Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Cut List

At the Aug 8 School Board meeting, this draft "cut list" was presented by the Administration to the Board.  It is the Administration's top-level recommendation of what should be eliminated from programming and services should the operating levy issue fail in November.

I'll write more about this as soon as I have the opportunity, but wanted make sure all of you saw it.

Again, this is a draft version - the final version will be determined after further information gathering and discussion by the Board. I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts before that discussion takes place.

Please keep your comments civil and productive. I'd also like to impose this rule: If you want to see something taken off the list, then make a recommendation for what programs/services of approximately equal cost should take its place. And please indicate whether you have any "skin" in your answers (ie you now, or will likely have a kid involved in whatever you advocate keeping/cutting).

It would also help if you post your comments using a unique moniker. Just click the pull down arrow in the "Comment as:" box (an example image only shown here, scroll down to actually post a comment)...

... and select "Name/URL", then in the dialog box that comes up just fill in the "Name" box with something unique (and tasteful!). You can leave the "URL" box blank.

Looking forward to hearing from you.


  1. Well, the administration is certainly sparing itself....

  2. Paul,

    I just need some clarification on one of the items. Would the elimination of the stipends for middle and high school activities, effectively ELIMINATE all of those extra-curriculars - similar to what South-Western experienced a couple of years ago?

  3. Ah yes, the tried and true tripodal method of passing levies:

    Maximum pain: the parents and the children. Take away athletics and make them bus themselves.

    Moderate pain: the teachers - get rid of the foreign language teachers, but don't raise class size or do any serious restructuring.

    Minimal pain: the administrators. Give me a break.

  4. STJ: That's my understanding. Can't offer the activities without coaches and directors.

  5. Paul,

    OK. That is what I thought. Thanks!

  6. Roger:

    Even if all foreign language were eliminated, that's around 30 teachers. Using 2009-2010 data, class sizes for the first and second year foreign languages is about 20 students (the same as the overall student/teacher ratio for the district), and we have about 3,100 kids taking a foreign language each year (about 450 French, 250 German, and 2,400 Spanish). In big round numbers, that means about 65% of our high school kids are taking a foreign language.

    Given the expectation that students have 2 and preferably 3 years of a foreign language for admission to many colleges, it's hard to imagine elimination of this department. But maybe we would have to offer only 2 languages rather than 3 (we do have a few kids taking Chinese by the way).

    Maybe we do need to think about offering fewer electives. Did you know there are approx 300 unique courses listed in the high school course catalog (see pages D-61 to D-67)?

    Eliminating 75 positions is significant, and would likely require adjustments in all grade levels and subject areas.

  7. Paul,
    I appreciate your request for input on the cut list. But, first, I'm confused as to how we can suggest alternatives when the cut list is so broad. There is no breakdown of costs associated with the reductions under Certified Teaching Staff. In fact, the draft states "reduction of 75 teaching positions would likely include..." What does "likely" mean? And how much of the over $6 million is foreign language vs. gifted services, for example? Maybe those be spared from the listing at the expense of something elsewhere, but how can we give any reasonable input/alternative? I'd specifically like to know what is the new "gifted services" number since it is smaller than last year's now that only K-5 gifted was restored (with I believe 2 positions cut), and an additional one of two Gifted Coordinator positions was cut.

    I also am confused at the hurry to get this cut list passed by the board. Is it true that it it will be up for vote on August 22? If I remember correctly, the last cut list was approved on March 28, with the election date of May 3. That's 5 weeks prior to the election. Now, if on the agenda for August 22, that is 10 weeks prior to November 8.

    As I recall, the administration proposed the last list on March 16, right before spring break, when most were not paying attention. The board voted on March 28, the day classes resumed. Again, leaving the public with virtually no ability to collect information. Hopefully the "discussion" you'd like to see will be long enough for an educated conversation.

    Finally, I am seriously having difficulty sending this with a URL -- it keeps coming back to the "post a comment" screen. So, I'm sending this as "Anonymous" but just refer to me as "confused."


  8. I view all the cuts as significant, but I must say that the bus service cuts concern me for the potentially negative impact they would have on several factors - particularly with regard to safety and student attendance.

  9. Confused:

    I spent some time with the curriculum folks to gain a better understanding of how the high school scheduling works, and how teachers get assigned. Having been involved in similar in similar staffing situations in my professional career, I appreciate the complexities.

    It starts with observing how many students sign up for each of the 300 courses offered. That number is divided by a target number for class size, and you get the number of sections required. Then you look at the staff available, and see if things can be matched up.

    That's where it gets complicated. Let's say that in one high school, we have 120 kids sign up for Latin 1 (we don't offer Latin, so I use it as an example only). If we want 20 kids in a section, then we need 1 teacher qualified to teach Latin, and that teacher will have 6 sections assigned, or a full teaching load (by contract, our high school teachers get one of the seven periods each day for planning purposes).

    What happens the following year though if only 100 kids sign up for Latin 1? Now there's only enough kids for 5 sections. Does the teacher just get a free period, or do you assign the teacher to monitor a study hall one period (which is okay). What if only 20 kids sign up? Do you assign the teacher to one period of Latin and 5 of study hall, or do you drop Latin from the course catalog and lay the teacher off (because the teacher is not licensed to teach anything else)?

    So there many iterations of this. Do we offer Skydiving 3 even though only 2 kids signed up because otherwise the Skydiving instructor has a free period (no, we don't offer Skydiving either)?

    The Administration has asked for flexibility in determining where exactly the 75 certified staff would come based on the many factors that will come into play when they get a picture of 2012-2013 needs, not the least of which is which HEA members might decide to take the retirement incentive package.

    I don't know when exactly the final cut list will be voted on, but I do know that a lot more discussion needs to take place. That's why I'd rather hear ideas now, and not after the vote is taken.

  10. RE: "It starts with observing how many students sign up for each of the 300 courses offered."

    There's the problem right there. How did we get into this ridiculous mess where we offer 300 courses and allow students to pick and choose with such latitude as if they're in college?

    This slow creeping "college-ization" of high school seems part of why things are so expensive - the physical buildings and grounds are more campus-like, the athletic fields college-like, and the course-offerings with this widely eclectic approach are also college-like. And expensive. It's unsustainable. (And I still don't quite understand why a city Hilliard's size has THREE high schools.)

    It's like we're in an arms race, education-wise, and someone has to stop the madness and get back to the basics. Johnny will live without his course on Intermediate Entomology.

  11. Paul,
    The administration is pushing for a vote on the 22nd, as indicated in the last paragraph of Monday's press release, and comments made to local press. It's obvious what is happening here.

  12. Paul -

    As a high level draft, I think this list is quite responsible and much better than the list that was accepted for the previous levy. I say this because the cuts seem to be spread across the school community from the elementary students to the high school students and at all levels of academic interest. (BTW, I have two sons in the district - they will be in 8th and 5th grade this school year and they have participated in music, athletics, clubs, and gifted programs.)

