Click the down arrows for greater detail

What's in a Forecast, Part 1 of 4 click on the down arrow -->




Loveland City School District Levy Information Page states that “the State (of Ohio) fiscal distress process will begin if we do not pass this 4.9 mill permanent operating levy in May.”

Is this factual?   Two convincing arguments counter that narrative:


      The January 2023 Forecast does not reach the thresholds outlined in the State of Ohio programs for fiscal oversight of local school districts.

      The Forecast can and does change for changing sets of circumstances.




The district’s most recent Five Year Forecast was presented in January 2023. It was neither approved nor submitted to the State.  A summary of the revenues, spending and cash balances follows:


2023 2024 2025 2026 2027

7/1 General Fund Balance/(Deficit) $14.9 $13.0 $9.8 $4.9 ($1.7)

Revenues $52.2 $52.9 $53.2 $53.9 $54.1

Expenditures ($54.1) ($56.1) ($58.1) ($60.4) ($62.6)

Net Operating Surplus/(Deficit) for the Year ($1.9) ($3.2) ($4.9) ($6.5) ($8.5)

6/30 General Fund Balance/(Deficit) $13.0 $9.8 $4.9 ($1.7) ($10.2)


The State of Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and the Auditor of State (AOS) have detailed protocols and procedures for fiscal oversight of Ohio school districts. This process is discussed in detail below. In summary, based on this Forecast, Loveland would not reach the criteria to enter any of Ohio’s four fiscal oversight designations: Precaution, Caution, Watch and Emergency. Why not? Because despite forecasting operating deficits in all five forecast years, the General Fund Balance is positive until Year 4. In other words, the State recognizes that local Administrations and Boards of Education have three forecast years to figure out how to increase revenues, decrease expenditures or a combination of both.



In January 2023, State Auditor’s Office representative, Dave Thompson, attended and spoke at our Board of Education meeting. Information from his presentation slides are summarized as follows:

The Auditor of State (AOS) uses four classifications:

Precaution - This designation is used when the 6/30 General Fund balance is low or when the Years 1-3 of the Five Year Forecast show a deficit in the General Fund. At this point, there is a rule that the district submit a written plan to eliminate the deficits.  Pre-Caution is not designated by statute but according to the Ohio Department of Education, operates more as oversight.

○ Fall Forecasts are due by November 30

■ If applicable, notification letters are sent to the distrIct in mid-December

■ Written plans are due as follows:

o If deficit General Fund balances are in Years 1 or 2: 1/31

o If deficit General Fund is in Year 3: 2/28

○ Spring Forecasts are due May 31

■ Districts projecting a Year 2 deficit will be evaluated for implementation of the Fall written plan, and may result in the “Caution” designation

Caution - This designation is declared by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and is generally designated with Year 2 deficit General Fund balance after the Spring review

○ District develops and BOE approves a Fiscal Recovery Plan (FRP) of Action

○ Expenditure management is at the line item level - not the mile high Forecast level

Watch - This designation is recommended by the ODE and the AOS makes the designation when the General Fund deficit balance at June 30 exceeds 8% of the school district’s general fund revenue for the preceding fiscal year, and/or the BOE is unable to execute the FRP

Emergency - This designation is recommended by the ODE and the AOS makes the designation when the General Fund deficit balance at June 30 exceeds 15% of the school district’s general fund revenue for the preceding fiscal year of revenues for the preceding year, and/or the BOE is unable to execute the FRP

Mr. Thomas’ remarks, reiterated throughout the presentation, were clear that what happens with the district is always in the hands of the Board and Administration. After all, the Board and Administration legally hold the power to make changes.

What's in a Forecast, Part 2 of 4 click on the down arrow -->




NOTE: Forecasts are required twice a year – On a calendar year you would think May and November but because the school fiscal year is split over two years the forecasts run according to the school fiscal years Example: November 2017 would go with May 2018 as part of the same fiscal year.


MAY 2018   According to the May 2018 Forecast, the General Fund balance is positive for all five years.  And while the forecast showed deficit spending in Years 2-5, the general fund balance was enough to support the deficit spending throughout the five year forecast period.


NOVEMBER 2018  By November 2018, the same 6/30/22, now Year 4, General Fund balance was forecast to be (-$2.3 million).  What happened?  While the Fiscal Year 2018 actual results showed $443,000 more in the General Fund Balance at year end than what was previously presented, spending increased even more, from a 4.4% annualized rate in May 2018 to 4.8% annualized rate in November. Although deficit spending was forecast for all five years, the district was not designated as fiscal “Precaution” because the general fund balance was enough to support the deficit spending through Year 3.


MAY 2019  In May 2019, the Facilities Master Plan had been largely completed and the district made plans to put the historic 16.78 mill combined operating levy on the ballot in November 2019. The annualized rate of increased spending climbed to 4.9%, and the Forecast now showed a General Fund deficit of $1.6 million in year 4 which was still outside the criteria for pre-caution.


