Taxpayers for Westerville Schools

Putting children and their education first and uniting the community…

Issue 59 – Raising your taxes…

Taxpayers for Westerville Schools is taking the time to dig into the real truth about this tax levy. It may be “Zero New Tax” in 2017 but it increases your taxes in 2018 and beyond.

Raising taxes on homes worth $160K

This example shows a home valued at $160,000 and the amount the tax increase will be on that property.

Vote No on 59. Yes it raises your taxes and no they don’t need the money (afterall, they will still have $92,000,000 in the bank 1 year after the emergency levy stops collecting).

Issue 59 – The Hidden Tax!

What we taxpayers fail to remember is that a property tax is also a hidden tax that we pay twice!

That’s right. If Issue 59 passes, you will pay about $620 a year in additional taxes, starting in 2018 – assuming your home is valued at about $310,000.

But it doesn’t stop there. Businesses also have to pay this new tax.

For the McDonald’s on State St., that’s about $2,500 per yer. So let’s look at some of Westerville’s businesses per year tax increases:

$2,500 – McDonalds
$1,500 – Pizza Hut
$1,250 – Dairy Queen
$5,200 – Iron Pony
$3,300 – Westerville Golf
$40,000 – JP Morgan
$4,990 – Harris House (“Affordable” housing for senior citizens)
$8,110 – Capital City Millwork
$1,272 – KFC
$1,100 – NAPA Auto Parts
$6,092 – CVS Pharmacy
$1,135 – Jimmy V’s
$1,600 – Tim Horton’s
$1,734 – Arby’s
$3,220 – Taco Bell

McDonald's Tax Increase

How many Happy Meals or tacos or golf games or motorcycle helmets or bottles of aspirin or Iced Coffees must be bought to make up for all of the extra cost these business have to incur? They can’t absorb these costs so they must pass them along to you, the consumer, the taxpayer. By voting for Issue 59, you will also be forced to, in addition to your property taxes, pay this “Hidden Cost” of the tax levy.

And seriously, when the school district didn’t spend a dime of the emergency levy and will soon have $92,000,000 in the bank, they have proven that don’t need this extra money, anyway. They are doing just fine without it!

Issue 59 Raises taxes on the low-income elderly

Taxpayers for Westerville Schools is sharing the below chart to show how Issue 59 will affect low-income senior citizens if Issue 59 passes.

The Harris-Askins House “was built to meet the local need for housing for low-income senior citizens. (Harris-Adkins House website)” If Issue 59 passes, low-income senior citizens will have to pay an additional $19,900 in taxes over the next 5 years (based on an analysis of current taxes and the estimated cost of Issue 59).

Harris-Askins House tax Increase

Every year after 2021, Issue 59 will cost this business almost $5,000 per year affecting the affordability of their housing for low-income seniors.

The Westerville City School District will collect $83,000,000 from the 5 year emergency levy yet have $90,000,000 in the bank. With the school district flush with cash, isn’t it time to help our seniors and lower their cost of living?

Vote “NO” On New Tax Levy

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.

Yard Sign
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.

A New Year in Westerville.

Thanks to Jim Burgess for submitting this letter to the editor…

You can tell it’s the new year in Westerville… both City Council and the School District are talking tax levies.

Westerville City Council is seeking a tax increase in the next two months. The problem is accountability. Thank you Council member Tim Davey for being willing to be a voice for the residents. Tim is asking questions and pointing out to the public many of the spending problems in Westerville. You see, if City Council had not been giving away money via TIF’s and abatements, the fire department would not be under funded by up to $1,500,000 per year and a tax increase would not be needed. Research also shows that the city has about $120,000,000 in debt (more than doubling in the last 6 years alone). Surprise! That is an additional $7,200 of debt for each voter (with more coming when the new senior center is built). This is just more debt for our children and grandchildren.

Westerville Schools is also talking tax levy. I guess when you are on the school board, taxing residents is “what you do?” At the end of the 2017 fiscal year, the district projects to have over $90,000,000 of cash on hand. In 2012, the school district passed a 5 year emergency levy for $16.5M per year or about $83,000,000. So, the school district passed a levy then didn’t spend any of the money? Yet now they are talking about renewing the levy and maybe increasing our taxes. All this money and busing still hasn’t been fully restored to our students!

My research also shows that all school board members have violated the school district’s ethics and code of conduct policy (accepting campaign contributions from unions for personal gain) and it looks as if one member has violated state law by not filing her end-of-campaign financial statement.

Yes sir, welcome to 2016 in Westerville.

Jim Burgess

2014 Payroll Reporting Available

Taxpayers for Westerville Schools has created payroll reports with the 2014 payroll data. This data is provided so that district taxpayers can see where their money is going. There are 2 files for your use:

  • A summary file.
  • A downloadable spreadsheet that you can use to do your own analysis.

In addition to district personnel that we pay directly, there are also personnel who are paid like a contractor thru the Educational Services Center. A summary of that data is also available.

We hope you find the information valuable.

Click Here to go to the 2014 Payroll Reporting Page.

Click Here to access the payroll reporting tool.

New Contracts Added

After much waiting, we were finally able to add the latest contracts for WESSA, Local 719, Local 138 and the Administrative Approved Staff online.

One major concern was the time it took to obtain the contracts. The Board of Education voted on 3 of these contracts at the end of June but they were not finalized until the end of October.

As Taxpayers, we wonder how our Board members could allow this time to lapse in the management of our resources. Were all changes as listed in the documents approved or did something happen in 4 months? We don’t know but we call for final, fully written contracts to be voted on in the future.

Click here to see the list of contracts.