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Ohio Politics

Revere, Green, Hudson voters defeat school issues

By admin Published: November 3, 2010

John Higgins
Beacon Journal staff writer


Voters in the affluent Revere school district, which includes Bath Township, defeated a new tax for the second time in a row.


More than 5,000 voters rejected the 4.85 mill levy.


''I'm very disappointed that 5,000 people in the district are not supportive of the kids in this school district,'' Superintendent Randy Boroff said.


Revere was among a dozen area school districts seeking new money for day-to-day operations.


Statewide, districts asked voters to support 122 new money issues, according to the Buckeye Association of School Administrators.


Revere faced organized opposition, a rarity in Northeast Ohio.


Larry Chlebina, founder and president of the money-management firm Chlebina Capital, led the opposition in May and again this time.


The campaign against the levy included a professionally designed Web site and postcards mailed to residents that said the district's economic forecast is too gloomy and argues that Revere's teachers are overpaid.


''We suspected that it would go down because they didn't present, I think, all the facts in regards to what this is really about,'' Chlebina said. ''It's about pay raises.''


He is treasurer of Citizens for Responsible School Administration, which paid for a quarter-page advertisement in the Beacon Journal two days before the election.


The ad is an open letter pledging support for future levies if the administration freezes teacher and administrator salaries for three years.


Chlebina clarified that he would support renewal levies that didn't raise taxes — not new money — in exchange for a pay freeze.


''Our position is: 'Listen, we need to address this issue,' '' Chlebina said. ''Their solution is just, 'Give us more money, we'll kick the can down the road.' ''


Boroff said Chlebina's opposition will end up hurting the kids of the district.


''I just find it unbelievable that there is a person in our community that is working so hard against the school district that has been 'Excellent' for 11 consecutive years,'' Boroff said.


Revere's teachers made concessions after voters rejected a levy last May, voting on the last day of school last year to extend their contract by an extra year with no increase in pay — essentially dividing the raise due in the past year over two years.


The Revere district also made other cuts enabling it to reduce the size of its levy request this time by about 2 mills.


''At some time, we're going to have to put this back on the ballot in 2011, probably with an additional millage rate because we lost a year of collection,'' Boroff said.


Teacher pay also was an issue in Hudson this year. The district's teachers agreed to a one-year freeze and increased health care contributions to curry favor with the voters.


Voters were not persuaded, rejecting a 5.9-mill operating levy.


It was a hard night for other districts seeking new money.


Green Superintendent Michael Nutter began Election Day with a perfect record — 7-0 — for passing levies at three districts.


But voters rejected Green's 6.71-mill operating levy, which would have been a 20 percent increase, costing the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $205 a year.


''It will be devastating for the district,'' Nutter said.


He said the loss probably will result in layoffs. The district might trim its staff by as many as 75 staff positions, including up to 65 teaching jobs.


''The community spoke, and we'll do what we can with what they're willing to give us,'' Nutter said.





John Higgins can be reached at 330-996-3792 or jhiggins@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the education blog at http://education.ohio.com/.

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