Organized Opposition Contributed to Centerville’s School Levy Defeat

I was surprised to see that voters in Centerville  defeated Centerville’s 5.9 mill school levy —  17,177 voters, 52%, said, “No.” For Centerville to defeat a school levy is surprising.

Active local opposition to school levies is always bad news for schools seeking to increase school taxes.  Looking around the web, I found a web-site that was in active opposition to the levy.

The message from the web-site is that much of the income from the proposed level would go to Centerville’s teachers and administrators, and that teachers and administrators already are making plenty.  The web-site lists the salaries of teachers and administrators in various income categories.

The web-site says, “Vote YES if you want school employees who work 180 days a year, and have their health and dental bills paid and make more than you do to get another raise and unlike you can’t be laid off or let go.”

The web-site said, “One of the reasons that are school costs are so high are salaries paid to employees. Now everyone understands that teachers should be paid a reasonable amount. But we need to keep in mind that teachers work 180 days per year while you, the tax payer, works 270 days per year. Oh and by the way a teacher can’t be fired after three (3) years without cause unlike you. You can be let go at your employers will at any time. There are 136 teachers and others paid over $70,000.00 per year. How Much are you Paid?”

It would be impossible to know what effect this opposition group had on defeating the levy.  I wondering if a bigger factor in the defeat of the levy was skepticism from a lot of Centerville voters as to whether a new levy was actually needed.  If I’m reading the Centerville’s Treasurer’s Report accurately, it seems that the School Treasurer, regardless of the failure of the levy, is projecting a cash balance of over $8 million for July, 2009.

According to the District’s web-site, regardless of the outcome of the levy, teacher salaries are determined through 2011 by a contract already negotiated.  The current contract increased base salaries by 4.0% for 2007-2008; 2.0% for 2008-2009; 2.5% for 2009-2010; and 3.0% for 2010-2011.

Centerville is a top rated school in Ohio.  Centerville Superintendent, Gary Smiga, in the fall’s school newsletter wrote, “On Tuesday, August 26, the Ohio Department of Education announced their ‘School Report Card’ results for the 2007-08 school year. We learned for the 10th consecutive year the Centerville City Schools would again receive Ohio’s highest rating. Since the inception of this state report card only 13 of 614 Ohio public school districts can make this claim and we are in very good company with districts like Brecksville, Granville, Mason, Oakwood, Solon, and Wyoming.”

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17 Responses to Organized Opposition Contributed to Centerville’s School Levy Defeat

  1. Goebel says:

    I reviewed the website you listed above Organized Opposition/ No Taxes for Centerville Schools. I was shocked to read the postings about the proposed levy.
    If this factual then more information needs to surface.

    Do you know any more about this organization and how to contact them?

  2. Cate O'Brien says:

    I also reviewed the website and noticed that of the top 53 teachers supposedly making over $80,000 – at least 6 are no longer working for the district (retired last year). At least one of these was not replaced at all this year. At least 10 on the list are year-round administrators. Any that are teachers in this category are above 30 years in the system and due to retire in the next 2 to 3 years.
    If the administrator of this website wants to be accurate and compare “apples to apples”, he needs to compare salaries of people in the workforce (for example engineers) who have been in their respective positions for 30+ years.
    Centerville is an affluent community and will not receive any stimulus funds. In fact, they will probably lose monies, since the state has to balance its budget as well.

  3. Mike Bock says:

    Goebel, Evidently, whoever created this anti-Centerville levy web-site wants to remain anonymous. I see that the site has been updated since I wrote about it last November. Sorry, I never did do any digging to find out who created the site. I’m sure someone in Centerville must know.

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  5. Stan Hirtle says:

    Centerville is one in the line of affluent suburban schools that are considered “excellent,” ranking with a handful of similar schools from other affluent suburbs. However the structural requirement for frequent school levies makes even this system a lightning rod for discontent. This is particularly true since the use of the property tax, which the Supreme Court found unconstitutional but refused to do anything about, creates a core of no votes from people who own homes and have low or fixed incomes with which to pay school taxes. These people complain that schoolteachers are actually paid $60,000 per year. That is below the national median income for the US. Chief economic adviser Lawrence Summers got twice that much for one speech to the Goldman Sachs investment bank. They also complain that schoolteachers are really “part time workers” like the people working at Wal-Mart. And these are the schools that are thought of as the best of the best, with affluent parents highly resourced kids and big time sports programs. Imagine what the Dayton school system has to deal with. There are always potential grievances of one sort or another, but if we supposedly value education and are not willing to pay for it, what will we pay for?

  6. Rick says:

    Oftentimes, the wealthier a community is and the more it values education, the more it gets ripped off by the educrats who create such bloat in the system all in the name of “the children.” I went to high school in an affluent suburb of Cleveland and the system was shocked when a levy was actually defeated! The educational blobaucracy needs to be reminded that taxpayers pay the bills.

  7. Fran says:

    In 2005 when the last levy was passed the school administration stated that “indepedant consultants” had projected that the student enrollment would increase from 8200 students to 9000 students by 2010.The levy was to improve and add to the facilities to accomodate this increase. The Dayton Daily News reported that current enrollment is 8400 students. Looks like we need to justify the increased cost to the taxpayer by finding 600 more students. Are we expecting a population explosion in the next 6 months? I’ts like the father who told his daughter when she wanted him to buy her the $100 designer jeans when he could only afford the $20 pair. “My dear, my job is to cover your butt, not to decorate it.”

