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Bond + Operational

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WHEREAS, at the present time, it is estimated that total project costs for the School District's participation in the Program will be $99,746,853 and it will be necessary for this Board of Education to issue approximately $61,500,000 of bonds (the “Bonds”), which is an amount not less than the School District's estimated portion of Basic Project Costs ($50,870,895), and the cost of other improvements to school facilities (known as locally funded initiatives), including 
(without limitation) equipment, furnishings and site improvements ($10,629,105); and


WHEREAS, this Board of Education proposes to submit to the electors of this School District at the election to be held on the 8th day of November, 2016, the question of issuing the Bonds of this Board of Education in the principal amount of $61,500,000 for the purpose of .......

Five year forecast

Resolution

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I responded to this on the other thread but it looks like Mirth copied and pasted. 

Grab the popcorn.

Presidential Election.. lots of pro-bond issue (I'm guessing Democrats) will be out in force to come close to the SOTL brick wall of NO voters.  Won't cost the district money.  No brainer.  If I were on the board, I'd vote to put it on as well.  I am guessing that they have the votes... Three of the five board members spearheaded the effort in May of 2015.


However, an operational levy was also on the ballot back in 2008 (Obama)... and the operational levy actually FAILED largely because (and this is no lie) of under votes from FP (about 6% of FP didn't vote either way on the issue despite having voted for other offices.).   Thinking that the "casual" voter is going to approve a bond issue isn't a slam dunk proposition.   Last time, it looks like people just voted for president and turned in their scan tron. 

Unless Bishop Bobby Hilton or someone like him is spearheading the efforts to get this levy passed, I am having difficulty figuring out who is going to step up since 85% of those that work on these efforts are district staff... mainly administration.  Mrs. Miranda is running for another office, and board members really shouldn't be taking the lead in these campaigns.. (They do.. but someone else needs to be the formal figurehead.)  I know better than most about WW levy campaigns.  You need a lot of cheerleaders for this that aren't district staff.

The WWTA provided a lot of key support and volunteers last go around but most of the big supporters of the last two campaigns have since left the district.   I am not sure the current WWTA leadership is going to provide a lot of foot soldiers or cut a large check this go around  (WWTA gave CEPSI two $1,000 donations in 2014-2015.. in addition to about 1/2 of the staff donating about $25 a person on top of that.).  

Team R  is going to play a critical role here.  In previous campaigns, they were very quiet to even mildly opposed to money requests from the district.  I know that they weren't walking side by side with CEPSI.  If they don't endorse this effort in the way that Paula and Jessica Miranda have... I think that (even in a presidential election year).. it will doom the effort.  We will see.

Perhaps the teaching staff will rise up to fill the gap... but I wouldn't bank on that.   Parents have got to get involved.. but.. with regret.. I wouldn't bank on that either.

Again, no dog in the fight.. but that's my analysis.  

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EQ,

I am not as optimistic as you that the Bond Issue will pass.  The academic status ( or lack thereof) is well known in the community as is the discipline problems at both the High School and Middle School. There has been 4 successive  years of failures on  State Tests and the District has been designated a "Challenged" by the State Board of Education.

In the American Culture, only winners are usually supported, not losers.

I suspect large numbers of voters will conclude that voting YES on the Bond Issue will only be throwing good money after bad. Throwing more money at the problem will  not solve the problem in this case. None of the Bond Issue money will help with actual academic rigor or discipline problems in the system.

The fact that the State will now offer to pay for 50% of the cost of part of the project is significant, it shows that the State records reflect the serious diminished value of the real estate in the system and diminished income.

People on fixed incomes will not support the nonsense. People now moving into the district are in a lower income bracket than those who left and people are selling their homes at a loss just to get out of the district. People with lower incomes that buy a home are less likely to vote to put such an additional burden on themselves. People in rental homes also may not support the issue since, if it passes, the Landlords will pass on the cost to renters.

 I will be opposing the Bond Issue as I did in the past.

 

Cicero

 

 

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So Cicero, what kind of opposition do you see this go around?  I know there was talk about an anti-CEPSI campaign.  I am curious as to what "big names" might be in that camp.  I am also curious to see where Team R comes down on this.  Mrs. R. may vote to put it on the ballot.. but that doesn't imply support.  Dr. Weirs has some influence as well.  