    I have looked over the HS Course Catalog and while part of me is proud that HCSD offers such a wide selection of offerings part of me just shook my head. I think there are many electives that could be cut with minimal impact on the student's future be it college, career, or undecided. Not to pick on anyone but as a random example I opened to Design: Fashion, Textile and Interiors. The description mentions elements of design, color theory, and merchandising. I would hope those topics are covered in art and business classes as well so it is possible that this class could be cut and students with an interest in this field could be directed to art and business courses. My feeling is that other electives may be a subset combination of other more core courses. Also, I hope that the idea of expanded video course work be considered. Just from personal experience I know that some off-site students attended the same 6th grade pre-algebra class as my son via video conferencing. I believe that is how the Chinese class that you mentioned is also taught this way. It may be possible to combine some electives across the 3 high schools with this technology.

    I'm curious as the list mentions the Athletics Sustainability Committee findings but there is no mention of possible changes such as higher pay-to-participate fees for athletics and other extra-curriculars. I'm sure such a change would impact this section of proposed cuts. Any word on this area?

    So my request to you in considering these cuts is to please watch for a balance as more specifics are decided. Do not remove all MS electives but only a few HS ones. Spread the cuts across the student community. Do not cut music and arts programs without also cutting other 'extras' such as athletics. I know that mandates for gifted students are much smaller than for those at the other end of the identified spectrum but remember those kids have special needs too. And ask if extra curricular options would not be allowed or simply would not be financed. I know at our elementary school most of the enrichment courses are taught by parents and local businesses and the only funds I ever received were the fee that I charged for the class materials. I'm sure there are many volunteers who would help keep tutoring, clubs, etc. going without a stipend.

  13. Since the cut list is intended to motivate people to vote for the tax increase, why not just threaten to go to state minimums and be done with it. You'll get there eventually.

    The history of cut lists and levy failures, even in Hilliard, demonstrates that after the vote, no one really takes the list seriously so why agonize over it.

    For example, if a larger number of teachers than expected retires or health care costs decrease, you'll have more money. Do you honestly expect us to believe you're going to cut stuff just because it was on a list. Similarly, if health care costs skyrocket, you'll have less money and you'll start cutting stuff even if the levy passes.

    Also, why are you having a vote on the cut list. There is no statute that requires it. The Superintendent can make the cuts without any board input, let alone a vote. Is it intended to be symbolic? If so, why play the game? You really need to be above this kind of thing.

    The list itself makes little sense which is consistent with its political nature. For example, why cut all supplemental contracts. Certainly, you can use a scalpel rather than a stick of dynamite if you are trying to do what is best for kids. The same is true of languages. You can pare back rather than eliminate, but then you lose the fear factor. After all, if football would be saved, that might cost you 1000 levy votes.

    I've rambled enough here but I think I've made my point. Paul, we elected you to be above this kind of thing. Show some leadership and call this what it is. Thank you.

  14. @STJ, @Paul

    In Arizona, there are zero stipends for extra curriculars, and the schools in that State manage just fine with many, many fine teachers volunteering their time.


    The cut-list is balanced, but if they cut high school busing when there is a rural high school, expect a lawsuit filed against the district right after the board approves the cut. There are 55 mph speed limits in Brown Township, many vehicles exceed the speed limit, there are no paths or sidewalks for students to talk on.

    This is an accident waiting to happen, and the district needs to really think about what they're putting at risk here before making that particular decision. I really don't think the tax payers want to be footing the bill when one of the kids walking to school gets hit.

    And yes, I have a kid at Bradley, but I also have skin in the game in several other areas of the cuts as well.

    Regarding foreign language cuts: if we have to do that, so be it. But if we're cutting something that has been repeatedly proven to advance kids' learning abilities over classes like 'Global Gourmet' and the Design class HeatherDu pointed out, then there's a much bigger problem...

  15. Wow... If the posts on Topix are any indication, this levy is in DEEP trouble and so is Hilliard CSD. It could be a very UGLY winter and spring in Hilliard.

  16. For reference, here is the course catalog:


    The name of the course is far less important than the person teaching it.

    I'll take the argument to the extreme. Let's say Ralph Lauren was teaching our fashion design course. Regardless of whether they pursue a career in the field, your kid will learn a lot more about life and success in that class than boring old Mr. Smith's algebra 2 class.

    Roger, quit fostering an environment that allows our administration to settle for mediocrity.

    I'm in favor of whatever course catalog that allows us to retain our most effective, inspiring, and hard-working teachers.

    If I were superintendent, here's the first thing I would do: Have every principle send me a list of their bottom and top 10% teachers and what they teach.

  17. Paul,

    It feels like you are asking us to solve a logic puzzle within an irrationally structured context....

    Tradition, Procedures, regulations, and contracts have taken the best options off the table.

  18. Well, after thinking it was just Hilliard, I saw similar responses on Topix to levies in Dublin and Westerville.

  19. So, after spending six weeks working on the Athletics Sustainability Committee, I'm left wondering, what happened to our findings? As Heatherdu indicated, nothing is mentioned about the findings, such as higher pay-to-participate fees, along with our other suggestions to lower expenses.

    To be honest, the whole time I was on the committee, I felt they were just doing this exercise to make the community feel they had a voice in the matter, and to act like they really cared. I even brought up this point that I felt they weren't going to do anything with our findings. Now from what I read, my fears were correct.

    What really irritated me throughout the whole process, was that we spent six weeks going over every detail of HCSD athletics, and at the end of the day, it only accounts for 1.5% of the entire operating budget. Now from what Paul indicates, they are going to do away with athletics. We all know why this is put out there....because it is a hot button for the community, and they can try to blackmail us by putting this on the cut list.

    Lastly, only two Central Office Coordinators, really? That's the best they can come up with? I'm shocked. Insert sarcasm here.

  20. @T wrote:
    "I'm in favor of whatever course catalog that allows us to retain our most effective, inspiring, and hard-working teachers."

    Err, WHAT?

    How about this:

    I'm in favor of whatever course catalog allows us to educate our kids without bankrupting us in the process.

    Yeah, I like hard-working, inspiring teachers, but I'm not going to ask hard-working people in this district to take food of their kids' plates in order to pay for them.

  21. Paul,

    I have a rather large bone to pick with you:

    "I'd also like to impose this rule: If you want to see something taken off the list, then make a recommendation for what programs/services of approximately equal cost should take its place. "

    Well, as soon as McVey and his crew actually provide the answers to questions that date back to April with regard to district spending, we might be able to follow your rule...

  22. Quit fostering an environment that allows our administration to settle for mediocrity.

    The problem is that we have only a "mediocre" amount of money.

