Fight the Zanesville School Levy

Who is going to fight it?

Referendums to raise taxes for public schools have an army of ready-made warriors enthusiastic about expending their free time to put up signs, call friends, and march their family and neighbors up to the polling booth to vote “Yes” for school levies.  They’re teachers and public school administrators, and they are voting themselves a raise.  They’re the parents of public school students, and they want their children to have new computers and a renovated stadium.  Have you ever met a public school teacher who was against a school levy?  They’re about as common as welfare recipients who are against increases in their monthly government checks.

So who is going to fight it?  The taxes are not so extraordinary that they enrage the average taxpayer.  The tax costs the average taxpayer a few hundred dollars a year, and it costs that much to make the signs and put them around town to fight the levy.  Those who are distraught about higher taxes are fortunate to find the time to get to the voting booth to vote “No” – especially when the vote is cast in an off season, when the government schools are more likely to win their levy. 

Zanesville, Ohio, has two public school levy proposal on the ballot this year.  It will be before the voters of Zanesville on May 2, 2006.  They include the West Muskingum School District one percent income tax levy for five years and the Zanesville City Schools 6.9 mill levy for five years.  The Mid-East Career and Technology Center is trying again for a one-mill levy.  One has to wonder, why May 2, 2006?  Why not in a year and time when we’re voting for the President or the Governor?  School levies are more likely to lose when more people vote, because most people don’t want more taxes.  The apathy of the voter must be exploited to force new taxes upon the community.

Public schools need accountability, not more tax money

The Zanesville City schools are asking the voters for 6.9 million additional dollars over five years to help them balance their fiscally irresponsible budget.  The Zanesville school district was notified by a letter on February 2 that the Center for School Finance would be recommending to the state that the district be placed under “fiscal caution” because of a 1.9 million dollar deficit that is projected at the end of 2007.  If the state grants the designation, as they did the last time it was recommended in 2003, then the district would be required to come up with a plan within sixty days to eliminate the deficit.

Can you imagine if your bank notified you that your bills exceeded your income?  What would you do?  Would you try to put your employer on a guilt trip for your fiscal irresponsibility and push him to give you a raise?  Did Zanesville’s steele-workers, nurses, or private school teachers try to hit the voters up for money when they were forced to work longer hours for less pay in order to compete?  Government school administrators are not content with the monopoly they have on the public treasury to produce a product of ever-decreasing value that can’t compete with their privately-funded counterparts - they want more, more, more!  Rather than live within their generous means, they are trying to raid the taxpayer’s bank accounts again.

In 2005, they went to the voters for a 7.9 million dollar levy for “the emergency requirements of the district,” and they were turned down 2 to 1.  One has to wonder, if they failed to get the levy for those “emergency requirements,” what “emergency requirements” went unmet?  Did the bathrooms not have water to flush the toilets?  Were electricity bills not paid?  Did any children suffer injuries because of the lack of these “emergency requirements?”  If these requirements were such an emergency, why is it that those requirements were not met out of the thirty-million-dollar budget that Zanesville public schools were already receiving from taxpayers?  If they were such an emergency, how is it that so many of the extracurricular programs at Zanesville public schools received the funds they need to continue operating while these “emergency requirements” required an additional levy to satisfy?  What kind of incompetence would continue to fund inessential programs when “emergency requirements” are unmet?  Do we reward incompetence with additional funds?  Where is the accountability when public school administrators can simply hit the voters up for more money when they fail to satisfy “emergency requirements” within their generous budget?

Of course, the levy was not necessary for “emergency requirements,” the administrators just didn’t want to make cuts and its easier to coerce the taxpayers out of more money when you have “emergency requirements” “for the children.”  Government school administrators have still not learned their lesson.  And now we’re supposed to believe that this time, really, no really, we have some real emergency requirements requiring 6.9 MILLION more dollars! 

I think that government school administrators should do what most Ohioans have had to do in recent months: prioritize expenditures and make some budget cuts.  Zanesville public schools need more accountability, not more tax money.  Throwing money at poor performing schools does not improve outcomes.  Utah and North Dakota spends much less per pupil in government schools than Ohio and has significantly higher graduation rates and standardized test scores.  73% of home schooling families spend less than $599 annually on home education, and private school tuition averages $4,689 annually.  In contrast, Zanesville schools spent $9,243 per pupil to educate in 2005.  The closest school district to us is East Muskingum Schools, which spends $7,659 per pupil per year. 

