Lebanon Gets to Go First: Budget Cuts to Avoid More School District Taxes

Where many people have arrived at in their view of public education is that they believe that the money they are spending currently is a waste of money. The kids don’t seem to be learning anything significant, and the costs just keep increasing. Many people like me want to see some new options. I’m not shy about it. I don’t like the results of public education. I’m happy to pay my fair share for the sake of the rest of the community, but I make a living saving companies money, so it is impossible for me not to sniff out extreme waste when it is so very obvious. And the only reason I get involved is because these wasteful public education organizations are asking me for money, money that comes from my property value, which to me is the same as attempting to rob me while at the same time telling me it’s for my own good.

Doc Thompson seems to feel very similar and talks about it on his radio show at 700 WLW.

As the school boards all across this state prepare to blindly look to the future and campaign for levy passage in order to throw more money into public education in the name of “helping children,” a new chip is being placed on the table to curb those uncontrollable expenses.

Once S.B.5 signed into law, school boards will have the ability to bring down their costs immediately, which means they can drive down their labor costs finally. My guess is that many of these school boards will stall making big decisions and hope that S.B.5 is put on a referendum and defeated in the fall of 2011 so they can avoid any tough decisions. But I have a warning for them that choose to play the game that way………. it will be remembered that the opportunity to substantially lower your costs was put before you, and you did not take advantage of it.

For school districts that plan to play the stall game, and mindlessly ask for yet more school levies, there are further school reforms coming that will guarantee that you will see a declining student body population, such as School Choice and online courses, as options are provided to more and more parents to put their child in alternative forms of education.

The teachers union is aware of this threat to their control. The article below is intent to raise concerns with parents thinking about alternatives, such as online schooling. The lobby campaign against those reforms are already forming. Check out this from The Pulse Journal. Read the whole article here. http://www.pulsejournal.com/news/local-news/skipping-school-can-land-students-parents-in-court-1097694.html

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Skipping school can land students, parents in court

Kids learn hard way, with truancy comes consequences

By Eric Schwartzberg, Staff Writer Updated 10:36 AM Friday, March 4, 2011

WARREN COUNTY — A growing number of students in Warren County are making up time missed in the classroom with time spent in the courtroom.
Truancy rates in the county continue to climb as school districts become more vigilant about reporting unexcused absences. Last school year, more than 5,254 individuals were part of the Warren County Truancy Intervention Program, up from 5,215 in 2008-09 and 5,099 in 2007-08.
Bethany Cole, 16, of Lebanon, started skipping assigned online lessons in 2007.
“I got on virtual (school) in seventh grade and took it for a free-for-all,” she said. “The work was hard and I just didn’t want to do it. I wanted to play with my friends and have fun.”

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Translation is this, if you are a working parent and you think your kid can take online courses to get through school, you as a parent may find yourself in trouble with your country Truancy Intervention division, and may have to go to court. It’s a fear tactic to keep people from considering reforms. In the article, it is implied that young Bethany Cole needs a teacher to keep her in line. That’s the intent of the article.

I read the paper every week, and I haven’t seen much on this topic until S.B.5 passed the senate this past week. I know that one of the reforms that will benefit from S.B.5 is coming from State Rep Bill Coley’s online class bill passed during 2010, moving away from brick and mortar class rooms.

Those reforms will happen; it’s already in the works and is signed into law. This reform happened under Governor Strickland. The unions know it, so they will attempt to plant fears in parents from attempting any school reform. So there will be many more fear tactics attempted by the union to attempt futilely in keeping the world as it’s always been for those unions, but to no avail. The old games will not work any more.

Now there will be those that will accuse me of reading too much into the timing of the above article by Eric. All I’ll say to you is that you are naive and don’t understand the process if you think the timing of that article is not intentional. Such games are no longer going to occur with impunity. I’m not the only one looking at things like this now. School district budgets are going to have to change and adapt because competitive options are going to be implemented in education.

For the Lakota School District I have put out a plan for dealing with their budget deficit issues. Check it out here.

