Wednesday, July 30, 2014



Part of the renovation at the bus garage that cost almost
$3 million.   Ask for the invoices and bids for this work.

 There is only one issue on the ballot and the property owners will be footing the bill for this "special election."  The school board voted to put this levy on the ballot in August because so few people bother to go to the polls, vote early or request and file an absentee ballot.    That allows a "special interest group" to get their people out.  They have at their disposal an expensive computer system that has the emails, phone numbers and addresses of all employees, all students, their parents and other people affiliated with the schools. That system was paid out of the district finances.   

We, the people that pay the bills, do not have access to that system or any system comparable.   They have our money to use as they please.   We don't hear from them until they run out money and want even more.    

Today my husband and I went to the Board of Elections to cast our ballots early.   Anyone can vote early by requesting an absentee ballot or going to the Board of Elections and casting a ballot there. It was shocking to learn that less than 100 have voted early at the Board of Elections and about 400 have cast "absentee ballots."

Maybe you don't know the strategy used by the district to get many of those absentee votes.    The district has willing people that go to nursing homes and retirement centers.   Otterbein is a great source of votes for them and usually will carry an election for levies and school board candidates that the union prefers.   One election that I checked the totals for the Otterbein precinct there were only four votes were cast against the levy.  We are not allowed the same opportunity to even place a post card at their door. 

One key to this success is that the residents at Otterbein do not pay property taxes.   Secondly, the district has a close relationship with administrators at Otterbein and thirdly two former popular teachers of the district actually go to the residents and help them vote. Their ages do help them relate to the Otterbein residents.  They also get votes at other nursing homes.   

Below is the language as it appears on the ballot.  You can see that the district wants $4,200,000.00 per year to continue filling their coffers.  What they don't tell you is that the "Emergency Levy" was originally passed to cover debts that the district had to pay.   If you will remember the board had to be taken over by the state and the superintendent and treasurer had left the district in shame.   The new income of $4,200,000.00 helped them pay off some of that debt.  After the debts were paid the district just kept spending money at a higher and higher level.   (My last post shows how the the property taxes have increased through the years.) 

Did the board, treasurer and superintendent learn anything from the shame?   Apparently not because they spent that emergency money (our) money and spent even more.    Now they consider that large sum as an entitlement and they will do just about anything to keep that and more flowing into the treasury of the district.  There will never be enough.

1 Proposed Tax Levy (Renewal)
Lebanon City School District

A majority affirmative vote is
necessary for passage.

Shall a levy renewing an existing levy be
imposed by the Lebanon City School
District, for the purpose of
avoiding an operating
in the sum of $4,200,000 per year, and a
levy of taxes to be made outside of the
ten-mill limitation estimated by the county
auditor to average 5.38 mills for each
one dollar of valuation, which amounts to
$0.538 for each one hundred dollars of
valuation, for a period of 3 years
commencing in 2014, first due in
calendar year 2015?

O   For the Tax Levy
O   Against the Tax Levy  (please mark this one)

The important thing to remember when giving a school district money is that the district is controlled by the wants and needs of the teacher's union.  The demands and power of that union has created an almost insurmountable mountain for taxpayers to fight.

The union has never and will never represent the interests of the children.   It represents the job interests of the union members.  All unions participate in collective bargaining with binding arbitration and a contract that states salary rules (steps), seniority as the basis for decisions of salary and appointments to the more desirable jobs.  In the case of layoffs they will be made by furloughing the newest employee.    No decisions are based on what is best for the children. If a totally incompetent teacher has even a few days seniority than a better teacher, the incompetent one gets the raise in position or a cushy assignment.   It doesn't matter if that teacher is not the best available person for the job.

There is almost zero accountability regarding how our money is spent or for the academics that are taught and learned by our children.   Even the most heinous crimes are swept under the rug. Most of the time the teachers, teachers, cafeteria heads and workers, bus drivers and even the superintendent are allowed to resign with a nice letter of recommendation in their hand.    We are never told why the employee left. This is not good for their Public Relations and PR must be great in order to extract even more money from the property owners.

