April 16, 2014

Mostly sunny

Levy is vital to Medina district

MEDINA — Medina City Schools predicts a $13.29 million deficit by the end of June 2011 if an 11.7-mill incremental levy fails Tuesday, Treasurer Wally Gordon said.

But even if the levy does pass and the district collects $9.9 million,
officials say the district would still need to make up the difference by cutting costs.

“We’ve tried to communicate that we are reducing costs,” Superintendent Randy Stepp said. “And we will do so with or without the levy.”

If the levy fails, “it will tear down the progress we’ve made over the years very quickly,” Stepp said.

The district recently earned the “Excellent with Distinction” academic designation from the state.

If approved, the levy would be phased in over three years — 3.9 mills each year.

Property owners would pay $119.44 for every $100,000 in appraised property value the first year, according to a spokeswoman from the Medina County Auditor’s Office. The following year, property owners would pay $238.88 a year for every $100,000 in appraised value and they would pay $358.32 in 2012 and each year thereafter.

If the levy is defeated, Stepp said cuts “across the entire school district” would begin as early as the winter sports season, in the form of pay-to-play sports. Transportation cuts would begin Jan. 4, he said, with the elimination of 25 to 28 positions, and no busing for high school students and for other students who live within two miles of their school.

Cuts would occur in “programs that create the kind of school district we are, the kind of cuts to the core of what this district has been for a long time,” Stepp said.

He said “classroom-oriented” cuts to areas like support staff and programming would be effective at the start of the next school year.

According to the district’s Web site, 145 positions are marked for an estimated $8.2 million in cuts, if the levy fails.

The district has seen increases of 51 percent in enrollment and 48 percent in staffing since 1989, according to the Web site. Annual reductions in state educational funding, all-day kindergarten mandated by House Bill 1, and operating expenses associated with the five schools built since 1995 add to the district’s current financial woes, school officials have said.

Two of the elementary schools, Ralph E. Waite in Montville Township and Eliza Northrup in Medina, were built using sales tax revenue.

The last levy on the ballot for operating expenses, in March 2008, was for 6.9 mills and was defeated. Two operating levies have passed since 1995, one in May 1995 for 8.4 mills and one in February 2005 for 7.9 mills.

Contact Audrey McCrone at (330) 721-4063 or amccrone@ohio.net.

  • medina9513

    Until this district, and all public school districts, wake-up to the realities of the world around them, throwing more money at their gold-plated retirement plans, that allow employees to retire one day, walk back in the school house door the next day and be paid twice for doing the same job by the taxpayers of the state, and the State Teacher’s Retirement Plan that as we speak is forcing local school districts to contribute up to 16% of employee wages to make-up for the recent stock market loses (how many of you have someone making your retirement plans whole?), and the premium health care plans that we’ll never see, the Holiday-heavy 8 month work schedules, the guarantee of a position without real performance measures, and on and on!

    I’m confident that the residents of this district know the real story, and won’t fall for the “it’s for the children rubbish”. It might be for the children; unfortunately the children they’re talking about are the children of all the district’s employees.

    Contracts are coming up for renew; make no mistake that their union representatives will come into town with bags in hand just looking to see how much more we’re willing to dump in the goodie bag. Take a stand; resist the scare tactics and the “we’ll make them suffer by taking away the things that cause them the most inconvenience” stunts. In the words of a past presidential campaign, “It’s about the economy stupid!”

  • medina9513

    “145 Positions Marked for Cuts”

    Let’s ask the school board administration, or better yet, the teachers and their union; AFT this: Are the positions being cut the people who cost the district the most money? Are these the people that have proven through their own actions that they deserve to be cut because they aren’t the most cost-effective employees? Are there other, more highly paid employees, who are not providing performance equal to their pay that should be cut instead? Do you have the option of eliminating the least effective people?

    The truth of the matter is that the people being cut are being cut because of union rules which dictate that the most tenured, (regardless of costs to the district or performance) are protected, while the new, even if OUTSTANDING and energetic teachers will be cut. In reality, if the cuts were being made based on performance and costs to the district, we could save many of these jobs because one older teacher can be earning as much as two younger teachers. And while no one is saying that the oldest should be cut based on salary alone, ANY well run organization makes staffing cuts including wages in the equation.

    And worst yet, it is these young and energetic teachers, who could possibly have the best and freshest ideas on how to really revolutionize our district that are being eliminated. We are eliminated the potential new blood, and keeping the same-old, same-old, status-quo pool of “don’t rock the boat until I get to my retirement”.

    So how can the administration say, with a straight face, that they are being as effective and efficient in managing OUR district when they know in their hearts that a significant management tool used by almost every other organization to maintain efficiency is being either voluntarily or forcefully, unused to provide the best service to our community.

    So the next time you hear about all these cuts that will directly affect your children, just remember that the teachers and the union that they belong to and support, is an equal participant in the cuts.

    And for those of you, who think that all these teachers only have your child’s welfare at heart, spend a few minutes on the website of the union that they belong to and support: http://www.aft.org/

    Read some of the articles and news releases, you’ll be shocked and amazed.