentage of vote Yes 2,816 48.78 No 2,957 51.22

Issue 12

10-year, $2.5 million combination of two renewal operating levies

13 of 13 precincts reporting

Results are unofficial

               Votes     Percentage of vote Yes 3,326 57.37 No 2,471 42.63
Julie A. Short March 07, 2012 at 05:27 PM
@Kathy, I am shocked a fellow Avon resident is STILL not aware of Avon's spending per pupil. This info is repeated over and over in the Avon Avenues newsletter which is sent to EVERY household in the city. For people to say they "are not informed" is disheartening. People spend lots of time in this community to get the word out. Several public forums were held regarding the construction of a new middle school bringing out only a handful of people, which is again, disheartening. I feel bad for the administrators and the levy committe.
Gina Tilton March 07, 2012 at 06:33 PM
Julie, I so agree with you. I can't believe how people can NOT know this information. The data is published everywhere. The adminstrators and levy committee do work hard to get the info out there. I think even if they went door to door and talked to each person individually, people would still claim to not know.
Sue Braun March 07, 2012 at 07:58 PM
I have always heard the comment "every vote counts" - and in this case, it is so true. For all who couldn't find the time to vote or register to vote - shame on you! This is about our children (or in my case - grandchildren) and their education. We have a super school system - one of the better ones in the state. To keep it at that level, levies need to be passed. Thank heavens the operating levy passed. So, let's try again - and get out and vote FOR!
Kathy March 07, 2012 at 09:29 PM
@ Julie and Gina. I TOTALLY AGREE! I can not believe this person didn't care to read Avon Avenues, and I think people do a great job at spreading the word, but I guess it is still not enough. This person grew up in a shady school district, so thought Avon might be the same. This person is educated with children. I was shocked. But this proved that voters are still unaware, and that makes me sad. I will be joining the committee this next time to help out. It is not the committee's fault, it is the fault of the voters. But, since there still is not acceptance of many individuals, I guess I can help with my marketing background and push this agenda which I strongly believe in, and I don't even have kids in the district yet.
Heather Mahoney March 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
As a school board member and as a parent of three young boys I am extremely disheartened that we could not get this issue to pass. I would love to hear ideas on what you think we should do next. Try again? Trailers? What should we do different? We need a new school, we have too many amazing students that we cannot let down. We need to value education in Avon. I am here and I want to hear from you!! Heather Mahoney
Jim Lloyd March 07, 2012 at 10:40 PM
Trailers may help in the short term because the kids are coming. I think that there needs to be a way to get deeper into the community to demonstrate the need. Also, I would suggest a more aggressive absentee voter registration campaign. The turn out was awful and the margin of defeat extremely small. We need to figure out why it failed, look to get suggestions of what can be done as other options and get into the community more.
Terri March 07, 2012 at 11:07 PM
I'm not sure what can be done by the committee or the school board to reach out to the residents of Avon that are not registered to vote here. I was absolutely shocked two years ago when I attended Kindergarten info night for my daughter. Two levy members were present to give some information about the levy that would be on the upcoming ballot. They asked the audience how many were present if this was their first child entering into the school system; there were a lot of people raising their hands. They asked how many of those parents were registered to vote here and to support the school's efforts to pass the levy; I would say approximately only 1/2 of them raised their hands again. I don't understand! The committee members had voter registration sheets in their hands to pass out; not too many of them took the info. It seems a big problem getting the levies passed is the fact that we have the same core group of people showing up to vote. Some voters may change their position on the levy for the new Middle School, but I really think the problem is with people not taking the time to vote....whether that be for or against. My son graduated from Avon last year. I know how crowded the AMS was for him! I am not sure how many voters will change their mind when this goes back up for a vote, but my opinion is to figure out how to reach the parents of the incoming students. You can't force a person to vote; it's very sad the privilege of voting isn't taken more seriously.
Kathy March 08, 2012 at 12:08 AM
For me, to give suggestions, I would have to first know what was done to promote the levy, are there notes? Or when would the next meeting be? I personally read Avon Avenues and respect when there is a levy on the ballot, to research it, and decide if I am going to vote - which I always do. But others throw Avon Avenues away. Maybe some new branding there to catch the eyes of people opening their mail? Not sure. There are several issues that others have stated in this article, one is not being registered to vote. I think people are scared of jury duty, and that is one reason they do not register. Others don't realize that they can just grab an issues only ballet. Second, people want their voices heard and saying "no" is a way. They might not be saying "no" to schools but "no" to anything government and taxes. They don't take time to read Avon Avenues and the issues. Third, people have biases from growing up in various school systems and think all systems are like that, which is the case of my friend. They think more $ are coming in for the large homes being built, so that is why we should have enough money, which is obviously not true. I'm guessing a whole marketing audit has to happen. It is obvious that everyone who worked so hard to promote the levy has done a GREAT JOB! To me, it would seem all the efforts that have already been done should have worked. I guess it is time to step up with even more volunteers to help.