NOVEMBER 2019  As we all know, the community emphatically rejected the levy and the district chose to do a direction correction. Was this based on community input or required by the state? By February 2020 (coinciding with the date that a response would be due to the AOS office from the “Precaution” designation in November 2019), the district produced a new Five Year Forecast to eliminate the added costs of the Master Plan. Remarkably, it also moved the district out of financial “Precaution” by deferring deficit ending balances to Years 4 and 5. The “Precaution” designation at November 2019 also explains why the BOE elected to force the issue on the operating portion of the combined levy by placing the 6.95 mill operating levy on the March (odd timing) ballot. Of course, none of this is in the LCSD public record, which leads many in the community to feel betrayed about transparency from the Administration and BOE.


MARCH 2020  In any event, the community again defeated the March 6.95 mill permanent operating levy, because those of us who were lulled into compliance over the years woke up in 2019 and 2020, uncovering years of a lack of true fiscal leadership. A few of the facts uncovered during these two levy campaigns:

    The district pays both employer and employee portions of pensions and medicare, cell phone charges, and even paid vacation, for our “administrators”, costing the taxpayers $500,000 in 2019 alone.

    30 “administrators” received $4.5 million in salaries and benefits in 2019 alone.

    The Facilities Master Plan was developed with no real “Plan B”

    Facilities repairs were neglected for over 5 years according to LCSD Business Manager

    Curriculum changes were made faster than even those outlined by Ohio best practices.


MAY 2020   By May 2020, several “Reduction in Force” and elected retirements, together with the shifting of responsibilities, and discontinuation of high school bussing, occurred, as evidenced by the much smaller 1.9% annualized rate of increased spending over the five forecast years. A small deficit balance in the General Fund in Year 4, worsening in Year 5, allowed the district to be removed from fiscal “Precaution” status.  Ironically, two BOE members also resigned at this time.


NOVEMBER 2020 and MAY 2021   These two Forecasts benefitted from savings in spending due to Covid closures, online learning, hybrid learning, and also the receipt of ESSER funds for Covid relief. Bottom line: Despite being in fiscal “Precaution” in 2019/2020, the district implemented changes that slowed the rate of increase in spending to under 2%, eliminating the deficit general fund balances for all five forecast years in both the November 2020 and May 2021 Forecasts.


NOVEMBER 2021  By November 2021, the Forecast changed yet again, upping the compounded rate of increase in spending to more than 3%. The effect on the ending General Fund Balances was mitigated due to the May 2021 Forecast understating the 6/30/21 general fund balance by $1.0 million! District officials did not acknowledge this difference but claimed the forecast was improved due to renegotiated Certified and Non-Certified staff contracts which froze base rates, but failed to eliminate “step” (steps were lengthened from 27 to 35) and education-related raises. (Wonder who the Union reps were to throw the rest of the union under the bus in order to protect their own steps?) In spite of deficit spending in all five years in the forecast period, the November 2021 Forecast showed positive end of year General Fund balances.


MAY 2022 By May 2022, the forecast spending increases jumped to 3.8%, before the $1.6 million contingency line. No explanations were given for increases other than the contingency.  Were spending rates increased to show the need for a levy? Yes, the Forecast showed deficit spending in Years 2 through 5; however, a deficit in the General Fund Balance does not occur until Year 5. While this Forecast does not trigger fiscal “Precaution,” the BOE voted to put a 4.9 mill levy on the November 2022 ballot, presumably choosing a levy over cost-cutting. Concerns over inflation and recession, together with the community’s continuing distrust of the Administration and BOE, led to the defeat of the November 2022 levy.


NOVEMBER 2022  Later that month the November 2022 Five Year Forecast came out with minor changes (the compounded rate of increase slipped by .01% to 3.7%) In addition, 2022 actual results showed $270,000 more in General Fund Balance at year end than what was presented in the May 2022 Forecast. Each year in the Forecast showed deficit spending, and because a new year was added to the Forecast, it now showed deficit General Fund Balances in Years 4 AND 5. Still no cause for fiscal “Precaution.”  The Forecast still included the $1.6 million contingency. In fact, at the November BOE meeting, the Treasurer asked the Board to allocate some of the contingency to offset budget shortfalls for busing and other services.   This is not what the contingency fund was supposed to be used for. In response to the November 2022 levy failure, the Interim Treasurer reported a new Forecast in January 2023. His response to the levy failure was essentially to do nothing. 


