Taxpayers for Westerville Schools

Putting children and their education first and uniting the community…

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 to 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 $16M per year or about $90,000,000. 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.

School Board Candidates Announced

The School Board candidacy of Jim Burgess, Luke Davis, and John Sodt will be announced in tomorrow’s paper (click here to see the announcement)!

The Students First plan they will implement… “would change the way the district does its budgeting process to get a concentration of dollars in the classrooms, providing tools and programs teachers and students need to be successful.”

Improving student achievement results at the middle school and high school levels also will be a major emphasis in their campaign. For example, they cite Ohio Board of Regents statistics that show colleges and universities requiring nearly 40% of Westerville high school college bound graduates to take remedial classes before admission. The candidates believe improvement is needed at both the middle and high school levels.

As School Board Members, they will work towards the better management of operational costs, with the intention of redirecting spending for low-priority items back into the classroom. In addition, they will look for opportunities to share resources among district schools to provide better service and to avoid duplication.

Learn more about the team at www.WestervilleStudentsFirst.com. On their web site, you can sign up to be on the e-mail list, request a yard sign, offer to volunteer or donate to support their campaign.

Administrative Guidelines – OPEN LETTER TO BOE:

Madam President and BOE members of the WCSD

The word of the month for May is RESPONSIBILITY. Help me understand why, you, the elected officials of this District, do not feel that RESPONSIBILITY to the citizens of this District are required on your decisions.

On Monday evening, you will be voting to approve new Administrative Guidelines. Yet, on Saturday morning when the agenda is released to the public, you do not furnish a copy of the guidelines.

So many important topics are covered in these guidelines, topics the public should have access to in detail.

You have cut technology classes in our middle schools, are you still giving phone allowances to all administrators?

You have cut transportation services to our students, are you giving car allowances to the administration?

You reduced the number of classes in the middle schools, students are faced with two study halls, have you reduced the number of carry over days or changed 12 month contracts to 11 month contracts. Have you you instituted a “use it or loose it” policy on vacation days?

During times of levy discussion, you, our elected BOE, said if new money is not made available you will be forced to subject our children to state minimums, in contracts you are renewing and granting under the revised Administrative Guidelines, have you reduced pick-ups, carry over, etc. to state minimums as required by ORC?

During many meetings board member, C. Crowe said often “programs don’t cost money” building and people cost money. Did you hold and reduce costs in the revised Administrative Guidelines, that will allow for programs to benefit the children, or only costs to benefit the pockets of the administration?

The revised Administrative Guidelines, as well as details of the contracts on the administrators up for renewal this year should have been made known to the citizens of this district before it shows as one line on the agenda.

Please, please start placing the programs and services for Westerville’s students FIRST.

Mary Medors

Payroll Reporting 2.0

Taxpayers for Westerville Schools is pleased to announce that the Payroll Reporting web site is back on-line.

The new tool was created with data provided directly by the Westerville School District. The reporting shows the gross wages paid to an employee plus the additional taxpayer paid costs – i.e. health care, retirement, worker’s compensation, etc.

Click here to access the new reporting tool.

Letter to the Editor

A local resident sent the following letter to the Editor of the SNP. We do hope they publish the letter; we most certainly will!

 


 

I wanted to alert the community, especially those with small children in the district that no longer receive bus transportation, to the choices our school district is making.

At the last BOE meeting, a 3-1 majority approved paying 88 teachers to formally mentor 91 less experienced teachers, while also moving a very experienced teacher out of the classroom. While establishing a formal mentor/mentee process was a state mandate, the decision to spend over $165,000 to implement was solely made by our district leadership team. The state, at least for the next year will reimburse $350 per mentor, while our generous district chose to pay over $1100 per mentor.

Additionally, the district will pay a substitute teacher to fill in the classroom for the teacher who is now running the program.

All in, the taxpayers will pick up $165,000 per year to implement this mandate. Some districts have a 1:15 mentor/mentee ratio. Why couldn’t we have a similar ratio? Why couldn’t we pay $350 to mentors, so excluding the cost of the substitute, the taxpayers wouldn’t have had to pick up very much at all out of the general fund? The state set neither a minimum pay for mentors, nor a maximum ratio.

Let me remind everyone that when the district made the choice to eliminate busing for children within 2 miles of their school, the estimated savings was just over $300K annually. Now, when given a choice to spend $165K, the district chose to pay generous supplemental contracts to nearly 100 seasoned teachers, instead of a partially reinstating busing for elementary children.

As a parent who watches many neighbor children walking, in at times dangerous weather, I am deeply disappointed that staff compensation trumps children’s safety in Westerville.

Erik J. Zwilling