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8.28-Mill Avon Lake School Levy Gets Go-Ahead for May Ballot

Approved levy will result in $253.58 increase per $100,000 home valuation.

The Avon Lake Board of Education voted on Jan. 29 to proceed with a 10-year, $6.5 million emergency levy for the May 7 Primary Election.

An 8.28 millage rate was certified by the Lorain County Auditor’s Office.

District Treasurer Autumn Streng said the The annual cost per $100,000 valuation is $253.58.

The meeting was the third held this month to discuss a levy. The last meeting held was to determine the amount the district wanted to generate each year.

A 9.04-mill levy was defeated in November by 675 votes.

Still uncertain is the effect the 2015 closing of the NRG (formerly GenOn) Power Plant will have on the district.

Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott met with spokesperson Mark Baird of  NRG to discuss the plant’s future.

“(Scott) was told the plant is on schedule to close in April 2015,” Streng said. “Mr. Baird did not have any details related to what will happen with the property once the plant closes.”

Avon Lake City Schools receives real estate revenue and Public Utility Personal Property revenue from the power plant.

“Our forecast reflects a $1.8 million decrease in Public Utility Personal Property revenue; however, it does not reflect any reductions to the real estate revenue,” Streng said. “When we first learned of the power plant’s closing last year, the County Auditor advised the Real Estate value could not be determined until the plant closed and it was known what would happen to the property.”

 According to the Lorain County Auditor’s Office, the plant, owned by Orion Power Midwest of Pittsburgh, has a total market value of $51.6 million and has property taxes of $1.353 million (after a state credit) for the 2012 tax year.

A special board meeting has been scheduled for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Avon Lake High School Media Center to discuss the issue and future funding.

