How much of the district's budget is tied to special education?
In FY 2019, approximately 27.4% of our total operating expenditures were tied to special education needs.
I see Issue 4 says property owners will pay. Please define property owners.
The following is a list of properties that would be exempt from paying property taxes:
- Governmental Entities (Municipal, Board of Education, County, State, Federal properties)
- Publicly Owned Park District and Conservancy Districts
- Privately Owned Charitable Institutions
- Churches and other properties of Public Worship
- Graveyards, Monuments & Cemeteries
- Businesses that have received a tax abatement from the City
All other property owners would be responsible for paying their proportionate share of a specific property tax. The $5.6 million levy is a fixed sum amount which means that this amount is distributed to all tax-paying property owners proportionately based on their property's assessed values. If new businesses or residential properties come into the City than the tax burden of this fixed sum amount is spread out even more so.
What does it mean that the Ohio Department of Education reports, 'Out of 46 schools districts in Ohio of similar size to Euclid, our schools rank 45th in student instructional expenditures. Only Youngstown spends less than us'?
The Ohio Department of Education is reporting that compared to similar districts, the Euclid City Schools has limited financial resources to support our classrooms. We are committed to supporting our teachers and classroom, but we must also balance our budget. For example, our average teacher salary is in the lowest 25 percent in Cuyahoga County. This low wage is a contributing factor to being ranked 45th of 46. Our financial need is real.
When did the cuts take place?
The loss of the renewal issue in the fall of 2018 resulted in the elimination of 10 teaching positions, 5 administrative positions and 8 classified positions. These staffing cuts were implemented this school year (2019-20 school year), which started in August 2019. This also included reducing busing to state minimum levels for grades first through eighth.
I heard that Euclid Schools just reassigned teachers last year instead of eliminating positions. Is this true?
The Euclid City School District made every effort to minimize this impact on employees by not filling positions of those retiring or otherwise leaving the district. This method is simply a logical and equitable approach to avoid painful layoffs. Nevertheless, the net result is a loss of 23 positions. To make the loss of revenue less impactful on students, all teachers, administrators and staff agreed to a wage freeze.
How did the State Report Card improve despite the cuts?
The State Report Card improved prior any of the cuts going into effect. It is deliberately misleading to claim that the State Report Card improved despite the cuts. To state it simply, the gains are because of the hard work and dedication of our teachers, families, community partners, and mostly our children! Once again, the Report Card gains were made prior to the cuts.
What is the impact of the State Report Card improving?
The Euclid City Schools overall district report card improved a full letter grade. Only 17 percent of districts statewide improved a full letter grade. This means we’re out of the cycle that has led other districts to state takeover and keeps control of our district where it belongs - with the citizens of Euclid.
How did the District decide what cuts to make for the current school year?
For the current school year, the District made the strategic decision on positions and services lost that will have the least adverse impact on the State Report Card. For example, cuts of elementary instrumental music, middle school art and other programs are not measured on the Report Card. We are hopeful that these cuts will not slow our positive momentum. Nevertheless, it is painful to lose courses in the arts.
Does the State Report Card take into account differences like income levels?
No, it does not. To look at the Report Card from a different perspective, Carol Kovach’s ‘Special Report in Cleveland.com’ adjusts the State Report Card district rankings by Medium Household Income. According to the Kovach report, the Euclid Schools ranked ahead of all of the following Cleveland-area districts: South Euclid-Lyndhurst; Cleveland Hts.-University Hts; Shaker Hts; Richmond Hts; Berea; Bedford; Willoughby-Eastlake; Garfield Hts; Mentor; Maple Hts; Kirtland; and Strongsville. And are ranked just behind the districts of Independence; Hudson; Kenston; and Orange.
How does the average teacher pay at Euclid Schools match up to other districts?
Euclid City Schools makes every effort to recruit and retain the very best teachers for our classrooms. As we all know, the teachers salaries are shaped by the competitive market in the Greater Cleveland Area. Our average teacher salary is in the lowest 25 percent of Cuyahoga County. Despite this statistic, our staff is professional, highly knowledgeable and above all passionate about working with children and supporting families.
Why is the Board of Education willing to restore transportation when it wasn't before?
The Euclid Board of Education did decide to cut transportation as part of the required school 'balanced the budget' rules resulting from the failed 2018 levy. The reasoning behind cutting busing is that busing has great financial impact towards a balanced school budget. This allowed the Board to keep more cuts away from the classrooms. It was not the Board's intention to bring busing back even if this current levy passed. However, after hearing from community, the Board realized the hardship this cut placed on many of our families.
