Wednesday, April 30, 2014

May 6, 2014 ballot: Sylvania School Lawbreakers

A few days ago I wrote about the upcoming election.  You can read about it at May 6, 2014 ballot: We're Broke, or not as it amuses you to do so.  Since then the arrogant administrators that comprise the Sylvania Board of Education (BOE) have given raises to a host of school employees, all of whom make well over the median household income (2011) of $58,720 per year, and about three times the estimated per capita income (2011) of $31,187.  Additionally, all these people enjoy full teacher benefits, retirement and perquisites.

Ask yourself if a person could live on $58,720 per year, then look at what we are paying these people and decide if they truly need a raise.

As published by the Toledo Blade on Tuesday, 4/29/2014: Sylvania School Board Approves New 3-Year Employment Contracts

Southview High School's athletic director Susie Felver, whose salary increased $4,757 to $90,314
So now we're paying a gym teacher $90 grand? WTF?!

Director of disability services Michalene Sujaritchan, who got a $5,483 raise to $104,113
Just what does a director of disability services do, anyway? I mean besides suck up money from the public trough.

Assistant principal at Northview High School, Kasey Vans, whose new $88,761 salary includes a $4,681 raise.
$88 grand for an assistant principal? What are they, nuts? What did Vans do to deserve a raise, anyway? Besides show up for work everyday. Here's a few more, again from The Blade.

Employees whose contracts were renewed for three years and their salaries are:
Joseph Shamy, food service director, $78,391
Julie Sanford, assistant curriculum director, $88,761
Amanda Ogren, assistant principal at McCord Junior High School, $87,881
David McMurray, Southview High School principal, $110,403
Chad Kolebuck, Hill View Elementary School principal, $96,371
Karen Hehl, Timberstone Junior High School assistant principal, $87,881
Darren Estelle, assistant director of information technology, $90,926
Edward Eding, Maplewood Elementary School principal, $96,371
Jeremy Bauer, Stranahan Elementary School principal, $96,371
Michael Bader, Timberstone Junior High School principal, $104,113
Alan Bacho, director of facilities, $104,113

Director of facilities, over $100 grand. For what? Fire Bacho and let the assistant principals do his job. The seem to make about as much.

This is why the Sylvania BOE is demanding more money. They spend money that doesn't belong to them like there's no tomorrow.

Keep reading, because here's the best part.

Chris Myers over at SwampBubbles posted this on Tuesday, April 29th. It seems that members of the Sylvania school system are using school resources paid for by our tax dollars to promote the new levy they don't need.  As Chris points out, this is in violation of Ohio law.  Here's a link to the article and another to the Ohio law.

SwampBubbles: Is Sylvania schools using district resources to promote the levy? The answer is yes, the question should be to what extent?

LAW Writer® Ohio Laws and Rules: 3315.07 Instructional program for employees - supplies and equipment for local school districts.

(1) Except as otherwise provided in division (C)(2) of this section, no board of education shall use public funds to support or oppose the passage of a school levy or bond issue or to compensate any school district employee for time spent on any activity intended to influence the outcome of a school levy or bond issue election.

Chris bases his accusations on email that he, personally, received from the Sylvania school system and that he displays on SwampBubbles.

This is a brand new low, even for the Sylvania BOE.  Hand out raises, demand more money from the taxpayer and use school resources to promote the tax levy.  Typical politicians.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Being Railroaded, Part II

First and foremost, here's a hoist of the bourbon glass and a tip of the old fedora to Bud Love, owner of Power Recruiting in Toledo, Ohio.  Should you have need of his services, you'll find him at:

Bud Love
Power Recruiting
6029 Renaissance Place
Toledo, OH 43623
(419) 720-8708

Reading through the local bird cage liner, what should my bleary, red-rimmed eyes fall upon but a local dog story.  Well now, would you look at this. I wrote about this last month here, in Being Railroaded. Tickets can be a bit expensive.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

May 6, 2014 ballot: We're Broke

Times are tough all over according to the Sylvania Board of Education.  The Sylvania school system needs more money.  A lot more.  There's only one place to get that money, and that's from property owners in the school district.  Never mind that we're already over-taxed.  What matters is the school system, because it's for the children.

This all came about because of greed and the path of least resistance.  Greed, because if you're on the Board of Education your job is easier and a lot more enjoyable if you can fund some kind of program without cutting the funding for something else.  That way, everyone with their own personal agenda is satisfied and the board members will get re-elected next term.  This dovetails nicely into the path of least resistance because it's a whole lot easier to explain why the school system has no choice but to put another levy on the ballot rather than cut unnecessary services and eliminate extraneous personnel.

It's tough to get solid information about school funding and this levy, but I've found some.  In an article from the Toledo Blade, Sylvania Schools Levy Supporters To Greet Voters At Polls

According to the article, the school system has recruited volunteers to greet the voters and encourage these people to support this brand new levy, which is a 3.8 mill continual-operating levy.  That means that once it's voted in, we can't get rid of it.  There is absolutely no way to get a levy revoked.

