April 24, 2014

Intermittent clouds

All 4 school levies fail in Medina County

Voters rejected all four school levies on the Medina County ballot Tuesday.

Cloverleaf’s 6.9-mill emergency levy went down to defeat 5,279-4,626 — 52-to-48 percent, according to unofficial Board of Elections results.

The levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $217 a year. The tax would have brought in $3.3 million a year, over a period of 10 years for operating costs.

Cloverleaf is in fiscal emergency, meaning a five member state commission oversees its finances, and it can borrow money from the state, but the money must be paid back.

“Obviously I’m devastated by the loss,” said Cloverleaf superintendent Daryl Kubilus. “The defeat means that’s what’s best for kids will continually take a backseat to additional budget cuts.”

Since 2009, the district has cut more than $6.1 million from its budget, including wage freezes, staff cuts and increases in pay-to-play fees.

“The financial crisis is not going away,” he said. “The way I’ll be looking at this is tomorrow is the next day of our next campaign.”

Cloverleaf will be required by the commission to ask voters for revenue again, Kubilus has said.

Because the levy failed, more cuts will be made, required by the fiscal recovery plan approved by the state commission in June. High school busing will be eliminated and kindergarten will go from a half-day, every day model, to all day, every other day. Also, all school buildings will be closed in the evenings to save on utility costs.

Issue 22: Medina City Schools levy

The Medina Schools levy was a 3.9-mill, 10-year additional emergency levy for operating costs. The levy is expected to bring in $4.6 million each year and would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home about an additional $123 a year.

At press time, with about 70 percent of Medina City school district precincts reporting, voters were rejecting the levy 52 to 48 percent, 10,745-9,976 votes.

Board president Bill Grenfell has said that if the levy failed, future cuts “will be fairly horrific.” School officials have also said the district will need to return to the voters next year to ask for more revenue.
Medina superintendent Randy Stepp could not be reached for comment.

Three mills of the levy money would have gone toward maintaining services and 0.9 mills would have been used to bring back reading intervention specialists at the elementary level, and possibly bring back some guidance counselors and elementary and middle school electives.

Issues 19 and 20: Black River Local Schools levies

Black River Schools had two levies on the ballot. One, Issue 19, was an additional 5.8-mill emergency levy for operating costs, which would have raised about $1 million a year, and the other, Issue 20, was a 1.8-mill levy for permanent improvements, which would have raised $331,750 a year.

Black River Schools covers parts of Medina, Ashland and Lorain counties.

Adding together votes from all three counties, Issue 19 failed by 2,584-1,447 votes, and Issue 20 failed by 2,513-1,513 according to unofficial results from the three Boards of Elections.

Issue 19 would have cost the owner of a 100,000 home about $183 a year, and Issue 20 would have cost about $57 a year.

Black River superintendent Janice Wyckoff said the results were disappointing.

I feel bad for the kids because ultimately they’re the ones who end up getting the short end of the stick,” she said. “It’s just unfortunate.”

In February 2011, the district received a fiscal caution letter from the state, which means it now monitors Black River’s finances monthly.

Wyckoff said the board will have to look for more cuts. “We’re going to have to go back to the drawing board and look a bit deeper,” she said. “The cuts are going to be more drastic. We just don’t have the money for the extras.”

If the 5.8-mill emergency levy had been approved, the board said it likely would restore high school busing and eliminated a $10-a-day charge for all-day, every-day kindergarten as well as pay-to-play fees. Now those changes will not be made.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.

  • nomore

    How long must we hear every time a school levy fails it is the kids that suffer. Medina schools have cut 10 million from its budget in the past 3 years. Do the kids really receive such a poor education? If you can cut 10 million from your budget and still remain open and educating students, it appears to me that you were 10 million over budgeted anyway.nThe people affected are overpaid teachers who work a part time job for full time pay. The average Medina teacher makes $62,000 a year and is contracted to work 180 days at 7.5 hours per day. ($45 per hour) not to mention a pension after 20 years, great healthcare, sick days, and snow days. How many of us got a day off last week because it rained?nQuit begging for money and get back to work. How many times must the voters say no more abusing our money!

