Taxpayers for Westerville Schools is encouraging a “No” vote on the upcoming tax levy. Click here to request your yard sign…
Parents, residents and taxpayers have been urging the district for fiscal responsibility with quality results for years. We should not continue to reward the school district’s poor performance and behavior. The 5 year emergency levy was passed to provide the district the supposed necessary funds to provide our children a quality education. However, the district has not used any of the money nor have they provided the positive results expected for this investment.
“The district spent none of the monies collected and now they want to continue collecting this tax. It’s reprehensible!” stated Jim Burgess, a Taxpayers for Westerville Schools leader, resident and taxpayer.
The 5 year emergency levy was passed to collect in total about $83,000,000. At the end of the levy’s five years, the school district will have nearly $90,000,000 in the bank. The district was even able to give about 400 employees over 30% in pay raises over 4 years without spending any of the monies raised from this levy. Westerville residents gave the school district their money expecting responsible spending yet not one dime of it was even spent.
“With 35% of our kids living in poverty, how much more beneficial would these funds have been in the hands of the hurting families it was taken from?” asked Mr. Burgess.
The new levy is a tax increase, plain and simple. The levy, if it should pass, will allow the district to permanently collect much more than the $16,540,000 per year it is allowed to collect today. This tax levy takes the voted tax rate from 6.71 mils to 7.13 mils. The ballot clearly states “the sum of such tax to increase” meaning the district will see a tax increase.
“I find it insulting to the intelligence of Westerville taxpayers that the district’s treasurer tells us that it is not ‘a new tax’ yet in his next breath tells us it raises more money for the district,” stated Dave Fitzpatrick a local businessman, taxpayer, and father. Mr. Fitzpatrick continued, “This levy, by the very admission of the treasurer, takes more money out of the community. That’s called a tax increase.”
In addition to the poor fiscal management we are seeing, we need to consider the results of the school district; especially in light of all the additional funds available.
The district gutted 35% of the Magnet program. The Magnet program is one of the best programs available for our elementary children yet it was cut rather than fully restored and expanded. About 35% of our college bound students have to take remedial math and or English courses. Full day Kindergarten costs families about $3,500 for this education add-on yet it’s not even available to all children. It took 3 years to finally restore busing.
“I am very concerned about the education and services our students are receiving. I just don’t see the educational improvements expected and I feel that student services are being restored at a snail’s pace, especially for the money we are spending,” commented retired teacher and taxpayer, Meta Hahn. “I also don’t see our middle schoolers offered the number of educational options of surrounding districts. We still haven’t even restored their career–technology class.”
The most recent State Report Card didn’t show any improvements in Westerville’s educational offering. The district is lacking in improved results. The new report card is a more honest measurement of a district’s results and shows Westerville with an overall grade of “C”. Taxpayers and parents have been calling for the district to improve yet their voices have fallen on deaf ears.
The taxpayers of Westerville do not need to approve this levy. Westerville schools has banked nearly $90,000,000 in five years which shows they can last another 5 years or more without the passage of this levy. We don’t need to continue to be one of the highest taxed districts in the area.
If you would like to support this effort, vote “No” yard signs are available by going to the Taxpayers for Westerville Schools website – Click here to request your yard sign.
Vote “No” on the tax levy. The District has enough excess that we can let our families finally keep more of their hard earned money.
Originally published Oct. 15, 2016