    This sort of foolishness reminds me of corporations who expect their people to perform like top talent while only being willing to pay for mediocre talent. We are not Bexley, like it or not.

  23. If this was really all about the Kids we would be keeping the Bus service and Sports, these compose to 1/4 ($2,500,000) of the total Draft.I would like to propose a 5% cut in Compensation to ALL Staff. Thanks ,but no thanks to the Freeze. This will allow Everyone to keep said jobs and the Kids to be safe and healthy. The RED Knob still needs a good cranking. Come on !!

  24. Really?? We're back to the same old extortion again?? Eliminate that which hurts the most people -- busing, sports, and other extra-curriculars, in order to keep the 300+ junior college course offering catalog for the high school. Really??

    There's an $8million short fall so lets raise $14million, or we'll cut over $10million. Really?? No skin in this game for me. Our children have attended Catholic schools for all 12 grades. Huge sacrifice for the family, but we have ALWAYS also been strong supporters of the vibrant Hilliard public schools. Until now.

  25. Paul, thank yu again for communicating. Oh, it is something sorely missing in the relationship between the three legs of the stool! Regardless if the levy passes or not, I propose that the stipens absolutely be reviewed. I was amazed to learn stipens were paid for jobs such as building website coordinator, technology coordinator (makes sure the printers work and have ink), student councel at the elementary level, choose to lead, morning news, safety patrol, and many more "other duties as assigned" in the corporate world. Now, I realize that each one of these do not add up to much individually, but they are significant if you consider every building. Of course, this is not the big issue but it's a start.

    In addition, let's talk language at high chool. I spoke German back in the day but is German really a language of the future? What about French. We know Spanish is important but Mandarin and Arabic should be the other offerings. Yes, Mandarin is taught but it is a remote course offered at less-than ideal hours of the day so I suspect that is why the numbers are lower. Along those lines, I wonder if the remote course is less expensive than in house.

    Again, I do not have the answers but I really question if the administration has looked for the lowest hanging fruit and comprehensively looked at school operations.

    This will be a difficult fall...

  26. I agree with Mom. The community hears 'cuts' and immediately thinks 'bad' but really there are plenty of cuts that would just plain be responsible. I think the issue is that Paul and the board are not deciding the cuts but they are voting on the cuts that are presented to them by the administration. We need to convince the administration that there are expenses and electives and other items that voters, students, and parents would willingly accept to lower the budget. But we are not offered the responsible ones without the threatening ones such as eliminate busing.

  27. Wow, minimal cuts administratively. And some, such as the asst. AD's, are only part time/stipend positions. So when you really look at it, there are hardly any administrative cuts. Especially at CO. I was under the assumption that they had already made a cut at the asst. super position(Andy Regal), but have knowledge someone else was moved up, but they created a new title, then moved someone from one of the HS for the secondary curr. director. I am sorry, but these cuts are hitting our children directly. Why not make some cuts at the top heavy central office, then work your way down so it doesn't directly affect the kids? WE all know that the staff has taken pay freezes, but have yet to hear if administration has done the same? Why are we not getting these answers Paul? These are the kinds of things that the public wants to know.

  28. Roger,

    You're wondering why Hilliard CSD has three high schools when the population of the City of Hilliard is not even quite 30,000. It is because the boundaries of the school district encompass much more than the City of Hilliard. The American Community Survey of 2009 (results found on the Census Bureau website) peg Hilliard CSD's population at around 90,000. The high school enrollment is close to 4,700 and could grow a bit from there.

    As for your other point, I don't think most people here consider Hilliard to be the same as Bexley or Upper Arlington. It isn't. However, it also isn't primarily a low-to-moderate income area with largely blue-collar residents, as one Hilliard poster on another forum commented. IMHO, Hilliard CSD is a largely middle-class area with some low and moderate incomes, but also a few high incomes. The median household income, median family income and percentage of residents with a college degree is higher than that of Ohio or the US.

    Statistically speaking, our school district is quite similar to Westerville CSD, Pickerington LSD, Gahanna-Jefferson CSD and even Worthington CSD. For that reason, I think Hilliard CSD should be able to provide an education comparable to those districts with opportunities similar to those districts.

  29. M & Roger-

    All money is Monopoly money. Dont covet something with no intrinsic value.

    To preserve paper at the expense of education is to confuse abstraction with reality. Our currency is only as valuable as the opportunities it creates.

    "..take food off their plates..." Seriously dude, give me a break.

  30. Mandarin and Arabic? Arabic? Arabic?

    In this world, business is conducted in English and dollars.

  31. T, I agree that English is the language of business currently. My point is, if we are offering additional languages, Spanish is a must and then the next two most spoken languages in the world should be offered. German and French aren't there but that is what our students can select.

  32. RE T seriously dude give me a break

    Dont wish bad things to happen, but apparently you might be a bit out of touch with all the layoffs, foreclosures, going on unemployment. Etc

    There are serious issues out there economically.
    Perhaps you have been lucky not to lose your job, home etc. and not been adversly affected.

    As with the district, and many of its members they have no idea the challenges many people , families kids are facing.

  33. Mom,

    Be advised that there are parents in the district who may not (most likely DO NOT) share your opinion on what those three languages should be. Most would probably say Spanish. I would say that most understand that Mandarin is going to be increasingly important.

    After that, be prepared for a lot of folks who still want French and German to be offered for various reasons. French was long considered the language of diplomacy. Germany is the foremost economic power in Europe and German is widely spoken there.

    Back in the late 70s, early 80s, I think there were those who thought Japanese and Russian to be just as important as German and French.

  34. STJ: Good points. The debate over which languages would be most beneficial is complex. Linguistics has long been an interest of mine. The reality is that the 'lingua franca' of a region is dictated by which culture is in economic power. Since the days of the British Empire through the 20th century, that language has been English in the West. After the rise of the Soviet Union, Russian became similarly dominate as the language of an empire.

    Interestingly, one vestige of this is French. As we know, there are many folks now coming to our area from equatorial Africa, where French is a common second language. While German-speakers also likely speak English - because they study it for years in school - English is not so well known in the north African countries.

    What comes next? Mandarin is spoken as a first or second language by more people than any other language on earth. Running a close second is Hindi/Urdu, spoken by the people of India and Pakistan.

    And one would certainly have to argue for the importance of Arabic in today's world.

    Another truth - languages are taught much more effectively to young kids - from PK to about 4th grade. Some argue that learning multiple languages during these years when the brain is still forming actually makes kids smarter.

    But the bigger point is that every course offered in our high schools has some constituency that will object to elimination. It's always easier to add than to take away.

  35. Paul,

    One clarification please: don't lump Hindi and Urdu together. They are not even remotely similar.

    One is a left-to-right language; the other is right-to-left...