JANUARY 2023  From all indications, the Finance Committee had worked on the Treasurer’s January 2023 Forecast prior to the January BOE meeting, as they were able to show the entire BOE a revised January 2023 Forecast for approval. This Forecast was not provided to the community beforehand nor approved by the Board nor submitted to the state.  The Forecast deleted the $1.6 million contingency line item, but compensated for it by ramping up the annualized rate of increased spending from 3.7% to nearly 4.2%. Why? Yes some increase is surely necessary because of the inflation we all are experiencing. But 85% of the district's costs are fixed related to personnel costs! Perhaps the community should be enlightened.  Though the revised January 2023 Forecast shows deficit spending in all five years in the Forecast period, the General Fund Balance remains positive until Years 4 and 5. No cause for fiscal “Precaution” just yet.

What's in a Forecast, Part 3 of 4 click on the down arrow -->

So really, what is a Forecast?


Apparently, it is whatever picture the district wants to paint based on Master Plans, curriculum changes, union contracts, hiring practices, and levies on the ballot.


The first chart below tracks forecast cash balances for 2022 and 2023 across forecast dates.

Notice the $17.5 million dollar swing in the 2022 General Fund forecast balances. The November 2019 Forecast showed an ending deficit General Fund balance for FY2022 of (-$2.6 million). By contrast, the actual General Fund balance at 6/30/22, just 2.5 years later, improved to nearly $15 million. How does that happen?


    Some will say the 2018 and 2019 forecasts for 2022 and 2023 were too preliminary to be given any weight. But if that’s true, then what does that say about the district’s claim that we won’t be able to keep the lights on without borrowing money in 2025?

    Some will conclude this is proof we need another permanent levy now.

    Others, like me, will conclude that the district must listen to the community again


This second chart depicts annualized rates of increased spending by Forecast period. For frame of reference, the annualized rate of actual spending increases from 2013-2022 was 2.52%. Do you notice any trends related to timing of levies?

What should the Forecast be?


A transparent tool for the BOE and public to use to truly understand the spending patterns of the district, and to change them for declines in enrollment. Leverage for contract negotiation. An opportunity to hold managers accountable for meeting budgets. And maybe just maybe, a tool to show real leadership in planning curriculum, care of facilities, and stewardship of financial resources.


Transparent and real leadership by the Administration and the BOE would educate the public about their plans for financing the district’s spending habits over time. For example, how long will this levy last? How long before we are asked for another permanent operating levy?

What's in a Forecast, Part 4 of 4 click on the down arrow -->




Recall Mr. Thompson’s remarks: the district is always in the hands of the Board and Administration. After all, the Board and Administration legally hold the power to make changes. Since one duty of the Administration and BOE is to prepare and approve annual budgets, perhaps the most expedient solution would be to re-evaluate the forecast and make changes to adapt to changing circumstances, much as each of us do when inflation hits, or our incomes decline.


Update the Forecast with Actual Results:

Here we are two weeks prior to the election. The Interim Treasurer has reported YTD March 31,

2023 results. General Fund cash balance is $22.9 million. An admittedly simple projection of FY2023 balances follows. (See Chart titled “The Future Looks Brighter Than the Five Year Forecast!).  Based on this projection, the district will add $1.3 - $1.8 million more to the General Fund FY2023 than is on Year 1 of the January 2023 BOE approved Forecast!


Is this a windfall? Or a failure to adjust reporting using actual results?  In fact, in 4 of the last five years, the May Forecast understates the 6/30 General Fund Balance for that Year 1 of the Forecast. Here is a visual representation of the changing General Fund Balance. (See Chart titled “Actual Cash Balances vs Forecasts”)

Find alternative sources of revenue

Control expenditures


NEWS FLASH: The 4.9 mill continuing operating levy on the May 2023 ballot is not enough to support the latest forecast. Using the January 2023 Five Year Forecast (i) General Fund balance as of 6/30/23; (ii) 4.95 mills levy funds beginning in second half of 2024, and (iii) incremental year over year expenditures for 2024 - 2007, the district will be looking at operating deficits in every year, AND deficit General Fund balance as of 6/30/27. This deficit balance will be reported on the November 2023 Five Year Forecast as occurring in Year 4, meaning no AOS cause for fiscal distress. But by the November 2024 Forecast date, the deficit balance will occur in Year 3 of the Forecast, thereby triggering the State’s threshold for fiscal “Precaution” designation. Yes, that’s correct - even with this levy, the district will move into fiscal “Precaution” with the AOS if additional revenue sources are not identified, nor spending cuts made!

Amounts in millions 2024 2025 2026 2027

General Fund Balance 7/1 $13.0 $10.5 $8.3 $ 3.9

Plus ½ additional 4.95 mill revenues in FY2024; 

Full year in ‘25-’27 $ 2.5 $ 4.9 $ 4.9 $ 4.9

Less additional spending in FY 2024 ($ 5.0) ($ 7.1) ($ 9.3) ($11.6)

Equals 6/30 Projected Balance $10.5 $8.3 $ 3.9 ($2.8)

Mark your calendars: Another permanent operating levy will be on your ballot again in a few years. Something has to change!  This is not a revenue problem; this is a spending problem!