Edited by equalizer

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The discipline problems at the schools are the teacher fault ... they don't understand the culture. That point was drilled into my head more than once ....trust me.  Not enough people are open and honest with the problems at Winton.  People are too afraid to say what needs to be said. The voters reward this mentality what can I tell you.  Winton is good for one thing ....training teachers to be awesome at other districts. 

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

Just this year I saw a student get into the face of a Specialist and call her the B word.  She send the student out and he came back three minutes later and said it again to her face.  There was a male substitute who walked out of a class where tennis balls were thrown at him.  This I witness just within two hours one afternoon in May.  I think there is the Administration's fault as well....rules are enforced not ALL the time and not to ALL.  Anymore you have to wonder where the Uniform code went.  People this is not rocket science.  If there is a Uniform code simply have your security and/or administration go to different classrooms at different times.  Even just pay attention at the change of class time.  I get it, upi say there is a lack of Culture understanding, but why this is not as obvious at Princeton or Finneytown.  The student there does not have the response "here is my mother and she says I can do what I want, talk to her" and hands the phone to the teacher. 

There are ways to take command of the ship but the Administration in spite of being top heavy, has not done their role in order to turn the ship around, ....and yet they got an increase in pay. 

I will say it again:  BRICKS AND MORTAR WILL NOT EDUCATE NOR AMELIORATE THE SITUATION.  I have tried to bring many solutions to the plate, to be dismissed by a simple: No we can't do that.  Well other schools have done those same things and are getting a better result. I do not know when there will be "the moment of truth" when the Board and Administration will arrive to the understanding that they have been doing the same thing for years and yet waiting for a different outcome...it ain't going to happen.

I miss you EQ. 

Sincerely,

The Mad Botanist

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MB,

Thank you.  You are correct.  Some places really do view their teaching staffs as widgets.  Districts that value their staff and treat them accordingly see much more success than PBL.  Those of us that left feel very vindicated in our decisions.   I can tell you that very few teachers are going to be out there campaigning for this.
 

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

So here we are.  Any ideas of who or how will be campaigning for those who can't help themselves?  Certainly the powers to be need a reality check.  It has not been the cards to have any involvement with the communities at all.  The one that used to be from Forest Park and the Board still occurs but is no longer open to the public.  It seems that you have to be "invited" by phone call only. 

The Board always come up saying that they want the information and welcome it, but in reality do nothing about it.  EQ, I need a B12 shot because the scores as you put it before are not going to improve.  Yet another August and September around the corner....

I am listening if you want to talk.

The Mad Botanist

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The bond issue vote will be close only because you have everyone voting on it.  Presidential elections are the very best time to run levy campaigns.  However, I don't see anybody that is going to champion the cause.  The Board President is running for another office.  The Supt. is a decent enough man, but I don't think he (or virtually anybody in CO) are recognized as leaders that will inspire even the people of FP to vote for it. I've seen it first hand.  I think that the board (or others) believe that their mgmt. team will be able to "sell it", but it is not going to happen.. and history has shown that.  A teacher that has been with the district less than three years (unless they live there or are an almnus) probably hasn't made too many connections yet.  With regret, that is about 1/2 of your staff right now.  Fairfield always hauled out the "Ole Left Hander" (the late Joe Nuxhall) when they needed money.  His son worked for the district and "The Left Hander" could unite people.  Who unites WW? .I watched a man over in the "Luxury Apartments" just about threaten a beat down of one of the administrators during a literature drop.  It was funny.. but alarming :)

You can't make assumptions that certain people will just fall in line because of who the leadership is.  

I know that the WWTA president (at the time) really championed it, but he moved on. I don't know if the current WWTA will be leading the charge.  

Academic achievement will never improve unless the teachers are backed when it comes to running their classrooms.   Discipline underlies the entire educational structure.  I know that the state is endorsing (and has for some time) a concept called "Positive Behavior Supports", but that is only one piece of the puzzle.  Again, the teacher should be the good guy and the administrator should be the jerk when it comes to discipline... at least that is how it was explained to me by the bosses at my new HS. 