  • ProudMedinaSupporter

    Actually, the average salary of a Medina teacher is $47,494. Considering much of their work goes above and beyond pay, such as providing materials not funded by the school, preparing lesson plans, and meeting with students outside of class to aid them, that pay seems a little low. Its ignorance like this that is causing this school district to fall. As a graduate of Medina, I would not be where I am today without the resources that were available. For a $100,000 home, it costs you just over 35 cents a day to support your community. That is the change you get from a meal out, and yet its too much for you to give to support the students?! The opposition to this is ridiculous, as it literally costs you next to nothing. These students depend on the education they receive to further themselves in their education and their futures. The buses have already been taken away, as well as many necessary resources for students like advanced classes and after school activities. Students use middle school and high school as a way for finding their interests for a future career. You are taking this away from them, so thank you for not making an informed decision when you took that away. Sure there may have (once) been a point where there was excess spending. That point has been long gone, as now the schools are just struggling to survive at this point thanks to the ignorance that surrounds the levies.

  • DW

    I live in Cloverleaf school district, and voted for the Levy. HOW CHEAP CAN WE BE PEOPLE!!?? We have some of the cheapest taxes anywhere, and we can’t manage to throw a couple bucks to the school district!? COME ON!! School levies pass, school district gets better, housing values go up if the schools get better, more people would want to come out to the district. GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR A##ES AND HELP!!

  • Done

    nomore was more correct on their average for a Medina teacher’s salary. You cannot combine with those who are part time to figure that average. All one has to do is go to the Buckeye Institute website and look up your kid’s teacher’s salary. Check out more than that and you’ll see the trend. Those who may start at $47,494 are at $70,000 within five years. This is what’s killing the schools, the high salaries and benefits which consists of almost 90% of the budget. Busing was only 3% of the budget and when they were running, they weren’t running efficiently often delivering half empty or 1/3 full buses to the schools. Those of us with stagnant incomes with rising health care costs are saying no and have shocked the school district by learning to live without the busing, typically a strong-arm tactic. The entire Medina community has had a massive dent in income but we are expected to keep the Medina teachers and administration unaffected. As for their having to pay a little more for their health care, I wish that was all we paid. Thanks to their union, instead of taking pay cuts and freezing wages as a collective, they choose to fire more teachers and take more away from students. Medina City Schools are the ones being obstinate as they refuse to sacrifice any more from their lucrative salaries and benefits. The community knows the root of the problem and are saying no. Then there is that little thing about school funding.nnWhat’s funny is that Medina City themselves quoted a couple years ago $70,000 as the average and it sounds like they’re trying to back-peddle with quoting under $50,000 so it sounds more desperate.