·         The district is not entering the fiscal “Precaution” designation if this levy does not pass.

·         The district will enter fiscal “Precaution” by November 2024 even if this levy does pass.

·         The district will be asking the taxpayers for another permanent operating levy in the next few years, even if this levy does pass.

·         The district must be better at forecasting, adapting to change and curbing spending.

VOTE NO on May 2023 4.9 mill permanent operating levy.

In this environment of permanent levy financing, voting No is your only measure of control over district spending!


Masters of Deception click on the down arrow -->



When it comes to education honesty, Ohio has a low bar. The New York Times made fun of our state in a 2015 article claiming that Ohio seemed to have taken a page from Lake Wobegon, where all the children are above average. Our students had performed so poorly on the new Common Core requirements that the state conveniently and quietly re-labeled as “proficient” what the testing company formerly designated as “approaching expectations” or “approaching proficiency”. This was definitely not about the kids but for the state to look better.


The state further deceives parents by its post-covid re-labeling of the Report Cards. Prior to FY2021 the State gave letter grades to all Schools. In 2018 and 2019 Indian and Madeira received an A grade for Performance Index. Loveland was a solid B in those years. In FY 2021 the state did not give grade reports due to the COVID learning loss. However, in FY 2022 the state suddenly rolled out new grading rubrics based on stars. In the category of performance index Indian Hill and Madeira each got 5 stars. What is interesting is Mariemont, Sycamore, Wyoming, Forest Hills, Loveland and Kings, all of whom previously were graded as a solid B suddenly received 5 stars for performance as well. When everyone gets 5 performance stars where previously 6 out of 8 schools received a B, the scoring becomes meaningless.


Deception isn’t limited to the state level. Loveland continues to emphasize that our teachers took a 0% base pay increase for two years. Many parents understood this to mean our teachers received no raises in that time period. The fact that most people do not understand the pay scale allowed many to jump to that conclusion. The District never clarified unless pressed to do so, that while our teachers, in fact did not receive a raise in base pay, many or all teachers received raises from other elements of the compensation model. To further complicate the pay issue when the new 2021-2023 pay schedule with longer pay steps was unveiled each teacher had to be fit into the new schedule based on their current pay to avoid the possibility of wage loss. This meant many teachers were placed into pay slots showing more years of experience than they actually had, skewing any honest data about years of teacher experience in Loveland.


The District puts out several statistics on its Levy Facts page which you, the public, will not be able to verify mathematically. Our district claims that 98% of Ohio school districts have a better student-to-teacher ratio. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) does not provide student-to-teacher ratios, although there are several different places to get varying numbers of students and numbers of teachers. The District takes a hybrid approach by using enrollment numbers which they provide to ODE, but then using data from the Education Management Information System (EMIS) for its staff enrollment numbers. EMIS is an internal data system not available to the general public. It produces a general count for teachers that does not include certain categories such as intervention specialists, special-ed teachers, and full time subs for teachers on leave of absence. EMIS effectively and drastically lowers the number of teachers you see for Loveland on the ODE website, giving a distorted view of the student-to-teacher ratio -- but a view which better fits the school narrative.


What is interesting about Loveland’s student-to-teacher ratio is that it has stayed fairly consistent for at least five years, but the District has never made an issue of it before. Why now? The number of full time equivalent teachers per 1,000 students has stayed pretty consistent not just for Loveland but for Mason, Goshen, Springboro, Lakota and Kings. Furthermore, different school districts have different philosophies regarding the student-to-teacher ratio. For example, Sycamore pays teachers less than Loveland, but has more teachers and a better ratio. If a school employs fewer, higher paid teachers, believing that it provides a better education, then you will have a higher ratio.


Loveland has complained that it has been 9 years since a levy has passed. It is imperative to note that the length of time in between the passage of levies is a moot point if a school is spending responsibly. Who has conditioned you to think that a levy is attached to a specific time period? A case in point is Indian Hill Schools. According to a newsletter they put out in 2020, their last operating levy was more than 25 years ago. Indian Hill had continued to operate from levies passed in the 1980s and earlier with a near zero inflationary increase. They passed a 5.43 mill combo bond/operating levy in 2021. They even refinanced a previous bond to reduce millage and save taxpayers money. What could Loveland learn from them?


That half of all districts spend more per student is a red herring. Does spending less make a school suddenly become a bad school? Does money correspond to performance? If you look at the body of studies examining that question it is clear that more money does not mean better educated students, nor does it improve performance. What Loveland does with the millions it receives is far more important than who gets more money per student.


The District says 92% of all Ohio districts receive more money per student. This is a prime example of why Loveland should do what is best for Loveland and not compare constantly to what other districts are doing. It is also true 94% of all Ohio Districts have more business tax revenue than Loveland! This should cause a responsible Board and Administration to budget wisely! How can it be that a house in Blue Ash that costs $100,000 more than a house in Loveland and a house in Indian Hill that costs $200,000 more than a house in Loveland both pay less property tax than a homeowner in Loveland? To attract new business to our area, the city of Loveland has handed out generous tax abatements (some up to 15 years) which reduces the amount the school might receive. Some of these businesses are happy for you to pay more in tax while they get a break.