Some parents objected to any critical analysis of their child.  "HE GOT ALL A's AT THE MIDDLE SCHOOL!!!".. etc.  Yes, teachers should be well versed in the "culture" of a place like WW versus.. say.. Ross or Harrison.  However, this doesn't mean that they have no authority in how their classroom operates.. or that they should routinely tolerate profanity and gross disrespect.  Some of this comes with experience, which is why you should encourage teachers (even if they struggle) to stick with the district.  They often get better and stronger.

If PBL operates similarly to AGS, parents should expect that those all "A"s might be a bit harder to get.  Will they go along with a program that sees an academic gain but a grade drop?  (and yes, this is what PBL often does).  Will the teaching staff be bullied into lowering the standards to maintain this expectation of "My child is an honor roll student and now she's getting a C"?  Who will defend the higher standards?

I hope things work themselves out.  WW has a lot of potential and you have some really good staff members that want to stay for awhile.  However, they are clearly aware that they have options.  You have a lot of good families that are depending on PBL to be something that lifts their child up.  The stakes are pretty high.  Most of the students aren't reading on grade level.. and I can tell you.. PBL CAN raise reading levels fairly significantly. 

I think that which way WW goes will clearly be known within the next couple of years.  I think it goes a bit sideways until the next board election when I predict that "Team R" will field a slate and the direction may change radically after that.  

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

Welcome back!

How can you distribute the bread crumbs to let the Board and Superintendent know that the management needs to tighten up ship, and back the teachers? 

The Mad Botanist

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That has already been tried through the WWTA..

WWTA, over the last 10-12 years has been pretty much a company union.  They are not the Sean Hannity vision of a union, that's for sure.  Most of the leadership has been pretty cozy with the brass over the years.  This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it has caused a lot of challenges where teachers felt that they needed some backing and really didn't get it through an organization that they pay dues to.  It sort of reminds me of the Republican Party.  Lots of talk about "backing teachers" by the WWTA.. but not really doing it.  In fact, WWTA officials were often part of the problem (tattle taleing).

Back in 2013-2014, there was a bit of a Trump like revolt from the staff over the topic of SLO's (growth measures).  It gave rise to several teachers taking the reigns of WWTA and demanding some real discussion and some real change.. but a lot of that within the association itself.  During my final year there, there were as a lot more discussion between teachers and board members.  I know one board member in particular was very very concerned about what was going on with the staff.  But the board (as a whole) didn't see any problem with morale.

Between 2013-2015, as you know, many of the 8-10 year veterans left the district.   This is the core group of people that built AGS, sponsored activities, coached sports, backed the district's initiatives, etc.  In some cases, they were replaced by "cheaper teachers". but just as often, they were not.   Your teaching staff has changed quite a lot over the last three years.

Right now, I am estimating that about 50% of your teaching staff has been in the district less than 4 years (although they may have more years that that teaching).  They aren't in much of a position to advocate for much of anything. 

 Another 20% are the "fly under the radar" bunch that will grumble to the WWTA (perhaps) or complain in the lounge, but they are NOT going to stick their neck out for one reason or another. Some say one thing to their teacher colleagues and another thing to the brass. Some of them may have advocated in the past, but were burned.  They aren't bad people.. even if I feel that they should step up more.

 Another 10% are veteran teachers that just keep to themselves.

Which leaves a very small number of teachers that might advocate for change.  BUT.. those people are probably playing a "short game" and aren't putting down deep roots. Some will step up for various committees where they meet with management (and I had that job).. but even among that group.. they are reluctant to do much considering the lack of backing that they get from their fellow teachers when bring concerns forward.

PBL will not work if everyone just accepts the word from above and doesn't challenge things.  It will not work if the rubrics and standards are negotiable when a parent runs yelling and screaming about being "unfair".  I am not saying that to be some kind of rebel or controversial.  New tech expects honest (and respectful) communication in the learning communities among all parties (admin, teacher, student, parent, taxpayer),  Rubrics aren't designed so everyone gets 100% like they may have in an earlier grade.  The bosses have to stand by that.

The best thing the board can do is keep an open line of communication with the teachers as they roll this process out.  They need to get into the trenches.. and not judge things based on superficial. Some people don't want to hear anything negative from the staff, but it is part of the growth model. .. particularly in the first year.  AGS had those kind of talks from time to time.