Kathy March 08, 2012 at 12:09 AM
I am sorry that all your efforts didn't work. It seems like there was a ton of man hours with what I saw. Again, once I learn more I can give more input.
Todd March 08, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Heather- Contact City Hall to see if there is anyway to find out if residents are registered voters. Is it some sort of public record? Then, if so, concentrate on those with children in the school system with tons of info and possibly pics of school in session at middle school. Then if that doesn't work, form a committee with your average Joes, like those of us on here, to even go door to door in the different areas/developments to help pass in November. Could start a campaign like this as school is going back after Summer.
Julie A. Short March 08, 2012 at 01:24 AM
@Kathy, I know......My comments are just opinions as well. We are all in this together. ;-)
Julie A. Short March 08, 2012 at 01:26 AM
@Kathy, your suggestions are worth noting...however, again, if people don't take the time to read anything, it doesn't matter how nicely you package the material. The info on the district and levies are posted on the district's website, it's in the newspaper, it's on Patch, it's on cleveland.com (Avon), it's out there. People just don't want to take the time to educate themselves on the issues. Let alone register to vote. It has always surprised me the amount of young parents who are not registered to vote. Possible Jury duty is not a good enough reason. Many of those "young" parents came to Avon for the schools. How do they think the schools are going to survive? I'm not sure what more can be done to get the word out. Public forums were conducted, if someone felt that strongly and didn't understand something, they should have attended. The board cannot go out and personally knock on every door in Avon and personally sit down with each person to discuss issues in Avon. They also send email blasts to parents and others who sign up for the district's email system. If just HALF of the parents WITH children in the district would vote "yes", levies would not fail, but our parents are not supporting the cause. That's the big problem.
Simon March 08, 2012 at 03:07 AM
We could come up with volunteers spread out through the city who can go door to door to explain and ask for vote 'pledges', and then remind those people to come out with phone calls.
Jim Lloyd March 08, 2012 at 03:14 AM
Todd...your comments are good ones and have merit. You can determine who the registered voters are in the city and you can start with the parents of the students who attend the schools. I work for the Olmsted Falls School District and we did some creative things in order to get an operating levy (new money) to pass. That levy put a greater burden on the tax payers and if can be done there, it could be done here. Email blasts and mailings are a start, however that typically won't seal the deal...especially with the economy that we have here. You need to get to the voters that either aren't registered or didn't vote and you can find that out. We were successful with trying to get the "yes" vote out and one way to do that is to have people vote absentee. The levy committee can find out who voted and who didn't and they could look to target particular precincts with a more "boots on the ground" campaign. Walk and talks along with public meetings in people's homes may be one way to target the campaign more and push the yes vote over the top.
Peter Potamus March 09, 2012 at 05:12 PM
..you're interrupting me in the midst of my Tolstoy, Kathy. I didn't vote "no".. I support all levies particularly school, fire, police, parks & libraries. I am the electoral personification of the "tax & spend liberal"; but I want the crooks to pay and I want my multiple IRS CID rewards. 37.5% of something is better than 100% of nothing.. I'm willing to share and have Elyria Patrolman Stumph to award Avon a larger share of the pie for exposing this. "THE CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE" ARGUMENT I think it was Whitney Houston who sang about how she believed "the children were our future..teach them well and let them lead the way"... But I could be worng... Maybe it was the Ancient Greeks and not Whitney Houston who sang that song. ...and it was Solon who stated that.. i just repeated it... ...and its true AS EVIDENCED BY a large enough subset of the electorate who chose to vote voting no.
