Toledoans for Public Trust held a press conference at 3 p.m. today at the Lagrange Branch of the Toledo Public Library.
Below is a statement from TPT:
Tomorrow is Election Day. On the ballot is Issue 3,an income tax levy, that if passed would negatively affect all Toledoans as it will encourage further flight to the suburbs and result in depressed economic activity, job growth and home values, not to mention cuts to the family budget.
Issue 3 will have profound impact on Toledo if passed. That is why we want all voters to participate in putting Toledo on the right track by voting NO on Issue 3. Read the rest of this entry »
Over the last decade, TPS has gone from a student population of almost 38,000 to just under 26,000 students in 2009 or a 31.5% decline from 2000.
While it is difficult to determine the appropriate employment of the various employment classes at TPS (Supervisory, Instruction, Student Services and Support Services), reviewing employment levels relative to student enrollment of instructional employees allows us to get a handle on what levels of employment are necessary for TPS to accomplish their mission.
In Sunday’s Blade, Superintendent Foley has a guest piece (link) that’s for all purposes is identical to one published in the Free Press which first appeared this past Friday – see the entry below about Debating Issue 3.
Steven Flagg provides the opposing view with regard to Issue 3 in the Blade, (link). Flagg builds on arguments presented by Fisher in the Free Press. It is quite a contrast between the dire “we need money badly” and tired TPS argument. Flagg discusses the lack of long term planning in context with delayed decisions which accelerated this crisis and suggested that reform can be kick started by voting No on Issue 3.
There is an additional piece that summarizes the debate (link) written by Christopher D. Kirkpatrick but it really does not do an adequate job of outlining how broad and diverse the opposition is to Issue 3.
Besides the Greater Toledo Urban League mentioned in the article, opposition includes the Toledo Area Chamber of Commerce (announced just this past Thursday), African American Parents Association, Minority Contractors Association, Urban Coalition, Toledoans for Public Trust (first to announce in early April) and let’s not forget the Blade.
A press release issued on May 2nd by Toledoans for Public Trust said as follows:
“Many of these organizations have echoed our call to TPS leaders to do a better job of planning for the future and being more accountable for spending taxpayer dollars more wisely,” said Louis Donohue, Toledoans for Public Trust member. “Such a diverse group of organizations that all agree on the fundamental problems with this levy should be a wake-up call for all Toledoans to vote NO on Issue 3.”
TPS Superintendent John Foley takes the Yes side of Issue 3. He makes the case that TPS has made progress despite its challenges, but has a significant deficit that he is asking Toledo taxpayers to plug.
Nowhere in the essay does Foley talk about the sacrifices, as in wage and benefit concessions, that he and his staff are taking or those of TPS employees. As of this post, TPS and its unions have not come to terms on concessions and a balanced budget is not in place prior to the Tuesday’s election despite Board members wanting this done so that voters could consider it in their decision making.
Darlene Fisher, former TPS Board president and member, argues that Issue 3 is the Wrong Tax at the Wrong Time. She lays out the case that the tax will hurt hardest the poorest in our community and depress economic activity in Toledo. The income tax would put Toledo at a competitive disadvantage in retaining and attracting new residents and will hurt seniors much more than TPS wants them to understand. She urges a NO vote on Issue 3.
Every year since 2003, TPS has left $8 million on the table. Over the past 7 years TPS has forgone over $50 million in savings.
These savings would have covered the deficit almost twice over.
In August 2002, TPS officials looked at ways to find and implement savings in health case costs. TPS was, and still is, self insured meaning they pay for every claim of every employee and their dependents from the TPS general fund.
TPS had determined that going to a Preferred Provider Network (PPN) would save an estimated $8 million a year. PPN’s are now the preferred option in the private sector as a means to control costs. Yet TPS refuses to follow a practice that has saved millions in the private sector while still provided good quality health care. Read the rest of this entry »
Middle and Elementary school teachers from 2001 through 2009 have been paid for time not spent in the classroom but required by the contract . The amount in 2009 is estimated at $3.8 million.
The calculation of time paid but not worked was based upon two TFT contract provisions. We are not aware of any other contract provisions, memorandums of understanding or other written agreements that would impact our analysis and conclusions.
This is a complicated issue to explain – but in short – The hours of school operation for elementary and middle schools are not long enough to include the time required to be on duty per the TFT contract. Therefore, it appears that we are paying teachers for time not in the school day and are shortchanging student’s classroom time. Read the rest of this entry »
The email below was sent today asking that TPS comply with state statutes prohibiting the use of public assets or expenditure of public monies in support of a levy or bond issue.
What does this teach children entrusted to TPS: That the end justifies violating existing laws because you see the purpose as noble?
Mr. Foley and Mr. Vasquez:
We have written you with regard to the use of public resources by the Committee for Schools (pdf of letter and attachments). We have asked that school marques be changed to reflect the appropriate language which can not include urging support or passage for Issue 3. While DeVeaux and Mr. Henderly, the principal, were quick to change the language when it was brought to his and Mr. Rivera’s attention, apparently TPS has not instructed all school officials to change their marques throughout the district. The action at DeVeaux indicates that you are aware of the issue and concur with our interpretation of ORC 9.03. Several schools we identified and others we did not list still have “illegal” language on the marque as of today, April 29th. Read the rest of this entry »
Don’t ever think that Teacher Unions such as the Toledo Federation of Teachers are looking out for our children. Albert Shanker, the former president of the American Federation of Teachers parent organization of the TFT once said, “I don’t represent children. I represent teachers.” I doubt that you would get Francine Lawrence of the TFT to admit to this fact, but there is no doubt from the evidence that they neither represent children nor do they put our children first!
The TPS building program, euphemistically called Building for Success, is an unmitigated disaster in providing the right number of classroom seats in buildings located in the right geographical areas of our city. It has created a situation where the only practical means of getting effective use of schools is to completely redraw all school attendance boundaries for elementary, middle and high schools.
Analysis of current building capacity vs. student enrollment make it obvious that some painful choices are going to be necessary as at least 4 and maybe as many as 7 elementary and, at least, 1 high school must be closed to right the financial ship of TPS.
Spengler Nathanson, a law firm that TPS paid over $2 million in legal fees from 2002 through 2007 or an average of $337K per year, is TPS’ largest contributor per the Committee for Schools pre-primary financial report filled April 22, 2010 for campaign activity through April 14th.
The Committee for Schools received $35,518 in contributions. Spengler made a $10,000 contribution on March 22, 2010. This one contribution accounted for 28% of the contributions. Sixteen businesses, all TPS vendors, contributed a total of $19,600 to the Issue 3 campaign or a little over half of the total contributed. TPS employees contributed the remainder of the contributions with TPS cabinet officers contributing $3,150 – Superintendent Foley had the largest contribution at $750 or about ½% of his annual compensation. Read the rest of this entry »