Issue 20: School Levy Passes

Issue 20 passed by 557 votes and busing for high school students will be re-instituted Monday.

, a 6.57-mill 10-year operating levy, was passed in Stow by 557 votes Nov. 8. 

Here are the final but unofficial voting results from the Summit County Board of Elections:

(39 of 39 precincts counted)

  • FOR the levy: 8,047 (51.79 percent)
  • AGAINST the levy: 7,490 (48.21 percent)

"We're very apreciateive of the support of the community. We have cut $8 million from budget and reached academic highs that the districts never achieved before in terms of an , all time high ACT scores and being on the ," said Superintendent Russ Jones. "I think the community has recognized our 'excellence' in academics and voted to support that — we appreciate that."

Further cuts will not be made, instead busing, in the form of cluster stops, will be instituted for high school students starting Monday.

"We're going to continue to provide the very best education for every child who walks through our doors, that's our mission," said Jones.

Misty Pawlin November 11, 2011 at 12:00 PM
LEVY SURVIVAL MANUAL - Part 2 2. Homestead Exemption : The Homestead Exemption is available to homeowners who are 65 years or older or totally disabled under the age of 65. Surviving spouse of a qualified homeowner who was at least 59 years old on the date of their spouse’s death is also eligible. You must be the owner of the home or manufactured home and it must be your primary residence on January 1 for the tax year you apply......................Under the new program every senior citizen or permanently disabled homeowner will receive an exemption of $25,000 on the market value of their home from property taxes, regardless of their income. http://fiscaloffice.summitoh.net/index.php/homestead-exemption ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ When the next valuation rolls around, we will be advising people how they can legitimately challenge their property tax assessments and have a good chance of winning. The caveat here is that your house must really be over assessed, and you have to prove it. I have had great success with this, and I would be glad to assist anyone who needs help.
Dawn Doo November 11, 2011 at 05:04 PM
Ms. Emery, Your comments do appear to undermine the efforts of all PROSTOW and SEEF advocates. We all work very hard on behalf of our children and community.
Steve Eaton November 11, 2011 at 05:23 PM
@Misty- Stating that we want Field Trips and lower Pay to Play fees, more access to extra-curricular activities and Busing is something we should all want for our kids in Stow. its worth the extra $ to make sure that they have this. I understand what you are arguing but the kids benefit from this tremendously. Thanks
Chris Butts November 11, 2011 at 08:52 PM
It's most often the people without kids (and often more specifically seniors) who make the most ridiculous claims on what should be cut from the schools, or what things our kids should be able to do without. If you don't want to support a community that is growing and has a vested interest in raising our kids the best way possible. It's pretty simple - MOVE. I will recommend a good realtor for you.
Misty Pawlin November 11, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Steve, no one wants to see these things cut, it's just that we feel $55 million is a sufficient amount of money to pay for all this. Look how they blew $39,000 on the August levy without batting an eyelash! Who is accountable for making that poor business decision? Our school board, rather than take pay cuts or cut benefits as the private sector has had to do, continue to spend our money like it is never going to run out. Sooner or later - probably sooner - the board is going to have to make real cuts, not paper cuts aimed at hurting students and parents to get votes. It's a given; spending can't go on this way. They scraped this levy through, but I don't think the threat of cutting busing is going to work a third time, especially when as soon as they got what they wanted, the buses will be running on Monday. Lots of people feel they were played. People out of work or on a fixed income are going to be in a lot of financial trouble come January trying to pay for this levy that is RETROACTIVE. You watch, it'll go radioactive and burn a hole through what's left of the property values in this town. And if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, look for more misery. The timing couldn't be worse: Why Your Tax Bill Might Surge Next Year http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2011/11/07/why-your-tax-bill-might-surge-next-year/#ixzz1dQqiIvcR
Misty Pawlin November 11, 2011 at 11:07 PM
Whoa.....you are a piece of work, ranking on senior citizens. Moving isn't easy, especially for the elderly. All I can say is Karma Chris, karma. It has a strange way of coming back to bite you on the butt(s). Seniors and every taxpayer have the right to give their opinion on what they think should be cut whether you agree with it or not. Me, I'd start chopping Russ Jones' salary, and take away his bonus. Bonus for what?? Blowing $39,000 on the August levy? Psst...P.S. The community - as least as far as the schools go - is getting smaller. Empty and foreclosed houses all over town, half deserted plazas. Yep that's growth.
Joe Earley November 12, 2011 at 03:20 PM
Misty, all I see from you are negative opinions. I have yet to see a post where you make any type of recommendation on how you would address your issues.
Joe Earley November 12, 2011 at 03:23 PM
LOL. Good one Ed.
