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New Levy: Schools Will Ask For $6.5 Million A Year

10-year levy readying for May ballot

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.”

Click here to see more information on proposed cuts discussed last week.

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.

Sarah January 18, 2013 at 12:07 PM
So what's the bottom line cost?
Laurie January 18, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Not a whole lot less than what they were originally asking. The whole "woe is me" act has to stop, and the district needs to be more responsible with the funds they receive. I am interested to know what it will cost the taxpayers just to have this special election. It was voted down once before - deal with it! Somehow highschoolers don't need classes like - get this - AP Photography. They need to consolidate some of the honors classes that only have 10 kids/class. That is not responsible. $250k on tables is crazy. Cut the fat - NOW!
opinionsarelikenoses January 18, 2013 at 04:44 PM
Laurie, this "woe is me" school has my child accepted into 4 major universities so far because they are exceptional at what they do. Specifically in the Honors classes because that is what propelled him to get accepted. Same with many many others....This Board is very responsible as is the Administration. They are trying to keep up with rising costs as is everybody these days. I'm thinking you don't have a child in the system or yours are gone and now you don't have any skin in the game.
Jim Strang January 19, 2013 at 04:41 PM
"Scott said a comparison was difficult since Avon Lake offers significantly more classes, including honors and AP classes." Baffling. That implies Avon does not have honors and AP classes -- which is wrong. Avon offers honors/AP classes from Middle School up in sciences, language arts, social studies and math. And Avon graduates have found success as advanced-degree professionals, including doctors and lawyers. I am not versed in school budgeting, but I DO know this: Avon's teachers generally have heavier classloads than other districts. Most in the eight-period high school teach six periods each day, with one for planning and one of the three "short" mid-day periods for lunch. Those who do not teach six periods have other assigned duties. Some Middle School teachers have NO planning period -- they teach six classes over 7 periods, with half a period for lunch, half for cafeteria monitoring. In short, Avon teachers teach more. Thus, there may be fewer of them, with resulting budgetary savings. Good? Bad? That's for school boards and citizens to determine. But it saves some money. I'd like to read a dispassionate, side-by-side comparison of the two districts' approaches to workloads, scheduling, hiring, contracts and success rates, with rom both superintendents explaining why they do things as they do. Perhaps then all would know just how Avon delivers "excellent" education for 7/12ths the outlay of Avon Lake.
Jim Strang January 19, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Disagree? Might I ask, with what? I'm not sure there's any opinion in what I said to disagree with. Please enlighten me.
George Z January 21, 2013 at 11:27 PM
I was one of the dozen or so at this meeting. I am simply tired of the continued request for more money and wanted specifics. I was the one who asked about AL v. A with respects to costs, and as the article goes - I didn't get much of an answer. I get that good schools drive real estate (or more importantly, inversely). I don't want us to turn into an Lorain or Sheffield, but my gosh -- the schools continued requests are turning our housing into an unappealing alternative if you where int he market to move to Avon or AL. I cannot support this request. From the meeting, I just didn't get the impression that the board felt the need to cut (versus 'just ask for more').
linda January 22, 2013 at 12:16 AM
I'm sorry you think the school is responsible for getting your child accepted into 4 major universities. The credit should go to your child. It doesn't matter what a school does or doesn't offer, it's up to the child as to how they perform and are motivated. As far as cutting costs at school, no...they have not done everything, there is still much more to be done that doesn't have to be a negative on the child. The fact that they are unwilling to even consult with Avon regarding lower costs shows lack of initiative in arriving at a solution that doesn't force money out of the taxpayer's pockets.

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