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School District Opts for 9.02-Mill November Levy

"Average" homeowner would pay $641.64 more per year.

The has opted to place a 9.02-mill 5-year emergency “new money” levy on the November ballot, citing a critical need for funding in the wake of several income reductions.

The Board of Education approved the approximate 9-mill option over the 6-mill option at the Aug. 7 Board of Education meeting.

If passed by a majority vote in November, electors can expect to pay a tax increase of $276.88 per $100,000 of home valuation starting January of 2013, School Treasurer Autumn Streng said. The levy, if approved, would generate an additional $7.5 million annually for the school district.

The average home in Avon Lake, per the Lorain County Auditor, is $231,737.

“That means it would cost the average homeowner $641.64 (more) per year,” Streng said.

The district, which last asked for ne money in 2006, is citing a decrease in several key-funding sources for the need for new levy.

“Back in 2009, the power plant was devalued,” Streng said. “That has meant a loss of $1.2 million per year since 2009.”

The district has also seen a decrease in state funding.

“Between fiscal year 2009 and 2013, between the power plant and state funding that’s $8.8 million we’ve lost (overall),” Streng said. “It’s very tough right now.”

No fat left, superintendent says

Superintendent of Schools Bob Scott said the board felt it was a better option to ask for the 9-mlll option than have voters approve a 6-mill option and face cuts regardless.

“We didn’t think it would go over well if the 6-mill (option) passed and we still had to cut $2 million a year,” Scott said.

He also said the district could have opted to make severe cuts and not ask for new money.

“It wasn’t an easy decision, but this is something the board wanted the public to decide on before we did anything drastic,” Scott said.

He also said the district has been frugal with its money.

“We’ve been so tight in what we’ve done here, there’s no fat left,” he said. “What’s left is meat. The school district is supported well for a reason.”

A community survey showed that for the most part, the public supports the district, which has consistently earned high marks with the Ohio Department of Education.

“We’ve reduced 13 teachers and almost $1.4 million (per year) in personnel over the past two years,” Scott said. “The teachers took 0 percent raises for the last two years.

“Even if that amount (9-mlll) passes, we’re going to have to keep it tight.”

He noted the district has increased AP classes from 5 offered to the current 17 without an increase in personnel.

Voters will have an opportunity to decide at the November General Election.

