Is Sylvania schools using district resources to promote the levy? The answer is yes. The question should be to what extent?

Update 5/9: These activities also violate school policies

Staff members shall not campaign on school property during school time in behalf of any political issue or candidate for local, State, or National office.

See: http://www.neola.com/sylvania-oh/search/policies/po4231.htm

Update 5/2: Sylvania Schools Superintendent Dr. Brad Reiger sent the following: No, we do not encourage district email accts be used for levy recruitment. We clarified with our Admin Team & staff members that personal email accts are to used. Also, you are correct that the levy website shouldn't be linked to the district website. Thank you for pointing this out. We have removed the levy website link. We'll do better with this moving forward.

The Sylvania Schools district would like the residents of Sylvania to pass the 3.8 mil operating levy on May 6. So much so that employees of the district are using district resources to promote their new levy. This can be proven by a set of emails from one school and resources from another, but one has to wonder how much more effort they are doing throughout the district on district time.

First a primer:
ORC 3315.07 dictates that “no board of education shall use public funds to support or oppose the passage of a school levy or bond issue or to compensate any school district employee for time spent on any activity intended to influence the outcome of a school levy or bond.”

Sometimes it is difficult to do the right thing, but people should know what is going on and keep our government in check. We all know that Sylvania has asked for new levies frequently and normally they get approved, so they should know the ramifications of certain actions. It is not like they have only asked for a levy 15 years ago and may have become rusty on school levy law. I think they are getting lazy and they are doing some major no-nos and they should be held accountable.

I have received the following e-mails and have copied the text here, but also included an image of the e-mail to show where they were sent and when they were sent.

The first e-mail that is from April 21 asking for help with the levy to the parent list. Note the time at 12:41 P.M. and sent to a NWOCA list of parents at the school.

Dear Team Sylvania Schools,
As the levy campaign draws to a close over the next couple weeks, and the election draws near, we are planning one final research-based strategy to improve our chances of winning the vote: having a visible, solid presence at the polls.
Here is what we need from you:
· 175 parents, teachers, staff, administrators, parents, and community members to volunteer for one two hour shift at a polling location on Tuesday, May 6th.
o Click on this link (http://goo.gl/nCC2Of) for a spreadsheet that has the times and locations organized.
- Color code:
· Red = heaviest traffic areas and time
· Gold = medium traffic
· Green = lightest traffic, therefore our lowest priority
o Pick the time and location most convenient for you, and type your name into the corresponding cell of the spreadsheet.
§ If you would like to volunteer with a friend, enter both of your names in the same cell
o Smile, knowing you have committed a small amount of your time to help make our schools safer, better equipped to educate our students for tomorrow, and to stabilize our district.
o Volunteers have shown to have a positive impact on voters still wavering as they enter the polling location. So, grab a sign from the polling station yard (they will be there for us already), smile, and wave. It’s that simple!
Any questions or problems, simply reply to this e-mail.
Thank you in advance for your generosity, civic-minded spirit, and commitment to excellence!
Paul
Paul Gibbs
Principal, Highland Elementary
7720 Erie Street
Sylvania, Ohio 43560
Office: 419.824.8611
Fax: 419.824.8635
Twitter: @principalgibbs
@HighlandIndians

One day later on 4/22 there was a request for phone banking at 9:58 a.m. to the same nwoca.org list of parents, not levy volunteers.

Highland Families,
I truly apologize for the short notice, but we are holding a phone bank tomorrow evening, Wednesday, April 23rd, and are hoping to have parent/guardian volunteers assist our staff members in this effort. If you are able to assist in making phone calls tomorrow evening during one or both of the times listed below, we would greatly appreciate your help, can assure you the experience will be painless, and snacks will be provided as well! J
Education for Success Phone Bank:
Date: Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Times: 4:45-6:30 p.m. and 6:30-8:00 p.m. (one or both)
Location: Sylvania Schools Administration Building, 4747 N. Holland-Sylvania, Room 314 (3rd Floor)
If you are able to assist, please simply reply to this message, and we will include you on the list of volunteers. Thank you in advance for your consideration and support! Have a great day!
Warm regards,
Paul
Paul Gibbs
Principal, Highland Elementary
7720 Erie Street
Sylvania, Ohio 43560
Office: 419.824.8611
Fax: 419.824.8635
Twitter: @principalgibbs
@HighlandIndians

Then yesterday there was an e-mail sent out around 4 PM to the same list:

