Issue 20: 6.57-Mill School Levy

The 10-year levy would generate $6.5 million annually if passed by voters in November.

What: Issue 20: New money emergency 6.57-mill school levy

Election Day: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8, 2011 

History: A 6.57-mill 10-year levy would generate $6.5 million annually for the district and would cost the owner of $100,000 home:

  • $201.21 annually
  • $100.60 for half a year
  • $16.77 a month
  • 55 cents a day

If passed, the first collection would be in 2012. Administrators say the levy is for 10 years instead of five to avoid voter fatigue. 

Argument For: With the cuts the  has made, passage of the levy would mean the district could remain in the black financially through 2015. High school busing would also be reinstated for high school students.

The district has and made , which is expected to . More cuts are expected if the levy fails. to discuss the cuts coming if the levy does not pass.

The district has not seen any new money since 2002.

Argument Against: Residents feel deeper cuts are necessary and don't want to increase their taxes anymore.

Families have had to do more with less and it is expected out of the school district as well. Residents also. 

Election Coverage: Stow Patch will provide all day election coverage Nov. 8. To keep up with the latest, check the website several times that day and "like" our Stow Elections Facebook page.

Check the site soon for profiles on school board candidates and government election coverage. 

 Patch will accept letters to the editor until the day before the election. Submit the letters by emailing Local Editor Amanda.Harnocz@Patch.com. Patch reserves the right to withhold publication of letters to the editor that contain charges or accusations that cannot be verified. 

Where to Vote: Click  for a list of voting locations in Stow.

Related content:

