August 1, 2014

Elyria
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Elyria voters show support for schools by passing levy

Elyria school board member Kathryn Karpus hugs Mary Wright, superintendent's administrative assistant,  after the schools' levy passes. In the background, Superintendent Paul Rigda conducts phone interviews. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

Elyria school board member Kathryn Karpus hugs Mary Wright, superintendent’s administrative assistant, after the schools’ levy passes. In the background, Superintendent Paul Rigda conducts phone interviews. BRUCE BISHOP/CHRONICLE

ELYRIA — Six months ago, Elyria voters did their part to show their support for Elyria Schools by passing a 4.95-mill property tax levy.

Tuesday, voters reiterated their support for the district with the passage of Issue 2 – a 15.57-mill property tax renewal –the combination of two renewal levies merged together into one ballot issue. Similar to the election results from November 2013 when more than 66 percent of voters cast ballots in favor of the schools’ levy, Issue 2 passed with roughly two-thirds support.

According to unofficial election results, the final tally was 3,926 votes or 65 percent for the tax levy to 2,086 votes or 35 percent against the tax levy.

Superintendent Paul Rigda, who crisscrossed the city in recent weeks getting the message out about what was at stake if the levy failed, said the passage allows him to breath.

“Last summer, we all thought there was no way we could pass three renewals, but these numbers show we have the support of the community in this district. We are entering a new era for Elyria Schools,’’ he said. “For the first time in my recollection of the past nine years, we don’t have to worry about whether we will be broke next year.”

The combined levies of Issue 2 generate $12.7 million a year, which is about 46 percent of the district’s total real estate tax revenue and 17 percent of its total general fund revenue. These funds pay for materials, building maintenance, teacher salaries and academic programs.

District Treasurer Fred Stephens said barring any unforeseen changes in state funding in the coming years, Elyria’s finances should be solid for at least four more years.

“You never truly know, but the five-year forecast has us in a good place,” he said.

Stephens, who is retiring at the end of the year, delivers the financial look-ahead to board members each year. For almost a decade, every report showed a bar graph that dipped into the red for several years forcing board members to cut expenses in order to stave off a deficit. To be able to say that won’t be the case for years to come has always been a dream of Stephens.

“We worked hard to get to this point,” he said. “We made some tough decisions.”

Rigda said the district’s transparency about the money and willingness to make the tough decisions year after year likely played a part in the levy passing. Voters seem to understand that the district has been cut back to the bone. Since 2008, five Elyria school buildings have closed – Eastgate, Cascade, Erie and Roosevelt elementary schools in addition to the Spring Valley Early Childhood Center – and 225 positions have been eliminated.

“This kind of support means they understand,” he said. “They may not have liked what we did, but they knew we had to do it and they support us.”

Cathy Miller, 58, said she voted for the school levy because funding public education is important.

“I don’t agree with everything, but it’s our duty to support our schools,” said the Elyria woman, a registered Republican.

Democrat Susanne Haag, 60, a retired teacher who spent 30 years in Elyria Schools, said she understands where the tax dollars go.

“I know it’s needed,” Haag said. “That’s where our future is for our kids. If we abandon education, we are giving up on our future.’’

Strong schools help build strong communities, said 37-year-old Jane Phillips, a mother of two. Her children do not attend Elyria Schools, but she said she voted in favor of the levy because it’s the best thing for Elyria.

“I will always vote for the schools,” she said.

Contact Lisa Roberson at 329-7121 or lroberson@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRobersonCT.

  • Sis Delish

    Moral of the story: the ladies are good at spending money.
    (No gentlemen voters were available for comment, apparently)

  • onesears

    first order of business, administrative pay raises I am sure..

    • Sis Delish

      Yep. The Monster is on the Loose, again.

  • Sandy Wendell Riley

    YES!! Thank you to all who voted to pass the levy!!

    • Mark B

      3 % raises for everyone , and don’t forget the step raises too , the children will not see 1 dime of the money !!

      • The Thinker

        You are misinformed sir. The teachers haven’t had a step raise in three years. The only raises they have received are 1.5% cost of living or if they have completed additional education.

        • Mark B

          BS

          • The Thinker

            It’s public record genius. The teachers agreed to “freeze” step raises three years ago.

          • Simon Jester

            Perhaps they should whine to their union..