All unions are politically active with money and with armies of activists.  Look at the show of unity recently in Mason. Kings and in Springboro.   They wear t-shirts in the same color with the same logo and entice a few parents (special interest parents) to join their sea of red, sea of green or sea of black.   They believe that this shows unity and union powers.   They bargain for raises, benefits and job descriptions that often has the union members spend less time in the classroom for more money.  This tactic also requires the district to hire more teachers.  

The union is opposed to any improvement that will force them to do a more effective job of teaching.   They oppose school choice and will fight for the wants of their members at all costs.  The system is not designed to be effective.  It is designed to give the union more and more powers.

In the case of administrators they can come and go as they please. No one accounts for their time.   All of them are former teachers and very sympathetic to the union's demands.    When the union negotiates a raise - the administrators get a better one.   It is a poor system and is totally ineffective. Not one part of the system, from top to bottom is designed for the children and for the effective use of our money.  

There will always be a need for more money, because no one in the "system" is accountable to anyone.    Even the audit is made by a firm that Donna Davis Norris said "that she could work with."   I would think that the accounting firm should be one from out of the area and that is not beholden to anyone.

The district doesn't even follow the rules of accounting demanded by the state.    They use the Cash Basis of keeping the books because they do not have to keep an inventory of what the district owns.   That would create a problem if items turned up missing.   The state required GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures) and the district refuses to implement this system.

Please don't give the district any more money.   They need to tighten their belt just like every family has to do.   They must be forced to be accountable to the property owners and not the union. Stop giving two raises per year.  Stop including luxuries in contracts for administrators.   Stop getting millions of dollars in loans that we have never approved.   Stop implementing Common Core.  Start cutting by getting rid of the Public Relations position, consultants, and that ridiculous and unnecessary post card.    

It has been proven by many studies that new buildings and large sums of money do not guarantee a quality education.   It just makes the union members happier.   

Tell is what is the emergency?   They never speak to the public until they want more money.   They just passed three levies.  

The sad fact is that only about 10% of the registered voters bothered to vote on the last one.    That 10% consisted of parents, registered students, teacher's union members, bus drivers, and the nursing/retirement homes.   That's all they need to pass any levy.



Monday, July 14, 2014



Bonds were sold for this renovation.  Looks the same as before
the renovation.

Last week we received another one of those expensive postcards that are promoting the August 5th school levy.    Please note that, as usual,  the treasurer of the levy committee is Eric Meilstrup, an officer at LCNB.   Chip Bonney, a school board member is also an officer at LCNB.  If the district uses LCNB for anything most people would find that involvement a conflict of interest.  I'm sure many of you can figure out why.

This card lists seven key facts about why taxpayers should vote for the levy. All of those reasons purport this levy to be a "maintenance" levy.   

By whose standards do we determine just how much the district needs to maintain our schools?   What does the leadership consider necessary to provide an education to our students?   We have never been told how much will be enough.    We, the taxpayers,  have to sacrifice something in order to pay more taxes.   We have to give up a few meals out, a steak now and then, needed repairs to our property etc.   What does the district sacrifice?   Nothing.

Local papers support the schools with few questions asked.   The Pulse would not exist if they didn't report school news.   Almost every page has news about one activity or another.   I have never known a local paper that didn't endorse a school levy.   Even the "letters to the editor" read as though a public relations specialist has written them.   Often they are signed by teachers or former teachers of the district.   I happen to know that "sample letters" are written by specialists at a much higher level.   Remember that the union receives the bulk of the funds not dedicated to bond issue payments.

Emergency levies are technically dollar amount levies.  In 2010 the district declared an "emergency" and placed a $4,200,000.00 levy on the ballot and in 2011 another $3,000,000.00.  The two added up to $7,200,000.00 in new funds.   Did anyone tell us why the district had such a huge EMERGENCY and just where did they spend that money?    We have been told over and over that there has been a "freeze" on salaries.   Is that true?  Of course when you voluntarily send your hard earned money to a government entity without asking questions, you can bet you will not be given any explanations.

In 1998 a 2.00 mill permanent improvement levy was passed, 2001 a 5.00 mill bond issue was passed for 28 years, 2013 a 37 year bond issue at 1.87 mills along with a 0.50 - 23 year additional levy.  The total millage collected is 59.21 mills which reduces to 36.160117 plus the inside millage of 63.82 equals a total effective millage assessed at 40.770117.  You can call the auditor and ask for the way these numbers are calculated, but the bottom line is that we are paying higher and higher taxes.  That inside number is 30.25 for Clinton-Massie and they do have new schools.  You can also find the numbers for many districts listed in an Enquirer article.

