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Website, Facebook Page Launched for Avon Lake School Levy

Committee wants to put out 'accurate and factual' information.

A new website and Facebook page put out by the Avon Lake School Levy Committee is hoping to help disseminate information and answer questions on how the proposed 5-year 9.04-mill levy can affect voters.

“The intention is to put forth accurate and factual information,” Allan Fraser, one of the committee representatives, said of the new website, www.AvonLakeSchoolLevy.com.

The website, backed by the  Avon Lake Citizens for Schools PAC, includes a levy calculator that a property can use to determine how much the levy will cost a household if it passes. Users will need to access the Lorain County Auditor’s website to see what their property is valued at.

“We got the idea from a Midview School site that had it,” Fraser said. The calculator was created by Emerge, a new Avon Lake company.

The site also includes a link to the survey information the School Board considered before deciding to put a levy on the November ballot.

“That link is 28 pages; it has all the good and the bad,” Fraser said.

The group also decided to include a 15-minute link to a Vandalia School District video, on how school financing works in Ohio.

“Vandalia is similar to us,” Fraser said. “They have a $34 million budget; ours is $36 million. (The video) shows all the things that impacts the school district.”

The levy, on the ballot as Issue 32, will cost homeowners $277 more per $100,000 home valuation if it passes.

Website complemented by Facebook page

The site is complemented by a Facebook page.

“It’s a little different,” Fraser said. “It’s function is to push out information to others.” He said that page will be used to solicit support for small neighborhood coffees, where residents can ask question from the superintendent Bob Scott in a smaller atmosphere. The district effective used the neighborhood coffees to pass a levy in the mid - 2000s.

The new website also includes tabs for:

 

Saturday informational meeting at Library

The committee will be hosting an informational meeting in the Avon Lake Library Gallery room on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m.