What voters don't realize is that up until recently, the State of Ohio was picking up a portion of those property taxes, but as of July 2013 that activity is discontinued.

From the Toledo Blade on Monday, 7/29/2013:

Ohio Cancels Property Tax Rollback - Existing Levies To Get Funding Break, But New Ones Will Not

Many Ohioans didn't realize the state was picking up as much as 12.5 percent of their local property tax bills, one Senate Republican recently said.
Which is very likely the truth.  Most people get sick when they write that check for property tax.  How many taxpayers would take the time to see how the amount is calculated and if it's correct?  Not many, I'm thinking.

Local governments and schools heading for the ballot in November to ask voters to support new or replacement levies will have to tell them that the price tags attached will be higher than they were previously told. The taxpayer will pay the entire tab for any new taxes approved.
Which is only partially true.  Up until I found this article, I hadn't been aware of that particular circumstance.  All I'd heard was the usual mantra about needing more money and how none of this was the BOE's fault.  It was the Federal government, the State, the economy, the falling property values... anything but uncontrolled, irresponsible school spending.  At the root of this is the State of Ohio making cuts to education - except that it isn't.
The recently passed [Ohio State] budget contains $717 million more in basic per-pupil subsidies for K-12 schools over the next two years...
The State of Ohio is continuing to subsidize K-12 education.  That includes Sylvania.

One item that is never spoken of, and I kind of think might be the dirty little secret that the Sylvania Board of Education wants to suppress is the current tax rate.  Information on this is hard to find, but what I did manage to find is worth reading. From the Toledo Blade on Monday, 1/27/2014:

Auditor Gets Sylvania Tax Measure - Schools To Seek Additional $4.9 Million Levy To Avoid Deficit In ’16

The article states that the school system doesn't need the money right this instant, which is what they would have us believe.  No, they say they need the additional money to avoid a deficit in 2016.  In plain English, they say if they don't get more money now, right now, in 2016 they'll be spending more money than they are taking in.  Running in the red, so to speak.  To my way of thinking, this gives them two years to decide just which expenses they'll cut back on.

So how much are we taxed right now?  According to the article:

The Sylvania schools now collect 44.98 mills of operating levies, all continuing.

Compare that to the measly 3.8 mills they are asking for now, and it doesn't seem like much.  It's only an increase of 8.44%, but that's how levies work.  Just increase the tax a little at a time and maybe no one will notice.  Until they try to buy groceries, that is.

We've been through this entire business before.  Again, according to the article:
Its most recent new levies were 4.9 mills each, passed in 2004 and 2011.
Just three years ago a new levy barely passed, and they had to hold a special election to do it.  That levy was supposed to 'stabilize everything', according to the school board.  But now they're back again, asking for more money.

So how much will a property owner be paying?  If your property is worth $100,000.00, you'll be writing the Sylvania school system a check for $4,878.00, and because the State of Ohio is no longer covering a part of your property tax, you'll be paying the entire amount.

There is still a significant portion of retired people in Sylvania, or people who have moved here and are not wealthy.  An extra $5,000 a year goes a long way towards a nice life.  You can forget that, though, and it's because of the school system.  They don't care if you're poor, if you're retired or laid off or have other expense.  Their attitude: Too bad.  Pay me.  Just be thankful I'm not asking for more.

My family has lived in Sylvania for over 50 years, but it's getting to the point where we are being taxed out of our own home, and we're being forced out by an elite cadre of elected officials who don't give one final damn whether we stay or leave, so long as their hog trough is full.

If you would like to write these people and share your views on lower taxes and responsible government, here's a list of email addresses:

Sylvania Board of Education

Jim Nusbaum, President

Julie Hoffman, Vice President

David Spiess

Vicki Donovan Lyle

Stephen Rothschild

Sylvania Township Trustees

John Crandall

John Jennewine

Neal Mahoney

All three turncoats trustees have publicly supported the new school levy, I suppose because it means more money for the government.  Never mind the constituents that have to live with it.  They'll get along just fine.

The real truth is that if this levy fails two things will happen.  One, there will be a special election held at a time when voter turnout opposing the levy is likely to be very low.  Two, there will not be any change in the performance of the Sylvania school system.  Of course you can't convince the school board of that, but it's true none-the-less.

Vote no.  Tell them that they've got enough money already, and that they can learn to live within their means.  Like the rest of us.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So Long to XP

Well, today is the day.  My OpSys is officially orphaned, kicked to the curb and treated like last week's fish wrap.  I'm not worried, nor do I intend to upgrade to anything else.  I've got several layers of protection and I perform regular back ups of my data.

While I'm usually against all forms of government regulation, this might be one area where the government should get involved.  If the Federal Government could rise to the level of mediocrity, that is.  The government might consider forcing Microsoft to support XP for another 10 years or so, but given the past performance of the government... I don't think so.