Edison Schools place emergency levy on May ballot

Edison Schools will propose its largest levy option to taxpayers this spring.
Alissa Widman Neese
Feb 2, 2013

School board members agreed Wednesday to place a five-year, 7.9-mill emergency operating levy on the May ballot.

The decision came after a nearly hour-long discussion of four options ranging from 4.9 to 7.9 mills, with board members ultimately concurring the largest option was the only “workable” one.

The levy would generate nearly $1.8 million a year for the district, costing the owner of a $100,000 home about $240 a year.

“Every person I’ve contacted has told me to ask for what we need — we need to go beyond just getting through one year,” board member Jodi Harris said. “It’s not fair to our community or our students.”

The district is projected to run a deficit of nearly $75,000 in the 2013-2014 school year and more than $2.5 million in 2014-2015, according to its five-year forecast. Its budget is about $14 million.

If voters approve the May levy, however, the district could see a surplus of about $894,000 in the 2013-2014 school year and about $209,000 in 2014-2015. The district would still face a deficit of more than $1 million by 2016.

“We’re asking for a bare minimum 7.9 mills — I know it doesn’t sound right,” board member Mark Miller said.

If approved, board members said the funds could possibly eliminate pay-to-play athletic fees and pay for additional elementary school teachers.

“Instead of focusing on cuts for the next couple of years we could focus on students again,” board member Mark Suhanic said. “It’s up to the community to take care of us. We can’t wait for the state to do it any longer.”

About 20 people attended Wednesday’s meeting.

Matt McClester, a Berlin Heights resident and district parent, opened the meeting’s discussion speaking in favor of a 4.9-mill or 5.9-mill levy option. He still remains a
levy advocate after the board’s decision.

“I’ll support any option, but many people I’ve talked to said the best way to get it passed is a smaller levy,” McClester said. “But if 7.9 mills is what’s needed, they’re really in a catch-22.”

The district hasn’t approved an emergency operating levy since May 2005, treasurer Anne Arnold said. Voters most recently rejected a 3.5-mill option in November.

Levy Proposal
Millage: 7.9
Length: Five years
Would generate: $1.8 million a year
Cost: Annual cost to owner of $100,000 home would be about $240
Use: Would pay for day-to-day expenses, including salaries and benefits for employees, utilities, classroom supplies, maintenance of property and buildings, among other services
Note: All figures rounded
Source: Edison Schools


Yellow Snow

The article says the district would still face more than a million dollars deficit by 2016. At what point does one face up to the fact that changes still need to be made? We all change our spending habits in effort to pay our bills. Drive less by combining trips, adjust the thermostat, buy foods that nourish us instead of junk food, work with smaller paychecks. Schools are the majority of our taxes. People are losing homes because taxes can't be met due to job losses and increased living expenses. It's not the sports programs causing a deficit, it's wages/benefits.

John Harville

When does One face up to the fact that the Governor cut more than a billion in state funds for local government...that this $1.8 million is dribble in the bucket of the $1.1 BILLION on ballots.


It is not the state's fault, the Federal Government cut the amount it sends to the states as well. Let's face it, the Federal Gov't is broke, the States are broke, the Cities and School are broke...where are you gonna get the money from when almost half of the citizens are broke as well and on some form of assistance. Some schools are not going to make it, consolidation is probably going to have to happen. I don't like it, but it is a fact of life.

Edwin Ison

Levy passage could "POSSIBLY" eliminate pay-to-play?
"Come on MAN"!

Commit already.

Eliminate pay-to-play, and two no votes in my household turn to yes votes!
Cannot afford it otherwise.

Get Facts Straight

So this time that is what it will take for you to vote yes? Each time this comes up you have a new excuse for voting no. You will hold this district hostage again even if they do eliminate pay to play. In the past, it was get rid of the super, give back busing, and teachers pay retirement. Well all of those have happened...so do you really mean what you say this time? I sure hope so.

tell it how it is

Thank you!
Sometimes I really wish these sections had "like" buttons...

John Harville

Let's go the opposite direction - elminate sports until an even larger levy passes.
It's just a matter of finding your price. To hell with education as long as we keep co-curriculars.
Call the Governor!!!