  36. Paul touched on something that has long been considered a deficit by some (many?) in American education. Many feel that the US is hurting itself by not introducing foreign language earlier.

    My point is that it is easy for one person to sit back and decide which courses are irrelevant. However, that person should be prepared for each course to have its proponents or 'constituency', if you will.

    It doesn't mean that we shouldn't take a hard look at what we want to offer. Just don't expect the cutting process to be painless or without debate.

  37. M:

    I beg to differ. They are dialects of a common language, distinguished by two different written forms.

    There are a number of examples in the world of languages which share the oral form, but differ in the written form, and visa versa. For example, the five major dialects of Chinese all share the same written language. Folks from different parts of China can't speak to each other, but they can communicate in writing. That's due to one of the Emperors who mandated a common written language for the good of governance and commerce. That written language is so pervasive in that part of the world that it was used as the basis of the written language in other countries as well (e.g. the Kanji in Japanese).

    Then there is the example of Serbian, spoken by two ethnic groups, some of whom write in the Latin alphabet (the Roman Catholics) and those who write in Cyrillic (Eastern Orthodox).

    The evolution of language parallels history. One could argue that it's much less important for our students to know any one particular non-English language than it is that they understand - in general terms - how languages evolved. For when they do, it very much helps one understand why our world is the way it is.

  38. Can anyone tell me why we need three assistant principals at Darby and Bradley, and four at Davidson? If we are looking at ways to save money, I'm having a hard time understanding why we basically need a principal for each grade in high school. This doesn't even count the three secretaries for them.

    With this, they also have five guidance counselors and three secretaries, so it's not like there isn't administrative help at the high schools.

  39. Kel tried to submit this comment on 8/11, but I think ran into some Internet Explorer vs Blogger problem, which I've experienced myself. I've found it generally less annoying to use Google's Chrome browser here, no surprise since Google now owns Blogger...

    Pardon the essay, but here is my reaction to the proposed “cut list.” At first glance, several of the numbers do not add up for me:

    1. Administrative Staff: $395,000. Which two coordinators? A look through the lists of coordinators shows on average a “coordinator” makes approximately $78,000. Even with benefits (not sure % to include) how do we get to $395,000? The three HS assistant Athletic Directors make a combined total of $29,000 in supplemental salaries, including benefits. I calculate a maximum savings of $216,000 here.

    2. Certified Teaching Staff: $6,083,000. This total amount divided by 75 positions equals approximately $81,000 per teacher. Per the district website, average teacher salary is $66,906. [What is a good percentage to add to base salary for all benefits? 20%?] Are we going to eliminate 75 average pay teachers to achieve this $6 million number? No, cuts will come from the bottom tier of teachers and will not impact the programs mentioned. Just look at the RIF list from the May 23, 2011 board meeting. All cuts came from elementary level teachers at the bottom of the pay scale. We will need to eliminate far more than 75 to reach this magical $6 million. Even if foreign languages or other electives are reduced, those teachers with enough tenure will be redirected to areas they may or may not be prepared to teach.

    3. Classified Support Staff: $742,000. Eliminate 3rd shift custodians, 13 positions. Last time I checked we had 23 buildings, which 13? How many 3rd shift custodians do we have? 1 per building, 2 per building?

    4. Programs and Operations: $3,062,000.
    a. HS bus service – I have no numbers to verify
    b. Reduce professional development – Note “reduce.” From what level?
    c. Eliminate all HS & MS extra-curriculars. $2,112,000. “Athletics Sustainability Committte findings” Sorry, you cannot lay this steaming pile on the Committee’s door. The Committee looked at investigating all options and looking at all the costs involved for all aspects of the district. There was no singular “recommendation” from the Committee. I would assume this number includes the $265,716 (plus X% for benefits) for the three HS Athletic Directors not listed in cuts. (Why are the “assistant” AD’s listed in item #1 and not here?)
    d. Eliminate all discretionary stipends – Define “discretionary.” Whose discretion? List which “Group A,” “Group B,” and total number of “Group C” stipends being cut. The November 22, 2010 board meeting list of stipends totals $703,049, but only $256,000 is being cut here.
    e. Eliminate summer school: $10,000. We spend $14,500 alone on principal and coordinator stipends. At least 50 teachers are employed for summer school at $30/hour ($25/hour for first year) with a minimum of 60 hours each. Do we have that many students that need to attend summer school at tuition rates of $150-$345 that covers all these costs except for the $10,000 proposed here? Scary numbers involved there.

    Why $10 million in cuts? The unofficial 5-year forecast shows $8.4 million deficit by FY13. A $1.6 million cushion does nothing for us when the following year shows a deficit of $24 million.


  40. ...continued

    My primary problem with this cut list or any list for that matter is the lack of a long term vision for the district. We know, and have known for several years now, that funding from the state level will be flat or negative. What long term (10-15 years) cuts or re-tooling of programs are being projected to keep us sustainable? The forecast shows the usual 4.15% steps back in FY16; what long term solutions are being worked out with the unions for the future, without which we cannot keep expense growth in check? Assuming 5.9 mils pass in November with a three year interval, can 5.9 mils every three years keep us in the black? Or are we looking at a higher millage for future levies? How much?

    When we purchased our home in 2000, schools - as part of home-buying consideration - were just a blip on the radar as our son was only 2 ½ at the time. Our primary consideration was affordability. We saved for a 20% down payment and bought a home within our means. Our property taxes have jumped 63.5% since then and will jump to 76.7% if this levy passes. At this pace, our taxes will double by 2018. And that is only if the next three year levy is 5.9 mils.

    Do I feel we get value for our money? NO. The Excellent with Distinction rating is meaningless within the context of American education as a whole. Ohio’s tests are below standard comparative to the National Assessment of Educational Progress. ( Our district squeaked by with “value added” scores – two in the “red” and three “green.” (See ODE: Power User reports) Ohio will be looking at the potential for waivers because it has not increased the required minimum standards hoping that No Child Left Behind will just go away.

    We need to do more to weed out the bad apples and reward the good. Should the metrics of teacher evaluation rely solely on student performance on state tests? No, however they must comprise a part of the overall measure. Do those tests need to be reworked? Absolutely. Our children compete for jobs on a global scale and testing proficiency needs to be measured against international scales, not Ohio’s absurd definition of “proficient.”

    I could support some of the 75 position cuts if I believed that we would truly trim as needed. But have we as a district done an in-depth evaluation of those programs to make those decisions? Doubtful.

    We are stuck again with short term thinking. Yet another long term contract has been signed with very little room to maneuver. Senate Bill 5, for all its problems and vitriol, will more than likely be repealed, leaving districts with no recourse for merit systems. (Note “systems” not necessarily “pay.” Like Paul, I truly believe there are many ways to rewards great teachers, good teachers, and average teachers. I would have stayed at one of the crappiest jobs I ever had, low pay/mountains of work and responsibilities, if we had been rewarded with management support when needed.)