November 2012 school "new tax" levy by the numbers

  • 9.02 mills
  • $276.88 tax increase per $100,000 home valuation
  • $231,737 – Average valuation of an Avon Lake home (per county auditor)
  • $641.64 – Average tax increase (based on average home valuation)
  • $1.2 million – Funding lost per year from devaluation of GenOn Power Plant
  • $8.8 million – Total school district has lost between 2009 and 2013, from power plant devaluation and state funding losses.
MZ August 14, 2012 at 08:45 PM
4:34 post should be for the string below. Patch won't allow me to delete. Whoops!
AvonLaker1234 August 20, 2012 at 05:54 PM
MZ. You need to realize the word "Emergency" is a legal term required by the State of Ohio. It is not some scare tactic devised by the school district. Take a look at the link and it explains (the backward?) way Ohio requires districts to fund their operations. http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/School_bond_and_tax_elections_in_Ohio
MZ August 22, 2012 at 11:51 PM
I did not. Thanks AvonLaker1234. I appreciate the info. I take back the "emergency" portion of my previous post (and do so with a figurative foot in my mouth).
Friar Tuck August 27, 2012 at 10:42 AM
Salaries are roughly only 70% of the cost of a teacher. The Cost of retirement and health insurance benefits is about $7.5 Million or roughly $30,000 per teacher per year. And what's the cost of operating a bus transportation business with taxpayer dollars versus contracting with a taxpaying private firm. And most teachers' contracts cal for a 185 day work year.
Friar Tuck August 27, 2012 at 11:00 AM
There is an emergency but it is not financial. The real emergency is the shortage of economic stewardship by the Board and the Superintendent. These are our schools. We taxpayers pay the bills. We elect and hire people to be stewards of the taxpayers dollars. For too long we taxpayers have been too trusting and generous. Every time we approve more money there is always some reason they need more and more and more. And it's always an emergency and we are always fed the line that "it's for the children" and dire consequences will follow if we don't pay up. We get few real answers to tough questions only that there is no way cut anything, not even those $70,000 bus + purchases. Did any of you request a copy of the research that prompted the schools to go for the whole enchilada ? Do you know that education in Avon is just as good as ALS and much less costly. Why ? It's time for taxpayers to stand as owners of our schools and let the Board and the Superintendent know that this huge 9 mil tax increase is unacceptable.
Friar Tuck August 27, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Stay tuned. There will be answers to this and more.
Friar Tuck August 27, 2012 at 11:10 AM
The mil rate is charged on 35% of the appraised value, I think it's called the valuation base or something like that, shown on your property tax bill. The county has some valuation formulas for adjusting the values to reflect market and economic conditions. I would go by the most recent property tax valuation. The discount with the Homestead allowance(when applicable) and state rollback is 12.5%.
Friar Tuck August 27, 2012 at 11:20 AM
FYI. Everybody. Avon Lake is almost a private school system. State funding is 20% or less of the total budget. A good part of that goes to comply with and administer state regs and standards. Charter schools are not under the same regulatory burdens and costs. It's time to rethink how we fund and operate our schools. Depending on power plants. auto and chemical factories is risky as we are learning the hard way. Few cities in America with a population of barely 25,000, other than wealthy enclaves, can afford to maintain a top notch school system and we are learning that too. the costly way. And if you raise the taxes on those factories and power plants, guess what, they leave ! These tax increases cannot be a replacement for some smarts !
Jeff August 27, 2012 at 06:56 PM
Superintendent says: “We’ve reduced 13 teachers and almost $1.4 million (per year) in personnel over the past two years,” Scott said. “The teachers took 0 percent raises for the last two years. What is he talking about? Look at http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/teacher-salary and change the District Name field to Avon Lake City... Now look at the school employee salaries. % increase 2011 over 2010: 4.7% Just looking at individual employees, their salaries from 2011 over 2010 averaged about a $2500 increase. The salary expenses for the district increased by over $1.9 million. Not counting what look to be new employees (who were not listed for the 2010 year, or worked less than 20 days), it was still an increase of almost $1.3 million for the year. How is this possible if the Superintendent says that teachers have not been given raises for the last two years? I have an spreadsheet containing all of this data, if anyone is interested: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Al2OCyfoJ91VdER4MW9BTmFCd0VaalpOOVJIdUN4Z2c
George Z August 27, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Frankly, you would think someone from the schools (Board, Admin, etc ...) would jump on here if it was so important. From the above post, with a little bit of research, appears to have been caught in a bold face lie. I'd like believe the school board, but the facts (above) just show differently. Can Patch request this? If it is an "emergency" to the board, a little 'sunlight' will let all shine??
Maroon and Gold September 14, 2012 at 11:59 AM
T. Smith, you are incorrect with your statement about the Avon Lake teachers yearly income increases. The Avon Lake teachers agreed to pay freezes on their latest contract and also agreed to pay a larger portion of their health benefits. The teachers are stepping up during the districts hard times yet still producing one of the best school systems in the state. If you want to point the finger at somebody I would start with your Governer. He's the one stripping millions of dollars of funding from the school systems that are exceeding expectations, yet rewarding the schools who are continuously on academic watch. Look at the mess over in Lorain. The school system is in shambles and the administration over there is one of the highest paid in the area.
George Z September 14, 2012 at 12:20 PM
To "Maroon and Gold" - I agree the state has cut ALL schools budgets. It's unfortunate. When the schools answer is a massive tax hike when I see building / rennov / etc in this economy (on top of the garage & stadium which might be good ideas, just poorly timed) - I have to say no. The budget's were cut because we (OH) just don't have the money. All area's took cuts. When will governments (ALL) learn to stop spending. I know Kacich is a popular person to take pot shots at, but the budget (by law) had to be balanced and all areas were scaled back (it had to). What should he do, just keep taxing all of us to pay for excesses at the schools and everywhere else?