If the levy passes on November 5th, the Board will restore busing to last school year's levels starting this January 2020. That would mean busing is restored for elementary students who live more than a mile from their school building and middle school students who live more than 1.5 miles from Central Middle School. To be clear, restoring busing beyond these levels was never discussed by the Board. If the November 5th levy fails, the Board will have no option, but keep busing at the state minimum for grade one through eight.
I heard that Euclid Schools accepts students from Cleveland schools and other districts. Is this true?
No. Euclid School District does not accept students from other districts through open enrollment. Students must live within Euclid Schools boundaries to attend our schools.
What is the future of the W.G. Fordyce Administration Building?
The Fordyce building is scheduled to be demolished starting in the summer of 2020. The district continues to discuss where administrative offices will be housed.
Why does Euclid City Schools need more money?
The district lost $5.6 million annually when the renewal levy failed in 2018. This required the district to make significant cuts that included reducing transportation for grades 1st through 8th to the state minimum of students who live more than 2 miles from school. We are asking the public to restore our funding to the level it was prior to the defeat of the renewal levy. We have less money than we need to provide the level of services and education that Euclid’s children must have to be successful in life. More cuts will be needed if the levy fails.
What will happen if the levy passes?
Busing will return at the same level as offered during the 2018-2019 school year if the levy passes. Money from the levy will enable the district to continue providing education and services to the level that we believe the community demands.
What will happen if the levy fails?
Transportation will remain at state minimum levels. Additional teacher cuts will be made resulting in larger class sizes. We will also need to make additional cuts to extracurricular programs including athletics and the arts.
If passed, how much will the levy raise? Starting when?
The 8.7-mill, 10-year emergency operating levy that will be on the November 5 ballot will generate $5.6 million annually. If the levy passes, the levy vote authorizes the school district to start collecting the tax in calendar year 2020. While it’s a new levy, it will generate the same amount of money as the renewal levy that failed in 2018. This is the same amount that the levy has raised each year since voters originally approved it in 2008.
How much will I have to pay?
The owner of a $75,000 home will pay about $19 a month.
We passed a bond issue in 2016. Why are you asking for more money?
The bond issue only supported constructing new school buildings. State law does not allow us to use that money for operating expenses.
What is the difference between an emergency and a continuous levy?
An emergency levy is designed to raise a specific dollar amount from all types of property for the life of the levy and for a defined term.
A continuous (current expense) levy is designed to establish a specific millage rate which will be subjected to reduction factors. The levy will continue indefinitely.
Why did the Board make the decision to seek passage of an emergency levy?
The community did not renew the 2008 emergency levy that expired in 2018. The emergency levy generated $5.6 million in property taxes for the district. The loss of this revenue required the board to accept recommendations to cut approximately $3.5 million from its operations along with reducing student transportation to state minimum levels. These efforts to reduce costs were made with the directive to minimize the impact in the classroom. The decision of the Board to seek passage of a new emergency levy was made to avoid deeper cuts that would negatively impact the classroom and student achievement. The Board does not want our youngest students walking two miles to and from school so the passage of this levy also addresses safety concerns.
Why did the Board decide to ask for a 10-year vs. a 5-year emergency levy?
The Board understands the tax burden that is placed on Euclid taxpayers. With this in mind, the district is currently facing uncertainty in several revenue categories, specifically the state budget and the shared income tax, and does not want to levy a permanent tax in the midst of this uncertainty.
What is the difference between a levy renewal and an emergency levy?
The levy on the November 2018 ballot was a renewal levy. A renewal levy is simply that, a continuation of taxation at the same rate that is already being paid. There is no increase in tax revenue. We were asking for the same amount in tax revenue that we asked back in 2008 when the original levy was voted on. The emergency levy that will be on the ballot in November 2019 will be a new levy and will only replace the same tax revenue that was generated from the previous 2008 emergency levy.
How do we know that you are spending money wisely?
Euclid Schools earned the Auditor of State Award with Distinction and had no audit findings. Our average teacher salary is in the lowest 20 percent of Cuyahoga County and our average administrator salary is the lowest in the county.
The district made $1.6 million in cuts before asking voters to approve the 2018 renewal levy. We made the cuts through staff reductions, purchased services cuts and tightening our administrative belts. If the cuts were not made, the district would have had to ask for additional money in 2018 instead of asking voters to approve what the district was already receiving.