  41. ...continued

    As the purpose of this exercise is the short-term, here are my thoughts (by the way, my “skin” in the game – one in 4th grade (potential sports, was looking forward to 5th grade band, student council last year, and extra-curricular opportunities provided by our PTO) and one in 8th grade (gifted, band, performed the musical last year):

    *Reduce supplemental salaries by 10%, until a long-term revision is made. Athletics and performing arts should be a straight stipend like academic extra-curricular activities. Savings approx. $200,000.

    *Raise the athletics participation fees to $100 H.S. / $ 90 M.S. per sport. Approx. $160,000 in new revenue. (Each $10 increase = approx. $45,000 in new revenue not factoring for declines in participation as fees rise, potential family caps, or adjustments for economically disadvantaged.)

    *Eliminate low participation sports: gymnastics, golf, and swimming. Savings approx. $186,000.

    *Eliminate IAT (intervention assistance team) stipends ($1000 each up to 9 per building) and School Improvement Teams stipends ($350 each up to 10 per building). I’m sorry, but I believe these are part of the essential job requirements of teachers. Long-term review of all stipend positions and their distribution within district is necessary. Savings approx. $287,500.

    *I won’t touch the HS electives question without solid numbers on enrollment per class per building. Any ideas on where to find that info? Not averages, but actual breakdowns per class per building.

    * Reduction of 15 days sick pay to 10 or less. Eliminate accumulation of sick days from year to year. Savings approx. ? Far too many substitute teachers utilized during the school year for my taste.

    I’m at about $1 million in reductions / savings. Give me the checkbook and I’ll see what else I can do.

    Will I support this levy? With the concessions from the unions, I was actually leaning toward my first ever “yes” vote. But this cut list has sent me in the other direction. Why? Because, yet again, it is slapped together to get a levy passed without a long term strategy. Am I completely opposed to increases? No, there must be balance. We cannot just cut our way out of this mess, additional revenue is required at some point. But until I see some long term solution proposals with implementation timelines, I cannot support constant increases to our tax bill. As much as more cuts will hurt my kids, we have to protect their long term future, i.e. ability to pay our bills and perhaps afford college with its ever increasing tuition growth. And don’t even get me started on a potential school income tax levy. Sorry retirees and soon-to-be retirees (Baby Boomers), you are not shifting yet another mess down to Gen X or Y, or any other letters of the alphabet.


  42. As far as I can tell, this cut list is business as usual. As has been stated over and over, programs and extracurricular activities are items at the margin. The elephant in the room is compensation. At 88% of the budget, and growing, this is the only real "knob" there is to turn. Until and unless the board/administration changes the way we compensate teachers, we are going to be in a fiscal crisis forever. Threatening sports is ridiculous. At 1.5% of the budget, sports are not the problem. The community engaged in a good faith effort to figure out ways to help sustain sports in the schools, but it was co-opted by a structure imposed from the administration, rather than a real committee.

    Compensation growth should be tied to to revenue growth. It should be pegged to a certain percentage of revenue. It should not be allowed to consume the entire budget. What the percentage should be? I don;t know. Perhaps 88% is right. But it should not be allowed to grow.

    In addition, The administration and board should come out in full support of SB5. Only by getting the power away from the teacher's unions can we really address the issues. The union contracts that force teacher layoffs only from the bottom of the seniority scale make the problem worse. New teachers constantly being the ones let go make the problem worse, as we then have only long term highly paid teachers on the payroll, so it skews the compensation even higher. I find it ironic that the union that is supposed to protect jobs actually only protects senior jobs. New teacher jobs are sacrificed to protect the senior ones. A union that was out to protect jobs would be trying to figure out how ot save all of them, not just the senior folks.

  43. Paul,

    Thanks for the link, although citing Wikipedia in class as a "source" will generally get you an "F" nowadays ;-)

    The four Indians in the focus group I moderated last week* also would disagree with Wikipedia. Besides, language is more than speech, right?

    That said, there are probably some cultural and religious biases at play...

    * Completely unrelated to any of this discussion, but the group was looking at computer-generated translations and these two languages were very much a part of the discussion.

  44. The Hindi/Urdu connection was from a college linguistics class - I was just too lazy to dig up my text book. The differences are akin to British English vs American English. Same syntax, nearly identical vocabulary, but enough different in both pronunciation and idioms to often confound communications.

    Kinda like school-speak vs business-speak. Same words, often different meanings...

  45. I have a child who will be in Hilliard Schools next fall. I am already considering moving if the levy fails. I really think all day kindergarten is important and I like the fact there are so many class choices for the older students. I'll be taking a lost on my home, but my child's future is more important. I do think Hilliard at times will protect sports at all costs then drop things like all day kindergarten off the table with little regard.

    Well, they might have to do it with less of my money if the levy fails or I don't see more concern for the needs of the younger students.

  46. Anon...

    I hardly think you are alone is considering moving if the levy fails. Some (particularly those with families) will go ahead and take a loss on their home. IHMO, rightly or wrongly, Hilliard CSD is going to be perceived as a less-than-desirable place to live.

  47. @Anonymous

    All-day kindergarten is one of those "great ideas but with a horrendous cost" items that politicians come up with.

    1. HCSD doesn't have the building space for all-day kindergarten.

    2. HCSD doesn't have enough teachers for all-day kindergarten.

    3. HCSD doesn't have enough money for all-day kindergarten.

    File away under "nice to have, but we can't afford it".

    (FWIW, neither can any other school district when it comes down to it.)

  48. @STJ

    With respect, anyone who can afford to take that kind of loss and still BUY a house in whatever district they move to, can probably pay for private education. Remember, to qualify for a mortgage you have to have a very high income, or a considerable down payment right now. If you're taking a bath on your current home, I'm not sure you'll be that flushed with cash for that 20% down payment...

    But seriously, the rhetoric doesn't get us anywhere. HCSD residents simply cannot afford the tax increases required over the next 25 years to keep up this level of spending. Something HAS to give.

    Let me put it this way and give you something to think about:

    Rather than

    "Hilliard CSD is going to be perceived as a less-than-desirable place to live"

    how about:

    "Hilliard CSD is making Hilliard an unaffordable place to live"

    Food for thought.

  49. M,

    I understand (and appreciate) that there is always more than one perspective on this topic. And yes, I agree, we do need to keep Hilliard CSD an affordable place to live. I've already said (in so many words) that the trajectory of our tax increases in our recent past is unsustainable.

    Please appreciate, though, that I do not believe it is just rhetoric, when I make my perspective known. I really do feel that if this levy goes down, it will bring harm to our community. Balancing those perspectives is the hard (but certainly not impossible) part.