  8. Vince says:

    Have any of you actually visited a school in the district? Not withstanding the newest Kindergarten-1st grade school that was just built, the average age of the schools is over 30 years. They are not opulent schools, just basice buildings that consistently turn-out the best students in Ohio.

    Further, Centerville has one of the LOWEST costs per pupil in the area.
    The school district is doing so much more with so much less

  9. Alice Rush says:

    Years ago when a levy failed Centerville Schools started the Pay to Play program. The levy passed after that and they never did stop the pay to play. Average students and students with disabilities fall by the wayside. Directors of extra curricular activies talk the talk but do not walk the walk helping these students be successful. HS counselors and psychologists just don’t want to be bothered. HS Principal Booher takes no action and just hopes problems go away. The only people who really get the spotlight are the super smart, the football players, and the cheerleaders.
    Centerville Schools is a political nightmare for the hard working average and above average kids. There is NO compassion in Centerville Schools just GREED. Is anyone out there thinking about all those who have lost their jobs and have either have or will have their houses forclosed upon? DO NOT PASS THE LEVY! Clean house starting with Terry Riley and Eileen Booher.

  10. Mack Grey says:

    The whole school funding system is inherently unfair. Suburban kids get a better education than the urban kids, because of the difference in funding. Once, they fall behind, they never catch-up. That’s where the great divide begins.

    Money = better education. Better education = advantage over competition.

  11. Rick says:

    Mack, I can’t believe you don’t realize that it’s not the funding the causes educational inequality. It’s the inequality of parents. Dayton Schools spend as much per pupil than Oakwood. Why the difference? Parents!

    Vince, are you really so naive as to believe that a 30 year old school is the reason students do not excel? I remember a trip to Pisa, Italy and I was looking up at a building that was obviously hundreds of years old. I remembered enough of my Latin to realize it said, “Pisa High School.” So please do not clutter this board with such nonsense.

  12. Eric says:

    Maybe systems are inequitable because of inequitable distribution of administrators with “21st centry skills.” Governor Strickland is hawking his education budget by touting the necessity of 21st century skills–but hasn’t explained how the adults in the education system supposed to acquire that skillset. Or may if we spend enough money, kids will develop 21st century skills in a statewide system doomed to fail because of the skill deficits of its operators.

  13. Vince says:

    Please re-read my post, I do not see where I implied that 30 year old buildings are the reason students do NOT excel. Quite the opposite, I was trying to counter a misconception that CCS is just tossing around money on new schools and frivolous items

    Don’t like paying taxes for schools? OK, vote NO, BUT… When the state takes over school funding, let’s see you vote NO on tax increases from Columbus, or Washington DC. Let’s see you send a message to Columbus or Washington DC. How will you remind the educational blobaucracy that the taxpayers pay the bills. ANSWER: You can’t!!

    Keep the taxing authority down at the level where the money is spent, and the administrators will be most responsive to your voice.

  14. Alice Rush says:

    Move the Centerville Teachers to Dayton to teach then see how successful they would be with the clientele.
    It’s not the teachers it’s the parents, living conditions, how well cared for the children are, their role models.
    Centerville teachers put up with demanding spoiled parents who have to have their way and, students who you dare not correct or give real grades to. Fluff. Popular teachers give mostly A’s. Everyone loves A’s.
    Dayton teachers deal with many children who are hungry, abused, and some of which are practically homeless, bullied, in fear for their lives and not motivated. Try teaching under those circumstances.
    Centerville’s whining makes me want to vomit.

  15. Carol says:

    My husband and I have always voted for school levies, but after the inept way the district handled the cookie case we will vote AGAINST a school levy for the first time ever. We are not alone. I have heard this sentiment expressed repeatedly.

    Centerville may be the only district to take students suspected of theft from the cafeteria and charge them criminally. The administration actually had the audacity to blame this on the shootings at Columbine. A school board member claimed that having a police officer in the building as a result of Columbine left them no choice but to charge every “crime.” This is simply not true. A complainant can always choose whether or not to press charges.

    I have heard that the family has tried repeatedly to settle this case but the school refuses. More will come out in this case. Some athletes are treated more equally than others.

    If the district can’t manage a misunderstanding over a cookie they aren’t getting any more of our money.

  16. Bob says:

    I am eighty years old. My 4 children are now adults.
    I worked for General Motors for 30 years.
    I built a very nice house in Washington Twp. and paid for it.
    Now if this levy passes I will not be able to afford to live in the house I worked so hard for. The levy will drive my taxes to over $8000 per year.
    Sure I am proud to have a top notch school in our township but I don’t have a choice but to vote against this levy.
    Anybody got a job opening?

  17. Duane says:

    Well look like more people value this solid education system than don’t. Ask yourself how much you spend on things that are less worthy. I know cable is a waste of money. I’d get rid of that before I’d vote down my kids education. Oh and get your facts striaght before you come on here had sway people. Obama is putting billions into education but not into systems that are sucessful. Only systems that have failed over an over. It’s up to us people. You make your own way. I’m married to a teacher. She has a batchlors in education, and a masters in teaching reading (that’s right folks she teaches your kids to read, not an insignifigant thing, nor a trivial thing to do). We’ll be paying for that education for years to come, ourselves with the money that she makes). She makes good money, espceially for only working 180 days a year. Only problem with that is the evenings and weekends that she spends grading papers and the spring breaks she spends generating report cards, not to mention the money out of her pocket that she selflessly puts into her own classroom. They’re not all just there to collect a paycheck. Take care of them, like you did tonight.

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