Howland Schools needs to economize


With the recent defeat of the 3.9-mill Howland school levy, it has been reported that this levy is likely to resurface on the November ballot. I am quite sure it will resurface again and again until the district gets what it wants – your money and mine.

While the district is looking at strategies to stretch the budget and be more efficient, why are they still overlooking a previous plan to close North Road School this fall, which would amount to about a $500,000 savings? The answer to this is simply, they don’t want to see the school closed.

They would rather persist with the levy until it passes to achieve their desired agenda, and keeping the school open is just a part of this desired plan. Sadly, though, the wishes of the majority of voters from two elections ring null and void as the district again places the levy back on the ballot, continues to “cry poor,” but yet fails to do everything possible to help itself and to save taxpayer money. The proof of this is the failure to close the school for the 2014-15 school year.

This half-million dollar mistake does not warrant the approval of this levy in November. I will hold them accountable. You should too.

Furthermore, the 3.9-mill additional levy has a 10-year term. While a 5-year term is still an option, a 10-year term is designed to meet the district’s all-inclusive wants and wishes well into the future and not merely address a current concern.

Much can change in a decade. State figures show most school districts’ enrollments are down over the last few years, a trend expected to continue over the next couple of years. Also, Ohio will pass five additional budgets, each with the possibility of increased school funding.

Also on the November ballot will be a 4.9-mill renewal levy. This will also come with an additional price tag of 12.5 percent more than when first passed. Why? Ohio’s 2014-15 budget has eliminated the 10 percent and 12.5 percent rollbacks for homeowners on all new and newly voted renewal levies. Thus, Howland residents have not one, not two, but three ways to see property tax increases: (1) the imposed 2.4-mill tax when the district joins Trumbull Career and Technical Center (2) passage of the additional 3.9-mill levy (3) approval of the 4.9-mill renewal levy.

If residents can live within their means, why can’t the school district do the same? Living within one’s means sometimes includes “doing without” – a concept the district does not want to grasp, but is more than willing to inflict on residents by persistently placing failed levies back on the ballot.

Shame on them!

Joyce E. Liste