Monday, March 03, 2008

What Olentangy for Kids is not saying

1. Local school district property taxes have been rising at an annualized rate of over 7%.
Is this rate of increase -- double inflation -- due to something special about education in Olentangy? Yes. The average employee has been reaping yearly salary increases of close to 6.5%, plus projected increases for health insurance of 12%; far, far above the private sector.
2. The levy on the ballot will increase operating millage by almost 30%.
That's a huge increase, isn't it? But, as I have previously written, the money is not for the kids, it's for salaries and benefits. The district is facing a $2 million deficit -- which can be covered by reduced salary increases and controlled insurance costs -- yet the superintendent plans to cut $10.5 million. Why such large cuts? To supposedly punish parents should the levy fail. All about the kids? Huh. It's all about the ego of the superintendent. Oh, and your hard-earned tax dollars.
3. The district does not need to cut $10.5 million.
Olentangy for Kids is supposed to be separate from the administration, yet they have appear to take marching orders from district officials. The district simply needs to balance its books for FY09. Since the treasurer just reported that revenue is up and expenditures are down, the district will likely show a positive cash balance for FY09 when it files its updated Five-Year Financial Forecast in May (read this previous post for more details). In addition, the district can also reduce expenditures by controlling costs as it negotiates with its unions. FY09 is safe: there is no need for this levy.


Scott said...

Nice summary, Jim.

We all know that if the issue passes the union is going to want more, more, more. With inflation rising, I can see them asking for a much larger COLA in the new contract. An issue failure puts the district in a position of bargaining strength against the union.

Speaking of COLA, I got a 2% raise this year for doing excellent work. With current consumer inflation, that means that my buying power is diminished. Even without my property taxes rising. And it's happening everywhere in private industry. If this district ever wants the support of working people, they're going to have to better mirror budgets in the private sector. And they're going to have to stop with the threats.

How does cutting busing "facilitate maximum learning for every student"? I guess that students who have working parents don't count.

What might they cut instead? How about administrative salaries? Negotiate a contract with the teachers' union for 2-3% annual raises. It can be done.

Anonymous said...

When everyone in the private sector is having a hard time holding onto a job and the idea that they do not have increases, how can we let the school salaries increase at such rates.

Everyday, people are having to sell their homes to buy less. Why, the mortgages and taxes are over whelming increases and their salaries are staying the same or getting less.

This is not a year to increase, it is a year to tighten and reduce. That is what the district needs to do.