 

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

It is my experience that the Board do not want to get their hands dirty.  When one of them have actually gone to the HS, the Board Member has been flanked by the Superintendent and the Principal.  Of course when the teacher was asked by the Board Member how is everything going? The response was:  Purrrrrrfect! and there was NO mention of anything that had gone previously that same day. 

The Superintendent asked one person to visit the school and this was his proposal.  First walk the HS  with me.  Second walk it with the Principal.  Third walk it with a teacher.  Fourth walk it with a Student.  Then walk it by yourself.  This member of the community response was:  Lets start backwards.  By the time I am by myself every student knows who I am.  I want to see who is going to be throwing tennis balls at me as they did to another man (substitute teacher) who walked out of the classroom and will not come again.

Well, you guessed it right, it would not happen,,,and it did not.

In Re to the fellow teachers, it is very hard to put yourself out there when you may be a single bread winner and the plate of food for your children depends on your job.  So....that is the reason of having refuse to stick their neck out there.

Some how they have to remember the famous story:  Look to your right and to your left, if you do not back the one that is next to you the next time you need help and you look again you will realize that you are standing alone....your brother or sister will have been taken way...

My personal experience:  Teachers seemed to have a better back up from the administration at Finneytown and Princeton... and they are not afraid to voice their opinion in front of the administration at lunch time in an informal setting.

Sincerely,

The Mad Botanist

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In Re to the fellow teachers, it is very hard to put yourself out there when you may be a single bread winner and the plate of food for your children depends on your job.  So....that is the reason of having refuse to stick their neck out there.

Yes, but these teachers expect other people to do the fighting for them.  Lots of single bread winners out there.  What bothered me were the teachers on "continuing contract" that sat back and expected someone on a year-to-year contract to say something or demand better.  The WW teaching staff is not going to fight the fight.  Sure, they will grumble and complain privately.. but they are not going to lead the charge for change. 

I have news.  Teachers are supported at virtually all of the districts around here because there is a vested interest to do so, and there is an expectation that the school only works when everyone backs each other up.  

 

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

Amen to that!

So...There will be no change! 

The Mad Botanist

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The teaching staff (including the veteran "tenured" staff) will simply do as they are told.   They younger ones will simply "put in their time" and get out.  That's not just me talking. That is how things have gone for years.   Achievement issues are partly because the staff won't back each other up either.

Edited by equalizer

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EQ,

So...do I hear what I hear!  The students are underachieving.  The teachers are underperforming.  The administration is non performing.  The superintendent has been out to lunch the past three years.  The Board of Education is dysfunctional.  The parents are absent.  The voters frustrated.  The public elected officials are stymied because of the lack of communication with the other set of public elected officials.

Also significant that I have heard from three different reputable sources that 60 students did not walk at graduation this year.

It seems that WE as a City, Village, and Township has become a dysfunctional educational enterprise.

Sad as it may seem, I am starting to feel that the only salvation  for the student's sake will be a take over by the State of Ohio.  After saying that, when not if it will come and a Bond Issue has passed, WE as community will be paying for empty buildings for 37 years.  This will end up being, in essential "a lien" on our properties, and still no benefit academically for the students.

Ok EQ I feel sooooo muuuuuuuch better after we talked.

My husband and I would like to talk to you some time in the near future?  Do you think that could be done?

 

The Mad Botanist

 

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I will be out and about over the next month... but

to be fair (again).. there are a lot of good people in the WWCSD, and a lot of people that I know are working very hard to make things work.  However, there are significant issues at play that can no longer be blown off in favor of "just be positive" or "well, those people are just toxic and disgruntled".    I have long been a huge fan of PBL, but folks MUST insist that the program be implemented with fidelity to the NTN model.. and not dictated by a woman sitting in CO.   This is not a knock on that person, but it just won't work if this is the expectation.  The administration MUST back the staff up as this model is put together.  They can't half---- it.. or it will be a disaster.  I can't stress that enough.  You also just can't blame the classroom teacher for problems that come up... while not holding yourself publicly accountable as well.   The board has to pay attention to both the success stories (and there will be some) as well as the challenges (upper mgmt. must know what the problems are and teachers must feel empowered to share them ---- as opposed to flying under the radar or shrugging it off).  The board should play a little "undercover boss" to find out what is really going on  (good and bad).  If the goal is to improve the place, you want to find out the real problems, right?  I never could figure that one out.   Just willing a problem away doesn't work.

