School Boards Still Don’t Get It: S.B.5 Empowers them to Control Their Costs!

Doc Thompson covers how the “rich Hollywood types and politicians hide their money from tax collectors, gaming the system. These are the same people who proclaim that we should pay increased taxes in order to fund public sector jobs. Doc has an argument with a guy that claims he’s willing to send in a $20,000 check to pay his “fair share.” Also, Doc covers a UC administrator that received over $900,000 in severance upon being released from his contract. Have a listen:

Meanwhile, local school systems, are still asking for more money claiming to be broke when in fact they are already receiving generous tax dollars from the communities. Public union leaders are somehow oblivious to why there isn’t enough money to pay them. How they don’t connect the dots is amazing. They insist that we should cut salaries in the governor’s administration before we cut teachers salaries, which sounds foolish. It’s not so much the amount of money individuals make, as it is that way too many in public office make it. That is where the socialist tendency differs from the capitalist. The socialist wants the increases across the board, as they are in step increases. The capitalist pays based on merit. That means fewer will receive “top pay” instead of a majority regardless of job performance as the system is now.

On the eve of Governor Kasich’s budget revelation it is interesting that Lebanon City Schools and Fairfield City Schools are not looking at using S.B.5 to control their costs on a broad scale, but are still playing the same game of small cuts that have been the preferred method, such as busing cuts and other items that are inconvenient to parents in the district.

Taking into account that the contracts under S.B.5 will be grandfathered in, it would seem most responsible for these school districts to begin exploring how they can severely reduce their labor costs under the new law without staff reductions.

My guess however is that these current administrators won’t explore that option unfortunately, because they cannot think any other way, which is part of the problem.

Further attempts to place levies on a ballot are not needed because these school districts don’t need the money. They need to reduce their budget expectations. They need to understand how to manage the money they do have. S.B.5 will give them the tools to do so. There shouldn’t be another levy on a single ballot anywhere in Ohio during 2011 because of the passage of S.B.5. If there is, it’s because the school districts wish to continue to play games, and not make the “hard”cuts.

If school districts like these two continue to beat the same old drum, it is because they are completely inept in the skills of money management, and those administrators need to be removed so that people who are skilled at money management can help these schools operate with their excellent ratings, but at a reduced cost.

Before a single layoff is ever explored, wage reductions should be implemented. Realistic wage amounts need to be established, not the outrageous levels they currently are. Teachers of high school students and junior high students are not all worth 70K or more no matter how much schooling they have. Some may be, but not a majority. Few people are worth that much in labor and a college degree does not guarantee those wage levels, which is the assumption under the established step increases, and the fact that I even have to write it down so that administrators have to be told says they are out of touch completely with the community marketplace.

The money is not coming from the state. The money is not coming from the federal government. The money is coming from the community, and these districts and the teachers that teach in them must decide now if they want to bend a little to make the districts remain excellent and within the community budgets, or if they will continue to think selfishly and strap these communities financially. For those highly paid teachers that don’t want to work for less, there’s the door. Good luck finding a better job because every district in Ohio is going through this trouble, and they all must come to this realization sooner or later.

The longer these districts avoid the obvious, the more damage they’ll do. They now have the tools, but further tax increases are not an option.

Below are two notices, one asking people to attend the school board meeting in Lebanon. If you care about this issue at all, you should go and ask those people how they are planning to think “outside” the box to save the community money without a loss of services. Because they will no longer be able to blame the states unfunded mandates.

The other is from Arnie Engle from Fairfield who has been fighting this fight for a long time.

To one and all
The board will be voting to cut High School busing this Thursday
Are you willing to risk our children’s lives to save $300,000??
The next Board meeting is 3-17-11
6PM in the Community Room at the HS

The blackmail tactics are about to begin


Our community was divided over the 3 school levies the board jammed down the throats of the community in 2004. This board is knowingly driving our district into fiscal crisis and a repeat of the 2004 community divide. Why are they doing this? Because they refuse to place the community and our children before the staff with appropriate cost cutting measures.
Please attend and let your voice be heard

Please pass this on to everyone you know !

You must sign in to speak at the beginning of the meeting and you get 5 minutes.
There is also an additional chance to speak before the board votes on the cuts. 2 minutes.

