by Mike Hunting
The proposed school levy for Loveland has been extremely stressful for residents on both sides of the issue. I have no doubt the students, faculty, and staff at Loveland schools would love to work and study in newer facilities and use turf athletic fields. The folks opposed to the levy are extremely frustrated with what appears to be the largest tax hike in the history of Loveland and possibly in the state of Ohio. While I can sympathize with the frustrated faculty and want to support our schools (and have supported them), the tax implications of this levy are simply stated…ridiculous.
We need to realize this will break the bank for many people who are living in and around Loveland. I attended the meetings on September 9 at Loveland Middle School (LMS) and on September 12 at Loveland High School (LHS).
During the LMS meeting, I heard several couples say they would move if this levy passed. One couple was in dire straits because they had moved several times recently and cannot afford to move again. They are now simply stuck in Loveland and facing what appears to be the largest tax hike in the city’s (and possibly state’s) history. A tax hike that is certain to be followed again and again with MORE levies.
For those who paid attention to the words of Loveland Superintendent, Dr Amy Crouse, she said she hopes Clermont County and the City of Loveland will help with infrastructure costs for the new school. To date, Loveland and Clermont have not officially committed to these costs, at least not publicly to us. Expect another levy to cover this if and when they refuse (and even if they do we are STILL paying for it).
I would also expect a third levy to cover more teachers since this proposed levy adds several buildings but only two additional teachers. I strongly believe we have reached the breaking point in this community. We will likely see an exodus similar to what is happening in failed areas such as New York City, Detroit, Chicago, California, and much of New England.
Perhaps the most frustrating part of the meetings last week was the school board’s arrogant attempt to manipulate its audiences. At both meetings, members of the school board, the Treasurer, and Dr. Crouse kept saying, “The community wants this” or “the community voted for this.” Most of the community didn’t even know of this levy until the flyers arrived in their mailboxes in mid-August. Thus, the community certainly DID NOT vote for the levy or approve it. The only people I have spoken with who are in favor of this are school faculty or folks affiliated with the schools (although I have also spoken with school employees who are opposed).
The timeline of the release of information is interesting. My family and many of our peers didn’t even know about this levy until we received the flyers in our mailboxes around August 15. August 15 is a significant date because the deadline to place names on the ballot to run against Art Jarvis and Kathryn Lorenz was August 7. Once again, this is utterly ridiculous (albeit well played by Art and Kathryn and the other members of the Levy). Since they are now protected for at least two more years, expect more levy proposals even after this one is shot down.
The Treasurer, Kevin Hawley, stated he will propose another levy if this goes down. He doesn’t even live within this tax district, so why would he care? We must get people to run against this out of control board and Treasurer at the earliest opportunity.
Dr. Amy Crouse finished the meeting on Thursday by saying, “We hope we answered some of your questions, and we hope that you choose to support this when it comes time in November so that we can move forward.” Unfortunately, they failed to answer many of our questions. They would not allow us to voice questions and we had to submit index cards with questions written on them for Thursday’s meeting. Thus, they could selectively answer the easy questions and dodge the relevant questions. I know for a fact I saw roughly 30-40 index cards with questions on Thursday. I am guessing they answered at most 1/3 of these cards. My question was not answered. I merely wanted to confirm Dr. Crouse and Mr. Hawley live elsewhere and thus won’t be impacted by the increased taxes (which I have since learned is true).
The last part of Dr. Crouse’s statement is interesting. She recommends how we should vote from inside a government building and while serving in an official government capacity. Thus, the government is telling you how you should vote and not allowing the opposition to speak. This is on tape.