Highland Families,
We are in need of your assistance with final push efforts as we approach voting day and on May 6th. The following are a couple of ways in which we could use your help:
Education for Success Literature Drop:
Date: Saturday, May 3, 2014
Times: 9:00 a.m.
Location: Sylvania Northview Cafeteria
We have changed the focus of the Door to Door to getting strategic literature out to voters, with having conversations and knocking on doors now being an option if you participate and only something you need to do if you feel comfortable with it. You do not need to worry about talking to voters. A short meeting to get all materials, routes and information will take place at 9:00 a.m. in the Northview Cafeteria. The cafeteria is located at the back of the building near the football stadium entrance and volunteers can park and enter easily there.
Polling Location Coverage:
70 down. 105 to go! The bigger presence we have as people enter the voting stations one week from Tuesday, the better our chances of making all of our efforts thus far pay off. Please help us by signing up. Simply click on this link: http://goo.gl/nCC2Of to view polling locations and times needed for coverage, and to sign up.
Thank you in advance for your consideration and support! Have a great evening!
Warm regards,
Paul
Paul Gibbs
Principal, Highland Elementary
7720 Erie Street
Sylvania, Ohio 43560
Office: 419.824.8611
Fax: 419.824.8635
Twitter: @principalgibbs
@HighlandIndians

Even the volunteer signup is hosted on the Sylvania Schools Google account:

The owner is the Northview Principal

To conclude, what you see here are the organizing efforts at one school, but as we can see, it is happening at least 2 schools. So the question is how much more organizing is Sylvania Schools doing in violation of Ohio Law? They should know better. Maybe they think the they can take the levies for granite and no one will care. That is the wrong assumption - that is the reason for this post. What will be the consequences?

Update: 5/1 I sent the superintendent an e-mail asking for comment on this story this morning and have not heard back.

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No votes yet

I live in the Sylvania school district and my vote will be "No" on the levy.

Historically, school systems have coerced people into voting for levies by saying that schools impact home values. Well, that's true, but it has nothing to do with the amount of money pumped into education. It's the people who live in the district and the kids who go to the schools.

An example:

Ottawa Hills could never again pass a levy--yet Ottawa Hills' homes will retain their values and the schools will continue to graduate great students.

Toledo Public Schools could pass a levy every day--yet the schools will continue to graduate under-prepared students.

It's the quality of the people and the value they place on education and responsibility.

Yes the Sylvania school administration gets a pay raise, the Governor Kasich gets income tax relief for his wealthy donors and the homeowner gets the bill!

Sylvania school board approves new 3-year employment contracts
Action includes raises for 3 administrators
Read more at http://www.ourtownsylvania.com/Education/2014/04/29/Sylvania-BOE-approve...

Kasich Has Shifted Tax Burden To Ohio’s Working Class Families
http://www.plunderbund.com/2014/02/20/kasich-has-shifted-tax-burden-to-o...

Crain's editorial: Kasich is a tax shifter, not a tax cutter
http://www.crainscleveland.com/article/20140316/SUB1/303169998#

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Florida Education Association
Examine how ALEC policies could hurt you. Read the report from The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
http://feaweb.org/alec-tax-and-budget-proposals-would-hurt-economy

Quote from article:

Numerous Governors and state legislature are considering or have recently enacted, sweeping tax and budget proposals that follow recommendations of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), with potentially adverse consequences for middle- and lower-income families, individuals, and communities across the country.

These policies would cut taxes deeply for wealthy individuals, investors, and corporations; shift tax burdens substantially from well-to-do to middle- and low-income households; and impose strict constitutional or legal limits on revenues or spending that would severely limit states’ ability to provide adequate funds for education, health care, and other priorities, and impair state economic growth.

The specific policies include deep cuts in income taxes, particularly for affluent households and corporations; a repeal of state income and estate taxes; a shift in state revenues from graduated-rate income taxes to sales taxes that are much higher than most states have today; the end of various state-based tax credits for low-income working families; a Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) that would impose rigid constitutional limits on state revenues and spending; requirements that state legislatures garner two-thirds or other “super-majority” votes to raise any taxes or fees; and other mechanisms that would reduce the funds available to finance key public services.

Prescription #1: Very Deep Tax Cuts, Especially for Corporations, Investors, and the Wealthy

ALEC recommends that states:

Deeply cut income tax rates, particularly for affluent households and corporations.
Repeal state income taxes.
Prevent new state income taxes.
Repeal state estate taxes.

Prescription #2: Shift Taxes from Wealthy Households and Corporations to Other State Residents

ALEC would raise taxes on working families by:

Taxing wages more heavily than investment income.
Shifting from income taxes to unusually high sales taxes.
Eliminating tax-based supports for working-poor households.

ALEC's Influence in Ohio Runs Deep
http://www.prwatch.org/news/2012/02/11282/alecs-influence-ohio-runs-deep

Quote:

The influence of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in Ohio runs deep, according to a new report released by Progress Ohio, together with the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), People for the American Way, and Common Cause. The report shows how Ohio's legislators are working in tandem with corporate leaders to deregulate key industries, privatize education and dismantle unions.