Jeanne Fencl October 21, 2011 at 12:11 AM
Mike Barnes, this is really sad, to see you stoop this low, to look people up and put these comments up on an open forum. Amanda, there have been people banned from Stow Patch, that are accused of spamming. I believe this is alot more than spamming. IMO, Mr. Barnes should be banned from Stow Patch. PERIOD.
Tami Carlisle October 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM
Thanks to the gentleman who removed his comment referring to "Anti-IB"ers as wrathful. God bless.
Mike Barnes October 21, 2011 at 01:04 AM
“Kay” --- the information you seek is at your fingertips! Please visit the school district homepage or follow this link http://www.smfschools.org/site.cfm/SOS.cfm the links on the right side of the page should get you to where you want to go. If you don't find the answer to your question call the District office 330-689-5445 and ask for the Treasurer’s office. I am very confident the information you seek is available and I hope you will use it to help you make a rational decision on Nov. 8th.
Kay Bee October 21, 2011 at 10:22 AM
@They can't really give information they do not have. They threw some numbers together and thought it might look good for people to look over and didn't think people would look further. @ Mike Barnes already looked on website nothing new on that. And when you ask the treasurer or anyone else a question you get the run around. You can't give information that is not available. I will make a very rational decision on Nov 8th, I have had with being bullied by this school system and lied to!
Kay Bee October 21, 2011 at 10:23 AM
opps forgot to put Jeanne after the first @
Ward Benson October 21, 2011 at 12:32 PM
I read the comments before they were deleted and that whole discourse, including from me, was wisely eliminated. It was an area we don't want to get into on here and it was dealt with and we should all move on. I believe the reason others have been banned is because for one: they're not from our area, two: they represent a cause and were blanketing the forum so to speak. I did appreciate the information that was given so don't get me wrong. But, if someone starts to go a bit overboard due to their passion from out of state it takes away from Stow Patch as something that's for residents to use. We can feel invaded in a way. I'm glad Amanda took care of it (that section of comments yesterday which was only from residents) the way she did. And, if I've come across as personally attacking anyone or seem to be threatening in any way, I apologize. I don't doubt people's intentions or wonder if they’re in our area and I appreciate when someone does comment, that if they are from outside the state they let us know. That's a good thing even though it isn't a rule.
Mike Barnes October 21, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Ward -- thank you and well said and I would like to offer my "Ditto" and a sincere apology to anyone who may have been offended. Clearly there is a tremendous amount of passion on both sides. I will be at the community meetings tomorrow – Saturday in the high school library, Tuesday at On-Tap, and next Thursday at the Stow Munroe Falls library. Please come to one of the meetings, introduce yourself and I will apologize to you personally --- and assist you in finding answers to any questions you may have.
lissa bailey November 03, 2011 at 12:15 PM
This sad news is correct. The Stow Sentry did have some information that elluded to this that also came from the Summit County Fiscal Office, but it was buried in the middle of the paper and buried in the last part of the article. I think more people are finding out things from Patch since things like this may not get buried and get discussed.
James Thomas November 03, 2011 at 03:01 PM
A follow up article on this turn of events is called for. Amanda we call on you again. This brings back the phrase "we have to pass this bill to find out what's in it" and we all know what THAT got us. I for one am not pleased at all, so much so that my support for the renewal levy in 2012 is at risk.
Ward Benson November 03, 2011 at 03:41 PM
This information from Summit County Fiscal office and auditor is news most of us have not heard about until today, although some may have figured it out from Sunday's paper if they happened to read that part. This along with the recent incident involving IB's UNESCO and the U.S. cutting off funding for UNESCO are certainly recent developments most voters probably won't know about before they go to the polls. I wonder if anyone in the media would do a story on this for the benefit of voters so they can be fully informed. Maybe it will be up to bloggers and commentators to make sure voters have all the facts in time.
John Moyer November 03, 2011 at 03:59 PM
Lots of consternation here. Are you "saddened" by the tripling of gas prices the past 10 years? Overall rise on the cost of energy? Food prices? Health care? The bottom line is this: Public education is designed to educate all children. Investing in that pays dividends- an educated society leads to economic growth. It's in every economics textbook. It may not pay dividends that are immediately visible, but that is why the framers believed that direct democracy (plagued by emotional reaction, provincial citizenry duped by indulgence in selected facts,) was bad for our country. The framers created a republic so our short term desires don't cause us to lose sight of our long term commitments.
Mike Barnes November 03, 2011 at 08:46 PM
Good Afternoon! Tonight is the final meeting in our very successful series of community engagement meetings to discuss Issue 20 and the impact it will have on the Stow Munroe Falls community. Everyone is invited to attend starting from 7:00 until 8:30PM in the Kimpton Auditorium. As with past meetings our goal is to provide voters with the information regarding school funding and the need for Issue to pass, There will be ample opportunity to have your questions answered by key administration and board of education members. Video recording of tonight meeting will NOT be permitted. This is due to the chilling effect video recording may have on audience spontaneity. Again lease join us at Kimpton tonight for the final community meeting before the election. Best wishes to all the candidates and please vote on Nov 8.
Mike Wright November 03, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Jeanne I think that the people you and others have to thank are the people out there that only use parts of the tape to promote your point of view. I do not blame the schools for not having it taped. Besides the fact that others mocking the people on the tape( people from our Community) on their little facebook groups just because they don't share their point of view. Don't try to blame the schools for this one.
Ed Kent November 03, 2011 at 11:49 PM
I hope someone will be able to verify if our school district violated any Ohio laws tonight by not permitting recordings during this open public event, in what looks like an effort by some to silence the concerned parents bringing up information showing waste or anything that may jeopardize the levy committee's push for the additional $65 million they seek from homeowners.
Ed Kent November 04, 2011 at 12:46 AM
If the public meeting tonight, which is meant for the public to see and hear, is not allowed to be recorded by the public and for the public, then that is what some call oppression. We see that type of thing happening in other parts of the world in oppressive societies and we think it surely couldn't happen here in the United States when a open public forum is presented on government owned property. Whatever view any of us have of the levy issue, this occurance tonight if the oppression actually takes place, is one of the worst mistakes a government organization can make in this great state of Ohio. This is the type of thing we've recently seen happening in other nations when dictators try to stop the press from sending out tapes of what's happening in public squares. Of course it's not to that level and surely those who have thought to stop the recordings haven't thought this thing through. I know some history and social study teachers who would be appalled if they knew about this.
