Loveland VOICE

Voter Oversight, Involvement, Concern for Education.

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School District Town Hall Meeting, January 23, 2023


The Loveland City School District will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Monday, January 23, 2023, at 6 pm in the Media Center at Loveland Intermediate School. The purpose of this Town Hall is for district leaders to hear from our Loveland City Schools community about issues facing the school district, including the financial future of Loveland City Schools.

The Town Hall will include Superintendent Mike Broadwater, Treasurer Rob Giuffre’ and two members of the Board of Education, but it will not be an official meeting of the Board. If you cannot attend, you can watch the live stream by following this link, but only in-person attendees can participate with questions or comments. A recording of the meeting will be available to watch for those who are interested.

During the Town Hall, we will work to take questions or comments from as many participants as possible during the two hours set aside for the event to foster conversation around important issues.

The district held a similar Town Hall on January 5, 2023. The recording is available by following this link to our YouTube page.


Board Work Meeting, January 31, 2023

Loveland School Board Work Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday January 31, 6pm. at the Loveland Middle School Media Center. Board work meetings do not allow for a hearing of the public.


Loveland Foundation

The Loveland BOE announced at the 1/10/23 meeting that they had formed a partnership with The Loveland Foundation that would allow donations to be accepted by the Foundation and sent directly to the School’s General fund without the school having to form it’s own non-profit for the same purpose.

Donations from those interested in and able to make the donations can be sent via PayPal to LovelandSchoolsFoundation@gmail.com or can be sent via check to The Loveland Schools Foundation at 757 S Lebanon Rd, Loveland, Oh 45140. ALL DONATIONS FOR THIS PURPOSE MUST BE MARKED EMERGENCY RELIEF FUND in in note or memo line.

Linda Slusher from The Foundation and Tara Hamilton for the Schools spearheaded this effort per the announcement. Thank you for your work.

Mr Dougherty announced that he would be donating his 2022 earnings as a BOE member plus the additional property tax sought by the school from the 2022 failed levy.

For those willing and financially able to match his donation from the levy, look at your property tax bill for the total market value (left side of the bill about 5 inches from the top). Amount requested was $171.50 per $100,000 per year.



Links from the Loveland City School District Treasurer


An Open Letter to the Loveland Board of Education from Loveland VOICE:

VOICE is a grassroots organization representing ALL of Loveland. As our name implies, we are not your enemy, we are citizens concerned for the welfare of all. VOICE did not fail the recent Permanent Tax Levy: the citizens of Loveland failed the Levy 52%-48% for many reasons, some of which were compiled and listed in an article titled Why People Vote No. VOICE’s purpose is to ask questions and inform citizens on the broader facts of an issue or narrative and to hold the district accountable to justifying expenditures of public money. VOICE originated after the 2019 levy when it was apparent that the district was not being truthful about its needs or communicating well with the community. We understand that the district had operated without public scrutiny for many years and that it can be uncomfortable to have the curtain pulled back and receive criticism. Some in our community have even been offended by our efforts. Public education, however, is a service to the community, paid for by taxpayers. Therefore the school is a servant, not the master, and should be able to operate with humility and correction when necessary.

The School Board has not represented the community. Rather, it has acted merely as an advocate for the school. The Board should intelligently consider the entire Loveland community represented in three different counties and several socio-economic neighborhoods. The Board’s decisions impact the whole community and should not be overwhelmingly influenced by “in-house” thinking. The VOICE and numerous individual citizens suggest that, moving forward, the Board seriously consider alternatives to constantly choosing PERMANENT property taxes. The burden on senior citizens, long-term residents and low-income families is destructive and pushes people deeper into poverty or out of the community. Moreover, the rising property tax burden does not maintain property values more than it simply discourages all but higher income earners from purchasing homes in our community. Pushing an older generation or middle class taxpayers out to make room for young families who will bring more money is not a healthy or unifying way to build a community. The current path is unsustainable, as has been repeated by businessmen and other ordinary citizens since 2020. We do not want to constantly reside in a victim status created by H.B.920, and we need to take the time to consider the alternatives and change the status quo.

The VOICE has been mocked for its themes of trust and transparency, and yet getting simple answers for simple questions, like what is the true number of teachers and why a lower number was used for a live levy session, has been virtually impossible. To understand real budget numbers, numerous questions must be asked, resulting in accusations that individuals are using up district time and resources. When the contingency fee was explained at a board meeting, it created confusion about where the money came from and how the bucket was to be refilled. The district clearly avoided directly addressing the issue several times when clarification was sought. Citizens must be able to understand how and why their money is being spent in a clear, not obfuscated or cherry-picked, fashion. Please don’t announce that you will have to cut 50 teachers if the levy fails and then, after the levy fails, announce that no decisions have been made about future funding requests or budget cuts. We have good, honest people in our community. Please don’t sell us a levy with fear. Please give us the whole truth so we can be informed and make up our own minds. It is our money, and they are our kids, not yours. Please don’t resist transparency — proactive transparency builds trust. You do not build trust by talking at people. Has the greater community ever been invited to engage in a discussion where the conversation was not directed by the school?

Please consider curbing expenditures in a time of economic hardship. There are many ways we can think of to trim the budget before cuts are even considered. Before approving the next budget forecast in November please remove from the budget the amounts that were added in anticipation of passing a levy. Strip the budget of money for potential new teachers or possible bus drivers, and put the contingency fee money back into the baseline cash balance. Please justify your expenditures instead of vaguely claiming that you need money to “maintain educational programming”. This purposely leaves it to the public to fill in the blank. If you are putting a levy on the ballot, every dollar you are asking for should be accounted for publicly. Please don’t hold on to our money for us, promising not to spend it until you need to, when we might need that money right now for our families and our own basic living expenses.

We kept hearing the message that things were changing, but it seems that things continue to be done as they were in the past. This community infighting was created by you, the Board. It pits neighbor against neighbor, friend against friend. It is unnecessary! We all want what is best for the community and what is best for the schools. It took years to get us to this point of “bridge failure”, and it will take time to repair the damage. You alone have been entrusted with the power and responsibility to solve this problem. Make the decisions necessary to fix the budget and reduce the excessive spending that is so obvious to many of us. Pushing this off until another permanent levy finally passes will not fix anything. The fighting will still be there, and the community will pay the price. Take responsibility. The fix is NOT cutting services, it is proper budgeting and spending. It is time to change how we do things because we cannot afford to keep repeating past mistakes. Whether levies pass or fail, we must all return to living together in the same community. We would like to believe our Board has the will and courage to do hard things, to actively listen to dissenters, and to bring unity out of the division we have experienced in Loveland.

Sincerely,

Loveland VOICE (Voter Oversight, Interest and Concern for Education)