Myron Thomas February 01, 2013 at 07:45 PM
Sorry to say this. But it is my responsibility to keep my kids out of trouble. A weight room does not do that for me....
M Johnson February 01, 2013 at 08:04 PM
Regarding fees, every AP class offered has a fee attached. There are different fees for each class but the school can provide more specifics. In addition, there fees for the music classes and courses that have laboratory expenses. Finally, there are pay to participate fees for all extracurricular activities. This year I paid over $250 in fees for my sophmore student. Next year extracurricular fees will be increased substantially. These fees ensure that tax dollars are being used to fund what is necessary and students who choose to participate in certain activities pay extra to offset those costs. To be clear, my message is not a complaint against the fees it is a response to those who think taxpayers are paying for too many extras.
avnlker February 01, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Boo Hoo! The teachers agreed to no raises. Music, Art and Gym Teachers making $70k for 8-9 months of work......my heart bleed for them. Thank you for your sacrifice.
Buck98 February 02, 2013 at 04:07 AM
Hope those 675 turn out again to defeat this levy.... The schools will never ever stop asking for more money...Bob would be back again in 2015 asking for more....Why? because he knows the sheep will deliver.... Taxes...the new American Dream
Cheryl Lister February 02, 2013 at 02:09 PM
There was no mention of any class size at the BOE meeting last Tuesday. If you check with others districts, I believe you will find that AP classes are smaller than regular classes, due to the advanced subject matter and the preparation for the AP tests. It's hard for me to believe that you were enrolled in an AP class with 30+ students. The district tries to cap class size at 25, whenever possible, according to state guidelines.
George Z February 02, 2013 at 05:50 PM
The board even said that 10 students in the AP course (Math) was too little, however, I didn't hear anything to suggest they would (cut) that. This is a simple but tough argument: The schools WILL take a ~ 25% revenue cut. Is the appropriate action to: A) Make cuts because the money simply isn't there or B) Raise taxes on the citizens or C) Maybe something more in the middle? For me, We have no "dog in this fight" (kids in the district), but fully recognize that good schools = good real estate. IMO, we've been here 10 yrs and doubt that we can sell our house at what we paid for it -- much worse than the "crash" starting in 2008. Cities with very reputable schools like Avon are much more appealing to someone "upgrading" their house and in turn don't select us. Higher costs of living are steering people away. The board has came back 3 times now (upcoming and 2 failed priors) with essentially the same LARGE request that I can't comprehend why they can't realize that this is too much of an increase. IF we had not approved the garage and stadium projects, I'd be much more willing to support this. At the time, many rumors were out there about the ele plant. It's poor management and as much as I want to support the increased levy, I just can't with this board. Their "stock answer" is to everything is "all is important and not much can be cut (think window dressing vs. meaningful cuts that add up to a small incr.) so just raise taxes". Please vote No.
Cheryl Lister February 03, 2013 at 03:10 PM
But the bus garage and stadium projects WERE approved. Game over. So now ,you plan to penalize the students in the system, because you don't like the board, who ,by the way, were elected by the voters. Sad!
George Z February 03, 2013 at 05:26 PM
Cheryl, you must admit that those two projects left a bad taste in the mouths of many. I'm not penalizing the students, I am watching out for the fiscal integrity of my own family first (& not apologizing for it). After those two projects, the trend of a "we'll pass anything" seemed to stop, didn't it? I am reasonably certain that the elected board will not see successful re-election. Also, please quit twisting my words, I don't feel the board's actions over the last few years have been satisfactory (failing). I have no doubt they are good folks and have their hearts in the right place. They just lack fiscal discipline and appear to be unable to recognize the economic landscape has & is changing. You would not run your household the way they do (I hope). Go & judge someone else.
william February 03, 2013 at 05:38 PM
" Avon are much more appealing to someone "upgrading" their house and in turn don't select us ". Avon's school taxes are higher than Avon Lake school taxes. So I dont understand your logic here !!!
George Z February 04, 2013 at 12:11 AM
William -- Sorry, you are wrong on the costs (per pupil). AL: ~ 10,900 v. A: 7200. Please see info from OH http://stateimpact.npr.org/ohio/2012/01/17/see-how-much-each-ohio-school-district-spends-per-student/ As for "people upgrading" -- you've made my point for me. The guy who will buy my house in a few years (upgrading) will find AL a more pricey area vs. Avon and in turn probably won't pick AL (think similar 4 bed / 2.5 bath type house of 'similar specs"). So, I am stuck lowering mine to be more attractive or don't see appreciation as Avon would have (supply / demand). I feel like I am taking on the world here, but I just feel that they have asked & received more than a fair part to run the schools from me. Now want a 15% increase.
william February 04, 2013 at 02:09 AM
George. You pay taxes on the value of your home. For example a 200,000 home in Avon will cost you more per year in school taxes than a 200,000 value home in Avon Lake. My friend has a home in Avon appraised almost exactly the same as mine and he pays MORE in school property taxes. You are wrong !!! The better value is in Avon Lake because the taxes for the same house ( School taxes ) will be cheaper in Avon Lake
william February 04, 2013 at 02:14 AM
George. Avon mills rate for schools is 62, Avon Lake is 60. Avon Lake school taxes are CHEAPER. Educate yourself on tax rates and finances.
Cheryl Lister February 04, 2013 at 02:25 PM
George, I was not judging you, rather I was commenting on your reasons for not supporting the levy. You said you would be more willing to support the levy,IF the bus garage/ stadium projects had not been approved. You also said you couldn't suuport the proposed levy with this board. The BOE has only one new member Jim Strobe. The other members have been elected at least twice. How are you not penalizing the students, when you say that you won't vote for the levy while this board is in place?I supported the bus garage/ stadium projects because the new bus garage better protects the busses, therefore it isn't necessary to replace them as frequently, which saves money. The stadium project can now attract play-off games and other money making events. Again, a cost savings for the system. Many have, as you say, a bad taste in their mouths because of the bus/stadium projects, but again, it's a done deal, and it won't change by voting against the levy.
g.m. February 06, 2013 at 12:40 AM
I love Avon Lake, but I, like so many others, am struggling financially. I can't afford a tax increase. If this levy passes, I can no longer afford to live in this city. It's just that simple.
Kristen LePrevost February 06, 2013 at 12:58 AM
They just devalued some properties which will drop those taxes so it's not as dramatic of an increase as people are making it.
Laurie February 06, 2013 at 01:20 AM
Our property hasn't been devalued. How do we get that to happen? It sure is a dramatic increase for us!
g.m. February 06, 2013 at 11:24 AM