During the November 2022 levy the District claimed it was #1 in that no district in Hamilton County had a better performance index while spending less money. Yes, it was true for one brief shining moment and assisted not just by COVID but by reductions which had taken place the year before. So while the school rightly made cuts to save money, which lowered expenditures, the state bumped all the B rated districts to 5 stars in performance, giving Loveland a coveted spot on a pedestal that they had not previously been able to attain. Is one single school year enough to judge the ability of a district to maintain any spot in the ranking? Is it justification for voting on a levy that will last forever?


As for the issue of fiscal distress – what has the school actually said to prove that if this levy fails the fiscal distress process will start? This is not even logical since money from a May or November levy won’t arrive until January of 2024. Fiscal distress with millions more available than the Treasurer is currently showing in the forecast fund balance is hard to reconcile. There is and has been a decided lack of financial transparency and accountability in our District. When a member of the community recently called and spoke with the Auditor’s office for over an hour the Auditor’s assessment was “Loveland isn’t even on our radar!” What’s up with that?


It’s easy to deceive people who lack either the time or the inclination to search honestly for answers and to fact check what the Loveland District is saying. It is unfortunate that the District cannot be more honest about where they intend to spend millions more except to scare people into the false belief that the only way to keep the school operating is for you to constantly prop it up by pumping even more millions into the system.

The Politics of Crisis click on the down arrow -->



According to the popular Bluedorn brothers’ book, The Fallacy Detective, “An appeal to fear is a propaganda technique.  Appeal to fear is used when someone makes you fear the consequences of not doing what he wants.”  It is usually not good to act out of fear.  However, fear is a strong motivator because when people fear something, they tend not to think matters through but to react from a cringe-reflex.  Our district is appealing to fear to induce voters to change their opinion.


Think about it.  Anytime a property tax levy is put on the ballot for our school district, it is because there is a crisis to be averted.  In 2019 (with the help of high paid consulting firm, Allerton-Hill) our Board claimed that “The need is great and the time is NOW.”  We were told there was a crisis because our buildings were falling apart and our students were unsafe, etc. etc.  That turned out not to be true.


In 2020 we faced a renewed attempt to pass a large levy.  Instead of doing the hard work to control costs, analyze expenditures and spend wisely, the district chose to punish parents by raising fees, cutting high school busing (which isn’t required by the state) and its associated drivers, and cutting 12 teachers.  A public school is not required to offer everything to everyone and must make balanced decisions with its primary goal being, one hopes, to give an excellent academic education at an affordable cost. 


In November 2022 there were already parents saying the levy was needed “to keep the lights on” at the school and rumors of cuts and punishments abounded.  Here we are again in 2023, with the lights still on and the same levy ask, and now the fear mongering has been stepped up.   The district has blatantly said that if this levy fails, the fiscal distress process will begin despite the fact that a conversation with the State Auditor’s office surprisingly revealed that Loveland is not even on their radar! Additional revenue which has come in after the revised January 2023 five-year forecast has not even been considered but should change the May forecast to an even more positive future outlook.   Board Members have stirred the pot by suggesting that co-curriculars and extra-curriculars will be on the chopping block even though according to the Planning Commission study those basically pay for themselves outside of coach fees.  What is the real truth?


The District/Board wants to spend an incremental $36 million over the next 5 years as compared with 2022 levels.  This is a 4% compounded year-over-year increase.  Are you guaranteed a 4% raise every year for the next 5 years?  Even the $11.6 million increase between FY 27 –FY22 on the revised January 2023 forecast is 22.6% higher than the FY22 spend of $51.1 million.  Without compounding that is a 4.5% average increase and such planned increased spending guarantees the need for another permanent levy in 4 years!  When and where are there meaningful discussions about rising costs and how to control them? 


Instead of looking at the millions and millions of dollars they receive and determining how best to spend that money, the District simply assume that every year they will need more money to pay for the same things but at spending rates that exceed inflation.  There is no real budget, but there is always a crisis every 3-5 years in which threats of cutting teachers, busing, and other favorite targets are held over the public head to force open their wallets.  Based on the district five-year forecast, even if this levy passes, we will be in crises again in a very short time.  When will we be tired of being sold crisis after crisis?  When will we have true accountability, transparency and fiscal responsibility regarding the school finances rather than scare tactics and emotional appeals to fear in order to sell a levy? 