Peter Potamus March 09, 2012 at 05:13 PM
PART II of my reply to Kathy: Stand up to these people who are enriching themselves Kathy while having drivers enter neighborhoods under the "color of legitimacy" with no background checks and uninsured vehicles. The Manager of the North Ridgevill East of Chicago Pizza videotaped himself having sex with a 16-year old employee in the cooler. NEWSChannel 5 (WEWS-TV) later reported that instead of FIRING the manager, the OWNER sent him to manage the Macedonia, OH East of Chicago. There's going to be another rape and another murder because these home cotractors want to save money... and your Avon City Council is willing to play Russian Roulette with your lives... You can say "SHAME ON ME" all you want... but it's SHAME ON THEM for them doing something worse RIGHT NOW... ..and I doubt that you'll be saying SHAME ON YOU to your City Council or the Pizza Places or the Newspapers ...you're SHAME ON ME argument is therefore annihilated, in toto. HOWEVER KATHY, If you remember If you don't do that then don't ask the Mayor's Court traffic violator or taxpaying resident to come to your kids aid in the school systems time of need
Melissa Hebert March 10, 2012 at 02:39 AM
Comments have been deleted because of personal attacks. Stay reasonably on-topic and no name-calling. If you have any questions, read the Terms of Use.
Gina Tilton March 10, 2012 at 04:59 AM
Melissa, thank you.
Melissa Hebert March 10, 2012 at 01:02 PM
You're welcome, Gina.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Yes. I'd like to thank you also, Melissa.It's good to know that if I humiliate myself here by deliberately misstating the position of another, that you've got my back and will delete the posts where I'm called to task. Journalistic integrity at its finest, couched within the realms of the Avon Patch terms of service I’m glad the entire posts were deleted instead of just the offending portions per the AP terms of service.I mean, just where else are these topics being raised to light. And the sourcing was from ABC News. If one could only delete the entire posts, then the issuesI therefore feel quite safe & quite at home here. The Patch producedfigures showing what each levy initiative would add to the tax cost of $100,000 in home worth. Good data. Now let us know what passage of all the levies in Avon would have added to the tax price of every $100,000 in home worth. Are schools more important than fire service? Are schools more important than meals on wheels for seniors? Are schools more important than parks? Are schools an investment in our future as was either stated or could be readily implied from the thread’s comments? If these kids end up becoming like a couple of the parents who posted on these threads, is that such a good investment?
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Peter brought up complacence and how you care only about yourselves. What he should have done was to direct you to the Patch article to see how many comments there were on the JVS levy failure.one comment. So Peter was correct. You’re concerned only about yourselves and you just like the repulsive conduct of Ireland’s Loyalist Orange and IRA Green, you put your children at the heads of the parades to lend a moral backdrop to your lack of concern for others. You are basically using your children as human shields to innoculate yourselves from any contray arguments. Don’t punish the children. The children are our future leaders. Future leaders like who? Like you parents? Like the Journalistic leader of The Patch? Like our current City Council who wanted to assess a targeted tax to the residents near the new I-90 Route 2 interchange and who backed off because that subset of victims was large enough to cause a stink. Peter said you can’t fight City Hall. There were too many people who were targeted with this tax to where they could seizze control of one city council seat and cause a stink.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
And then those people dissolved into the woodwork and quit attending City Council meetings save for a select few. Do you think those tax victims care ten years earlier when the one Avon resident had his home value increase by something like $70,000 when WalMart and Best Buy sewage lines ran through his property? Do you think that homeowner cares about those people who were victims of the now defunct targeted tax proposal? Do you think either of them care about your school kids? Do you parents care about the Ohio Supreme Court finally giving up after 22 years when they constantly ruled that property tax funding of Ohio’s schools was unconstitutional? No. None of these people care and what Peter was saying was that as soon as you get your school building that your going to drop into your living room easy chairs and say the heck with everybody else. No. Children who end up like you all are not a worthwhile investment. Maybe try the approach that the Avon Schools will produce children who won’t be like their parents and won’t be like their City Council or School Board members and see if the levy votes start pouring in.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:36 PM
Just like the targeted I-90 interchange tax made it hard to believe that the Avon City Council was concerned about anything other than stiffing it to a certain group and think they could get away with, it is just as difficult for a person to believe that you are concerned about children when you would let people without their criminal backgrounds being checked allowed on school property. The ABC News 20/20 link http://abcnews.go.com/2020/story?id=123884&page=1 is getting me to wonder about the people who have entered my homes to clean my carpets in the past. Seeing as how two murders and three rapes were mentioned and how the Oakland Prosecutor called criminal background checks a nobrainer, I can guess exactly how the Avon City Council will react. They’ll do nothing and allow the businesses to play risk with your lives.