April 17, 2014

Intermittent clouds

Medina Schools seeks input on levy failure

MEDINA — Medina City Schools officials want to know why voters earlier this month rejected the district’s proposed 3.9-mill levy before returning to the ballot with a new tax.

Superintendent Randy Stepp said that over the next couple of months, school officials will hold a series of community meetings to get feedback from the public.

“After that, the board will make a decision about what they will do about placing another levy on the ballot,” he said.

The 3.9-mill, 10-year issue failed Nov. 6 by 953 votes, with 11,519 voting against it and 10,566 people voting for the tax issue, according to final unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.

The levy had been 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.

School board President Bill Grenfell said meetings would be held beginning in January.

“We’ve got to start considering what cuts we have to make,” he said. “We’re going to have some community meetings, get some feedback.”

So far, Grenfell said the board has not identified what might be cut from the budget. The levy had been designed to replace funding cuts from the state.

Most of the money from levy that failed this month would have been used to maintain services, but about a quarter would have been used to bring back reading and math intervention specialists.

Grenfell said officials had been hopeful the levy would pass but not surprised it didn’t, pointing out that the district has failed to pass levies for the past four years.

“There’s a lot of anti-tax sentiment out there,” Grenfell said.
Voters look to the state government to solve the problem of school funding, he added.

“Unfortunately the state doesn’t have the financial ability to do that,” he said. “The problem is ours to solve on the local level.”

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

  • Adie

    The schools need to have the teacher’s contract completed before asking for more money.

  • Greg

    Propose cuts to state minimums. No sports, no music programs, shortened school day, etc. IT WILL PASS!

  • Sean

    “Maintain current services” means keep the teachers and administration salaries as they are with annual increases in excess of what “regular” people receive. I understand that the teachers have made some concessions but they are still well above what the typical family receives in the private world. It isn’t hard to understand. Our teachers are very well paid in comparison to others in the state and well above those in other states. The taxpayers cannot continue to support the generous compensation and benefits packages that the teachers receive and that is what they are voting against. You can threaten to cut additional programs but that is holding the kids hostage is it not? Over 80% off the tax dollars collected go toward comp and benefits so it really isn’t about the kids.

  • Buffalo

    A lot of people have lost their jobs in recent years and can hardly pay their bills; a levy would add yet another burden on them. These very same people are forced to cut back on things that are not considered necessities. Perhaps the high school administrators should take a look at themselves and their situation and do the same.

  • Parent of Student

    I think with the uncertainty of how federal taxes workout at the end of the year most people in Medina may see a big tax hike with AMT, the Obamacare tax, increase taxes on capital gains and dividends and to add an additional tax for the schools could be a burden. I think the school district has done a good job at budgeting and cutting expenditures but there is so much unknown until the federal gov’t works out their differences. In addition, I think bussing needs to returned as that is a burden to all working families to get their kids to and from school. It should be noted that I did vote for the levy this time because I do feel the longer the levy isn’t passed the more they will need in another levy.

  • Roger

    Gee Randy, I don’t know why the average person already paying one of the highest property tax rates in the NATION would mind another few hundred a year just to live in Medina, Ohio! I moved to Florida, have a more expensive house than I did in Medina. I paid about $480 month for property taxes in Medina. Now? I pay less than $200 month, have a more expensive house, and the school here is better! Yea, my daughter had to take a couple of remedia courses here to catch up after being in Medina for too long.

  • Roger

    Do the research Medina residents, and see how your property taxes are among the highest in the nation already. Then tell Randy to stick it.