          • The Thinker

            The before mentioned “teachers” are the union.

          • Simon Jester

            Hard to convey proper sarcasm through this medium.

  • Sean MacNair

    Dear Mr. Sito;

    Ha Ha Ha.

    Love,
    Issue 2

    • golfingirl

      Dear Mr. McNair;

      Ha Ha Ha

      Love,
      Higher Taxes

      • Bill Love

        how is it higher taxes you will pay the same that you have been paying?

        • golfingirl

          The day the the existing tax expires, any renewal is a “new” tax from that point forward.

          No renewal, less taxes…that simple. Your taxes are higher than they would have been because you “renewed” it.

          It is a new tax, to replace an old tax.

          • Falcon84

            It hasn’t expired, GG. That’s why it is a renewal. It will continue the tax that was is in place and was SET to expire.

            You’re just an anti-tax schlep. You supprt nothing and no one. You’re a selfish person. Yet you’d be crying the loudest if the trash didn’t get collected or the police and fire departments were out of money. Your taxes make YOUR life a little better by having others do those things for you.

            I don’t suffer fools like you. You live in a self-centered vacuum.

          • golfingirl

            So what exactly does trash pickup, police and fire have to do with a school levy?

            If you feel the Elyria Schools put out a great product, then by all means support them and vote yes on all their requests for money.

            I just disagree. Hardly a reason to call me a fool.

          • Bill Love

            why because she wants people to be responsible with the taxes they do collect. 2 do you own a house why is it only the home owners have to support the schools and yes i vote for the renewal. 3 if the city didnt provide police firemen and trash then why would we pay taxes the 1st place. 4 i think if you dont own a house you shouldnt be able to vote to raise peoples property tax

          • Bill Love

            your statement is what is wrong with america no one can have a debate with out name calling or degrading someone

          • Bill Love

            i disagree but i understand your thinking thank you

      • Sean MacNair

        It was a renewal, not a new tax. And it’s M-a-c-N-a-I-r, not M-c-N-a-I-r.

        • golfingirl

          Sorry, I almost typed Bono.

        • golfingirl

          And it created higher taxes in the future, compared to not passing the renewal.

          • Falcon84

            You sentence makes no sense. Saying it created higher taxes IN THE FUTURE makes no sense at all.

            Maybe someone should have voted for levies when you were in school. It might have helped you in understand what you’re saying.

          • golfingirl

            Current levy expires….tax goes away.

            Renew the levy…tax remains.

            In which example above will you be paying more tax in the future?

            Can’t make it any simpler. It is all about net dollars staying in your pocket.

          • Starryeyes63

            what part of a tax CUT do they not get????

          • Mark B

            I bet when she was in school she got a better education for 1/3 the money

  • ched

    In your Face Sito……..

    • Sis Delish

      Hey, aren’t you the ched who posted the following:
      ched • a month ago
      Again…if you have nothing nice to say, don’t say it. This City needs Positive People, not the Negativity that is being posted here!

      ?

      Do shoes really wear differently when on the Other Foot?

      Fool!

      • ched

        Your a Idiot…..Get a life!

        • Sis Delish

          I fart in your general direction, Poot!

      • golfingirl

        Hope the higher taxes are worth the pay back to Sito.

        Looks like they don’t mind wasting their money, to get “even.”

        Of course, I am assuming they even pay any taxes toward the schools, which they probably don’t.

        Expensive revenge, don’t you think?

        • Falcon84

          Taxes didn’t go up, GG. What part of “renewal” don’t you get.

          If the trash ever stops getting collected; or the police and fireman can’t respond because people like you vote down taxes to pay for those things, why would I not be surprised if you’re the first one who would moan and groan about it?

          And, yes, the taxes to educate our children IS worth every penny.

          • Sis Delish

            Mr. Soaring Above the Rest84… explain to the masses how the schools managed to operate BEFORE this Newly Renewed Tax went into effect initially.

            Was it the low cost of buildings vs. the high cost of new buildings and all the expenses related to each?

            Was it the reasonable wage of the educator vs. the Union Negotiated Premium Salaries and Benefits Packages for 9-month employees?

            Or, did folks just get by without all the non-essentials, like LGBT after school groups, etc. which require electricity, heating, security and staffing.