  • Medina Resident

    I too voted the levy down as a home owner; I can’t afford myntaxes to go up anymore. I work but thanks to the economy tanking my hours havenbeen cut I haven’t had a pay raise in 8yrs and I work for a law office weu2019venall been hit by the economy, my husband works for a hospital and he too has notnhad a pay raise in 4yrs do to pay freezes, but every year our health insurancengoes up so he brings home less and less. Medina County is going to tax us rightnout of our homes, why so the teachers can have free health care, paid holidays,nsnow days and teacher days and a pension when they retire, while the rest of usnmost companies no long offer pensions, you’re on your own to figure out how youu2019rengoing to live after you retire. Not to mention you will have to sell your housenif you can because even if your house is paid for you can’t afford the $700.00na month tax bill, I canu2019t even refinance why because my house is worth less onnthe market than what I paid to build it in 04 but yet I am still being taxed onnthat amount. I grew up in the day and age where sports and school activitiesnwhere part of school we did not have to pay to play you had to pay for your ownninstrument and maybe a little something towards your sports uniform mostly thenkids playing sports or in band held fund raisers to earn the money for thosenthings. My school was also a modest school it did not look like a University w/nlots A, B or C to park in, marble floors and granite counter tops.nnI praise the teachers for what they do but my child’s education should not benbased on how much money they make, they chose this career no matter how muchnmoney they make my child’s education should come first, if it doesn’t then theyndid not choose this career to better the children they chose, it for the highnpay summers off and all the freebies that come with it. We all work hard nonmatter our career but we don’t get all these freebies.nnSomeone mention teachers paying for all the school supplies that the schoolndoes not furnish my children go to a private school and I pay $80.00 on top ofntheir tuition for each of them to the school for their school supplies for thenentire year and before someone rants about my children going to a privatenschool, I can’t afford for my children to go to Medina, since Medina only hasnhalf day kindergarten and I work I would spend more in gas and mileage drivingnmy kids back and forth since my one son is in kindergarten I would have to putnhim in day care so I can go to work, drop my one son off at school drive tonwork, then leave work to take him to PM kindergarten go back to work, leavenwork to pick them both up to drop them off at after school care so I could gonback to work, that’s even if my job would let me do that.nnI am sorry for the schools but they need to work with in their budget and quit holding our children’s education as a threat if we don’t pass their pay raises.

  • tired of false claims

    Wow, you are using numbers and you don’t even know what you are saying, $ 47,949 isn’t the starting salary. Continue complaining about things you know absolutely nothing about and scratch your head when you can’t sell your house. Your ignorance will eventually come back to bite you.

  • melissa

    Sounds like you want free childcare. Teachers don’t exist to raise your child so you can work, they are there to help educate them…shockingly to most, in collaboration with their parents. Cry me a river….yes, teachers should go into thier field because they love what they do. That should be the case for anyone. Teacher pay is not great by any means, they pay for insurance and most come in early and leave late. In most other jobs, you get paid overtime for that and get a benefit package and paid vacation (so you can go on vacation ANY time you want). Teachers also do a lot of work at home. And, worst of all, they have to deal with idiots like yourself. No teacher ever went into education with the idea that they wanted to be constantly told that they do not matter-that I can guarantee. No, I do not work for Medina and no, I am not a teacher. I am just making an observation. So, next time you go posting on the internet, why don’t you check your facts instead of making an idiot out of yourself?

  • melissa

    Actually, a lot of people got the day off because it rained. I know a bunch of people who work in Cleveland and they had it off. Teachers pay for retirement…which won’t be there by the time most retire, do not have good healthcare and pay a ton for it. Snow days are not for a teacher’s benefit..they are for the kid’s safety. Also, those teachers who are making money are having plenty of it taken away to pay for those who are able to work, but choose not to so that they can accept free government handouts.

  • melissa

    I agree with you! People do not respect teachers…just think of them as overpaid babysitters. Maybe some of these parents should pull their kids out of school and home school them, since they don’t value anything the teachers are doing with them. Oh wait, if they did that, then they would have to pay for childcare and wouldn’t be able to send their sick kids to school so they could go to work.

  • Roger

    Poor uninformed people in NE Ohio. They don’t realize they are already paying more in property taxes then anywhere else in the nation. Do the research. I did, and left for Florida.

  • Roger

    Free! He’s already paying more in property taxes than anywhere else in the nation!

  • Black River.

    A lot of the children at Black River play sports. If the levy doesn’t pass then the sports will get cut. No one is abusing money. Nor are the teachers over paid. These kids are the next generation and they need the extra curricular activities like gym, art, music ect… Before you start rambling on about something think about the children they are most important! Stop thinking about yourself.

  • no political agenda

    Melissa your the only one referring to teachers as babysitters so get your head out of mainstream media’s butt and get a clue… some people cannot afford for these levies to pass cause they live on what they make… not on credit… if all.these so called levies were needed then how did medina build.new schools when the levies failed???