I just received my property tax bill last week. I was dismayed at the increased caused by the paramedic levy. In addition, last evening I realized why my trash bill went from 36. to 56 a quarter. The water bill went up. The company I worked for for 19 years cut my job. I now make $10 an hour. I have no medical coverage and yet I have to come up with a way to cover a medical policy with no money to do so. Every extra dollar I have to spend is dramatic. I am not alone in this situation and am not looking for sympathy, but understanding.
Kimber Malloy February 06, 2013 at 12:36 PM
I think alot of people want to live (and rent) in Avon Lake and why? Because its better than where they were, the excellent schools, saftey services, City services etc... Well people, guess what, there is a COST for all of that and this is one. Maybe some of the people posting not only should move out but NEED to move out. Its just that simple! Guess what folks, there are more of me than you and i bet this levy passes. Then there will be something else and it will pass and so on and on it goes. Its just the COST of here, can't have one without the other people.
Kristen LePrevost February 06, 2013 at 01:13 PM
If you only make $10/hour and are supporting a family then you will qualify for many services that are available in the county such as utility assistance, medicaid, food stamps, etc...you should look into them. They are there for people like you who are in a tough place that need a little extra help.
George Z February 06, 2013 at 01:32 PM
William - I am referring to $ / pupil. AL is significantly higher. Avon is more efficient with their tax dollars. You are referring to overall prop tax. I had the same conversation with friends over the weekend from Avon with similar houses and their prop tax was about $1k lower (~ 20%), before any increase. Maybe all of the friends we both have aren't similar in house as we think. Could you show me your figures? I showed you mine. I've never heard Avon is higher than we are.
George Z February 06, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Kristen - Why don't you just tell them "Let them eat cake".
M Johnson February 06, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Paying for services that make a community livable is a challenge for many no matter where you live. It won't help everyone, but I point you to the website for the Homestead Exemption which helps lower the property tax burden for seniors and those on disability. http://www.tax.ohio.gov/portals/0/forms/real_property/dte_105a.pdf
g.m. February 06, 2013 at 09:24 PM
I purchased my home over a dozen years ago. I've paid my taxes. And yes, Kimber, I DESERVE to live in this City. Perhaps you should not be so smug as you look down from your "I'm Better Than You" throne, and realize that with a small stroke of a pen, just a tiny bit of ink, you or your spouse could lose your job (they do cut from the top, you know), and you may find yourself in the same position as many of the people in this City. We do not want to live on assistance, food stamps, or aid. What we want is for our elected and appointed officials to look at how they spend our tax dollars and perhaps use a little restraint. It is quite obvious that you are not able to put yourself in the shoes of others and will defend this levy and you are entitled to defend the levy. However, don't you dare tell anyone that they should not live in this City or that they do not DESERVE to live here and NEED to move out. You are not better than anyone else and should reflect on that when you attend Sunday services.
Doing Some Math February 08, 2013 at 05:16 PM
Not true, but you bring up a good point - and good questions. What are the class sizes? My son is in a French III class with 12 students and is also in a AP Psychology class with 30 students. I here there is an AP Photography class with 4 students? (And 15 new computers) And Cheryl, do the very best and brightest students need the smallest class sizes, really? Or are these the most motivated and independents working students we have at ALHS? Which student needs the individual attention of their teacher the most, an AP student or the middle of the road students? Some teachers are seeing 150-180 students per day while others are seeing 70-90 students per day. Some teachers are teaching 6 periods per day (30 periods per week) while others are teaching 5 periods per day (25 periods per week). Some teachers are teaching more than 30 periods per week and getting overtime pay? There are solutions to these problems, which have existed for years, but school leadership has never addressed them. I want excellent schools in Avon Lake, but I also want our Superintendent and Board of Education to be fiscally responsible. I want the board of education to look into how the schools are run and be the boss of the Superintendent and Administration instead of a rubber stamp. Look into - investigate - can things be done more efficiently - is there waste?
Unknown March 19, 2013 at 12:25 AM
A topic that seems to get brought up frequently revolves around the cost per student for Avon and Avon Lake. Here are some facts regarding this: *Avon Lake has a higher cost per student than Avon Approximately $10,800 to $7,100 *One of the factors in Avon having a low cost per student is their rapid growth. *75% of the Avon Teaching Staff have less than 10 years of experience *75% of the Avon Lake Teaching Staff have more than 10 years of experience *Avon Lake has reduced its teaching staff by 10% in the last 3 years *Avon Lake has 24 teachers retiring in the next 2 years Avon Lake’s cost per student is dropping and will continue to drop with a smaller staff and a younger staff
C Clay April 11, 2013 at 04:13 PM
The bus garage will extend the life of the buses by 4 years on average. I don't want good schools- I want the BEST schools in the area. That will help your property value, ask a realtor.
Myron Thomas April 11, 2013 at 04:26 PM
Property value has dropped consistently in Avon Lake for the last 5 years as noted by not only auditor's reports and the school administration themselves in their own explanations for asking for more money. Explain that.
Unknown April 11, 2013 at 11:01 PM
My home's value has increased in the Bridgeside subdivision over the last 5 years. Explain THAT.
Myron Thomas April 12, 2013 at 12:34 AM
Well jack you are one of the lucky few. As noted by the school administration themselves, personal property revenue has dropped consistently during the period of the last four years. And as we have been told. We are not allowed to question anything that the administration says. Right? It's funny how none of the press and or the impending literature drops will ever mention the words, "the economy." And the poor state of it. Like that problem doesn't even exist... If they did that, the levy would fail miserably. Welcome to the real world Avon Lake.
C Clay April 12, 2013 at 02:11 PM
We've all been affected by the economy in some way- and though I just moved here- I certainly know that property values have dropped for most in the last 5 years, as they have across most (though certainly not all) of the nation. On another post- I commented that I come from a larger area in the south where I have never been for tax increases because I didnt think money was managed well, and/or the leadership can not demonstrate the need. The need is here- and this community is small enough that you can research the issue without having the take up hours and hours of your time and determine the facts. There will be some who will say- "adjust"- there is simply less money in the budget to operate with. I don't know that that person will ever be convinced. Just now all of the facts on this folks- and make sure you vote: http://avonlakecityschoolslevy.yolasite.com/ And then vote either way- just vote.

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