SW October 11, 2012 at 06:05 PM
You're telling me you think a 7yo should walk to and from school, a half mile, across 83 where they removed a traffic light (to save money)!?!? You have Got to be Kidding me!! And I'm sorry, but I wouldnt even want my 11yo walking 2 miles to school and crossing 83 either! School hours do NOT agree with working parents' schedules, so why in the h e double toothpicks would anyone suggest cutting busing!? Do you want parents working? I do! I need to work so I can pay for all the sports and clubs and fees etc. that my kids are in. And while it might be a nice idea to "force" the state to provide funds, failing a levy will NOT accomplish that, and the kids will pay the price for it. I think our teachers' salaries are pretty high, and I dont like paying more in taxes while my salary stays the same either, but how can anyone not support the schools?? Seniors, of all people, should be the first to acknowledge that the youth will be running the show for your golden years.
SW October 11, 2012 at 07:53 PM
I am a spreadsheet person, so this compilation is great! The only thing I take issue with is your last column, you did a strange computation to compare the hourly wage to full time hours? I think you have it reversed. The fact that a teacher can make $75k and only work 185 days is quite a bonus! So to compare it to full time, I'd say the computation would show their incomes even higher if they worked normal hours. You should use their hourly rate and multiply it by 2080 to show what they would make if they worked the same hours as the rest of us working dogs! Stating their hourly rate as a mere pittance by dividing the salary by more hours, I think is a misstatement and relates to nothing. If I could make my salary (I am not a teacher) and only work 185 days a year, I would take that in a heartbeat! But for most of us, working less hours would mean less pay, not the same as a regular full time career person. I am not a "teacher basher"...just sayin....these teachers get paid a normal full time salary for less than full time hours, in my opinion. It's their bonus for putting up with other people's kids all day - a job I would not want!
inside out October 12, 2012 at 03:10 PM
A teachers salary does reflect their years of experience as well. A first year teacher is making around $35,000. Some of the most experienced teachers are making $75,000 to $80,000 per year. If you take the average yearly salary for a teacher today with 30 to 35 years of experience it would only come to around $45,000 per year. (Teachers who started teaching 30 years ago certainly did not start at $35,000 per year - probably closer to $20,000 per year if they were lucky) BUT, I do see some very large increases in pay for certain individual on your spread sheet, I would certainly question why those individual got such large raises. MOST IMPORTANTLY, I DID NOT SEE THE YEARLY "BONUS PAY" THAT OUR SUPERINTENDENT, TREASURE AND OTHER ADMINISTRATORS RECEIVE. Do taxpayers know these people are receiving "BONUS PAY" and how much their bonuses amount to?
inside out October 12, 2012 at 03:26 PM
I don't think our board of education, superintendent, and treasure think the tax payers are educated enough to do the math. If we could do the math we might hold them to be a lot more fiscally responsible with our tax dollars. I do know the difference between bond money and levy money - but they are both additional taxes for a resident of AL. Personally, I agreed to the last bond issue so the additional class rooms could be added to the elementary schools. I was not in favor a new bus garage, or stadium renovations. I think a lot of voters felt the same way. I did not know the bond money was going to go toward air conditioning Troy or buying a house to tear it down and build a bridge (just how much did that cost?). Did the Board and Super ask for too much money in the bond issue and just have so much money left over to do these projects? Did they ask for too much money for the bond issue? Are they asking for too much money now with this levy? YES. YES. YES.
inside out October 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM
School administrators pay ZERO into their pension plans while the teachers are increasing their contributions. Plus, administrators are receiving BONUS PAY annually, hidden from public knowledge. BONUS PAY with public tax dollars!?!?
Bill Conners October 14, 2012 at 03:20 PM
I have to state that my 2 daughters graduated from the Parma school system with honors, and that was a system which had many defeated levy's over the years. It's all about what the students put into it. Now as an AL resident with stepchildren here, I have to say the district can do the same job with less money. Bob Scott talks about devalued properties but our tax rates are the same so where is that money going to? And come back to us in the fall of 2014 for a new Levy to prepare for the power plant closing in april of 2015. And shame on those who packaged the football field with the school bus garage. the money for that renovation would have made a dent in this deficit. I also looked at the salaries for our district and they are just as high as River. They are ranked 6th in the state and we are 25th. I have had no increase in salary for going on 5 years and have made it work, not easily but nevertheless less surviving. I will be voting no.
concern citizen October 22, 2012 at 09:21 PM
if this issue dont pass there will be more unemployment they are going to go after support staff which has not had a raise in 3 years this is not all about the teachers its the one that keep the schools clean for your children i know its alot to ask but avonlake is a very good school system and busing you should set limits where you live to get bussed they are going to make 2.1 million in cuts to support staff which are not teachers they are maintaince of the schools ,bussing,cleaners ,which dont make a whole lot of money about 38,000 a year which is not much at all its just going to put more people on unemployment not good they did not need a stop light at the high school or a new bus garage they could have done without used what they had but sports for avonlake is a big thing do you want that to go too no doesnt ford or geon give money to the schools look at them
Dan LaVigne October 23, 2012 at 12:58 AM