Chris Butts November 12, 2011 at 03:36 PM
Don't be so dramatic Misty. I'm not "ranking" on anyone. Just stating facts. As far as karma goes I am not worried. Those who should worry are the ones who vote against what is in the best interest for our kids and their education. Everyone does have the right to their opinion. Never said they didn't, again, overly dramatic. Half empty plazas have nothing to do with the city, it's not up to the city to provide reasonable rates for lease or a plaza that has seen some kind of upkeep in the last decade. Where do you even get your numbers for $39k? Please give me a source? Or is it again the Stow idiots web site? Do you even have any kids in the school system?
Chris Butts November 12, 2011 at 03:44 PM
Hahaha, love it Frank. I enjoy your commentary and it's use of colors.
Chris Butts November 12, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Not sure why my comment previous was removed. What I stated was that closing a school is a ridiculous recommendation. Love to see your source for your numbers Dean. Enrollment over the ENTIRE school system may be down but I am willing to bet if you break it down most of the down numbers are for the high school and middle school. I would be shocked if the elementary schools enrollments are down from 2006. So your claim for closing a elementary school does not hold water. Not only lack of facts is a problem here, but how does sending 350 kids into other elementary schools and increasing class sizes do any good? How does the potential for unemployment for these staff members of this school help the local economy? You are worried about $20/month more in tax but putting someone out of a job is OK?? Don't get your "facts" from the stow idiocracy web site. There is nothing credible about that web site.
Misty Pawlin November 13, 2011 at 01:43 AM
@ Chris Butts - Get a clue! Maybe you should go back and read what you wrote. You suggested that senior citizens should move out of Stow if they don't want - or CAN'T AFFORD to support your kid's education at the level YOU think they should. Maybe some of us have, what is to us, more important things to pay for like food, housing, and medical care. I quote from YOUR heartless post, "It's most often the people without kids (***and often more specifically seniors***) who make the most ridiculous claims on what should be cut from the schools......It's pretty simple - MOVE. I will recommend a good realtor for you." The last line isn't even witty; it's pathetic; HARSH and HEARTLESS in the extreme. Fortunately, you represent only a small group levy supporters. I can't imagine the majority who supported the levy would want anything to do with your comments. Apparently, in the Chris Butts' world, people are entitled to their opinion, but if they don't want to vote your way, THEY SHOULD MOVE. Seniors on a fixed income should uproot themselves and move. That is a post that will live in infamy (thanks to screen shots), and has already lit a fire under a lot of people who don't know how to use a computer, but were shown what you wrote.
Misty Pawlin November 13, 2011 at 01:49 AM
@ Chris Butts ..and to finish: The wasted $39,000 is matter of public record. In your haste to chastise me about being overly "dramatic", you failed to say what you thought of my idea to starting cutting expenses by cutting Russ Jones salary and bonus. So Chris, what do you think about that? Does 'Dr. Can't Live Within a Budget' deserve a six figure salary and a BONUS?? I say NO!! And by the by, half empty plazas have everything to do with the health of the city. Stow is no where near thriving.
FrankRizzo November 13, 2011 at 02:12 AM
Let's cut Dr. Jones down to minimum wage - wait she still wouldn't be happy with that. PS - Hi Lissa & Ward I know your still looking.......
Molly Emery November 13, 2011 at 05:12 PM
No when the voters came out, and there were tons this time, the levy one...Majority rules.... the supporters are huge not a small group. You need to get a clue. its OVER im sure you can find something else to complain about
YOUR BEST FRIEND November 14, 2011 at 12:14 AM
no ,molly it wasn't the levy that made people come out to vote it was issue 2.when people are threaten to take things away that people count on to get there kids to and from school to get an education what happens if there are no kids in school because they can't get there who suffers the teachers not!!! but that doesn't matter as long as teachers get there pay ? taxpayers should vote down the renewal in feb
Misty Pawlin November 14, 2011 at 01:52 PM
Hey Molly: How come it wasn't OVER last August after we voted the first time? I will continue to discuss/ complain - whichever you prefer to call it. February isn't that far away, and we've got greedy hands grasping for the taxpayers purse yet again very soon. You'd do well to keep this in mind, I shall post what I please, not what pleases you. @ Frank Rizzo - So what do you think of Russ Jones' salary and benefits - that is, if you can fit any meaningful dialogue in between your less than witty repartee. And just so you know, it wouldn't please me to see Russ Jones receive minimum wage. It would please me to see him leave the district altogether. Too bad the Aurora school system didn't hire him when he tried to jump ship!