Mike Wright November 04, 2011 at 01:06 AM
Ok Jeanne I do not blame the levy committee for not allowing. IMHO you know who I am referring too. @Karen, no sunshine laws at levy committee engagement meetings.
Mike Wright November 04, 2011 at 01:14 AM
Ed you could have come to the meeting and gone old school. A pad and paper. Nothing wrong with that. By the way if would have come to the meeting you could have asked some of the questions that you ask here and actually have the questions answered by people that run our fine schools, professionals. Instead of spending all your time on the internet. Just remember don't believe everything you read on the internet.
Ed Kent November 04, 2011 at 02:17 AM
So, was recording forbidden at this public meeting in the public school?
Jake Racketch November 04, 2011 at 02:21 AM
What choice does a district have but to counter what was found by the county to be a blatant lie? If they hadn't pointed it out, false information would've continued to be spread and Stow Idiocracy would've remained in violation of elections ethics. When a political action committee is guilty of such behavior, how is that good for the community?
Beatrice Thompson November 04, 2011 at 02:30 AM
Thank you Mr. VanOss. You have done a great service to our community, in video taping the different meetings.
Jake Racketch November 04, 2011 at 02:40 AM
In case anyone is distraught over what they might have missed at the meeting, fret not. It was the worst-attended community engagement meeting yet, and therefore there were no questions brought forth from those in attendance. The message has been rather plain and simple from SMFCSD, so I'm not sure what else could be desired from recording it anyway. Personally, I find the attendance sad because I feel that there were plenty of perfectly transparent resources at the meeting available to the taxpayer and community members, They were all ready and willing to answer absolutely anything they could have. Instead, despite all of the vitriol for SMFCSD being spread all over these forums, fewer than 30 showed up, and they were all supporters. Where were the question-askers? Where were the naysayers? Where were those of you that claim your questions go unanswered? I encourage ANYONE still seeking information on this levy or the finances of the district to contact levy chairperson Mike Barnes and champions Chet Feldman (st_feldman@smfcsd.org) and John Daymon.
Mike Wright November 04, 2011 at 02:51 AM
Donny that's nice that you try and help out. Glad to hear you made the meeting. I don't think people we lied to about the amount of the levy. They told us from the start how much they were asking for. How it effects you well I guess that would be up to you to figure that out. Real estate goes up and down people move in and out of the city. As for the real estate agents getting slammed, I actually think it will hurt them more if the schools don't get the much needed support. Also I believe all the cities in this area the taxes are actually higher then Stow. BTW I don't know what questions you need answered. Sorry.
Beatrice Thompson November 04, 2011 at 02:59 AM
I guess the issue is about what the real cost will be to each homeowner. It has been stated for $100,000 home it will cost approx. 16.77. But no one really knows, not even the Board of Elections. The final calculation, in my opionion, might not be known until December.
Mike Barnes November 04, 2011 at 06:40 PM
Ed – Donny et al -- I encourage all who are interested to go to the following official web site. http://fiscaloffice.summitoh.net/ Once there, find the “Additional Service” column --- then select the “Pending Levy Tax Estimator” option. Follow the directions for entering your parcel number or your address. You will be able to see how your taxes will change if Issue’s 20 & 25 pass. This is in dollars --- not percentages. This is an estimate but from what I was told, because of the recent re-evaluation, it should not change much if at all. I also ask all who will listen to not trust what you hear until after you have checked the source and verified the information for yourself. You can’t spend percentages so please take the time to see what it is actually going to cost. The election is only a few days away – if you are still sitting on the fence with the levy I hope you will find the answers you need in order to vote for Issue 20. If you have made up your mind to vote against Issue 20 – what can be done to change your mind? There are people and resources available to answer questions
Mike Barnes November 04, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Donny -- yes it is an estimate -- that is why it is called the Pending Levy Tax Estimator BUT looking at my appraised value I can see that the tax estimate is based on the re-assessment done this year. I was told it may change some BUT this should be very close to actual. Again -- I hope those who are concerned will take the time to check the actual dollars and not just think in terms of 20 or 30 percent. Also, I posted my initial comment several times – sorry about the spam guys -- !
Ed Kent November 04, 2011 at 07:59 PM
Even though the Plain Dealer said the levy would cost each homeowner 20% more on their tax bills, the Summit County Fiscal Office wants everyone to realize that it could be more since things aren't finalized. They don't want people getting upset after the levy is passed and then wondering why their bill ended up more than anticipated. That's why they're warning people. I appreciate their cander. They want people to know this before going to the polls.
Mike Barnes November 04, 2011 at 08:07 PM
Agreed -- my concern is some people may think or assume the actual amount could be hundreds of dollars more. Worse yet -- some people may try to spin the lack of a firm final number from the county into a reason to not vote for the levy.
Mike Barnes November 04, 2011 at 09:47 PM
Donny -- I guess we will agree that we disagree!! The Pending Levy Tax Estimator is an excellent guide and I think saying it will cost a lot more is an overreaction. For me the bottom line is threefold --- first I don't doubt for a second that the district needs the money and will continue to need more money as long as we demand high standards for our schools. Second, the method of funding absolutely needs to be changed and we as voters need to start demanding the attention of our state legislators. Third, we should not hold the future of the community hostage to the inactions of some of the idiots we elected in Columbus or to a group of people who just say “no” and offer no viable alternate solutions. I know you and others may disagree but I don’t think we, as a community, can afford to NOT pass Issue 20.
Beatrice Thompson November 04, 2011 at 11:34 PM
The Akron Beacon Journal also had a chart in the paper rearlier this week stating 20%.
Mike Barnes November 09, 2011 at 08:33 PM
Thanks to everyone for everything you did to make Issue 20 happen. We literally talked to thousands of people and heard many positive -- and negative – comments. At the end of the day we helped many people get the information they needed to make a positive decision that will help our community for years to come. The method of funding schools in Ohio virtually guarantees the need to keep coming back to voters to renew levies and to ask for new money. At the same time federal state and local sources of funding are shrinking. Add a poor economy and we have the proverbial perfect storm for voter discontent. You can’t have schools without students and teachers and you cannot have great schools without great employees and most important citizens who support education. To the citizens who actively supported Issue 20 I say thanks again. To those who couldn’t or wouldn’t support Issue 20 I really hope the economy changes soon and you seek the answers to questions and concerns that prevent you from saying yes to future funding requests. Thanks again


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