Zanesville has one high-paid administrator for every seven teachers, whereas the state average is one administrator per every 22 teachers.  Zanesville's budget for 2005 reveals that out of $32.8 million, $27.2 million is for personnel and employee retirement and insurance benefits. The Superintendent gets $101,256 plus $12,000 yearly annuity.  The Assistant Superintendent gets $89,960 plus $6,000 yearly annuity.  The Treasurer gets $75,400 plus $5,000 yearly annuity.  The Volunteer Coordinator gets $72,800.  The average teacher salary is $47,530.  Three psychologists get paid $54,338 to $62,812.  Elementary principals and assistants to the high schools get $63,024 to $83,720.  This doesn't include health, dental, vision and life insurance benefits for all employees.  And they want us to make more cuts so that they won’t have to?  The taxpayers should be insulted and outraged!

Zanesville citizens must hold public school officials accountable, and not give them more money when they fail to balance their budget because they don’t want to make necessary cuts.

Levy (lev’e), n. 1. money collected by authority or force

This school levy means higher taxes on an over-taxed community.  Approximately one-third of the average family’s earnings are transferred to government bureaucrats.  From January 1 to April 17, we are slaves to our government masters, forced to work for them to avoid fine and imprisonment.  Only after this date does the average American get to keep what he or she makes.  To force the over-taxed working class to work another day to pay the government “for the children” is palpably absurd.  What children need more than anything is parents, and more taxes means that one or both parents have to work more to earn the same.  Families can spend their own money on their own children much better and with much less waste than government bureaucrats and public school administrators. 

Moreover, the Ohio Supreme Court has informed us four times now that financing public schools through property taxation is unconstitutional.  How many times does the Supreme Court need to rule on this subject before school administrators realize that financing public schools through property taxation is unconstitutional?

Keeping the children first

The signs in support of the Zanesville school levy last year were all over town, and they read, “Keep Children First.  Vote Yes!”

Who wouldn’t want to “Keep children first?”  Who has the guts to come out and vote against the children? 

Campaigns for school levies provide an ideal time for those who educate their children at home to stand up for the Biblical ideal of family and education, and point out that a a Christian home education is truly “keeping the children first.”  It provides an excellent opportunity for churches to get out of the pews and begin to be salt in their community, to speak out against the Federal dictates over local public education, to stand up against the immoral sex education agenda that is calling sin normal.  It provides an ideal opportunity to stand up against their dogmatic humanism and their atheistic evolution, mandated by the state and reinforced by the Ohio Board of Education in its February decision to disallow theories of Intelligent Design from being taught to our students.  It provides an ideal opportunity to those who send their children to private schools to stand up against this unjust tax that has been perpetrated upon us in the name of “the children.”  It provides an excellent opportunity for over-taxed Ohioans to draw a line in the sand and tell the government that we’re not going to be coerced out of any more of our earnings for their bloated bureaucracies.  It provides an excellent opportunity for Constitutional patriots to bind the Federal government with the chains of the Constitution, to which they took of oath (namely, Article X).  It even provides an excellent opportunity for the parents of public schooled children who are disappointed with the outcomes of government education to hold school administrators accountable by voting “NO” on yet another levy.

“It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void Thy law.  Therefore I love thy commandments above gold; yea, above fine gold.  Therefore I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.” Psalm 119:126-128

God’s Word speaks to all matters of life, including education and taxation.  This website is devoted to standing for those principles.   The immoral philosophy of the atheistic government educational system is just as unbiblical as the tax scheme devised to support it.  The Word of God is our two-edged sword, and through wielding it faithfully we will turn back the tide of tyranny and wickedness in our nation and turn our nation back to God, we will restore the cracked and rotten foundations of education that have corrupted the minds of this nation’s youth, and we will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the hearts of the children to the fathers, lest God smite us with a curse (Malachi 4:6).  As the Ohio state motto says, With God, all things are possible.  The Lord is able and willing to do exceeding more than we can imagine, if we will only believe Him for it and act with courage in accordance with His Word.

 

Data in this article can be confirmed at these sites:
http://epaa.asu.edu/epaa/v7n8/
http://www.heritage.org/Research/Education/wm478.cfm
http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d02/dt033.asp