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Misty & Jeff -- where do you guys get your information! The renewal will be on the November 2012 ballot! Because of how Ohio schools are funded aren’t school districts pretty much obligated to keep trying to pass levies? The state continues to push program costs back onto local school districts. Some of those costs have been offset by nearly 8 million dollars in cuts, employee reductions, and things like pay to play. The 6.5 million from the new levy only keeps the district afloat. Remember each year inflation take a percentage of that money. Each year operating costs rise. I don’t think Dr. Jones or Catherine Bulgrin are overpaid. I suggest doing a little research and I think you will find other smaller districts pay more! In addition I am very confident you would find the average CEO and CFO for a $55 million dollar business with 600 employees, 13 buildings etc etc will be making substantially more!! In addition – in the last 5 years the current administration and the school board have -- in my opinion – corrected many of wrongs we endured under the previous board. One last personal thought – I wouldn’t blame the treasurer or the superintendent for looking elsewhere. These people have contracts and seem to be committed to full filling their obligations. I think they have done a good job and I think it would be foolish to even consider buying out their contracts.
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 02:56 PM
So Jeff -- I assume you have a job. I assume you work for money too? I also assume you work for a business that can generate more revenue by increasing sales! Schools don’t generate money – they are big consumers of our money – not a surprise to most people. So Jeff how would you propose we fund schools so the districts don’t have to come back to voters on a regular basis? How would you suggest the district make cuts without really cutting? Was the treat of cutting busing really a treat or just a promise to make tough cuts to save money? What would the district gain by wanting to cut busing to make you pay more? The traffic jams and inconvenience also affects them. I don’t think closing the schools early makes life any easier for anyone. So Jeff , share your good ideas and become part of the solution! Bring Misty and any of the others with you! The alternative is to continue the cheap shots while whining and wallowing in self pity!!! I hope you guys have the strength to do the former
FrankRizzo November 14, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Misty - haven't looked but my guess his salary & benefits are in line with other superitendents in the county and area. It cracks me up a number of people keep calling for his a Bulgrins salary to be cut.
YOUR BEST FRIEND November 14, 2011 at 05:01 PM
MIKE,you keep referring to the 8 million in cuts ,from all the people on this sight and at the meetings ask questions about them .MY question is the paper work on the cut like .who was cut , unemployment records, or any paper trail of any ofthis?i know it was on the sos but anybody can just write things down and say isaved this amount.is there any paper trail?Well nordonia school is looking for a superitendant lets see how long it take for jones toput his resume in ? like he did for independance schools .and yes i have a job .i think taxpayers should vote down all renwals for thenext 10 years.if any come up
Misty Pawlin November 14, 2011 at 05:53 PM
@ Mike Barnes: The point is, there is going to be another levy on the ballot next year, so you better believe we'll keep talking about it. Interesting that you mentioned Bulgrin. Wasn't she hired for something like 20 grand more than her predecessor? ....and at a time of great fiscal crisis. Then there's the IB program that a lot of parents didn't want. But Dr. Dolittle must have his way, and he wants IB. These are the kind of things that make taxpayers furious. It was no accident that two incumbents were voted off the school board. The Bulgrin brouhaha went a good way towards helping them get the boot. The point you make about the salary of a CEO of a $55M company, kind of answers itself. Schools aren't a $55, business bringing in money, but they cost a fortune, The administrators aren't going to be paid anywhere near what a for profit company would be pay. Having said that, a six figure salary, with bonus and a very lucrative benefits package is a darn good job in this economy. I wouldn't want buy out Russ' contract, I'd like to see him leave of his own accord, as he already tried to do.
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 06:23 PM
Jeff --- I suggest going back through the board minutes for the last six years. Its easy to do. Download the minutes and then do searches using "retirement" and "resignation". The results will give you a good start. Like I said before who could blame any employee in the district for not looking elsewhere --- I don't think they are overpaid and I do think they have done a good job with the resources and support they have. They can all resign and the long term financial problems are still not solved. They can all take bigger pay cuts -- the long term financial problem is still with us. So Jeff --- what are you personally going to change it?
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 06:37 PM
Misty & Jeff -- about 10% of voters will vote for a school levy just because it is for the schools. Ten percent of voters will vote against a school levy because they can! Another 10% will vote for or against it for personal reasons --- bad experience - vendetta whatever. Ten percent will vote yes or no because they aren't sure and one or the other appears first on the ballot. That leaves about half that require some type of re-enforcement to vote Yes or No. The answers you seek are available but at some point don't you need to be willing to believe the results? My gut feeling is both of you are in the second 10% -- which is a shame because you both seem passionate about the issue and the energy you waste on viewing the world through your backside could used doing something positive!!