The 1.87 mill levy generates $1,444,804.00 per year which adds up to $53,457,750.00 over 37 years.  (Much of that total is interest to a bank.) The .5 mill levy generates $387,208.00 per year.   Assuming the same collection for 23 years it would generate $8,905,784.00 over 23 years.   (more if the real estate evaluation increases.)   Just these two levies transfers $1.832,012.00 annually out of the pockets of the local property owners.   

The demands MUST continue to escalate because the district teacher's union has a contract that states that they will get a raise every year.  In addition to that raise the union negotiates for another raise.   Recently the Mason Teacher's Union negotiated for a new contract and threatened to go on strike. Many did pickett the school.  In reality, employees receive two raises per year.

The school districts have found that declaring an emergency and asking for more money usually gives incentives to the parents and teachers into working hard for these levies.   These emergencies will keep reoccurring because school districts are not in business of saving money.  Before an emergency five year levy is about to expire, they must ask for it to be renewed.   They are used to those millions and have already spent them in advance.  

The district has not told the taxpayers that they received  thousands of extra money from the Federal government, they have received the following from the Rockies Express pipeline and will receive higher amounts in the future:

2011     $1,037,273.00
2012     $1,242,824.00
2013     $1,220,590.00
2014     $1,203,249.00   (half)

The district also is receiving a large sum from the new Racino.   They receive state and federal funds in addition to the local property taxes.   They spend it all and borrow millions of dollars that they never tell us about.  For example they sold $3 ++ million dollars worth of bonds in 2011 for "energy conservation."    This was a highly controversial project that used a local "consultant" who spoke at a board meeting.   No one was impressed with his suggestions.  In 2010 they borrowed $1 ++ million for a lease/purchase agreement with Huntington Bank (Did board member Chip Bonney work there at that time?)  In 2006 they sold notes for $6,100,000.00 (the reason is not listed in the budget.)  There are other loans for the purpose of purchasing buses.   They also borrowed other amounts through the years. 

A few years ago the district got rid of district owned buses and signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Laidlaw bus company.   The school board went along with that deal.   Laidlaw either went out of business or changed it's name.   Recently the district decided to buy buses and handle the transportation of students internally.   These decisions have created huge debts to the district and unnecessary expenses due to incompetent management. The Purchased Services line in the budget was $6,708,026.00 in 2007.   That would include Laidlaw's fees.  At that time we paid the drivers, mechanics and provided the facilities in addition to Laidlaw's fees.

Total Real Estate Taxes Distributed to LCSD for the following years:

2000          $19,418,018.59
2001          $20,404,522.53
2002          $24,373,186.71
2003          $27,820,329.30
2004          $28,370,816.40
2005          $28,910,006.30
2006          $39,625,779.01
2007          $40,597,330.77
2008          $41,537,416.97
2009          $39,559,322.35
2010          $41,119,624.75
2011          $42,962,120.46
2012          $48,513,571.84
2013          $48,427,789.49

These numbers do not include funds from the state or federal government. This is only real estate taxes from Warren County - LCSD property owners.

The district has a stagnant enrollment.   Some grades are smaller than in past years.   The district is receiving new money from the Racino and the Rockies Express pipeline.   These are windfall sources that did not exist in past years. Between 2000 and 2007 the taxes more than doubled. 

Just how young must they be to promote a levy?

Never vote for another school levy.   We are never told the truth.   Now they have more money with the new bond issue.   They have never told the taxpayers what they plan to build and how they plan to spend all of those millions.   Inquiring minds want to know. 

* District audits may be found at the Ohio State Auditor's web site.


Monday, July 7, 2014



I want my mommy

Every school district has similar or exactly the same scenario going on.   A building program of some kind is where the money can drain without scrutiny.

The school districts like to call their propaganda meetings with the public "conversation" meetings or "listening" sessions.   In actuality these leaders really don't have to have much of a meeting with the taxpayers or even parents.   There are plenty of employees who live in the district that can fill in as "the public."    Lakota says that they are "evaluating" a proposed "partnership" with building a Boys and Girls Club on the old Union School site.   They are NOT evaluating this program.   It has been decided.

