Payroll deductions at the Sylvania Schools help fund school levy campaigns

The latest into the story surrounding Sylvania Schools' levy practices for Issue 3 which was voted down in May. From Maggie Thurber at Ohio Watchdog:
Allowing teachers and administrators to contribute to school levy campaigns isn’t illegal, though many Ohioans might be surprised the practice exists.

Instead of writing a separate check, school employees fill out a form authorizing the deduction and, voila, they’re donating to the levy campaign. The district processes the deduction and forwards a check for the total to the campaign committee.

Read the rest of the story at:

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Automated payroll deductions for charities is legal.

I really don't see any problem here. It's self serving but voluntary and within the scope of natural liberty.

Exactly. It's free enterprise to offer the ability to deduct from payroll and as long as the money is going towards something legal and no other laws are broken, who cares? There's only a problem if said deductions are illegally coerced.

I agree with both of you.

They aren't being forced to give.


If anyone would know about ways to divert money to influence voting on something, it would be Mags.

Here are some things that make payroll deductions for election campaign contributions (of any kind) very wrong:

1. It's costing the taxpayers--As someone who is familiar with payroll procedures, I can confirm that any sort of payroll deduction (and the resulting transferring of funds via a check or account to an organization, union, non-profit, etc.) costs money. At the very least, it can include bank fees and human resource time (time=money).

2. Taxpayers are getting "screwed"--Considering the items mentioned in #1, when payroll deductions are made for election campaigns, the taxpayers are: 1) having to cover the resulting extra costs, 2) having to cover the resulting extra costs of a deduction plan that is geared toward an outcome with which the taxpayer does not necessarily agree (and the possible new taxes), and 3) having to pay for the payroll deduction costs has nothing to do with where the taxpayers want their money to go--educating students.

3.The strangest item that makes me question the intellect of the employees who choose this payroll deduction is that the majority of them belong to unions that are going to take the dues they've paid and forward donations to the pro-levy groups--whether they want them to or not. In effect, every employee is already donating.

1. Sylvania polices state that is not an authorized deduction. What is the purpose of policies if you don't follow them? What would happen to a student if they did not follow a district policy?

2. If there was organized opposition to the levy or a congress person wanting to set up a payroll deduction, would they set it up for them. Probably not, but the levy campaign committee should be treated the same. It is an independent 3rd party group with no special rights.

3. As you mention, there is labor involved in getting this set up, so we are burning more hours of public time to help a campaign and that is a no-no.

Chris, if GZ is correct that these deductions are considered charitable, the teachers at least will get a little bounce next tax season.

Patience is a great virtue.

saying levy campaigns are charities, only charities are eligible for payroll deductions.

Sylvania School policy says only the following are eligible for payroll deductions:

federal and state income tax
Social Security or retirement contribution
municipal income tax
School Employees Retirement System
Section 125 deductions (cafeteria plans)
State Teachers Retirement System
Sylvania City Schools Employee Credit Union
United Way and the Academic Excellence Foundation
payment of dues of unions representing Sylvania schools employees
payment for benefits of part-time employees who elect to participate in benefits provided to full-time staff
457 Deferred Compensation Plans

What good are policies if they are not followed? Imagine a student bringing a toy gun to school. I am sure there is a policy for that and I am sure the district will enforce the policy. Too bad the employees are not held to the same standard.

If there is a written policy against it then there is a problem. At it's face I didn't think there was a problem because I was unaware of the policy.

Additionally, the issue becomes if there is a political move to get teachers to sign up for the deduction i.e. forms already filled out in the administration office, emails sent to official distribution lists, then that too is a conflict of interest, it's hard to prove without a teacher coming forward but it still a conflict none-the-less if it's happening.


I agree with Mikey. Sorry about the cold snap in Hell.

If school employees want to contribute to a levy campaign, they can do so in many ways, including writing out a check to the campaign committee.

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