by Juliet Tissot

Juliet Tissot is a District resident and lives in Miami Trails

The  Loveland City School District (LCSD) operating levy shouldn’t even be on the ballot yet. It’s too early and taxpayers are being fleeced yet again. 

I say “it’s too early” but not for the reasons you’ve heard before. Some people think it’s too early because the November levy suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of taxpayers and the board/administration should have taken more time to build trust within their community and present a reasonable budget. I say “it’s too early” because if it weren’t for the administration’s reckless spending in 2019 the 2014 operating levy could have lasted another two years and taxpayers would have been able to hold onto their hard earned money a little longer without the school suffering at all.

During the 2018-19 school year, Dr. Crouse’s first year as superintendent, operating expenses were increased by $6 million ($49,183,909 – $55,568,450). A six million dollar increase in one school year is outrageous especially when you find out no superintendent before her increased operating expenses by more than $2 million in one year. Dr. Crouse tripled the increase of any other superintendent before her and she did it the year before she put an enormous levy on the ballot, begging tax payers for more money, claiming the district was broke and laying off teachers. Had Dr. Crouse increased spending the same amount as others before her, or even a little more, the money could have lasted two more years and teachers would not have lost their jobs. The 2019, the $6 million increase in operating expenses was an increase of 13% while the average operating expense increase for all public schools in Ohio (~600) was only 4%.  

Why should tax payers reach deeper in their pockets, two years early, to reward such reckless spending?

Why should tax payers reach deeper in their pockets, two years early, to reward such reckless spending?  

Some will answer that question with the typical Levy 101 bumper sticker response, “It’s for the kids!” But is it really for the kids? Since 2013, enrollment in the Loveland City School District declined by 200 students (4,715 – 4,510). During that same time period, Loveland City School district hired 10 full time equivalent (FTE) administrators (16.5 – 27). Why would LCSD hire so many administrators when we have so many fewer students?  In 2019, the average salary of FTE administrators increased 14% ($86,320 – $98,224). The administration tries to explain these salary numbers away by saying people were moved from part time to full time positions but their claims aren’t supported by the CUPP Report** which shows the number of full time administrators didn’t change from 2018-19 (26.8 – 27). Why would LCSD make these salary adjustments the year before coming to taxpayers for more money?

Others will answer that question with another bumper sticker, “Sustain, Maintain and Protect”, claiming the levy is needed to maintain the status quo. Why would so much money be needed if we’re just maintaining the status quo? The administration promises to only increase expenditures 3% a year going forward. Well, 3% of $55 million is $1.65 million. Yet the levy on the ballot will generate $6.25 million a year. If the administration is only going to increase spending $1.65 million a year why do they need to increase revenue $6.25 million a year? Even if you account for compounding the increase and add extra money for unforeseen needs you’ll still see the ask dramatically outweighs the need.  When making a decision about taxes, citizens should rely on facts not emotions. The facts will tell you this levy is too soon and too big. Levys in Loveland are always permanent therefore they are always in addition to what you are already paying. This levy will increase taxes in Loveland by $243 a year for each $100,000 worth of home value. Lovelanders have routinely voted to approve levies, pumping the school’s coffers full of money and yet in 2019 Loveland received the same overall grade as Little Miami on the state report card (B). Little Miami went through a stretch of not passing a levy for ten years. This proves you can’t buy better grades.  So why are they asking for so much? Your children are judged by their grades, should the district be held to a different standard?   

Finally, keep in mind… the school district will come back for even more operating money in just four years, and sometime between now and then, a bond and permanent improvement levy will be on the ballot as well.  

Be prepared for your taxes to skyrocket!

VOTE NO on March 17th.  

**The CUPP report is a report issued by the Ohio Dept of Education and is compiled of numbers submitted by the district. The report is available online.

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