Everyone look at these figures: Superintendent-$117,500.00 Treasure $87,000.00 High School Principal- $116,125.00 - HS Asst. Principal-$83,635.00 - HS Asst.Principal-$76,792.00 - Learwood Principal $111,374.00 - Learwood Asst. Principal-$88,196.00 Athletic Director - $102,169.00 Transportation Supervisor - $60,526.00 All teachers salaries have been frozen since 2009 Cut busing - Cut all sport programs - What is more important education or sports??
AvonLaker1234 October 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM
So you want to fire all the management, cut busing and sports too (even though sports and other extra curricular actities are pay-to-play). You'll maybe save 1-2M but have no one running the place, kids walking miles to school and a bunch if kids with nothing to do after school. Do this instead - please MOVE!
SW October 23, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Why do people keep saying that teachers' salaries have been frozen or that they haven't gotten raises since 2009? Sorry - I gotta call BS? It's right there on the website, each year is higher than the last - except for the superintendent whose 2010 is exactly the same as 2011. These salaries don't seem exorbitantly too high (to me?). These are educated professionals, and the higher paid ones have been teaching for many years. I would imagine any person with any masters degree should be able to earn over 60k without anyone thinking it was odd. You want them to work for free? Come on! I'm getting the impression that this battle is turning into "Seniors" vs. "Young Families" - so which is it Avon Lake? Are we a senior community who doesnt care about kids' programs and education, and are more worried about extra ambulance runs etc? Or are we a community of young families who want good schools and top notch kids' programs? You get what you pay for, period. If SS or disability is paying your rent, maybe you dont care about home values anymore? Personally I care. I dont have money growing on a tree either, but I'll find it when it comes to the betterment of where we live. So far I'm just not seeing the money mismanaged or squandered, as some people suggest.
Kimber Malloy October 23, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I totally agree-MOVE, you can't have your cake and it it too! Guess why your house is valued at 3x or MORE thank Lorain? Good schhols, good schools=high taxes. In end its WELL worth it.
George Z October 23, 2012 at 04:10 PM
I typically agree with good schools = higher taxes but when do you say "you have enough"? This is a very large increase and it seems as if there is no problems with projects (traffic lights, remodeling, bus garage, stadium, etc). Now after all of those, they are broke and need more to continue their "existing budgets". Why is it so foreign that some of the items in the past 3 years haven't been good expenditures (in this economy). Our city has lost businesses, We must ALL feel the effects, the schools saying "we can't possibly cut anymore" (see above examples) when businesses are closing is a fact they must accept. The mayor / council should be working hard(er) on bringing in new businesses. I've not heard of anything? I can't possible vote for such a large increase for I don't feel the schools are at all fiscally responsible.
Bill Conners October 23, 2012 at 04:23 PM
More money doesn't mean a better job, if that is the case then why do CEO's and VP's have golden parachutes to get get paid for doing a bad job? And Dan the salaries you cited are on par with other districts. Look at River and Bay who are ranked high like AL. And buses are needed for the kids. Also the teacher salaries can stay on hold another 2 years. I am coming up on 5 years with no salary increase and and increased work load while many of my peers have lost their jobs.. We have to continue with making due with what we have. And the parents have to be involved with their children studies to insure they do the best they can. And where is the mayor and city council on this? If they were more aggressive about bringing more business to AL then this would be a moot point.
Dan LaVigne October 23, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Your missing the point, cut all adminstration salaryies, reduce sports to only three and make them pay $500 per sport. There is more than enough things to do for kids. Growing up never had access to all that kids have in Avon Lake. Most kids today live for computers and computer games. They have no idea how to organize friends for a pick up game of football, basketball, baseball. Look at the abover salaries and you do not think they are overpaid. Most seniors in Avon lake have raised their familes here and want to stay here. Why should they move. Wait until you reach retirement age and are living on a fixed income. Lets see what your idea will be towards levys like this. We paid for private education along with supporting the levys and now its time for us. Too much waste in the system, new bus garage, remodeld stadium, new turn arounds in the schools. Your answer is everyone who do not support the levys are to move. If that is true this levy will empty out half of Avon Lake
Bill Conners October 23, 2012 at 05:36 PM
Dan we already have pay to play for all the sports. however they could raise money elsewhere. The price for student parking at HS is just $20 for the year. How about raising it to $100-150? And i just went in the new driveway last week, it really wasn't needed in my opinion. I think those who want the levy can pay for those who don't want it, that's fair right?
Kimber Malloy October 23, 2012 at 05:51 PM
GOOD-then there will be more room for the deer and it will be safer to hunt them. Solves 2 problems!!!!
Lodging in taos November 29, 2012 at 04:34 AM
<p><a href="http://www.taosvacationhomes.com">Lodging in taos</a> - Thank you for the piece of news. I think that the decision of the school board is correct to a huge extent and thank you for explaining this so well.
JB March 05, 2013 at 08:52 PM
Have read just about all of the comments and almost have to laugh. My kids went through the Avon Lake School system and in all those years I can't remember the school board asking for a levy of this magnitude. Now in my senior years (incidentally it seems to some people we don't exist and that it's all about newbies) after spending all of my money raising the family and paying off the mortgage the cost of living is so exhorbitant I have to worry every day about making it. Being self employed and money always being tight there wasn't much thought given to a retirement fund. I hope the people thinking this levy is so needed have socked away for their old age and will retain their hospitalization under their companies. I for one realize it is going to be much harder to get by with higher property taxes and my ever increasing hospitalization insurance. So good luck to all of you who see the need. Just don't grow old!

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