Avon-Laker September 25, 2012 at 12:34 PM
I'm sure the school planners have a well laid out plan of how to spend all this new money they want. What these administrators fail to mention is how much money they have wasted that they currently have. It would be helpful for The Patch to post a current Avon Lake Schools Budget so everyone can see where our money is going.
Dan LaVigne September 25, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Here our some figures of salaries and also cost for supporting two sport teams 1)Rent a pool $7,416.00 (2) Ice Time $7,697.00 (3) Cost for Administrative Positions includes high school only along with Athletic Directior, (2) Secretarys Administrator Asst. Transportation Supervisor, Supertintendent, Treasurer, HS Principal, (2) HS Asst. Principals Tottal = $619,179.00 Cut out both sport teams, and cut all salaries 10%, cut busing for high school.
Avon-Laker September 25, 2012 at 01:03 PM
Dan, Do you have any idea what the budget is for the bus program? Including building the garage, new parking lots, new buses and yearly operation, salaries and fuel costs?
Dan LaVigne September 25, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Waiting for info as soon as get it will post it.
Lori E. Switaj September 25, 2012 at 06:09 PM
The date for the informational meeting is this Saturday, Sept. 29.
Look at the numbers September 25, 2012 at 07:13 PM
The current levy is to replace funding that was lost from the state. It is not that the school district is spending more than in the past, the state is lowering how much the district is receiving. From the school's perspective, its not new money, it old money from a different source. The reason we need this levy is too keep the school where it is currently, in excellent academic standing.
AvonLaker September 25, 2012 at 11:40 PM
This request is nuts. "Replacing money from the state", funny enough, the state forgot to lower what they take from all of us! So this is NEW incremental money out of all of our pockets. Lets see, I need to run into my boss's office and ask for a raise because of our taxes increased...not likely to get a favorable answer there. I look back over the last several years of lack of pay raises due to a poor economy that has not improved over the last several years. What does the average person do in light of this, belt tightening and cutting out expenses. Sounds like a good fiscal plan for our school system.
Frank Abbat September 25, 2012 at 11:50 PM
My reaction to the proposed 9.02 mill 5 year school tax levy resulting from reduced state funding and other reasons We are homeowners who have supported Avon Lake Schools for 19 years. The proposed levy would add $1,050 to the annual property taxes on our home, a 15.9% increase. If the paramedic levy passes, that would add another $232 per annum to our tax bill. In these economic times, with people out of work, higher prices for food, fuel, heating, prescriptions and healthcare, living on fixed income and suffering from a 20% reduction in the value of homes and retirement plans, we find it hard to believe that the Board expects these levies to be well received. Tough times require tough decisions. I have respect for the teaching profession; however, 87% of the budget goes for personnel costs. The teacher base works nine months a year. Compare this to the private sector where the average person works 50 hours a week, has had either a reduction in compensation, or paid for a four day pay week instead of 5, has had no increase in compensation and works 50 weeks a year. Companies cannot raise prices 15.9% in one year. As companies face reduced revenue, they cut expenses. Those in education must accept reality and consider cutting salaries and cutting positions. The private sector has accepted wage reductions to survive. Why should schools be any different? Homeowners do not want to be forced out of their homes.
Avon-Laker September 25, 2012 at 11:56 PM
I am in full agreement with you. My concern is that so much of the money never makes it to teachers and is spent on issues that do not improve education.
Dan LaVigne September 26, 2012 at 12:25 AM
To Avon Lake, Frank, Look at the numbers. Info that I just received. Total salaries for the following: Superintendent, Treasure, HS Principal, two Asst.Principals HS, Learwood Principal, Learwood Asst Principal, Troy Principal, four Principals at grade schools, Athletic Director, Adm. Asst HS, two secretarys HS,Transportation Supervisor TOTAL SALARIES EQUAL $1,354,685.00 Teachers and Non Teachers no raises from 2009 thru 2012
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Let's review: The school levy is a request for money to replace money that was taken away from the schools by the state. The governor took money from all communities in Ohio, not just Avon Lake and kept it for the state as a whole - that is why the state now has a budget surplus. So you're still paying the same amount in taxes, it's just that less of it is coming back to the community. Until the governor does something to change the way schools are funded, the only way to replace that money is by going to the taxpayers of Avon Lake. The school district has done its best to keep costs in check, but losing a significant amount of money would put a dent in anyone's budget, a dent too big to fix with cost cutting. Schools are a service provider, so the biggest cost is going to be in personnel. You don't send your kids to school to read books and be instructed by videos and robots. People cost money and good people cost more money. I'm sure you wouldn't want your children and their education put into the hands of someone making $8.00 an hour, or would you? As for this myth that teachers only work 8 months a year, it's just that, a myth. Teachers work 12 months a year, either on their lessons for school or on continuing education. In order to renew their licenses, teachers are required to continue their educations. If you choose not to support the schools, so be it. But you'll be letting down your community in the process.
Frank Abbat September 27, 2012 at 02:48 PM
The business world is a service provider to its customers as well. When a company loses a big customer, they can and have reacted in 2 ways. One is to cut costs by letting people go. Not a good option. Others keep the team intact and ask them to do more with less. For example, take a pay cut across the board from CEO on down. Some companies have chosen to work 4 days instead of 5. Employees have been asked to contribute a much larger portion to their health care costs. 401k retirement matches have been reduced. No one is happy with this. But it keeps the company in business. The proposed tax levy imposes a 16% increase in property taxes. No one should be asked to incur that kind of cost increase in one year. As to the 8 months and the need for continuing education, private sector individuals work twelve months and also continue their education on their own time to keep up in this highly skilled and technological world and to retain their professional licenses. The individuals I am talking about earn more than $8.00 an hour. This is not about not supporting the schools. It is about being realistic in tough economic times.