Misty Pawlin November 14, 2011 at 07:33 PM
@Mike Barnes: One starts to read your latest post, and it sounds like you have something constructive to say, but then you ruin it all with your last sentence which I quote here: "My gut feeling is both of you are in the second 10% -- which is a shame because you both seem passionate about the issue and the energy you waste on VIWEING THE WORLD THROUGH YOUR BACKSIDE could [sic] used doing something positive!!" A very unworthy comment that just makes you look bad. By the way, I am doing something positive for myself. I am managing - just barely - to keep my head above water and stay solvent. You've left one really important factoid out of your percentages, and that would be the number of people who simply cannot afford to vote for the levy. What is of over-riding importance to me is to be able to keep a roof over my head, buy food and clothing, keep the lights and heat on, and pay my medical bills. Your children's band, field trips, sports, dances, and school buses pale in comparison. My survival takes first priority.
Misty Pawlin November 14, 2011 at 07:39 PM
Another thing Mike, what you and everyone else who is so pro-levy should realize is that it is in your best interest and the best interest of the over-all health of the City of Stow that those of us who are struggling stay solvent. If people lose their homes, or can't pay their taxes, no amount of levy approval is going to keep the schools on track. Houses sold at Sheriff's auctions and though bank foreclosure do tremendous damage to property values. This week of the four homes sold in Stow (as reported by the Stow Sentry), one was sold through Sheriff's sale, and the other a bank. This nearly 50-50 trend between private sellers and foreclosures has been going on for some time. Doesn't bode will for Stow. Killing homeowners with backbreaking taxes is going to backfire. We are near or at the tipping point.
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 08:31 PM
Misty -- look -- its OK. The take away is you can either be part of a real solution or you can be part of the problem! Criticism without a willingness to sponsor action which can change the real issue (state funding for schools) is really nothing more than intellectual masturbation. It may be fun and safe to sit in front of a computer and bang out what many seem to think are whinny, wallowing in self pity type comments. I guess what I am saying is rather than bash the people who believe in the monetary needs of our schools and those who run them – why not start a letter writing campaign to our state reps. Why not suggest they find a District Judge who would issue bench warrants for our legislators hauling their backsides into court to explain why they have not enacted a funding plan as outlined in the DeRolph case before the Ohio Supreme Court in 1997. Why not get involved to solve the real problem? I and others have written letters – do you want to join us in writing to the people we elected to represent us or would you rather look at the world ………….. well you know!
Mike Barnes November 14, 2011 at 08:35 PM
Misty -- Times are tough for most of us and tougher for some as well – those people fall in the 10% who vote NO for personal reasons. The voting model I described is well known in one form or another. I would like to claim credit for it and the 80/20 rule which also applies here --- 80% of the work is done by 20% of the people!!! My personal favorite relates to volunteers – The most organized person with the least amount of free time will find the time to help with projects they feel are worthy and important. I am OK with looking bad to people with a negative view. Take care & do us all a favor and write some letters to the people who can make some real changes to get the Ohio school funding train wreck back on track
Misty Pawlin November 14, 2011 at 11:38 PM
@ Mike Barnes : You said, "Criticism without a willingness to sponsor action which can change the real issue (state funding for schools) is really nothing more than **intellectual masturbation ** (got a laugh out of that turn of phrase!). It may be fun and safe to sit in front of a computer and bang out what many seem to think are whinny, wallowing in self pity type comments..." ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Let the heartless "many" think as they will. You and others have been sitting in front of your keyboards banging out cruel, insensitive and inappropriate comments to down and out people who don't agree with you. What you see as, "whinny, wallowing in self pity type comments", are the reality for many of us. Far from wallowing in self pity, I am using my considerable skills to stay afloat. I can stretch a dollar farther than just about anyone you ever met. You have far more of a vested interest to keep the schools at their current level of service than I, so it's time for YOU to stop diddling, and get busy!. I have no interest at the state level to enact more taxes to pay for the schools. The public school system as we know it has become a bloated, out of control monster. Less spending is what is needed, and maybe - dare I say it- more parental responsibility. Fiscal responsibility is the watchword of the day.
Mike Barnes November 15, 2011 at 02:28 PM
Misty -- I really hope it all works out for you.


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