On the agenda are 3 million in cuts to be voted on. The list can be viewed on the school web site. In the list is the elimination of high school busing to save $300,000.

The schools own finance report, shows we spent 6.6 million on pupil transportation in 2010.
We are cutting 1/3 of our busing. Shouldn’t we expect a savings of 1/3 of $6,000,000????
You can view this report on the school web site.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report
(Page 105 schedule 6)

School busing is the safest way to transport school children. Putting our kids on the road to and from school is a disaster waiting to happen.

And for what??? $300,000???

Are you willing to risk our children’s lives to save $300,000??

I’m not!

The following is what I said about cutting busing back in 2004.
The same applies today.

From the 2004 CARE flier

The recent cuts made by the Fairfield School Board do more than balance the budget. They actually punish our children and the community,

in an effort to force an unjust $9,000,000 school levy on the taxpayers of our fine city. This tax levy will definitely benefit the staff, but NOT our children.

Regarding Sports, local papers have reported that the Xenia School District “saved $183,000 by cutting extra-curriculars. However, more than 100 students left the school district and went to other schools to participate in sports. The decreased student enrollment ended up costing the school $340,000 in school funding from the state.” Our school board and administration are aware of this, but they cut our extra-curriculars anyway.

Regarding busing, our school officials say we will save $400,000 by cutting busing. According to Treasurer Scott Gooding, we have a $5,500,000 transportation budget. We are cutting more than one-third of our transportation by cutting busing for grades 9-12 and extra curricular activities. You would expect to see savings of one-third of $5,500,000 or at least $1,800,000. Also note that the state gives us $2,000,000 for transportation as reported in the ODE, SF3 report. If we loose one-third of this funding that amounts to $667,000, nullifying the $400,000 savings projected by our officials.
Therefore, it just doesn’t make good economic sense to cut busing and sports, unless it’s really an effort to punish our kids, parents, and community in order to pass the next school levy on August 3rd.

I have heard it time and time again that the district needs to move forward and forget about the past \history. The problem is that history is about to repeat itself! We can all expect that $600 pay to play and the elimination of all busing will soon follow.

This board is, knowingly, running our district right into financial crisis. The solution to their madness was spelled out in my last letter to the editor. The boards blackmail tactics will never end as long as this board continues to places the staff ahead of the community and our children

Letter to the Editor
February 2011

In regard to the Fairfield school districts budget retreat it was disappointing to hear the board was still considering a new tax levy. It would be a big mistake for the board to assume the community would support any type of levy. I would hope the board would anticipate this and enact the appropriate cuts to balance the budget. Failure to do so will send our district down the same road as Little Miami. The board needs to put the box of band aids away and get down to enacting a budget void of new levies. Time is running out.

Although there was an additional 4.6 million in cuts presented at the retreat there are still millions in possible cost cutting and revenue generating ideas presented by both me and the districts own hand picked finance committee. My suggestions and the finance committee’s suggestions should be reviewed, considered and enacted or rejected with reasoning shared with the public for any rejection, before there is any discussion of a new levy. The community is entitled to know, in detail, why the board refused to enact all cost saving ideas presented by anyone.

In my opinion there needs to be a fundamental change in the way the district does business. This would include but is not limited to the following suggestions.

Getting serious about contract negotiations.

Not relying on local property taxes to fund schools

The board must be honest with the public and follow through with their board actions.

The board should vote with an understanding of how their vote will effect the budget and leave their emotions at home
The board needs to start placing our children and the community first.

The board needs to review the business partner relationship it holds with it’s vendors and assure the public it is receiving the best possible price for the tax dollars spent.

The board needs to have a conservative outsider to review the way the district operates

The status quo of taxing and spending is not working in Fairfield or any government agency. If this philosophy can not be reigned in it will undoubtedly lead to the financial ruin of our district.

Let me leave you with a quote from the districts own finance committee “The current system is unsustainable without the fundamental changes we are suggesting — inaction will lead to district failure.” I have been warning the district of this for years. Time is running out.

Arnie Engel
Past member Fairfield Board of Education
CARE founder
Please pass this on to everyone you know !
and please attend the
next Board meeting on 3-17-11.
Bring your neighbors, friends and family.

Rich Hoffman!/overmanwarrior