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Asking teachers, administrators and other employees to take a pay freeze, or cut, won't make up the difference that is being taken away by the state. If the levy does not pass, teachers will be let go, as they have been in the private sector. However, more cannot be done with less, at least as far as teachers go. Classes and programs will have to be cut. So, if you don't vote for the levy, that is what will happen, it is not a threat, but how things work, as several others have pointed out. Here's the catch: ultimately the community will be affected. Currently, Avon Lake is the most searched community in Lorain County on real estate websites. When families approach a realtor about looking at houses in a community the first question they ask is: "How are the schools?" (my mom sold real estate for 30 years, I know). If Avon Lake loses programs in the schools like AP and dual credit classes at the high school, and music, art and other electives district wide, the schools will suffer. People will not be as interested in moving to this community. Housing values will decrease. Businesses will not be interested in moving here or expanding - their employees won't want to live here, why should their business be here. The community will suffer. Avon Lake's taxes are some of the lowest in the area, and will still be even with the levy. Again, if you choose to vote against the levy, so be it. But know the damage you will be doing to yourself and the community.
Avon-Laker September 27, 2012 at 06:34 PM
There are other places to cut besides teacher salaries What do you think about eliminating the busing service? Where I grew up we never had busing. There were car pools. Why is that such a bad idea or even asking parents that have their children bussed to foot the bill for community busing. Avon Lake is a small area. Our bus system seems like over kill
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Busing will be cut, as well as sports and all other non-essential programs. The school system will go from being a top-notch system that is the envy of those around us to a bare-bones operation. Avon Lake City Schools is in a desperate place because of the state cuts, it's all explained on the website. http://www.avonlakeschoollevy.com/home Regardless of what is cut, if the levy does not pass the schools become weaker, which in turn weakens the community.
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 07:43 PM
I'm sorry, I just have to defend the teachers, because my mom was a teacher for about 10 years before she decided that the profession wasn't for her. But she always respected the profession and supported the schools - even when she was a widow, living on a fixed income. She felt it was the older generations' responsibility to provide the same or a better level of education than her generation had received. Anyway, I have to laugh when I hear anyone talking about attracting the "best and the brightest" to teaching. Are they suggesting that they aren't there already? And what if they did attract these "best and brightest"? Are you telling me that someone with a degree in electrical engineering is going to turn down a job with an average starting salary upwards of $70k per year in exchange for half that and the chance to be demonized by the public? I'm sure the EE majors are lining up for the opportunity. Of course 87% of the budget goes for personnel costs, where else is it going to go? Schools make students, not widgets. There are no raw materials. Textbooks, computers and other supplies are only purchased/leased every few years. Anyone who works knows that you have to pay people what they're worth, and that includes teachers. I hope the community will see a way to support the levy. I just hate to see the students lose so much from their schools.
Avon-Laker September 27, 2012 at 07:48 PM
I Appreciate your outline on the website. However the way you have explained how you will use the funding is unacceptable. "The dollars from this levy will pay for all of the “stuff” needed to educate a student well. More importantly it will allow Avon Lake City School District the opportunity to plan and develop educational opportunities which are valuable to students .." While you are clear about how you lost some funding I see very few budget details. It seems the cuts all come at teacher expense and I dont see any reductions anywhere else. Over the past 2 years I have seen good parking lots ripped up and redone for the new bus program New parking lots added for the bus program An expansive new bus garage and a lot of new buses purchased. All for a city that is 11 square miles large. Of course these are only the visual things that can be seen. Hard to imagine what else is done behind the scenes. None of these changes improved our educational program one bit. Why not lay out the complete budget for everyone to see where all the money goes so people can see for themselves instead of choosing the details that best make the case for additional funds. While I am compassionate to the plight of the school system the amount requested is simply too much in this continued poor economy with no short term recovery in sight.
AvonLaker1234 September 27, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Although my taxes will increase over $1,000+ I feel it is a small price compared to lower property values by tens of thousands of dollars. No one, including the school leadership, staff, etc., want to push for the levy but the reality is the State screwed us and cutting misc items (10k here/there) won't fix it either. I think we've all seen this story before in other cities: (if) levy fails, misc stuff gets cut, teachers get RIF'd, scores drop...eventually (years later) a levy passes and then it will take years (decade) to makeup lost ground educationally and home value wise. No one likes any of the outcomes but voting for this really is least painful in the long run I've concluded!
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 08:17 PM
Mr. Abbat - My husband works in private industry. And I was a QA manager in a production environment, so I know all about customers, costs, sales, etc. When the company my husband works for loses a big customer, they send out their sales teams to find other customers or to increase orders from existing customers. That's kind of what the levy is: The Avon Lake City Schools have lost funding (a customer) from the state so they are looking for increased funding (a new customer/increased orders) from the community. If the levy is defeated, there will be staff reductions, which will result in program reductions, which will result in the schools not being as desirable, which will result in the city not being as attractive to families, etc. If the levy passes, the school retain their excellent reputation, housing values are supported and hopefully increase, and Avon Lake continues to be an attractive community. Teachers TEACH 8 months a year but WORK 12 months. There is more to teaching than being in a classroom full of students. There are lessons to be written or improved, education to be expanded, collaboration to be done. Talk to a teacher, they'll fill you in (my mom was a teacher, as were several of her friends). The $8.00 an hour comment is about the quality of the employee that would be hired if the level of education a person has is not important, just how cheaply they can be paid. I know teachers are paid more than this, because they deserve to be.
ALsupporter September 27, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Avon-Laker: I'm sorry, when you went to the website, did you click on the tab "Emergency Levy Information" and then click on the link that came up on the next page to open the Power Point? I thought the information about why the money was needed was explained simply, but clearly. The "stuff" comment you mentioned was just to tie everything up. If you scroll up one page, there are more specifics. As has been mentioned several times, the largest cost to a school district is personnel, so the largest cuts will come in that segment of the budget. Other cuts will be made, but they just won't be as significant as the personnel cuts. I believe the bus garage was paid for by a bond issue(?). If so, that money cannot be used to pay for the day to day operations of a school district, you can't switch the use of bond monies. I hope you'll consider coming to the informational meeting at the library this Saturday morning at 10:00 am, perhaps it will answer some of your questions.

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