Same holds true with the bond issue.  If your staff and community feel that they are held in some kind of contempt by the mgmt, they aren't going to have the kind of love for the place that gets things done on a broader scale.  FP knows when they are being talked down to, and I think this explains part of the apathy. We (as teachers) tried to have a discussion with the board (on what we thought the problems are), but they didn't want to hear us.  Okay, but they will pay a consultant firm how much money to research things?  You already had us on the payroll.. doing that work for free.   Hopefully they pass it this time.  If they don't, they really are finished.  BUT.. again.. I think it will be a fluke if they do.  They lack a champion other than the (largely) Greenhills people that always work on these things.

I learned that personally during canvassing.  WW has an image problem, despite a really good effort at what looks to be corporate re-branding., but even in FP, that love for the place is eroding. They know when people are "fronting".   Your staff isn't going to spread the word about the goodness of the place if they are checking applitrack on a regular basis.  Again, you have to show some love before anything (academic improvement, bond issues, etc.) really takes place.

It's sad because there is a lot of potential to do great things. Yes, I know this goes back 25 years.. but still.   While not perfect, you get the sense that there is much more of a "community" in places like Princeton, Colerain and Hamilton.  Princeton has 6 different communities, but yet.. there is a lot of pride in the place.  WW is more activity specific (Band, choir, football) than anything else.  People should feel that (no matter who they are) that WW is their home and that they are part of a family.. even if you aren't a fine arts person or involved in sports.  Everyone should be bringing something to the table and expected to do something to help make the place great.  That's what winning schools do.  It seems like WW is always "waiting for Superman" when they have a bunch of Supermen working there each and every day.

Oh  yeah, and being in a sports league (even if it is the city league) would do wonders to restore some sense of community to students who desperately lack that right now.  It's great that WW has reached out to China... how about reaching out to Fairfield?  I think WW is the largest school in Ohio NOT to be in a league.  Most "independent schools" are smaller Christian schools.

Like I said, I am pulling for WW to make it.  I am not saying anybody should be fired or anything like that, but I do believe that their roles and tactics need closely examined by the board and the community.  Leadership starts at the top and is shown daily.   

I hope this all works out.  Lots of good people still there.  Everyone (not just the teaching staff) needs to be committed to improvement and open minded about change.  I can tell you that everyone that left WW reports that they do feel much more valued at their new schools. I personally was called out for doing "good deeds" more last year than in the previous 7 at WW (aside from the former AGS facilitator) .  I don't say that to be petty, but even a veteran teacher like myself loves that kind of thing.  One teacher that wasn't good enough to stay at WWHS was recognized as "Teacher of the Month" at a very excellent suburban school in Warren County.  Another teacher was tasked with helping to create a PBL model for her department and apparently will be working on a task force to do this school wide.   WW shouldn't be farm team for other places.

I know WW studied a lot of other NTN school before settling on an appropriate model for AGS.. it might worth their time to see how some of their neighbors operate to make their school environments positive and happy.   Just a suggestion.  Again, no dog on the fight and.. in fact.. I'd love to poach some of the current WW staff to join me.

Edited by equalizer

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Gambier Gal,

And yet another attempt to circumvent the will of the people.  Also noticed that the meeting is called at Forest Park.  No meeting scheduled for Greenhills or Springfield Township.  Again it shows that they want the money and total disregard towards what the people wants.  The taxpayer in this district have become a cash machine. 

The low key towards this Bond Issue will show the same pattern of what they did once before. In order to have a strong selected number of voters which will be vote and passed it, they will contact the former students that are in College but still live at home.

Repeating what it did not work seems their forte.  Still no variation in the method, mode, criteria, curriculum, or sound suggestions and hoping for a different outcome in test's results.  (You know what that is called.)

 

The Mad Botanist

  

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Bond issue campaigns are very exhausting to put on.  The "low key" approach may not be so much of a strategy but a pragmatic thing.  With regret, most of your veteran teaching staff at WW is not interested in getting involved with a campaign.. and it is the teaching staff that provides the muscle behind any campaign at Winton Woods.  I, of all people, know this going back about a decade.   The bosses tried to "persuade" the staff to get involved during the last go around... but it fell on deaf ears.   It kind of frustrated me since (apparently) it was okay for me (and about 10-20 others) to give up time and treasure.. but most of the teachers held out as exemplars didn't really get out there and fight it out in the trench.  If those teachers aren't getting involved, it doesn't inspire others to give up time. 