This project means demolishing the historic building (once the Union Township Hall) on the chosen site. (History means nothing to the change agents.  In fact they are eliminating history in our schools.) The district would then contract to build a new and more luxurious state of the art building.   The district taxpayers have spent millions refurbishing this building and all that money would go down the drain.    I'm sure Ms. Mantia doesn't care.   Her job is to follow the federal aim to control our children from toddler to high school and beyond.  She will be long gone and the property owners will be stuck with the bill.

It isn't enough that the taxpayers are asked to build luxurious new buildings for K - 12, but now we must take care of the toddlers and after school time.   Ms. Mantia and the feds want preschool, all day kindergarten and a boys and girls club to be paid for by the taxpayers.   Many people are wondering just when the parents are responsible for caring for their children.   Does the state via the taxpayers have the right to instill all values, attitudes and beliefs in our children?  They are doing just that every day.

Lakota Local School District is "not" by any stretch of the imagination a poor inner city school district.  They state that 20% of the students are on the free lunch program.   Probably most of these students are coming from the few apartment complexes in the district.   I am told that the two person to a bedroom rule is no longer being enforced.   This would account for many of the students on the subsidized program.

What we do know is that the district voters never voted to implement any preschool, Early Childhood Development Centers.    These were added to the district without need or desire.   Kathy Klink, when superintendent, took the initiative to open the first building.  She had to go out and enlist people to sign up to put their child into the program.    Of course there were some that took advantage of the cheap alternative to a nanny or daycare.

School districts like to call their "new" and "innovative" plans "strategic" planning.   Government school leaders are on a mission for "CHANGE."   The plans have been in process for many years.   One baby step at a time they are taking over the minds of our children.    It is not a coincidence that the district suddenly came up with a new "strategic plan" to build a Girls and Boys Club, all day kindergarten, preschool with the end goal of the government's complete control of our children.

The purpose of public education was to make sure every person could read, write and compute at a level necessary to survive.   Through the years the power of the governmental dictates and the leftist union controlled every detail of the curriculum and the school day.    As the introduction of multiculturalism, social and sexual diversity, psychological and mental evaluation and testing etc. there is little time left for what most of would call "the basics."

The test scores have plummeted even though the tests are rigged.  The curriculum has been expanded for the worse.  The solutions given by the government and educational establishment have always involved more money, more unnecessary subjects and more indoctrination.  Each "new" plan is given a new name.   These days it is called "Common Core."   This is just another name for Goals 2000, Race to the Top, School to Work etc.   All are designed by the same committees in Washington, D.C. at the Department of Education.   All of the programs were designed to cost more and to further dumb down our population.  There is no local control.   The control is in Washington, D.C.  The local leaders are simply puppets of "the system."

Just keep focused on what is at the bottom of all of these "new" ideas.   For many it is greed.   All of these programs cost huge "investments" of dollars.   In the case of this Boys and Girls Club,  there are grants available through a $25 billion settlement by five of the largest mortgage lenders involved in deceptive practices used to foreclose on property owners.   Attorney General Mike DeWine provided $4.35 million of the state's settlement to the Ohio Alliance of Boys and Girls Clubs.   Lakota received a small $750,000 grant.    It will take many millions of local money to build a new building.   That $750,000 is just a drop in the bucket.  Just ask yourself who benefits from a building program?    Surprise,  the architects, builders, contractors and staff, that's who.  Who are these people?  What are their names?

I used to be the den mother of a local Cub Scout troop.   We were allowed to have our meetings after school at Liberty Elementary.    We were kicked out by the school principal and I ended up having our meetings at my home.   I still ask, why can't the community use these expensive buildings?   Why can't clubs and community groups meet in our buildings?    Why do the district dictators determine who can use the buildings?   The union can use our buildings, but we can't.   WHY?

If parents want to start a boys and girls club, let them use the buildings available in the district.   We built them and we should utilize them for many purposes.   No superintendent stays long enough to force their values on our community.    Superintendents should do their job and oversee the employees.   We are not subjects.   We own the buildings.  It is time to lay down the law and stop these unilateral decisions.  We are not subjects.