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Readers Fired Up Over North Canton Schools Levy

Over the past week North Canton Patch readers shared their thoughts about the idea of a 2.4-mill permanent improvements levy for the school district.

The North Canton City School District recently announced that it will ask voters to support a 2.4-mill permanent improvement levy on May 7.

The continuous levy would generate about $1.44 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 home $73 per year, according to the Canton Repository.

North Canton Patch readers are responding with their thoughts about the levy on our site and our Facebook page. Many of them are not happy.

Ann Marie said: Live within your means just like we have to. Cut back on your bloated administration! Some of your own employees are complaining about how you waste the taxpayers money. I continually vote NO on all school levies and am forced to pay because most of NC citizens vote yes. I am sick of paying such high property taxes.

Cory King said: Sure would like some details on how funds will specifically be spent, but I'm sure the community will blindly pass it as they do for every single levy that shows up on the ballot.

jim said: This is a NO vote from this tapped out taxpayer particularly since this is a permanent levy. This levy is a want not a need issue. There is a high percentage of NC household s making do with what they have and the schools can learn to do the same.

Sandy Ott Trotter said: I think their are a lot iof people who feel deceived after the last levy (announcing realignment after it passed).

Not all of the comments about a levy have been negative, however.

Tamie Eynon said: My husband and I chose to live in North Canton because this is a community which has always supported its schools. I am curious to hear some of the ideas for this funding and how it can improve the education our children receive and the environment in which they are learning. I hope people will take the time to listen and learn before making up their minds about supporting this levy.

Holly Pierpont said: I attended the BOE meeting last night that outlined their needs. It is eye-opening. I'm sure the district will role that info out once ballot language is resolved.

Editor's note: While the comments may not be the full text, they were not edited and appear as they were written.