I wasn't the only one that noticed that kind of thing ;).   

 The community might "want" a new school.. but (again), they aren't going to give up too much in order to make that happen.  A few do get involved.. but not to the level that gets it done in places like Princeton.

From a strategy standpoint . I think they are making a huge mistake in not engaging in the SFT / GH voter.   While they only are responsible for 20-25% of the students in WWCSD, they can make up AT LEAST 40% of the vote in a high turnout election.  Sometimes, over 50%.   The numbers are fairly daunting.  The bond issue will likely fail 70/30 outside of FP if you took a vote today.   Which means, they must win about 2/3 of the vote in FP.  

This is a really high bar since, in 2008 (last time WW had a money issue on the ballot at the same time as a Presidential election), about 6% of the voters in FP left the operating levy BLANK.  6% of the voters selected a President.. but cast no vote for the bond issue.   

Again, having campaigned in FP, I can tell you this from personal experience.  You can just assume that there is all of this 'love" there either.  More than a few parents (in FP) hate WW. Some LOVE the place (and yes, I had something to do with that), but they just can't make ends meet. Some feel disconnected with the place... oh wow.. there are a number of veteran teachers that feel disconnected with the place.. and it has nothing to do with the students.

The thought that recent graduates are going to go out and "run up the score" is fairly overplayed.  Not all of them were happy with their experience at WW.   Some of them are "friends" with former teachers who may or may not be talking this up.

With open enrollment, you have some that don't even live in the district. I just know that if you couldn't pass a levy when President Obama was on the ballot.. you can't count on this being the secret weapon.. just one piece of the puzzle. 

Perhaps this will pass, but the hill is steep.  They need enthusiasm from more than just the ones they have now.   Some people in key positions actually do more harm than good in this respect.  They alienate people that would love to be more involved.  (A lot of the people that helped push these campaigns in the past are now enjoying greener pastures.)  People often vote for things based on love and an attraction to the issue or the candidate.   Speaking as someone that has been involved with these campaigns at a pretty high level.. I can tell you... not enough people have a real love for the place outside of maybe their sport or music.  WW needs to develop an emotional attraction for the place in places where the people are angry with them... and no.. you probably doing that during a bond issue campaign.  I don't know that Mr. Smith has done that or not.  I know that this was one of the big reasons why he was selected over the other finalist.  
 

Perhaps enough people will support a lower figure, but I don't suspect they will.  They have to fight for every vote.. just like every other time.

Edited by equalizer

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One other thing.. and this isn't Winton Woods' fault.

If you live in Forest Park.. and work... say... in the City of Cincinnati, you are now paying a whopping 3.225% in local income taxes since Forest Park only offers 25% tax reciprocity.  When the tax went from 1.00 to 1.50%, the "sell" was that it would be at the full rate.  Less than 10 years later... gone.  Does anybody see this rate going down or up?   Most people in Ohio pay between 0 and 2% in local wage taxes since most communities do offer full reciprocity so you are not double taxed.

 

Edited by equalizer

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Mirth, the link "Five Year Forecast Assumptions" didn't work for me.  Could you briefly explain what it says, and what your thoughts are on this?  Thanks.

 

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GambierGal,

Updated links. What I believe the district data shows clearly is the need for a near term operational levy, on the order of 4 mils. This on top of a 7 mil bond levy.

Five year forecast assumptions

How to read a five year forecast

'How to read a five year forecast' states in part :

6.010 Excess of Revenues and Other Financing Sources over (under) Expenditures and
Other Financing Uses - Line 2.080 minus 5.050. This line can be used to get a good sense of a
school district’s fiscal health. A positive number indicates that a school district spent within its
revenue for that fiscal year. A negative number indicates that a district’s expenditures exceeded
the revenue generated for that fiscal year resulting in a reduction to any surplus the district holds,
or in the worst-case scenario, a deficit. A district experiencing several years of “overspending”
will almost always experience fiscal concerns or insolvency. Pay great attention to this line!

Edited by Mirth

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Where do they think people will get this money from? Can I borrow it from China?

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