Teachers Unions Don't Deliver Quality click on the down arrow -->



The following comments were excerpted from an article in the Wall Street Journal written a quarter century ago by Robert J. Barro, entitled “Teachers’ Unions Don’t Deliver Quality.” (WSJ 27 Sept. 1996)


The article asks the question “How do unions affect education expenditures and quality?”  Does more union power raise educational spending and improve the quality of schooling, or have unions contributed to the decline in the quality of education?


The findings of a Harvard study published in the August 1996 Quarterly Journal of Economics found that unionization is estimated to raise per-pupil spending by about 12%.  (And this is back in 1996).  The article notes that “roughly three-quarters of this greater spending takes the form of higher teacher salaries.” 


While the union claims that higher teacher salaries and lower student-teacher ratios are needed to advance student achievement, this is not the case.  Union claims fall apart because “unions manage to divert extra school inputs into the things they care about – higher teacher pay and the reduced effort required to deal with fewer students – rather than into better student performance.”


The article notes that in 1960 collective bargaining by teachers was illegal in many states.  Legislation favoring unionization became prevalent, and in the decades between 1963 and 1992 the number of unionized public school districts rose 43%.   Currently it is the schools without a union that are the anomaly.


Mr. Barro writes that if teachers’ unions were prohibited, school expenses would fall, and school quality would rise.  The only losers would be the unions and a few select teachers.  Teachers would surely gain, however, in their roles as parents and taxpayers.


The article concludes as follows: “It would be a good idea to reverse the trend of state legislation that favors teachers’ union.  But probably more effective would be a universal school-choice program allowing competition to the union dominated public education sector.”


If it seems that an article written 27 years ago is irrelevant, you are sadly mistaken.  What the past 27 years have demonstrated is the fundamental truth of this article.  It’s time to stop the madness.

Thanks for (Not) Listening! click on the down arrow -->



Boards of Education are elected by the taxpayers of a local school district.  While their statutory job is to set policy and hire a superintendent and treasurer, it is assumed that they bear in mind the needs and abilities of the community in which they live.


Are you aware that a group of professional men in the Loveland community met with one of the Board members on multiple occasions to discuss levy options that could work for the majority of the voting community and help bring this community back together?  The end result of hours of meetings was nothing.  Not a single suggestion was implemented.


What happens when a Board does not listen to the community’s complaints about never ending permanent property tax levies?  What happens when a Board discounts the reality of a community’s ability to pay and is willing to ignore the consequences of ignoring reality? 


If you can’t fire the people who work for you then they do not work for you.  The bottom line is that our Board of Education works for unions and the education bureaucracy.   This levy could have waited until November because no money will arrive until 2024 from either a May or November levy.   The interim could have been used to educate the public on alternative revenue options other than permanent levies. 


After the 2019 levy fail our longest-serving Board member stated that people get all worked up and come to Board meetings and then they go away.  “We’ve seen this all before,” she said.  But does the Board understand or even care why people go away?  It is because they aren’t listened to, they aren’t heard, nothing changes and they finally go away in frustration to become permanent no-voters.  They feel the district really does not care about them, the greater community, or anything other than more money to perpetuate the status quo.

Cheap Schools click on the down arrow -->

If you repeat a lie often enough, does it become truth?

A pernicious myth in the education debate is that increased spending is associated with better results, but Stanford University economist, Eric Hanushek reviewed 400 studies on the topic to conclude there is not a strong or consistent relationship between performance and school resources; in fact the correlation is extremely weak.


A 2012 report from Harvard and Stanford researchers found that on average an additional $1,000 in per-pupil spending is associated with an annual gain in achievement of one-tenth of 1 percent of a standard deviation which is of no statistical or substantive significance.   A 2019 analysis of National Assessment For Education Progress (NAEP) test scores shows that six of the top 10 states that improved their average test scores on the NAEP the most were among the states with the smallest funding growth. (Hint: Ohio wasn’t one of them!)  Thousands of dollars in extra funding doesn’t appear to help students learn any better.


Our Loveland Superintendent likes to intone that you get what you pay for!  To hear LCSD tell the story they need more money every 3-5 years to maintain their educational programming to keep them in the top 2% of Ohio schools.  Why do we continue to promote the myth that spending more relates to any measure of success or guarantees a better school? 


The bottom line is cheap schools are not always bad schools.  It isn’t about who spends the most but who spends the smartest.  It’s not about whose bureaucracy is biggest, but whose is most efficient.  Pouring more money into the same broken system won’t fix deeper problems.  There are several reasons the majority of studies are hard-pressed to find a link between educational expenditure and educational outcomes. 


