cost of ed

Dr. Kelly Kohls
Springboro OH

At a rescheduled meeting on June 4th, the Springboro OH School Board approved a new contract with the Springboro Education Association. The three-year contract provides for base increases of 2%, 2%, and 3% per year. When combined with the annual longevity increases Springboro teachers will receive average total salary increases of 6% to 7% for each of the next three years.

Springboro Schools Superintendent Todd Petrey maintains that increases of this magnitude are necessary to keep good teachers. However, Petrey failed to act on the opportunity to institute a pay-for-performance plan that could have rewarded top teachers and provided an alternative to the socialist union salary structure currently in place. With hundreds of applicants for every teaching position this philosophy makes no sense.

With the election of a union friendly (retirees of the system) school board in 2014, enormous deficit spending has resumed. In 2015, revenue increased by $1M over 2014 levels, but district spending ballooned by $3.2M. The new teacher contract will add an estimated $6M to district spending over the next three years further increasing deficit spending. For budget forecasting purposes, Springboro School administrators have assumed that taxpayers will ante up and approve a similar contract when this one expires. In the first six months of the NEW school board $16M disappeared from the forecast with no explanation.

From 2010 through 2014 under the influence of conservative school board members, Springboro Schools had enjoyed a brief period of balanced budgets with expenses less than revenues each year through 2013 and an essentially balanced budget in 2014. During that time, the district erased a projected $30M deficit, renewed a tax levy for a reduced amount, and still accumulated a positive cash balance of $11M (up from a low of $3M in 2009). Yes, we actually reduced Springboro property taxes. It was proven that no more money was needed but that increased accountability alone improved Springboro academic measures during 2010-2014.

Just as when we manage our personal finances, no responsible school board or school superintendent should plan to spend money that has yet to be approved by voters. But time and again, superintendents and school boards can’t say ‘NO’ and approve contracts that they simply can’t afford without new taxes.

The school levy cycle is back in play in Springboro: 1) negotiate unaffordable contracts, 2) create a deficit, 3) increase taxes, 4) do it again. The only recourse for taxpayers is to say NO when the ballot issue arrives. Keep electing the right people.

SB GR

Springboro School’s cash balance will soon be depleted under union controlled school board.
Source: Springboro Schools May 2015 Five-year Financial Forecast

In short, I left at the end of 2013 with almost 11 million in surplus. During my time on the board we reinstated textbook purchases, reduced class sizes, restarted a bus replacement program, upgraded computers and technology across the district, and implemented a disciplined approach to maintain district facilities. How quickly things have changed.

Prior to my election in 2010 Springboro schools was hammering our community with 4 unnecessary emergency levy demands showing a five year forecast with a $30 million deficit. After my election and without the passage of a levy, the new school board, dominated by conservatives, uncovered a total of $40 million and took the forecast from projecting a huge deficit to an actual surplus of $10 million. No magic, we just introduced honesty and accountability. We stopped hiding money and put the children first.
The adults first agenda is now back at Springboro Schools in Ohio.