"Ohio is led by ALEC alum John Kasich, who has long advanced the agenda of ALEC corporations to the detriment of American citizens during his time in Congress and now in the statehouse in the Buckeye state," said Lisa Graves, the Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy, adding, "we applaud the work of Progress Ohio and the other citizen groups that have worked to expose the way Ohio's laws are being distorted to aid the global corporations that back ALEC, including efforts to push a privatization agenda that takes funding for public services and buildings made possible by hardworking taxpayers and converts these public assets into profit streams for some of the richest corporations in the world. Ohioans rebuked Kasich for advancing the ALEC corporation agenda last year, and we expect his extremist agenda will be rebuked yet again."

ALEC, founded in 1973 by right-wing activists who helped found Moral Majority and the Heritage Foundation and who thought President Nixon was too liberal, has reached a peak in its influence and boasts that hundreds of its "model" bills are introduced in state legislatures across the country each year, and that many become law. ALEC politicians routinely cleanse the bills of any reference to ALEC or the fact that corporate lobbyists had pre-voted on them.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Thanks for the post, Chris.

This kind of behavior is absolutely opprobrious, and serves as an example of the moral turpitude found in the Sylvania school system.

In Sylvania as of 2011 the median household income was $58,720, and the estimated per capita income was $31,187. Keeping that in mind, here are the raises so generously handed out by the BOE.

Published by the Toledo Blade on Tuesday, 4/29/2014.

Sylvania School Board Approves New 3-Year Employment Contracts

Southview High School's athletic director Susie Felver, whose salary increased $4,757 to $90,314
So now we're paying a gym teacher $90 grand? WTF?!

Director of disability services Michalene Sujaritchan, who got a $5,483 raise to $104,113
Just what does a director of disability services do, anyway? I mean besides suck up money from the public trough.

Assistant principal at Northview High School, Kasey Vans, whose new $88,761 salary includes a $4,681 raise.
$88 grand for an assistant principal? What are they, nuts? What did Vans do to deserve a raise, anyway? Besides show up for work everyday.

Here's a few more, again from The Blade.

Employees whose contracts were renewed for three years and their salaries are:
Joseph Shamy, food service director, $78,391
Julie Sanford, assistant curriculum director, $88,761
Amanda Ogren, assistant principal at McCord Junior High School, $87,881
David McMurray, Southview High School principal, $110,403
Chad Kolebuck, Hill View Elementary School principal, $96,371
Karen Hehl, Timberstone Junior High School assistant principal, $87,881
Darren Estelle, assistant director of information technology, $90,926
Edward Eding, Maplewood Elementary School principal, $96,371
Jeremy Bauer, Stranahan Elementary School principal, $96,371
Michael Bader, Timberstone Junior High School principal, $104,113
Alan Bacho, director of facilities, $104,113

Director of facilities, over $100 grand. For what? Fire Bacho and let the assistant principals do his job.

This is why the Sylvania BOE is demanding more money. They spend money that doesn't belong to them like there's no tomorrow.

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

90k for a gym teacher eh?

Pay me 80k and I'll put them through a boot camp. Save yourself 10K for books.

MikeyA

I can just see the student reaction to MikeyA's boot camp.
Ha!
Ha!Ha!
Ha!Ha!Ha!
My only question is, do you have a special program for the retards slow learners developmentally challenged typically rebellious?

And what are you going to do when the parents don't recognize their child?

Mad Jack
Mad Jack's Shack

It's amazing what a little discipline can accomplish MJ.

MikeyA

If anyone challenges the actions by the principals, I'm sure a quick-thinking lawyer will file papers saying they were in "substantial compliance." It worked for Lindsay.

Patience is a great virtue.

FYI

Google Apps for Education is free for school districts. Also, if that's a moderated listserv, the messages would only be sent when they were approved by the manager. Even if it isn't moderated, the principals involved could claim the emails were composed before work and scheduled to be sent later.

There's a city full of walls you can post complaints at

Sylvania is not alone. In Bedford Township Michigan they will be voting on a $70 million school bond issue in August. They are suffering for the same tax shifters that Ohio is suffering from. Governor Snyder has cut revenue sharing to communities like Bedford while increasing taxes on pensions and seniors.

Statements made are the opinion of the writer who is exercising his first amendment right to freedom of speech. Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution and are generally permitted.

Basically, Mr. Independent, you prefer that taxes be imposed from on high (state capitols) and "shared" with communities as state lawmakers see fit rather than giving residents of those communities a voice in how much they are taxed. I understand your sentiment, given that it mirrors the method by which labor union leaders spend their members' dues money. You're too accustomed to not having a say in taxation matters.

Patience is a great virtue.

You forgot to mention the big spenders, in addition to the tax shifters.

In fact, you always seem to forget to mention them. Why is that?

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