  50. @STJ

    It IS rhetoric today. The "people will leave" rhetoric is just that, because as I pointed out, no one who can afford to leave -- again, TODAY -- is worried about a levy failing.

    In fact -- again, TODAY -- I would argue that passing the levy will lead to more people leaving (because they're out of money!) than the reverse.

    5-6 years ago things were different.

    But it IS rhetoric, because the reality is the number of people that would actually leave (regardless of pass or fail) is tiny. The statements are simply made as some kind of veiled threat.

    Frankly it's really no different than those celebrities that claim they'll "move to Canada!" if such-and-such politician gets elected. Funny how they usually all end up staying...

  51. @STJ

    I forgot to mention, that yes, there are definitely different perspectives. And I appreciate Paul giving folks the opportunity to actually debate them.

    Pity the rest of the board seems so against this...

  52. To STJ: Using rhetoric such as levy failure will "harm" the community" and Hilliard will be a "less desirable place to live" are unnecessarily inflammable.

    The administration is literally holding this community hostage to the cuts that hurt the most people--high school busing and sports. Yet the cost of these two items, at $2.6million is just 1.67% of the total general fund of over $156.4 million.

    Did you know that federal and state mandates and self insured medical insurance, among others, account for an ADDITIONAL $62 million in expenditures, for a total for FY2011 budget of $218.1 million? And they want to cut $0.4 million for high school busing!!

    We are being manipulated to pass another levy. Why do we have to take or leave their list of cuts, with no community input? Why isn't that seen as the "harm" being done. Why isn't the school administration's lack of responsiveness and extremely poor communication being seen as why we may become a "less desirable place to live"? Why is there no discussion of the $2 million in the budget for the latchkey program and exactly how our 1180 teachers are being untilized.(Source: HCSD internet web pages, and HCSD FY2011 BUDGET, also found online.)

    I don't even have any children in Hilliard schools and I'm sorry for my neighbors who do. (My children were each only in kindergarten in HCSD, then on to Catholic schools for 12 years).

    The real issues, beyond just "pass the levy" are not being addressed.

  53. M/Old Hilliard,

    As far as people moving, it was an observation, not something meant to convince people to pass this levy. I respectfully disagree with you when I say that I believe that the levy's failure will hurt the community is not inflammatory rhetoric.

    I have respected your opinions and not used characterizations to minimize them, please respect mine. Disagree with my opinion wholeheartedly, but please do not minimize it by calling it "rhetoric". I believe that term is one that shuts down communication, as it has a derisive tone to it.

    Old Hilliard... I have already said that the district needs to do a better job of communication, and I have said that the rate of spending increase cannot continue as it has in the recent past.

    As for the cut list... I am not thrilled with it, either. However, if Hilliard CSD doesn't cut bus transportation and athletics (in the event of a levy failure), where should those cuts come instead? Less administrators? (That wouldn't get us the whole way to $8.4 million.) Fewer teachers? Teachers salaries cut? (Although, there was just a contract agreement, so I don't know if that is even possible.)

  54. "No one can afford, everyone is financially in trouble, etc, etc, etc". Forgive me, but these exaggerations are a bit much IMO. I realize the economy is not good. I realize "some" are struggling. But Hilliard schools cover approx 50K I believe. I highly doubt a HIGH percentage of people in Hilliard are in dire straights. I don't mean to sound too sensitive. I but I believe there are some who want to make it out like things are so bad, that no one can afford this or that. Sorry, but when I see people WASTE money doing certain things, things they could do without, I have a hard time feeling bad for many. Our children and school system are important. Sacrifices can be made if people really look at what they spend per month in certain area's of their life. Lets prioritize what is important people. And then make the right decision.
    PAUL, I am still waiting on a reply to my above comments about administrative movement/cuts, freezes. We have yet to hear anything in this area. Thanks

  55. Paul,

    If my previous post mentioned the figure for the shortfall ($8+ million), I should have mentioned the figure that was on the cut list ($10+ million). Sorry for the confusion.

  56. The national average for Principal to student ratio is 1 - 306. There are +-1800 students at davidson 5 princpals. You do the math. The same ratio is evident at Darby and Bradley.

  57. M/Old Hilliard/Go Bucks,

    In response to your discussions as to whether people would move out if the levy passes/fails, all we have to do is go back a few years and look at Grove City when the Southwestern CSD levy failed, and they eliminated sports. Families were trying to move out of the district, and were left trying to sell $200,000 homes for around $150,000, and having homes on the market for over a year. I agree with all points in that we can't afford to lose sports/band/extra activities, but I also have a real problem with how they are holding sports/bussing over our heads when they only acount for less than 2% of the budget. They know this is the only way they have a chance to get this passed.

    From what I've read, it seems like everyone feels that we are the only school district that has financial problems. If you look around, basically every school district in the Columbus area has either just passed a levy, or has one coming up in November. While I don't agree with the current cuts, and I'm not happy having to pay extra in taxes, the only alternative is to vote "no", and then watch as the surrounding neighborhoods deteriate with people moving out of the district.

    I'll continue to make my voice heard and challenge the current administration to provide us with detailed information, but we still need to learn from the past (Grove City), and make sure this doesn't happen to us. I would rather pay an extra $28/month in taxes, than the alternative......

  58. In regards to M's comment about their being "zero" stipends in Arizona. You're just flat out wrong. I know people that coach there. They are paid for it. As an example, here is a link to the Tucson ARIZONA Unified School District contract. Look on page 51 at the supplemental pay schedule. The numbers represent the percentage of a teachers pay they are given in supplemental pay for the various duties.

  59. I'd like to echo @J, @GoBucks, and @STJ - I'm so glad you spoke up. I was feeling like I was the only one who thought that things don't seem as bad as @M and @Old Hilliard keep saying it is. I can certainly afford to pay a few extra dollars a week to support the schools and community.
    In fact, I was thinking this would be a PERFECT time to pass a levy. It is my understanding that the teachers and other workers have a pay freeze in place for a 3 year contract. With the Board making the commitment to not asking for more money for three years, we are virtually guaranteed that any money raised by this levy wouldn't be going to paying them any more would be going to pay for just the things that we currently have - keeping our schools awesome!

    And Paul - I had asked you if you were supporting the levy openly this time (if I recall you threw your endorsement behind the last levy the day before the vote) - any decision yet?

  60. I am also glad to hear others say that the financial situation for many of us in Hilliard is not as dire as many have made it sound here. Regardless of our viewpoints, I think we all need to work on avoiding hyperbole and sweeping generalizations.