Jamie Dannemiller January 24, 2013 at 11:33 AM
This levy is completely needed. Our schools have major building issues like needing new boiler systems. Also, our school district is WAY behind the Nation for schools our size in our technology. Our schools computers are terrible. Most families own better computers. How do you expect your children to compete for jobs when they finish their schooling if they don't understand how to use the latest technology used in all major businesses. We can't afford not to invest in our children's future.
Dusty Dannemiller January 24, 2013 at 11:39 AM
This actually is a need, the money is not for any salary or administration. It will bring our schools up to date technology wise. At this point, the computers in the schools can not support the computer-based testing that will be mandatory by the state of Ohio in the 2014-2015 school year.
rich morris January 24, 2013 at 01:21 PM
as a person that has worked for n. canton school system i have seen how tax payers money have been wasted. i would never vote for another school levy.
Joan Ferris January 24, 2013 at 01:36 PM
Before stating an opinion on the levy, taxpayers need to find out the why behind the levy. The state BOE is enforcing new mandates without any of their financial support. The state keeps taking money away from us. Talk with some of the people on the board or in the administration.
Sandra Trotter January 24, 2013 at 01:38 PM
My comments were made to Mr Cory King. I was stating an observation I have made and not meant to be taken as a negative.
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 01:47 PM
Google, 'buckeye institute', go in and look at the pay of NC school employees. Arrange the pay from high to low. Their pay does not include benefits and is based, in most cases on working 185 days a year. They pay very little into their medical coverage. Now consider that they can retire with 30 years and in some cases, get over 80% of that pay, plus raises and medical coverage for life. With all of that in mind, how could anyone vote to increase their taxes to give the school system more money? I do understand that this levy would not generate revenue for staff salaries, but from a taxpayer standpoint, it's all money going to the school. NC is a great school system with great employees, but their pay and benefit arrangement is too advantageous for the employees. They need to get that under control before they ask for more of my money. I'm not saying to cut anyone's pay, but a couple year pay freeze and gradually increasing the amount they pay into their medical coverage to 25% of the cost, would save the district enough money that they wouldn't need this levy. Additionally, if the teacher's union and the SERS want to keep the early retirement situation and the very high percentage of pay employees receive in retirement, there needs to be massive reform, including higher employee contributions. It's a shame we can't afford to offer the generous pay and benefits that we have in the past, but in our current economic situation, we are all trying to do more with less.
Jeanne Leed January 24, 2013 at 04:31 PM
Hanrahan- Go spend a week in the shoes of a teacher. Or go spend your own money to buy things you need in the classroom that the district can't afford. As far as working only 185 days a year, that is all teachers are paid. Their salaries are spread over 12 months so they have money to live on in the summer. Summer...when teachers go back to college and prepare for the next school year...on their own time. Check out the facts before you judge the easy life of a teacher!
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 05:07 PM
Ms. Leed-Why don't you go spend a week in the shoes of a man working for $20 an hour trying to make ends meet? You've never had to do that, have you? I don't mean to insult you or belittle the teaching profession, but when many others are struggling to get from payday to payday, I don't see how we can justify letting someone retire at 55 and making $60K+ a year life, plus free medical. Almost everyone has taken a financial hit with the current economic situation; I would say, school employees have not been impacted as much as the average taxpayer. Before I'm asked again to have my family give up something for the school employees, I think the school employees should be asked to give up something for my family. And believe me, that money will represent something that I have to deny my family in order to give it to the school district.
Ann Marie January 24, 2013 at 06:12 PM
Ms Leed-Please stop it with the poverty routine. Anybody that truly wants to educate themselves on the bloated costs of North Canton City Schools should refer to the website "Buckeye Institute." You will be amazed at how many salaries are over $50,000.
Clyde Kemp January 24, 2013 at 06:55 PM
The cost to tax payers for North Canton City Schools is killing most of us. When I look at the salaries of School Teachers, who only work 9 months out of a year, and who are making over $75,000.00 it leaves little sympathy when the rest of us are lucky to find a position paying $40,000.00 a year.
JVR January 24, 2013 at 07:15 PM
First, I would hope everyone would read the details behind the levy and make an educated decision as you always should when you vote. Second, Our teachers are paid well. They are not over paid. When you break it down to an hourly rate it comes out to be approximately $38 per hour worked. Don't get me wrong, that is a good salary, but it's not a rediculously high salary either. These teachers are highly educated, they do a great job (just look at North Canton's ratings against other schools), our kids are safe, most of the teachers are adored by the students, they deal with all types of personalities between the kids and parents, they are there for the kids that need the extra attention, many times they stay late for extra curricular activities, and many times they purchase their own supplies. I'm proud to live in a community that pays the teachers what they deserve to be paid. So stop complaining about them being over paid. They are not over paid, they are paid well. Third, the levy has NOTHING to do with the teachers salary!
helen January 24, 2013 at 08:41 PM
School system needs to be held to task for waste & a surplus of administrators being paid too much. Our homes have lost value & we are taxed at every turn while costs are rising. If the school needs new equipment, I suggest addressing the above first. While there are good teachers many are riding under the protection of the union. Was told one had surgery in May, so as not to "spoil" the summer---substitute teachers are room monitors. Parents need to hold the system accountable and become involved before going to voters, again. Don't teach to the "good" students for ratings but prepare all of them for the workplace ---and w/o the PC. One parent told me that Christmas, Easter, Columbus Day,Thanksgiving,etc no longer are celebrated with the same traditions as even 15-20 years ago.No vote ,for our family.