Great timing on announcement as i have to write my property tax check this week. here is the breakdown per year..rounded off..420 county..250 township..84 library...140 jvs..1420 schools..So you want to raise my 1420 to 1840 are you nuts bringing this to us without teachers paying for their retirement yet. It will go down in flames. 7.9 mill so you can have surplus to waste. BIG NO

Get Facts Straight

Teachers will be paying retirement completely. It's in the new contract.

Señor Clown

Remember, they said 7.9 mill is the only workable option and the bare minimum. So after this is defeated, there should be no need to ask for the 5.9 mill on the next ballot. Yellow Snow's post is absolutely right - if you're facing a 2.5 million dollar defect by 2015-2016 school year, the extra 1.8 million a year from this levy isn't going to keep the ship from sinking.


The clique will vote for it and everyone else will not. If your not good enough any other time, your not at election time either. It is no secret what goes on. Apparently it's thought of as a normal way of life.

Edwin Ison

The teachers just signed a two year deal.
Go to the Edison Schools page to see a small summary.
Also see the Q&A from Super Roth.
The two don't jive at all, not even close.
Pay specific attention to the retirement pick up comments.
The math doesn't add up.
Why doesn't the district post a copy of the current and former contracts right on the school page for review?
We can then be informed voters.
"Come on Man"



Time to enact Plan B and dust off Plan C.

HS Sports Fan

From looking at the comments on here, the clique Warhol_89 talks about doesn't seem to be very big. When everything bases around a small group, the end result is what it is. How could you expect for it to be any different? Maybe they should devide the amount of the levy amongst themselveses and the rest be excluded as normal. Now how cool would that be? Sounds fair to me.

Kottage Kat

When I see some transparency and not scare tactics
Doubtful I will ever vote YES


Maybe it's time to look at combining a few of our small school districts, sharing resources and saving taxpayers some REAL money! Once everyone gets off their clique horses and takes a good honest look at reality, you might see that it will actually work. This area is not large enough to sustain all these small districts in this day in age. Wake up, do it how we decide before the State does it their way!!!

West 99

Schools will already get their big boost in tax dollars- THANKS to your local farmer / property owner.

Check out http:/erie.iviewauditor.com/ your "Erie County Auditor's Website" and type in a local farmer's name- you will see their farm land taxes have increased 2 to 3 times from last year (most of those dollars going directly to schools- look at the percentage of $ to schools). You don't hear about this!!!

Bada Bing

First they use pay to play and bussing cuts to threaten the voters into a yes vote. It didn't work, so now they will reward us by giving back what was originally free? The land tax increase is absolutely correct. Education needs to be run by business people not government subsidized spenders. They use our children's education as leverage to get their way. I'm not an advocate of private schools, but at least they can run a budget and survive.

John Harville

So why are so many private schools closing? That's the reason Kasich has to take public money and give it to private schools.

Education is not a business and students are not 'nuts and bolts' on a production line. Most school ARE being run by contemporary business models - bigger and bigger bucks for topheavy administration.


bada boom bada bing

R U Kidding me

I am so glad if this passes you can stop focusing on cuts. You had me worried that you would have to cut your spending. I pay $3700 a year for property tax so when I retire I have to sell the house I have worked for for all my life and you want more so you don't have to make cuts. when you make all the cuts you can then let us know then we'll concider voting for this




and, we the people, put an emergency fashion put down a no vote... the way we fund schools was deemed illegal how many years ago and we still do nothing about it.. sorry, but some generation of students needs to pay the penalty for our ignorance.. keep voting no..

John Harville

chongo. "some generation of students needs to pay the penalty"? Well at least you got the "ignorance" part right.

"If ignorance is bliss, why aren't more people happy?" - Jefferson


I agree, we may need to combine some of the smaller schools. Kids today are graduating, going off to college and not returning to the area because there are NO jobs. That leaves a bunch of older folks with no kids in the house to pay more taxes to put the next generation through school and leave the area. The answer is MORE good paying jobs in the area so more will choose to stay in the area after graduating from college. Look at the majority of Milanites, I would guess more than 60 percent are retired or will be retiring in the next 10 years. They passed levies many times in the past, but now they are nearing retirement and fixed incomes...they are tapped out. IMHO, I don't think the levy has a snowball's chance in Hades of passing.