  61. @M--you told another poster that if they could afford to move, they could probably afford private school. There are a few problematic assumptions embedded in there, but let's just look at one: that private schools are inherently superior to public ones. I'd like to address that. Having taught in a Columbus Catholic school, I can assure you that they are by NO means automatically superior to public schools. Sure, if you compared my school with the local Columbus public school, you would come out ahead at the Catholic school. But compared to Hilliard Schools? NO WAY! I could have transferred my kids there for free tuition, but by the end of my first year, I knew there was no way I would even consider doing that. Literally everything EXCEPT religious instruction and parent support was more impressive to me in Hilliard. When I say "everything," that included the facilities, curriculum, class-size, teacher quality, opportunities for exceptional students (gifted OR special ed), etc. The ONLY ways the Catholic school was superior were in providing religious instruction on a daily basis, and in having a highly active, organized group of engaged parents to support the schools (which many, if not most, of our Hilliard schools also have).

    I should mention that I am a practicing Catholic. I am in no way trying to disparage the Diocesan or other private schools; I'm sure some ARE better than Hilliard, but some are clearly not. I just really want us to be careful not to assume private education always trumps public. It's simply not the case.

    Are the test scores better in private schools? Yes. But guess what? They have few students (sometimes none depending on the class) with learning disabilities or other special needs. They have few ELL students who are still learning English. My school was nearly 100% white, upper-middle class (though not all are this homogeneous). My own kids are both close to graduation, and so ultimately, the outcome of this levy probably won't affect my family's educational opportunities anymore. But I hope we will keep in mind the value of paying it forward and of continuing to invest in our own property values.

  62. ABM:

    I didn't endorse the last levy - I simply said that would vote for it.

    I'll vote for this levy too. I'm not thrilled with the amount of money we're spending to run our schools, and I regret that our economy is such that we've lost an appreciable amount of funding from the State of Ohio. Our community remains a net funder to the rest of the State, meaning that communities that didn't see their State funding cut so much are benefiting from the fact that our local economy isn't so bad, and unemployment in our community is low, thereby continuing to generate a lot of State income tax that funds OTHER school districts.

    But a number of positive things have happened in this particular levy cycle:

    1. The teachers and support staff agreed to contracts that have no base pay increases for three years, and postpone steps until 2013 (one step year is eliminated altogether). I think they knew that an ugly negotiation, as happened in 2008, would not have a good outcome this time. It was also worth it to them to neutralize the specter of SB5 for a few years - a tactic chosen by teachers' unions all over Ohio in the past months.

    2. An early retirement incentive program has been offered to the teachers which needs to be funded. In the short run, it will cost us a few bucks. But it will give us an opportunity to reconfigure our teaching staff to a lower total cost basis with much less pain than would normally be the case.

    3. With these things, an others, the rate of spending growth has been slowed appreciably compared to the last decade. The work is not over, but this is a good start.

    4. We are already spending at a deficit, to the tune of $3.3m in FY11 (ending June 30, 2011). So just to keep things the same, we need to cover the 3.3 mills worth of State funding that has been lost, plus the 1.4 mills equivalent of a $3.3m spending deficit. That's 4.7 mills just to stay where we are.

    Levies are about community choice and individual values. What I value and what you value may be quite different. I drive a simple work truck, you may drive a Ferrari. I'm not going to tell you what you should drive, and I'm not going to tell you to vote for the levy.

    All I hope to do is help, through my actions on the Board, present a reasonable option to the community, and give you information that helps you make your decision. We're still working on the first - the stuff that gets put on the "cut list." I have some problems with the current list, and hope we can work them out at our special working session next Monday.

    Now it's the community's turn to make a decision. Sadly, most people make up their minds without spending an iota of time on research or analysis, then are surprised at what happens.

  63. @Cathy

    Your point is valid. I should have been clearer: the point was that anyone who can afford to move and take the kind of loss they'd probably be taking today, can afford alternatives. Maybe they stick with a public school and hire a private tutor for the area their kid isn't getting what they need.

    In fact... anyone who would seriously move if this levy fails (and take the associated loss, yada yada) should probably just hire the aforementioned private tutor.

    (Sorry, the more I think about this, whether the "loss" is educational or extra-curricular, it makes no financial sense to move out of the district in this housing market...)

  64. A comment on the finances issue of people in the district.

    I predicted at the beginning of this year that HCSD would struggle to pass the May levy because of the economy.

    The reason I am "all in" on that now, is because having spent a month talking to people prior to the last levy vote, I was *stunned* just how badly some people were hurting. And these were people who up until then had supported levy votes, bond issue votes, school fundraising, PTO membership, etc.

    One of the issues we have today is that as a community we are too distant from our neighbors. Some of us are doing fine right now; some of us have neighbors who are really struggling, but we don't know it. There ARE a lot of our community members right now who ARE struggling badly. I stress this because even though I thought things would be tough earlier this year, until I got out there I didn't realize HOW tough they were.

    And to @aBoredMember -- I can tell you right now that to those people struggling, a "pay freeze" isn't enough when they've taken anywhere from 5% to 70% cuts in income in the past three years. (Yes, the high end is usually the result of a job loss somewhere.)

    So yes, things are dire for some folks, and for a lot more folks than I ever realized.

  65. @Paul

    >> 4. We are already spending at a deficit, to the tune of $3.3m in FY11 (ending June 30, 2011). So just to keep things the same, we need to cover the 3.3 mills worth of State funding that has been lost, plus the 1.4 mills equivalent of a $3.3m spending deficit. That's 4.7 mills just to stay where we are.

    Let's look at this another way.

    You are a company with two customers; one customer is the State, the other is a conglomeration of local residents.

    The State decides to cut its business with you by $1.3m. You decide to up the price on your "product" for the other customer by $1.3m to make up the difference.

    Now, in the private sector, one of two things would happen: 1) the conglomeration would refuse to pay the price increase; or, 2) the conglomeration would pay the price increase, but in the process you would lose goodwill with the conglomeration, making any future price increases harder to impose.

    Oh, and the conglomeration would still expect the same level of service from your business, even if they rejected the price increase.

    Sound familiar?

    Now, as someone who worked in the private sector for a number of years, what usually happens when you impose price hikes on your customers?

  66. M:

    Except a school district is not a business. It is a community-owned entity granted by law the exclusive right to levy taxes in order to operate. However, those taxes are levied only with the permission of the voters.

    That's what's about to happen. The community will be asked if they're interested in having their taxes raised by about $180/yr per $100,000 of home value in order to continue operating the school district in about the same manner as it is being operated now.

    The law says a simple majority of those who bother to vote will make that decision for all of us. Some are already committed to vote yes, some are already committed to vote no, some won't bother to vote at all, and some have yet to make up their mind.

    Public schools aren't operated by the rules of a free market. I wish they were. But they're not.

    It's more like 50,000 people are given the challenge of deciding what one model of car everyone in the community will have to purchase and own. Some will want a Porsche, some a Prius, some a used Chevy Cavalier, and some a pickup truck. Regardless of individual preference and economic means, the whole community will get what the majority decides.