            There has to be a reason that the Public Schools of a generation ago managed on much less… now, Soar and Explain, we are waiting for your well-thought out explanation on the Before and After economics of pre and post Tax Levies which just renewed last night.

          • ched

            No Sense in reply to these G-Tards Falcon84…They don’t get & will never get it!

      • ched

        DeetaDee…..Your Special! Figure that one out SA! Ha

  • billypop

    mark b is a retard

    • golfingirl

      The word “retard” is not politically correct.

  • Falcon84

    Congratulations to the people of this city for supporting ALL our children, and not trying to make a poltiical football out of this issue, as some people, notably Chris Sito did, with trying to make this an LGBT issue.

    Sito is welcomed to his bigoted, ignorant views. The Constitution protects him and his right to have his say. But what he doesn’t get-or so many especially on the political right don’t get is that all our rights are diminished when we deny anyone the rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” under our Constitution.

    The kids won in this vote. Pettiness lost.

    • Sis Delish

      And, the beauty of Mental Health Laws, changed a few decades back, permit you to say what you just said without putting yourself in 72 Hour Observation…

  • TheRustyScupper

    I guess P.T.Barnum is alive and living in Elyria. A school system that produces little and people still want to give the system even more money to waste without accountability. ONLY IN A DEM CITY . . .

    • Falcon84

      Yes, we know. In GOP land, they don’t believe in education. The worst education systems in the nation are in Republican-dominated states like Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Alabama and Tennessee.

      The school system produces what it’s meant to produce. Just because you’re ignorant and unintelligent doesn’t mean our kids should be that way.

      • golfingirl

        Cleveland, Detroit, Chicago………Really?

        • Falcon84

          The worst educational performance is in Southern states, that vote in the GOP all the time. It’s a tradition that goes back to slavery days in the South. Back when there was slavery, Southern politicians didn’t believe in educating white kids because it was a waste since they were already at the top of the heap socially. That continues today. If you look at the statistics, the worst states in educating their children are in the old Confederacy. In Texas, the 2012 GOP platform even opposed criticial thinking skills, because it meant that kids question things, instead of learning to think for themselves.

          And, by the way, Cleveland and Detroit are located in GOP-controlled states that are constantly cutting funds for education.

          • golfingirl

            Education is a local issue and funding should come from the communities they are located in.

            If you feel Elyria puts out a product worth the cost, that is your choice.

            I personally do not think so.

            It is okay to disagree.

            Have a nice day.

          • The Thinker

            Out of curiosity what is it exactly you’re so dissatisfied with?

          • golfingirl

            Let’s start with graduation rates. Pay for 11 years of school, only to have students drop on on year 12 or 13.

      • TheRustyScupper

        I apologize that my BSME-MBA-LLD do not meet your acceptable level of intelligence. I also apologize my experience on two school boards does not meet your expectations. I can only measure the output of the students and the cost-per-student.
        The USA spends more per student than any other country, except one, and is WAY down the scale for educational attainment.
        Elyria High spends in the top-third (68 percentile) of cost-per-student in Ohio. But, Elyria ranks 556 out of 772 High Schools (lower 28%) in Ohio High Schools. Is this YOUR definition of a good school system ???
        Falcon84 needs to stop listening to Democrat and Teacher Union propaganda and look at facts.
        (PS – Elyria High School actually fell 37 rankings in one year.)

        • Sis Delish

          Falcon84 erroneously believes the Name Chosen for this Blog allows him to soar above the rest… in reality his handlers (Educators) keep him closely tethered and hooded so as to not allow Falcon84 to be injured pre-maturely.

  • onesears

    Its still unconstitutional under Ohio law to fund schools with property tax levies, but the beat goes on. Until some entity with the funding can push the issue in the courts, it will just keep happening…

  • ekwaykway

    Salary raises…

  • Mark B

    “The Obama administration will issue new guidance to K-12 public schools around the country on Thursday, emphasizing that school officials can no longer discourage undocumented immigrants from enrolling in their schools.”

    Now the property owner will be financing illegal aliens for their education. When is it going to stop .

    • golfingirl

      It will never stop….it just keeps getting more ridiculous by the day.

  • Sis Delish

    California ruling to end Teacher Tenure!

    Now if that isn’t a reason for Fireworks, I don’t know what is!!!

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/10/