Did they take "Paying" staff for taking tickets, running the scoreboard etc. OUT OF THE CONTRACT? How about paying for their OWN RETIREMENT PLAN, or THEIR OWN INSURANCE BENEFITS?

It's really a pretty sweet deal at Edison if you're a staff member:

1. Median wage is in the $50K, most are way above, but this is the median.

2. You pay less than 10% of your medical insurance.

3. You only have to pay .7% into your retirement, community picks up the 9.3% for you and the state mandated amount.

4. You can be on the clock and bring your child or children to work with you to sporting events, plays, concerts etc. and NOT PAY FOR THEM TO GET IN. (I saw this first hand)

5. You can sell tickets, run the scoreboard (other supplemental contract items) AND GET PAID FOR IT, above and beyond your regular pay. I wonder if they get STRS for this supplemental contract work???? Good question? I'm sure you won't get a straight answer on that.

6. AND AN ADDED BONUS: If you're IN THE "CLIQUE" your kid will go from 8th grade ball to playing VARSITY while SOPHOMORES, JUNIORS AND SENIORS are not on varsity or SIT THE BENCH.


I am NOT FROM EDISON, but did go to a few games to see the two freshman who START on VARSITY play- I was in complete and utter awe. Why would anyone do that to two young men? They may be good at basketball, but by NO MEANS are either of them ready to play at the VARSITY level. Does it mean that much to have 4 varsity letters when your season record is 3 or 4 wins? Not to mention the Seniors that are sitting the bench while 2 freshman START and Juniors and Sophomores don't get the opportunity to play at all on Varsity when in fact they should be in order to gain some experience?

You folks there at Edison need to take a look at what is going on around you, you are ruining good athletes. Not only those you are not playing, but the ones that are quitting because of the favoritism that goes on, and the playing up of young men who are not ready but because their parents are the principle and head football coach/teacher (or so I've heard).

Several things occur when the above happens: Two young men are separated from playing ball with their classmates, they are stepping on the toes of upper class men, parents become frustrated and segregated, coaches have to hear it from parents, the school needs a levy and the community is divided and NO ONE WINS! Surely, the administration has learned from this horrific season of basketball and will be much wiser not to make the same mistake when baseball and football season roll around.

Is this why the head basketball coach quit, I think Robinson was his name? Because he was smart enough to know that playing freshman over seniors, juniors and even sophomores was not a SMART move?

Your sports programs are not working there, who is or is anyone, doing an evaluation on these coaches every year? If so, maybe that persons effectiveness needs to be re-evaluated too.

Your district as a whole seems to fair very well in the academic world, which means you have an awesome teaching staff, parental guidance, caretakers etc. why is it that you can't get this same support at levy time? Doesn't seem so hard to figure out what's broken.

I would find it hard to vote for your levy if I had a child in your district and the facts above were things I had to deal with on a daily, yearly basis. Maybe you need to start at home, build the unity of your community, treat staff and your tax paying citizens and their children equally and maybe then you will be able to pass a levy. Seems like common sense to me.

Outside looking in....

HS Sports Fan

Well said Serious, and it makes no sense to them why a levy won't pass. 3/4 of the area is pushed aside. If you exclude them, exclude them at voting time also. Why would someone want to spend money they don't have on a school that don't want to have them? Action needs to be taken NOW! Get rid of these guys so the system can rebuild it's credibility. And see if their kids start at the next school that employs them. Until then I suggest you guys over there vote NO. It looks like you don't need me to tell you that though.

Get Facts Straight

By fall, teachers will pay their retirement. It's in the new contract.


Serious, a few questions.

Based on your first few lines, my question is how much are teachers suppose to make? $20,000? $80,000? How about an excellent teacher who has taught for 10 years? 20 years?

And what do you do for a job? Can I say right now that I believe you should make $30,000?

What cracks me up the most about your post is your dedication to sports. Schools are and should be about education, first and foremost. Your second to last paragraph is actually about education, not sports. It took a long time reading to find that.

West 99

Some are saying in the Norwalk Reflector's Web Page teaches don't make enough

Look at any teachers salary by name at: http://buckeyeinstitute.org/teac...

You'll be shocked by their huge salaries