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Sorry zandamom, it's more like $50 an hour plus benefits, at least for the top 50% of full time, NC school employees in 2011. The top 50% of full time employees all made over $69,000 base pay. Nearly all of those worked 185 days at 7.5 hours a day. That does not include medical coverage costs or sick day costs, and it certainly doesn't include the priceless retirement package for which we are all paying. The medical coverage alone is costing the taxpayers about $10 for each hour worked, and if you figure 30 years in retirement at $60,000 a year plus medical, we're paying about $40 in retirement costs for each hour worked. You'd better check your math. I'm not saying they don't do a great job, but they have not taken nearly the financial hit that the rest of us have taken in the past few years. This time we need to say NO to the school board and the union. They can adjust the benefit package of the teachers and get the needed money for equipment upgrades and replacement. It's time we asked our school employees to share the burden of our current economic situation. They've asked plenty from us, and we've generously given it over the years. Sorry, but we can't afford it anymore, and quite frankly, I find it selfish and greedy that they would even ask.
JVR January 24, 2013 at 10:36 PM
@Hanrahan You can't pick and choose which employees you’re going to count to get your average. For 2011 there are 348 employees listed with a total of $20,994,423 salary which is an average of $60,328.80. 7.5 hours per day is under estimating as teachers have to stay late many times. I was using 8.5 (hence my $38) but let's compromise and use good old 8. 185 days a year at 8 hour days is an average of $40 per hour. Still a good pay, but not ridiculous. So if you are going to throw numbers around get the facts straight.
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 11:01 PM
My facts are absolutely straight; you are using the average employee. I'm using the top 50% of all full-time employees. Here's another fact, we just can't afford to keep doing what we're doing!
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 11:10 PM
My facts are absolutely straight. You used the average employee while I used the top 50% of all full time employees. Here is another fact; we just can't afford to keep doing what we're doing. How about that other $50 an hour for benefits? What do you have to say about that?
Hanrahan January 24, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Sorry about the double post. The first one said, "REJECT"
jim January 25, 2013 at 12:10 AM
Every time the $ for schools debate gets going someone brings out the myths you bring up. I never had teachers when I was in school buy class room supplies and they have yet to bring them into my kids class. If I got a year’s pay for 180-5 days of work I might take spread out over a year. So what. Teachers spending their summers in collage preparing for the next year is laughable. More like spend their summers traveling, on their boats and on the golf course every other day and remodeling their homes. That is the facts.
jim January 25, 2013 at 12:41 AM
Two more things. It is a little insulting to insinuate that if someone votes no on this issue they did not make an “educated decision”. Second if you spent a big part of your income for your kid to participate in a hobby it would affect how much you give them for something else. Same thing here. We have been tapped for a big operating levy and it does affect how much we can spend on a capital levy.
helen January 25, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Very well stated. Also, too many administrative staff.
helen January 25, 2013 at 03:34 PM
Again, very well stated. Agree 100%.
Fred Benson January 25, 2013 at 08:34 PM
Why doesn't everyone complain to Columbus? They are the ones cutting school budgets and moving the cost of operating to the local schools. You are not getting a reinvestment of your state tax dollars because the Gov is balancing the books on the back's of the schools . Have any of you complained? Why not? Hold our state leaders accountable for not following the courts order.
jim January 25, 2013 at 09:29 PM
Fred Do not blame the governor. The governor, after the defeat of the issue to make some modest changes to the union bargaining system, made a gracious, humble, concession speech after the issue was voted down. He said do not look to Columbus for money because Columbus does not have it (and it doesn't). The core problem with school funding is the mathematically impossible union contracts. You simply cannot have someone work for 30 years, contributing nothing or almost nothing to the retirement fund, and draw the level of retirement the union has forced the employer (taxpayer) to eat. Levels that will have some educators making more money drawing retirement dollars than they got in pay checks. Same situation goes with the medical plan.
helen January 25, 2013 at 10:29 PM
It really is insulting to state that a no vote is not based on an "educated decision".
helen January 25, 2013 at 10:35 PM
Do not blame the governor for this. See Jim's reply. He is correct.
helen January 26, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Was just reminded in a discussion, "that people blindly pass levys at the ballot box". Some were upset that after the last levy passed, the school system announced its "realignment".They felt that should have been laid out before the election. Will the system be forthcoming, this time? Please, everyone, consider what others have written about the contracts, the waste, the top-heavy administrators w/ bloated salaries going to people that have been hit hard economically the last 5-7 years. Ask the school for all the details. There are sources to gleen information ---everything is public.
jim January 26, 2013 at 01:18 PM
helen Point well taken about the school’s political master minds jockeying and positioning for maximum effect by not disclosing plans they have on the table. Their mission is to suck as much as the average apathetic voter will tolerate. There is as much spin in the pro tax education lobby as any in politics.
Diane January 27, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Keep in mind, the person who made that promise (not to make drastic changes after the last levy).... is GONE.
helen February 01, 2013 at 08:08 PM
Jim, you are correct. @Diane, you said "Keep in mind, the person who made that promise (not to make drastic changes after the last levy).... is GONE". That matters not one bit. What matters is the dupicity by the school system -----that is why we taxpayers/voters are saying no more until there is accounting/ reform/honesty. Not with emotion as in teacher's use their own money for supplies, which by the way is non-sense, for the most part. What about the double-dipping in school districts, NC included? This town was not made by the school system but by business people like the Hoovers,who, gave back to the Community, as have many businesses since then. By homeowners, who, upkeep their property, by volunteers, who, work in the community, by an excellent police force/EMS. Yes, the system has a good reputation. Remember, the students in NC were/are from hardworking working class/ middle class/upper middle class parents, who, instill(ed) as much into their child as the system.
jim February 01, 2013 at 08:41 PM
helen You hit a good point. NC evolved as a working middle class (mentality) with some upper and not much on the other end. Now there is a movement in city hall and elsewise to emulate a Hudson, Beachwood, Fairlawn type communities that grew up much different than NC. So we have people that want to spend NC’s way into something it is not. They only make it unaffordable for the pack a lunch and go to work crowd to own a home so another house turns into a rental owned by a large landlord/rental company. From here it is one step to exactly opposite of what the spend, spend, spend crowd thinks it is creating.

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