1.  BUDGET ALLOCATIONS.   According to, allocations of per-pupil spending are not designed with productivity in mind.  One-size outdated school financing models do not encourage problem-solving, budgeting and productivity.  Existing public school systems have practices and policies that tend to divert money to things that simply do not improve student outcomes.  Policymakers routinely tie new money to initiatives such as smaller class size, pay increases and staff development (sound familiar?) – these are popular approaches to improvement but produce only modest or inconsistent results.  Surges in staffing and administrative bloat have become the norm across the country.  Non-teaching staff has increased exponentially in the past few decades.   “Wasteful schools tend to hire more non-instructional staff while raising the pay and benefit cost for ALL staff regardless of their contribution to student outcomes.  If you fully disconnect compensation from performance, you can raise salaries and benefits endlessly without anyone learning more” says Jay Greene, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  Unfortunately, public school monopolies have weak incentives to cater to the needs of their customers by spending money wisely.


Loveland is no different from other schools in this regard.  In the past the district has overspent and now wants to maintain that overspending instead of correcting it.  It claims more money is necessary to keep us in the top 2% of schools, and yet perversely, Loveland has achieved its five star status in spite of staff cuts from 2 years ago in addition to claiming they are on the verge of fiscal distress!   New levies fund the ever upward climb of our payroll trajectory without ever connecting higher compensation to performance!  


2. MEANINGLESS COMPARISONS.  The metrics which states use to grade schools and which Loveland uses on its levy facts page simply show how well Loveland is keeping up with the Joneses.  The statistics only show how a district measures up to other schools with respect to funding and spending REGARDLESS of how well students are actually learning which makes it foolish to claim that half of Ohio spends more per student than Loveland or that Loveland receives less money than other districts.  What Loveland does with its money is far more important.    


3. PRICE VS VALUE.  Many people think price and value are synonymous.  What do taxpayers actually get for the extra tax dollars they are shelling out?   Schools are extremely poor at explaining (or choose to avoid the honest reasons) why levies are needed except either in general terms like “student support” or in narratives that scare people into voting for more money.   How many times has the Loveland district actually told the public that they need more money because they wrote an IOU to the Union and need to give their teachers big raises?  Shouldn’t every dollar the school asks for be justified in terms of a proven better academic outcome?  For many the escalating price they are being asked to pay has no honest value attached to it.


4.  THE ESTABLISHMENT.  Many teachers who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities have false assumptions about education.  Instead of knowledge-based teaching we have child-centered education.  One only has to look at Ohio’s “Each Child Our Future” goals on the ODE website to confirm that academic excellence is no longer stressed, and parents (now known as “family engagement”) are now no more than a cog in the wheel of influence.  The establishment assumes that students will benefit from pain-free learning, and the fact that there is constant reform (common core, social emotional learning, etc.),   points to a revolving door of research in education assumptions and methods.  Educators often create systems that they theorize will work, or fall for new bells and whistles while abandoning what has been proven to work. 


5. THE EDUCATION SUPPORT INDUSTRY.  With so much money to be had, many who wish to profit from the overflow of public money line up to offer services and products to the educational establishment more to enrich themselves than to offer products or services that have been proven to influence and improve academic knowledge and actual student performance.  Among these are consulting firms and trade organizations, both of which Loveland pays or has paid money to. 


How can we ensure that education dollars in Loveland are spent wisely and that money will actually be used to help kids and their performance, rather than a bloated administration and overly generous salaries and benefits?  How can Loveland schools be incentivized to make good fiscal decisions with real transparency and accountability to the public? These are the discussions we should be having.  Instead we have emotional hand-wringing about levies being all about the kids and fear mongering about school failure.


It would be nice if we could be freed from state compliance mode.  It would be great if our teachers received honest performance reviews so that our best teachers could be rewarded, instead of perpetuating the inefficient and unfair pay scale currently in place.  It would be nice if we did what was right and affordable for our own community rather than creating school envy because we do not have what other districts might have.  Finally it would be fiscally responsible for Loveland to have a real budget and a real finance committee that genuinely encompasses a balance of intelligent viewpoints.


The primary purpose of public education is to academically prepare our students.  The studies confirm that more money does not correlate to better educated students or better academic performance.  No one wants a cheap school but everyone deserves an affordable school.  Again, it is not about who spends the most but who spends smartest.  Asking for permanent levies every 3, 5, 7 or 10 years for millions of dollars more compounds the problem and wastes more money fruitlessly in an inefficient bureaucracy. 


Sources include:,,,,,,,,,,,

Abracadabra click on the down arrow -->

It’s magic!

According to the school website’s Levy Facts, Loveland Schools went from being in the top echelons of state teacher pay to having average teacher salary decrease by more than 1% during the 21-22 school year!  Average teacher salaries in the State of Ohio grew by 2.3% during that same time period.


Are these the same teachers who have camped out in the top 10% of teacher pay for over a decade?  Does this mean our teachers suffered a salary decrease, or is this the kind of carefully selected, deceptive statistic similar to “0% base pay increase” which the school gives you as only a partial picture of the truth.


Let’s unpack this claim. 


First of all, no Loveland teacher has EVER suffered a salary (pay) decrease.  The Teacher contract makes sure of that!


