Yes, elections are coming up on Tuesday, May 5, and despite the small number of things to vote for, this election is just as vital to us as any other. Showing up to vote gets is the only way we get counted. Please request absentee ballots or plan to go out and vote.
Issue 2: Cleveland Heights/University Heights City School District
Proposed Tax Levy (Additional) – 5.9 mills for the purpose of current expenses for a continuing period of time. This translates into an additional $420 if you own a $200,000 in addition to the $7800 of current property tax. See math below. Vote: NO
Summary (All bold words are explained in detail below)
If this were truly about helping the children, then we would indeed have an imperative to support education in our community because that builds a strong community and we wish to participate in that. I believe that we should support the public education to the highest degree we can afford. However, these funds are not about helping the kids, and we cannot afford another levy. Our district is too top heavy for that.
Cleveland Heights residents already take home less than comparable districts, pay nearly the highest rate in the state while producing falling, failing grades ranking at the bottom of educational rankings. With no change in place to improve education, the only conclusion is that funding would be staff-directed into a system that has not produced the excellent results we’d like to see. Other comparable districts show better results for far less money. When our district can do the same, we can support another levy. The bloated education costs are unaffordable and bad for the city, making it an unattractive place to move into, making it hard to sell homes , and unfriendly to seniors: seniors do not have earned income, so the levies penalize them unfairly. It seems like there is another tax increase by the Board of Education every year. They have a PAC backed by the unions and wealthy citizenry that campaign in an organized and expensive manner each levy, but continuing to pass levies means we will continue to have the unacceptable status quo. Sadly, the only way to truly help the children in our district is to reject levies until the board takes the steps to do what it takes to become efficient and effective. Vote NO
What you already pay and what you would owe:
(Additional) – 5.9 mills – This levy adds to what we already pay. At 3.9% we already pay the second top rate in the state.
|Home Value||Current Rate||What you already pay||What this levy will add||Total Tax Bill|
Of that, about 75% already goes to the district! Of the remainder, about 11% goes to the city, and the rest to the county for Health and Human Services, Library etc.
So, our financial support of the school system is already very high. University Heights tax rates may differ, but the school portion is the same for both cities and is the greatest factor in our tax bill.
We cannot afford more. We must stop this trend or it will continue.
Explanation of Bolded comments
to the highest degree we can afford – But our community cannot afford even the current level of taxes, let alone additional taxes.
Cleveland Heights residents already take home less – citizens in our district have less disposable income because it goes to taxes instead of in to the economy. 11% less than comparable districts.
Too top heavy – The average per pupil administration cost in our state is $1,362. Our district? $3,263, That’s nearly two and half times more.
|Name||Title||Rating of Dept.||Salary||Days/Yr|
|Celico and Womak||Asst. Superinendent, Director of Curriculum||F and F||$112,000||238,260|
|Wiley, McNicols, Coleman and Moore||4 Principals||D, F,F,F||$105,000-113,800||220|
The average Ohio pay for an administrator is $76,831 . CH-UH pays on average $101,212.55 (from 2013)
Pays nearly the highest rate in the state –
Our teachers average salary is $68,971.70
The state average $57,966
Comparable districts $65,000 average.
The district’s claim that it must pay competitively to them to get good teachers is not valid in an era of underemployment. Jobs are still at a premium. While we should pay teachers all that we can afford, that amount should be in alignment with districts of comparable demographics. We pay on average $3000 more but rank well below them in results. , Pay is often tethered to years of schooling, yet the higher degree does not necessarily correlate with better teaching skills. In short, higher pay does not mean better results.
Failing grades – CH-UH district rates #578 in the state of Ohio out of 610. We have 4 failing elementary schools and a failing middle school. Our high school has only a D rating. This means a drop from continuous improvement, the equivalent of a D, to Failing over all.
Other comparable districts show better results for far less money – Let’s look at Lakewood, as a first ring community, Ohio BOE considers it comparable to ours in many demographic comparisons.
|Current Millage taxed||145.14||123.23|
|Per Pupil Cost||$18,461||$12,269|
Lakewood spends $5,000 less PER CHILD while its rankings put it in the middle of the state rankings and ours fail our students.
Reject levies until the board takes the steps Our district has a responsibility to its citizens to be financial efficient, and Lakewood shows that it can indeed do so while improving student scores – as Lakewood got serious about doing after their voters rejected 3 levies. Only then did the board figure out how to improve grades while keeping education affordable. We, too, expect our board to do better. . We should be sending the same message. There are plenty of costs to be cut that don’t affect the students.
Hard to sell – Asking realtors, they say the high taxes make other communities with a more reasonable tax rate more attractive for families looking to settle.
Unfriendly to seniors Full disclosure. My in-laws lived in their home for 25 years in Cleveland Heights, but found the property taxes unbearable on a fixed income some levies ago. Cleveland Heights seniors have found it unaffordable to stay. We have a young population of singles, students, and young families, but seniors are a mere 6% of the population. Thank you school levies.
They have a PAC– Backing every levy is a very organized PAC that has every incentive to raise the taxes in order to support higher pay, which is the job of the union to seek for its members. Currently they have a Mine Nine campaign complete with a Wine tasting event for backers to show up with lists of 9 people they intend to mine to support their levy. To which I ask, doesn’t our concept of minyan beat their count by one. We are only a small fraction of voters in this election, and our track record for showing up in off years has been unimpressive lately making it even more important for every one of us to do our part.
Another tax increase by the Board of Education – Please be sure to do the math if you home is valued over $100k on the below chart to show what your actual increase was each year.
In 2011 a school operating levy raised taxes 6.9 mills adding $241 per $100k valuation
In 2013 taxes increased with a $134 million school bond issue adding $210 per 100K home value
In 2014 a library levy added $73.50 to that per $100k valuation
In 2015 the schools are again asking for another $210 per $100K home.
It looks like the city may ask for another levy in November.
In the next 5 years, the BOE has both an Operating Levy and a Building tax increase on the schedule.
If all levies pass, we are looking at 4 Levies in the next 5 years without even including any Library or HHS that may come up.
How much longer can we let this go on?. Vote NO
May 5 Special Election. Polls are open: 6:30 am – 7:30 pm. For Election Day information, visit http://boe.cuyahogacounty.us/
Early Voting Dates and Times at the Board of Elections
Weekdays, April 7th – May 1st 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 2nd 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 3rd 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Monday May 4th 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.