A recently formed group in Westerville, OH is working with support from the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law to repeal a tax levy which passed by a narrow margin in the March primary election. The group, Taxpayers for Westerville Schools (TWS), is kicking off a petition drive on May 19th to put the question of repealing the levy on the November ballot. Why is TWS attempting this? From their website:
Why this repeal effort?
Analysis of the Westerville School District’s spending proves that, with proper fiscal management, the interests and rights of all interested parties – STUDENTS, employees and, equally important, you the taxpayer – can be fairly represented. It has been proven, time and time again, that fair wages and good benefits can be provided to district employees while providing our children with a good education without breaking the back of the taxpayer.
- Westerville School District residents now have the highest tax rate in Franklin and Delaware counties.
- The district has awarded many staff wage increases of 43% in 6 years (in the middle of a recession).
- The district overpaid the “Win-Win” contract by almost $1,000,000 – due to a lack of oversight.
- A simple change in the healthcare plan will save the taxpayers over $4,100,000 per year.
- The administrators pay nothing towards their retirement. Just paying their share would result in over $600,000 in savings.
- The taxpayer is still paying part of the WEA union representatives’ salary – who has ZERO class time.
Taxpayers for Westerville Schools has presented dozens of ideas for savings to the Board of Education proving that we can have a great schools district with sustainable spending that doesn’t call for raising taxes every 2 to 3 years. We have the expertise needed to make a positive difference – one of our members saved the district over $20,000,000 – just 2 years ago.
On May 7, 2012 taxpayers for Westerville Schools, with the representation of the 1851 Center,commenced circulation of an initiative petition to repeal the 6.71 mil tax increase narrowly approved in March after taxpayers defeated a similar measure at the November 2011 general election.
The Westerville effort marks the inaugural action of the 1851 Center in assisting taxpayers in using a previously obscure section of the Ohio Revised Code to lower their school district tax burdens, while forcing Ohio school districts to control spending and reign in labor costs rather than raising taxes.
“For years, many disingenuous Ohio school districts have chosen political gamesmanship over fiscal responsibility, placing tax hikes on the ballot at low-turnout elections where their own constituents’ voices are disproportionately heard,” said 1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson. “The goal of our tax rollback project is to help taxpayers across the state fight back against this gamesmanship by subjecting the tax increase to the general election ballot.”
The 51-49 percent vote for the tax increase came just four months after a 61-39 defeat at the general election.
This is definitely going to be a petition effort to follow. We encourage you follow Taxpayers for Westerville Schools on Facebook and support their petition effort which is being kicked off in a big way on May 19th.
1851 Center Executive Director, Maurice Thompson, was interviewed on 610 AM in Columbus on Thursday, and we’ve included that audio below. He does an excellent job of describing the project and how the 1851 Center is supporting the effort.