All districts should demand that the unions come to the table and reduce their wages proportionally taking a pay cut to bring their costs to the budget revenue supplied by the community. At Lakota I proposed a 30% cut that would instantly generate 27 million dollars. No further levy would be required, and no lay-off of teachers. All courses could still be offered as they always have. The only thing that would change is teachers would be paid less, something more in line with everyone else in the community. They are paid right now 62K per year. A 30% across the board reduction would make the average 43K per year. The median income in West Chester, which is within the Lakota School District, is $97,971. If you don’t know what median means, median income is the amount which divides the income distribution into two equal groups, half having income above that amount, and half having income below that amount. Mean income (average) is the amount obtained by dividing the total aggregate income of a group by the number of units in that group. The means and medians for households and families are based on all households and families. Means and medians for people are based on people 15 years old and over with income. In short for the purpose of statistics in this case it is a husband and a wife working making $48,985.50 each. In Liberty Twp, which is the other Twp in the Lakota District the median income is $88,105 which divided by two is $44,052.50 per working resident. Many of the people working in the Lakota School District have college degrees and advanced degrees. Such measures do not guarantee automatic pay increases of 70K to 90K per year as the teaching profession believes. School boards, asking teachers to live within the wages of the community are not unreasonable and needs to be implemented immediately. I hate to use teachers in this example, but they do make up a majority of the labor costs. Administrators, many of which are well over the 80K wage range must be looked at for their usefulness. Do they contribute directly to the education of children or are they just cruising through the system? School boards are well aware of who adds value and who doesn’t, and needs to act on that information to bring costs in line. There will of course be employees that will threaten to leave if they are asked to take a pay cut. Well, let them go, because where they are going will have to do the same, and if they are dumb enough to leave a good school district for another just because of money, then they aren’t worth the money to begin with because they are not in the profession for all the right reasons.

Now my primary occupation is bringing costs down in business. It is very hard to sit across the table from someone and tell them that they aren’t worth as much money as they believe they are. It is very, very hard. But a good manager will see through the tears and the hard emotions to do what’s right for the company, because it is the company that provides revenue to all its workers. So the health of the company is very important and cannot be top heavy with excess costs. It’s for the good of the upset worker that proclaims that they are not paid enough, to restrict them for the health of the company that they work for in order to protect their job over the long run.

These unions and school districts that have been run by the unions won’t like stepping back and will attempt any kind of emotional argument to proclaim why teachers and administrators are worth 30% more than every other profession. They’ll throw out all kinds of numbers but the reality is that they don’t know what is going on outside of their specialized bubbles. They have for years been their own management ruling over the elected school boards and have given themselves outlandish pay increases without regard for reality.

For those members of the unions the warning to them is this, drag your feet and fight the process all you want. Work hard to get S.B.5 on a referendum and overturned by the voters in November if you want. Try all you want to convince tax payers to keep throwing money in your direction, because what will happen within years, not decades, but years, is the entire system will go bankrupt. Those superintendents and teachers that are close to retirement won’t care. They will hope to hold off the tide until their retirements and they can escape the system with their wheel barrel of money. But for those of you that are in your late 30’s and 40’s, you’re in big trouble, because the system will collapse well before you get to retirement.

Don’t believe me, I wrote it down here for all to see forever, so prove me wrong in the future? At Lakota in 2003 the average wage at Lakota was 48K per year. In 2011 it is as we said 62K. There was one levy approval and two strike threats for more money and benefits over an eight year period and the average wages went up by 14K per year.

I use Lakota because that’s a district I’m failure with. But similar circumstances can be found in virtually every school district in Ohio. I am envious that Lebanon will be the first to be able to use the benefits of S.B.5 to avoid a levy all together. Because now their school board will have the tools to truly bring their costs in line and avoid putting the tax payers through a levy. They will have the opportunity to teach all the districts in Southern Ohio how to proceed in such a process and will always be known as the first to do so. Because of S.B.5, there is no reason for a levy, as planned. The school board will now have the power to regulate their labor costs, and that is an exciting prospect for the tax payers.

Little Miami is in the same situation. They are now able to deal with regulating their costs in ways they never dreamed of, and if they have the courage and commitment, can save their district.

But to those that those union types that are clinging to the past, and hoping to press upon communities to pass more levies and further the tax burden on property owners, you are in for a hard lesson. Calling people names because they don’t want to raise taxes on themselves will no longer work. The days where you have twisted the arms of communities are over. S.B.5 is not a radical right-winged conspiracy against the left. It is an urgent attempt to operate on a cancer that is eating away our public education system and restoring balance to local communities from the centralized power of union influence. And I S.B.5 is not used by school boards, or if voters in Ohio vote the bill down in a referendum then the system will bleed itself dry soon and nobody will have anything.

And when that day comes, don’t say you weren’t warned and that people didn’t stand up and attempt to save it, because we did. And the unions stood in the way and caused their own demise, because they were too stupid and arrogant to see that they desperately need the operation.

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