Monday, June 16, 2008

One-Third May Vote Absentee

Reported in the June 16, 2008 edition of the Columbus Dispatch, "Ohio prepares for long ballots, long lines"

Officials statewide are pushing absentee voting as a way to ease crowds on Election Day, and Damschroder expects as many as one-third of Franklin County voters will cast ballots early this fall.

Absentee voting begins in 106 days.


  1. Check this out in today's Northwest News, Page 3 under the District Responds. (to questions from folks who answered a survey by the Citizens Finance Committee)

    Q In regards to the expected fall levy,is the District considering alternatives to a property tax increase.
    A No, because no other option exists that would raise sufficient amount of money to operate the schools.

    So there you have it, straight from the School District. They do not intend to explore other options for increasing revenue for the schools. Does that mean between now and Nov? Does that mean ever? Appalling, disappointing, unacceptable. I am voting absentee and I am voting "No" on any levy they put forward until they initiate ways to increase revenue by means other than residential property tax. I know most of you believe that voting No on the levy is not the way to send a message to the Board, but clearly they do not get that residential taxpayers are tapped out. We can't wait until 2009 for a Board election, followed by a learning curve for new members. By then a November levy will ahve been spent. Change must start now. Just yesterday, the Dispatch reported that 2005 median income in Hilliard School District was down 11% from 2000. We can no longer afford to support the system we have. It's time to scale back.

  2. We can no longer afford to support the system we have. It's time to scale back.

    That's an absolutely valid opinion, and one that merits debate within our community. Unfortunately, it should have happened before the HEA/OAPSE contracts were negotiated -- as part of the effective community education effort I've been demanding from the district leaders for years.

    If the levy doesn't pass and teachers have to be laid off, by union rules it will be the youngest and lowest paid teachers who get nailed first. A first year teacher is paid half of what a 15 year teacher with a Masters is paid, so a lot of them will have to be laid off to reach the reduction target.

    There will be no time for transition - the change to our district would be abrupt and significant because the Board, by 'stretching the levy an additional year' has left us no wiggle room.

  3. There was time for that discussion after the March levy failed and The Board and the HEA made the contract. It looks like they were negotiating from the position of "oh, our levies never pass the first time", and they should be held accountable for their irresponsibility. The attitude of the taxpayers and the economic conditions have evidnet since before the March election. The people spoke and the Board and HEA chose to ignore it. It is unfortunate that the young teachers with fewer years of service will pay the price. That is the trade-off for a system that rewards years of service above performance. I don't think we as taxpayers should bail them out to give them some breathing room to solve funding. If they get breathing room, they will be business as usual for another 3 years, then they will want 20% more from us. Unfortunately, they will turn it back on the taxpayers and give us the same old -same old "don't you care about the children" song and dance. The Board and the HEA need to own this one. This is not bitterness or emotion, our family finances are tapped out.

  4. Don't you find it astonishing that in the course of a ten hour annual planning retreat this week, the Board spent virtually zero time strategizing about the November levy? They spent far more time talking about how to run the buses better and what changes to make to the smoking policy than on finances.

    There are only two Board meetings remaining prior to the deadline to file the levy paperwork with the Board of Elections. At this point, I don't think they have a clue.


  5. I read your post about the retreat, and wondered why they didn't talk about the levy and financial future going forward. Call me cynical, but I believe those discussions are going on behind the scenes. They might be chatting informally in twosies and threesies and don't believe they are violating sunshine laws by doing that. I think they really have their hopes that they always get levies passed eventually and the same thing will happen this time. I have emailed them and the only one I get a response from is Lisa Whiting, who is always very pleasant, but you get that flavor that "here's how it's going to be" like you do in their press releases. I was floored by the tone of the responses to questions in Northwest News. Arrogant, Arrogant.

  6. I agree that the time to start discussing the levy is NOW. Decisions need to be made and communication needs to ramp up in a hurry. I fear if the BOE waits until August, it will be too late.

    In the meantime, it doesn't seem like we can look to the State for additional revenue. As Paul stated before, it looks like we're pretty much on our own.

    I checked into the Dispatch numbers on the State's tax website. I'm guessing the numbers are adjusted for inflation, since in 2000 the number was $45,510 and in 2005 it was $46,060. The number in 2006 was $46,477.

    More importantly, Hilliard CSD's rank out of 612 districts was #40 in 2005 and #35 in 2006. I'm curious, is this one of the numbers used in computing the State's funding portion?

    Other interesting numbers...
    Hilliard CSD also ranks #137 of 612 in property valuation per student. For average (not median) income, Hilliard CSD ranks #64 of 612 in 2006.

    With people increasingly pressured by inflation and taxes and revenues seemingly flat-lined, we're in a tough spot. Still, I'm more concerned of what will happen if levies continue to fail, multitudes of teachers are laid off and the school district goes down in flames.

    No easy way out...

  7. "No easy way out..."

    Agreed. Bottom line is that's it's the school board and BOE's responsibility to see this coming, educate the public, and develop additional revenue streams to head this off. I feel that none of this was done. As another poster noted, it almost seems their attitude is that the levy will eventually pass. We'll see, but I am not optimistic (and will be voting no myself).