Three factual clarifications regarding the story on the Olentangy levy (School Cuts: Necessities or threats?):
1. The superintendent claims that the state requires the district to cut $10.5 million in FY09. False. The state only requires the district to right its reported $2 million negative carry-over balance for FY09. The other $8.5 million are pure threats.
2. The district must cut staff and programs. False. The district is reporting $7 million in salary and healthcare increases for its staff during FY09. Since all the union contracts are up for negotiations, controlled salary and healthcare increases would offset the negative balance and still provide staff with an additional $5 million in salary and benefits (still in line with private industry standards). To restate: The $2 million negative balance would be righted by simply reducing salary and benefits increases, no programs need to be cut.
3. The superintendent claims he cannot support deficit spending. False. His proposed levy includes deficit spending in the final year. All recent Olentangy levies have been based on a positive cash flow in year one; a more or less balanced cash flow in year two; and deficit spending in year three. To say he doesn't support deficit spending in the out-years is to say he doesn't support his own levy.
The facts can be found on the district's website by searching for the Five Year Forecast.
To my knowledge, this is the first Olentangy levy based on threats and false statements.