I don’t have children in school. Why should I vote for the levy?
More than 3,000 community events took place in Euclid Schools’ facilities. Community members of all ages are invited to use our facilities like our pool and track. Various independent youth athletic tournaments that use these facilities bring thousands of visitors to Euclid who patronize its restaurants and businesses. Organizations like homeowners associations and scouting programs use our buildings.
Why should I support the district?
Our graduation rate increased by more than 10 percent during the 2016-2017 school year. Our Early Learning Village will prepare hundreds of preschoolers for kindergarten and our new “fab Lab” immerses early learners in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) studies.
If the levy fails, we fear that additional cuts could jeopardize the progress we are making as a result of increased class sizes and fewer programs that encourage students to attend school. We’re preparing students for their futures via programs like our College Credit Plus offerings and our career tech programs that lead to industry certification. We have our state-recognized program of Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports, which is helping students in each of our buildings develop the skills they need to be successful in life.
The five-year graduation rate was 81.4 percent, and that is just a few points below the State of Ohio rate. This is important because some of our students need an extra year to meet the graduation requirements, and the Euclid staff keeps working with those students.
Amazon turned the former Euclid Square Mall into a fulfillment center. How has Amazon benefited the district financially?
We will not start benefiting from the Amazon fulfillment facility until it is open for business. The Amazon fulfillment facility was granted a 15-year property tax abatement. As a result of the property tax abatement, the district will not receive approximately $1.265,000 in property taxes annually for the next 15 years.
Fortunately, the Ohio Revised Code has a provision that enables school districts to be compensated for a portion of the property tax revenue the school district would have received had the property not been exempted from taxation. Based on the last employment estimates provided by the city, this provision along with the district’s portion of the shared income tax will provide for approximately $435,000 annually. It is important to note that this additional revenue has been factored in our revenue estimates presented in our May five-year forecast.
Euclid is a “capped” district. What does this mean?
As a capped district, Euclid is not provided full state funding based on the state’s own school funding formula. The formula recognizes poverty, special needs and low property values as factors needing additional support. Based on Euclid’s demographic data, these factors call for the district to receive significant added support. However, as a result of the cap, the district only receives 74 percent of the Ohio Department of Education calculated funding.
How has the district saved taxpayers money?
Over the past several years, the district has closely monitored operations and has made the necessary reductions in numerous areas. The following are recent steps the district took to minimize the tax burden on Euclid taxpayers and ask for new tax revenues:
In 2019, the board implemented a $3.5 million reduction in operational costs which will be fully implemented in school year 2019-20. The reductions are as follows:
10 teaching positions, 4.50 administrative positions, and 8.50 classified positions being eliminated.
All employees agreed to a wage freeze for the 2019-2020 school year.
Approximately $343,000 in supplemental positions and other special teacher pay days were eliminated.
All buildings and departments reviewed and reduced their operational budgets, which is estimated to save approximately $397,000.
Reducing to state minimum budget while providing full transportation to kindergarteners and preschoolers will save the district approximately $550,000 in school year 2019-2020.
In 2017, the board implemented approximately $1.6 million in personnel cuts that were fully effective during fiscal year 2017/2018.
What is the College Credit Plus program?
College Credit Plus is Ohio’s dual enrollment program, which gives students in grades 7th through 12th the opportunity to earn college and high school credits at the same time by taking courses from Ohio colleges or universities. The purpose of this program is to enhance students’ career readiness. Euclid City Schools provides students the opportunity to earn up to 60 college credits on our campus prior to high school graduation.
What Career Technical Education Programs are available to Euclid Students?
Career Technical Education programs provide students the opportunity to learn and apply real-world work knowledge skills in the following areas:
- Agriculture and Environmental Systems - Urban Agriculture
- Arts and Communications -Visual Communications, Graphic Design and Video Production
- Business and Information Technology - Microsoft Office Specialist, Marketing and Business Administration, Networking and Cybersecurity, Programming and Software Development
- Construction, Maintenance and Manufacturing - Advanced Manufacturing, Construction Management, Welding, Automotive Service Technology
- Education/Training - Early Childhood Education, Child Development Associate
- Hospitality and Tourism - Culinary Arts
- Law and Public Safety- Criminal Justice, Fire Science/Emergency Medical Services
- STEM- Patient Care and Information Management, CAD/Engineering Technology, Allied Health
- CTE courses provide our students with the skills they need to become a productive member of the workforce here in Northeast Ohio.