The Wauseon School’s Superintendent Troy Armstrong and Treasurer David Fleming read statements during the November 4th school board meeting.
The statements were in regard to the recent tax levy proposal made to the voters living in the Wauseon School District. The Statements are as follows.
Superintendent Troy Armstrong:
As the Wauseon Exempted Village School District Superintendent, a Wauseon Alumni, the father of two Wauseon High School graduates and a current Wauseon High School Junior, the husband of a Wauseon Alumni and Teacher and an active community member I am saddened by the defeat of the 2% Earned Income Tax levy.
Great details were provided to the community via print media, social media, radio, mailings, websites, and multiple community information meetings that were poorly attended by the community.
‘The consequences of this failure will be monumental – loss of all extra-curricular activities, minimum transportation and the reduction of multiple staff members for the 2022-2023 school year. Every employee of this great district works hard every day, focused on teaching and learning.
We function on minimum staffing and are always fiscally responsible as proven by our annual fiscal audit performed by the Auditor of State’s Office. To think differently is an opinion without factual evidence.
I am happy to report that Incumbent Amy Fisher will return to the Board of Education and that new members Curt Crew and Larry Zimmerman, Jr. will become Board members in January 2022.
I am also pleased that the Wauseon community supported the Wauseon Library and ADAMhs Board on Tuesday.
The Earned Income Tax will be back on the ballot in May, and I welcome community assistance with the plan to get this tax passed for the future of our students who are our number one priority.
Respectfully, Troy Armstrong
Treasurer David Fleming:
Tuesday night Wauseon experienced a crushing blow with regard to the community’s willingness to support its K-12 students and staff at an appropriate level.
I want to thank all of the district residents that took time to be informed voters and come out in support of our proposed levy. I find it stunning that only 874 people in the Wauseon School district understand the importance of this funding initiative.
Their willingness to support such a fundamental and important part of the foundation of their community is much appreciated and did not go unnoticed.
Essentially the Community at large gave our schools a failing grade this past Tuesday. Personally, after serving Wauseon Schools for the past five years, Wauseon voters really missed the mark Tuesday.
Heaven knows Northwest Ohio is blessed with many, many highly talented K-12 professionals, however there are none better than what we have right here in Wauseon, Ohio, so the lack of support was very disappointing to see. Leading up to the election we heard things like this is a “large ask.
I firmly believe we did not present a “large ask to our constituents, we merely asked the voters to get Wauseon Schools caught up with our peer districts across the State and the districts in the four county area when it comes to local funding support.
We made no bones about what the cost was. Going back ten years or more the community of Wauseon has been getting a very high end product at a very low cost to taxpayers.
We also heard comments like the city only needs a 1.5% income tax to operate the city. Why does the school need 2%? This is like comparing apples and oranges.
The differences are complex in many ways and obvious in many other ways. For starters the city employs far fewer people, approximately 70 12 month employees and the schools employ in excess of 250 people.
The majority of which are required by the Ohio Department of Education to hold advanced degrees.
Furthermore the school transports approximately 2,500 kids to and from school each day and we feed about the same number every day. For some students that happens twice a day. The differences are many, they are complex and all very expensive in nature.
Across the state, there are 607 traditional school districts. In the 2020 school year Wauseon ranked 101st from the bottom of this list when it comes to funding its schools with local tax dollars. That statistic puts us in the lowest 20 percentile.
This fact is certainly nothing to be proud of. I have said this many, many times: In 1998 local funding made up 43.01% of total funding. by 2008 funding locally had dropped to 36.5% and in 2020 funding was down to 26.7%.
I cannot for the life of me understand how so many people in this community were able to convince themselves that the position our schools have found themselves in is somehow acceptable at this anemic local funding level.
There was a lot of miss-information being posted on social media. It appears as if people simply made the decision to accept this inaccurate information as truth.
Seemingly voters decided it was easier to believe and act on this miss-information versus learning the facts, based on data provided by the Ohio Department of Education.
I find it very unfortunate that there are so many Wauseon taxpayers who are clearly content to leave the bar set so low when it comes to financial support of their schools.
It is my hope that taxpayers will take the time to learn the facts that proves out how poorly our schools are being funded today.
I can only hope that eventually taxpayers can make the choice to adequately fund their schools. Hopefully this will happen much sooner rather than later.
There is an old saying that goes like this; “The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”
I fear that Wauseon may feel this bitterness soon in the Wauseon School district if something is not done to get back on track with regard to adequate funding of our schools.
Respectfully, David R. Fleming