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Peter quoted Solon or some other ancient greek in saying you get the government you deserve. You people are getting the government you deserve. You people are getting the levy support your children deserve. Your school board is getting the levy support it deserves. Your City Council is getting the levy support they deserve. If the levy passes, you’re getting what you deserve. If the levy fails, you’re getting what you deserve. Benjamin Franklin saying hang together of hang separately is no different in light of what I have seen from you Patch participants as well as The Patch administrator is the equivalent of every man for himself. You don’t care about me. I don’t care about you or your kids who probably are going to end up like you. I am agnotsic on whether she cares about journalism.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Peter is an expatriate of the blogger home for retired Lorain County Journalists. He has not been that active lately on that blog.That blog in question (ThatWoman'sWebLog) is inhabited by exMorning Journal and exChronicle Telegram Reporters with the active participation of Lorain City Council members and school board members and anonymous contributions for current city hall employees and the county clerk’s office. It is such a popular blog in both Lorain City Hall and Elyria City Hall that the IT administrator for Lorain at a former Mayor's instructions blocked access to the site from workers during their lunch hour. It's quite heady stuff that goes on over there but no one comes even close to pushing the envelope as Peter did or does. Currently they're discussing how a Plain Dealer reporter secretly provided information on the identity of one of his sources that the Lorain Police Department and Sheriff used to obtain a warrant for Joseph Montelon. Sources within City Hall are chiming in semianonymously
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:37 PM
The Plain Dealer has responded as has the reporter who has now gone down to Tampa, Florida to now report on real estate in a milquetoast fashion. I think he would be a great addition to the Avon Patch.The thing about Peter's presence there is that the actions locally are viewed in a larger light. A Lorain City Councilwoman had a comment of hers compared against what the pre-WWII German town/berg councils. The shoe fit so the blog administrator left it up. A number of blog participants jumped all over the conduct of a Briton and Peter, while not supporting the Briton's conduct, proposed a counteraction where the American patriots on that site could bravely & publicly support 34 US Sailors murdered by their own US Government nearly 45 years ago.Peter's sourcing?The Director of the CIA himself at the time of the murders of US Sailors,and the directors of the NSA as quoted in a major North American Newspaper from a US Navy town San Diego Union Tribune.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
All of a sudden the people who were only moments before were willing to succumb to a mob mentaility (including the blog administrator) and pile on the offending Briton were not so anxious to speak out against the murderers of their fellow countrymen.And for good reason; because of the contempt they’d face within their own communities. But remember, these are journalist retired who were now acting fearfully Journalistically, they knew the difference between killing a story and spiking a story that has already leaked out. Journalistically, they also were aware of the propaganda trick of supplanting a story with a different news event. So did Peter. Then Peter went after the Morning Journal & Chronicle Telegram managers in front of reporters and City Hall staff that they all knew so well with the same commercial insurance crimes he mentioned here. Complete silence from the managing editors of both newspapers who only had to calll down to their circulation mangers to confirm the truth of what Peter was saying.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Yes. Both the Chronicle Telegram and Morning Journal deleted his comments but the blog administrator, who herself had her conduct and attitudes questioned by Peter, knew that what was being said was true. Now you can see how careful the Morning Journal and Chronicle Telegram are in their editorials because they got called out by Peter on the commercial insurance crimes they are committing.You don’t see too many editorial comments against individuals because these editors know that Peter will go staight to that blog and embarrass them in front of people they see on a weekly and monthly basis. Milquetoast journalism at its finest.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:38 PM
So now Peter shows up here speaking of people getting the government that they deserve and speaking of ancient Greeks and talking about Benjamin Franklin saying hang together. And talking about matters which squarely fall within what Peter is famous for calling the arena of public policy formation. To be fair, Melissa let the topics remain posted since there was more than a peripheral connection but her definition of personal attack and terms of service in light of the reality that there is nothing currently out there that can warn parents of elementary school children that these people are being welcomed on school property should have caused her to copy the post to a word file and remove the offending portions. Is The Patch going to do a story on the criminal backgorunds of contractors who have been employed by people who come on school property? Then the meat of Peter’s postings should have remained untouched. The terms of service should be employed as a rationale to govern conduct not used as an excuse to delete what may be the only game in town in terms of information that every elementary school parent would want to know.
Susan Morrow March 10, 2012 at 07:41 PM
The one legacy that Peter Potamus left the Lorain City Hall Weblog is that no one on that site ever brings up the topic of doing their patriotic duty anymore. Peter had too may good ideas about how the City Council members in Lorain could show their patriotism and how the reporters could uniquely demonstrate their journalistic ethics. Tongue in cheek but valid nonehteless

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