    To simplify the process, they elect five representatives to narrow the choices down to just one, and then the community will simply vote YES or NO.

    The folks who like and can afford a Porsche hope it's not the used Cavalier the Board picks. Those who want a utilitarian pickup truck would be very annoyed if the only choice is a Prius. Whatever the choice, some will be thrilled, some will be outraged, and many will be indifferent as long as they get transportation that affordable to them.

    That's more what it's like.

  67. Paul, I like your car comments. That is a very good explanation of what goes on. Sadly when you say, "many will be indifferent as long as they get transportation that affordable to them" I think that a more accurate comment would be, "MOST will be indifferent..... period."

  68. M, you wrote
    (Sorry, the more I think about this, whether the "loss" is educational or extra-curricular, it makes no financial sense to move out of the district in this housing market...)

    As my kids approach school age, I'm coming to realize that what makes 'financial' sense to our family is of little consequence; what makes 'educational' sense is MUCH more important. Me attending a four year college and receiving a Master's Degree did not make financial sense. The fact that my mother, 10 years after my first degree, is STILL repaying loans she took out to help me (and all my siblings) does not make financial sense. I'll probably finish repaying my student loans only a few years before I take on loans to assist my children.

    The point: Some people would go to the ends of the earth to provide a high quality, first class education for their children, money be damned. I'm personally willing to pay the cost to provide that opportunity for all the students in our school district.

    I get tough times, I get that the schools need reorganized, but I will ALWAYS vote for kids. I received a really great education from HCSD, and I intend to pay it forward. That cost will always be worth it to me.

  69. @Paul

    Sorry, but I was explicitly addressing your point on the 1.4 mils that's going toward replacing the budget money that the state cost. I was not in any way talking about the bigger picture.

    I am hearing pro-levy people use the "but the state cut our budget" line already.

    I am telling you right now that that particular line of reasoning is a non-starter in this community at this time.

    The responses I am getting to that from people out there is "so what?"

    People do not want to see the board "pass the buck" and simply pass that particular "cut" onto them as a tax increase.

    So, it's just a word of warning, that's all.

  70. M: Just to be sure we keep the facts straight:

    3.3 mills represents the reduction in state funding

    1.4 mills represents the size of the FY11 deficit.

    I won't pretend to have a good handle on how this vote will come out. Some may still change their mind after they see the final cut list, or find out what gets decided on "Pay to Participate."

    Keeping our "Excellent with Distinction" rating might not change any NOs to YESs, but it might keep the reverse from happening.

    It's all about who shows up, as is always the case. With the SB5 repeal on the ballot, I suspect the turnout will be higher than might have otherwise been the case. But who knows which way it will go.

    It might depend on how nasty the pro-SB5 folks want to portray things in their fall campaign (e.g. "while you - private sector worker - are going to be slaving until you are 80 years old because of stock market loses in your 401(k) accounts, the collapse of your home value, and cut backs to Social Security and Medicare, you'll still be paying taxes so retired teachers/policeman/fireman get 80% of their final salary for life, with great health benefits").

    Note that I'm not saying that these are my views, but it might be what we hear this fall if the pro-SB5 folks feel desperate, and it might get a lot of traction in this economy. And it would probably bring a strong anti-levy sentiment to the polls.

    Or a deal might get struck to pull the SB5 repeal off the ballot. In that case, there might not be so much turnout. If we have just 15,000 voters show up again, it could go either way...

  71. And M would be totally correct in their assessment of financial challenges in the hcds
    by many in the community.

    In many cases there are significant housing valueloss and not anywhere near the 5 to 8%
    as advertised. How about 40 th to start.

    Also perhaps those with the open check book
    philosophy and no economic challenge can suggest
    some ways to where they think homeowners can cut their budget. Pay cuts, not freezes, layoffs etc have all ready gotten many to
    the "BAre Bones" and not breaking even.

    The busing cuts can be handled by eliminating adm overhead, vice principals and the athletics needs to go to a much larger pay to play to 300.00 perhaps per sport with a sliding scale for additional sports

    Reduce curriculum offerings that at this point are like to have like sports mgt

    3 mills would pass, 5.9 will be .... a non starter. We would still be spending significant sums per pupil

  72. Rick maybe you need to spend a day with a vice principal. I go to many events at the high schools and there is alway one or two principals in attendance. These events conclude late into the night creating a 15 hour day for these vice principals. They attend weekday events and weekend events. They manage a caseload of 300 plus students daily in addition to other responsibilities.

    How many people do you know manage and guide the lives of 300 plus people on a daily basis? How many of them are CEOs, CFOS getting paid 100s of thousands of dollars yearly. These vice principals that you want to get rid of Mike get paid very little for the hours they contribute to the students and families of our communities. They are the lowest paid vice principals in Franklin county.

    Take a walk in their shoes before you pass judgement.

  73. Anon. Lets say first, everyone appreciateswhat everyone is doing. Lets say again many do it year around and for less money, and have taken pay cuts, and contribute 25 to 30% of their medical. NO pension , no 401 etc. So everyone should probably walk in everyones shoes.

    Poor spending habits, not having a reserve as
    noted in the HCSD business plan board wouldnot enforce have led us to this position.

    WE knew 10 years ago (because I asked) that the PPT would be reducedand going away gradually. NO budget
    adjustment and we continued to give away significant
    compensation increases. NO issue with that, but when things get tough economically similarly
    there have to be givebacks and adjustments.

    Had we had our reserve in place we also could have
    absorbed the state cut, and we could have passed 3
    mills to be in good shape. I asked about this last fall. Where were you ?????????????

    A vast area of our community got deliberatly
    ignored by the May levy committee and the district.
    So why are you suprised that sympathetic ears are somewhat lacking. The end run when kaput. Their decision not mine or others.

    Things will get better, but not in the short term
    and when they do the community will continue to support the schools over and above as THEY HAVE IN

    WE will do well to make some short term adjustments just like regular everyday people do?

  74. Your community is a real world example of why Ohio needs Senate Bill 5. Every public school district in Ohio is facing the same basic economic model: Every year, revenue is flat or declining while expenses increase each and every year. As things now stand, to maintain what you have requires the voters to pass a new levy every couple of years from now until eternity.

    Thanks to the step system, tenure and seniority-only based staff cuts, the public dollars cannot be expended in a manner that best serves the public. Rather, the current system preserves the status quo for as many public employees as possible with little or no regard for the quality of service offered to the public.

    It would be nice if school districts could enact across the board pay cuts, but this is not allowed without the consent of the teachers union. The best you can hope for is that the step increases could be eliminated. No school district in Ohio has ever implemented an across the board pay cut.

    Pass your levy to protect your community and pass Senate Bill 5 to begin the long process of fixing the system.