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Ballot Issue 2: 6.57-Mill New Money Emergency Levy

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

What: Issue 2: New money emergency 6.57-mill school levy

Election Day: 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2, 2011 

History: A 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.

The district has cut the budget by a total of $7.6 million since 2006 and made , which is expected to .

Argument Against: Short and sweet: Voters simply do not want to raise their taxes any higher. 

Election Coverage: Stow Patch will provide all day election coverage Aug. 2. 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 a story with comments from school administrators and the Stow-Munroe Falls Board of Education president about the levy.

 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. 

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James Thomas July 27, 2011 at 04:26 PM
The short and sweet argument against the levy stated here does not go far enough. There are residents of the City of Stow who CAN NOT AFFORD to raise their taxes any more. It is not a matter of "don't want to" for some, it's a matter of CAN'T. We appreciate all that the Schools have done to control costs. We thank all the school employees for for their sacrifices in the new contracts. This does not change the reality that some citizens can simply not afford to raise thier taxes further at this time. It is a matter of survival.
Jeanne Fencl July 27, 2011 at 06:35 PM
So by reading this we will be voting on a 10 year levy, that could only help, keep the district in the bklack for 4 years???? James you are correct, but the cuts are not really cuts, some have many loopholes in them. Like the teachers contract, yes they took a pay freeze and agreed to pay more in insurance, but in the second year all will be receiving a stipend for $500 or $1000. Why is Mr. Jones not renogotiating his contract for a lesser amount, and why would the treasure give herself a raise, knowing the district can not afford it? Why did the impliment the IB program, that will cost the district more money? And the seniors are tapped. So time for some changes folks, get these people out and start rebuilding with people that put the students first instead of their own self interest.
Ed Kent July 28, 2011 at 06:26 PM
The median home value in Stow is $197,000, therefore the true cost is about $4000 for this property tax levy. If it fails, the supporters of the tax increase (including those who don't pay property taxes) should be willing to donate directly to the district if they are truly a supporter which means they feel their personal budgets have enough room for the tax increase. Levy supporters should not look down on their neighbors who vote 'no'. Nor should those who can't afford the property tax increase speak evil of the levy supporters, but they should simply vote 'no'. We should all be happy we still have a choice. And, there's nothing stopping supporters of the property tax increase from directly donating to the schools. If it fails, we shall see if the levy supporters are truly supportive. Will we see those donations come in to the school? After all, the supporters feel they can afford the extra taxes. It's time to look upon our neighbors who are struggling to stay in their homes with some understanding of why they are voting 'no' and do our part to make donations if we have the money to vote 'for' this levy if the levy fails. I have relatives and friends in this great city that can't afford the property taxes the way they are now. I know many who've been forced out of their homes with no place to go. Others are moving out of Stow because they've seen levies passing every other year including 2010 and have given up. They are moving south. This is the tipping point.
Ward Benson July 28, 2011 at 06:57 PM
History: A 6.57-mill 10-year levy would generate $65 million for the district and would cost the owner of a $200,000 home (the average value in Stow): •$4020.42 levy duration •$402.42 annually •$201.20 for half a year •$33.54 a month •$1.12 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. The district has passed school levies every other year for the past 3 decades including last year in 2010. The school district's annual budget is over $53,000,000 with about 84% of that going to staff salaries, pensions and benefits. The average salary for tenured staff is $70,000 per 184 work days. The school board has made some cuts and the teacher's union agreed to wage freezes but no wage cuts. Some positions have been eliminated as teachers retired, but no major staffing layoffs have occurred and the budget remains at $53,000,000 per year. If passed the property tax millage for the school district would increase from the current 45.49 mills to 52.06 mills. Voters will decide August 2 if they believe the increased tax burden upon the already financially stressed property owners is justified in order to keep classroom sizes at the average of 18 students and the administrators and teachers can retain their current salaries/benefits. http://www.smfschools.org/assets/attachments/file/tax_report_08.pdf
Ed Kent July 28, 2011 at 07:46 PM
Excellent reporting by Ward with great attention to details about the levy, it's true costs and the district's expenditures. I wish the Stow Sentry would allow this kind of reporting in the week prior to the vote, but of course they won't allow this much detail as it opens voters' eyes a bit too much for their liking it seems. Ward's details above do not offer anything but facts. No harsh criticisms or put downs, just the facts to make sure we all can see whether we believe this levy at this time is properly justified and whether our own finances can absorb the greater tax burden that property owners will carry alone. Or, do we voters believe classroom sizes have some room to increase in order to help the financial future of our school district?
Ward Benson July 29, 2011 at 03:47 PM
Thank you Ed for the comment. I, and Stow voters have been faithful supporters of our good teachers as evident of the levies passing every other year, but I cannot justify voting to hurt our already struggling homeowners this year or next. We are still experience the worst crisis homeowners have ever experienced in their lifetime. Further cuts will have to be made by the school board in order to bring down the $53 MILLION ANNUAL budget in order to live within the means of homeowners. Or, as some are suggesting, maybe those who feel they can afford higher taxes and feel strongly about giving the schools more money, they can donate to the school or to students they know who may need help with buying books.
Don Bettio July 29, 2011 at 06:57 PM
When is it going to stop. Today still workers are being laidoff, some of our residents are loosing their homes and some of the older people are giving up there medications just to keep there head above water and are still fighting a loosing battle. We are being TAXed to DEATH. Board President Pat Matthews states the contracts are in the best interest of the community?? WHAT A JOKE. It looks like we will be paying more money out to the SCHOOL ATTORNEY thank to the school BOARD, I was always under the impression that the school board was working for the residents and the residents voice. This is the reason we need to get rid of this school board we have now and vote in new members in to represent the RESIDENTS of Stow and keep us inform what is going on in our school. Thank You and GOD BLESS
Ed Kent July 29, 2011 at 07:04 PM
What emergency do you see? To see the salaries and pension liabilities of staff members (administrators and teachers) in this district go to: http://www.buckeyeinstitute.org/teacher-salary Then, select in the drop down menu: District Name: Stow-Munroe Falls City Then select: Year: 2010 Then skip to Order By and select: Order By: Salary High to Low You will see there are 137 teachers and administrators making over $70,000 per year (actually about 184 working days due to the summer break, Spring Break, Christmas Break, holidays) You will see 11 of them make between $80,000 to $118,705. The pension liability information is found on the far right column. For example: The pension we'll have to pay out to the top salary earner is estimated at $1,769,820. I'm glad we pay our school staff well, that we provide them excellent healthcare plans, benefits and pensions. I have no complaint. But, can I justify voting 'for' this new property tax levy this year or the next? No, I can not. I'm glad the board has been on the path to make cuts and more will be needed to bring down that $53,000,000 annual budget which the property owners can no longer afford due to their own financial crisis. It's not that we don't support our teachers, it's that many can not afford paying for this large budget. Salary cuts weren't part of the new contract, so I suppose staff cuts will be the next measure to take in order to live within the means of the residents ability to pay taxes.
Don Bettio July 29, 2011 at 10:35 PM
We all know that the school will be asking for another levy possibly every year over the next ten years . Rember 86% of the taxes goes to wages. I guess the old approach stating it is for the KIDS is not working what next. The school board you know who are our voice of the residents Gave our Treasurer CATHERINE M, BULGRIN a five year contract. Well her COUSIN was a board member AND THE TREASURER's OFFICE NEVER HAD A FIVE YEAR CONTRACT BEFORE and this is a sweet one at tax payer's expense. ( the contract is available at the school board office.if you wish acquire it) Vote Aug 2 thank you.

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