Letter to the Editor: Bay levy necessary to avoid cuts
To our fellow Bay Village citizens:
We have been hearing from a number of residents with questions, and we want you to know we are listening carefully to concerns about increasing budget projections in light of our levy request.
School levies are never popular, and we hate having to ask our residents for funding increases. Unfortunately, this is the only way we have to fund our schools. It would be nice to say we could put a complete freeze on spending until the economy recovers in a few years, but it is just not that simple:
- Enrollment is increasing. We have seen a small but steady increase in student enrollment (average of about 25 students per year since the last levy). We do not have the option to turn students away if they live in Bay Village.
- Costs for everything from utilities to fuel to textbooks and supplies are expected to rise. State requirements are increasing. We need to hire more teachers and tutors to meet legal requirements like all-day Kindergarten and achievement levels for both special education and advanced achievers.
- Teachers have accepted a freeze on their base salary this year and all employees are paying more for their healthcare premiums, deductibles and co-pays.
We understand that the current sentiment is that our employees should sacrifice even more. As we have been in recent years, our board is committed to making sure future employment agreements consider the economic challenges being faced by our community. Every potential expenditure will be up for consideration even if the levy passes.
We have dropped in ranking on education spending in our county since the last levy request. In 2006, we were ranked 22nd out of 31 districts on education spending in the county. The most recent comparative data ranks us 27th in education spending in the county. Our salary schedules put us at the mid-point in the county. We are proud of the excellent educational program we offer, and we are especially proud of how these comparison statistics demonstrate strong fiscal management of taxpayer resources in our district.
We know our residents' taxes are higher in Bay Village due to being a predominantly residential community. In addition, we face state funding cuts because Bay Village residents are highly educated and have higher income levels than most in the state. These socioeconomic funding factors are out of the control of our Board of Education. Nonetheless, we assure you we will continue to scrutinize all financial factors within our control, keeping the quality education we offer our students at the top of our priorities.
We believe the operating levy, after being deferred for a year, is absolutely necessary this year if we are to avoid significant cuts to our program. It is tough to rebuild programming after it is lost. Therefore, we are placing the levy on the ballot so that the community can decide if we continue educating at our current level of excellence.
Bay Village Board of Education
Bill Selong, President
Amy Huntley, Vice President