When the school uses the phrase “Loveland’s average teacher salary decreased” it simply means that the average of ALL teacher salaries combined is less than the previous year.  When new teachers make half of what the highest paid teachers make, this is to be expected because higher paid teachers retire and are replaced with lower-paid teachers.  It is a normal thing.


Recall that the School Board negotiated a new teacher pay schedule for FY2022 and FY2023.  The Board publicly admitted that their teachers were overpaid.  As part of the new schedule the teachers agreed to no base salary increase for 2 years.  Even when the base salary stays the same, however, there are always raises.


REMEMBER, the Board deliberately cut the Personal Services Expense (payroll) by $3 million for FY2021.  It is therefore amazing that the teacher salary costs went up at all in FY2021.  But they did!


Also REMEMBER, the Board deliberately increased Personal Services Expense (Payroll) by at least $2.3 million for FY 2022 so it is puzzling as to where $2.3 million dollars went.


You should always question when Loveland makes comparisons with the State and only uses a snapshot view of recent years to make their point.  Focusing on 1-2 years gives a distorted view of things.   Here is additional information to broaden the narrative a little and give you a better picture.


FISCAL              LOVELAND AVERAGE                  STATE AVERAGE

YEAR                  TEACHER PAY                             TEACHER PAY

2018                   $75,202                                            $60,731

2019                   $78,328                                             $62,190

2020                   $82,156                                             $63,899

2021                   $82,624                                             $65,548

2022                   $81,511                                             $67,072                                                                            

Comparing FY 2021 only, the State increased 2.58% and  Loveland  increased  0.57%

Comparing FY2022 only the State increased 2.3% while Loveland decreased 1.3%


Comparing FYs 2018-2020 State increased 5.2% and Loveland increased 9.2% 

Comparing FYS 2018-2021 State increased 7.9% increase while Loveland increased 9.9% 

Comparing FYs 2018-2022 State 10.4% increase while Loveland had an 8.4% increase


Loveland teacher salaries have had a history of exceeding the state average.  It all depends on how the data is treated.  The small recent average decrease, due to the 0% base pay, is not only a correction to the many previous years of overly generous increases, but also only a token attempt to slow salary growth.  It is disingenuous for the District to put on their website that average teacher salary decreased without looking at the bigger picture. 


But here is more magic.  The fact that the district hires younger teachers at lower pay has been used to both toot their horn and In further chaotic logic the District argues the following contradictory points:


Honestly, you can’t make this stuff up.   Most schools employ a strategy of hiring new teachers to replace older retiring teachers.  This is not a strategy unique to Loveland.  What would be unique is if Loveland actually did teacher performance reviews and paid their best teachers more no matter what their experience level compared to just rewarding all teachers each year they teach.

Culture of Transparency click on the down arrow -->

Transparency isn’t just a fancy word.  

Transparency creates trust and every tax levy is a vote on trust.  If you watched the Board meeting of January 19th you might have seen our Human Resources Director be commended for his transparency in correcting an error.  He was deserving of the praise but one of our Board Members inappropriately co-opted the moment to claim there is now a “culture of transparency” in the whole Loveland District.  


While the school is transparent in its own mind, the outside public sees it differently.  Throwing edited public records requests up on the Treasurer’s website does not equate to a culture of transparency.  Lecturing the public during Board meetings on why Loveland spends well but not producing a five year forecast that breaks down lump sum revenue and expenditures is not transparency.  


If Loveland wants to cultivate a culture of transparency here is what true transparency looks like.  This type of public information should be easily accessible (not hidden in multiple drop down menus) on the school website:












Board members are the link to the community.  If the Board decides that real transparency takes too much time and effort, then they should inform the community they would rather you do the work to ask for any or all of this public information in record requests.  Years ago we may not have needed this kind of transparency but as public education costs have skyrocketed and trust has plummeted, the public has the right to know, in detail, how and where there money is spent.


Suggestions come from “The Transparency Project” at

Taming the Tiger click on the down arrow -->



Comparing Loveland Average Teacher Salary and current rankings with a target ranking of 75th percentile*


Loveland Average Loveland’s State placement Loveland’s 75th percentile Targeted Loveland’s Overspending

Teacher Salary out of 607 districts Average Salary on Salary & Benefits

FY 2020 $82,156 96 percentile  19th in Ohio $65,878 $7.0 million

FY 2021 $82,624 96 percentile  21st in Ohio $68,095 $6.3 million

FY 2022 $81,511 93 percentile  39th in Ohio $69,232 $5.3 million


If payroll had been controlled and kept at the 75th percentile it would have been

an additional $18.6 million on the Balance Sheet today or FOR THE KIDS

*75th percentile was a target established by Board VP Kevin Dougherty and Superintendent Broadwater as recently as just a few months ago


Loveland has been trying to be like Sycamore for many years.  Sycamore has managed to do a much better job managing teacher salaries than Loveland.  Sycamore did it.  Are they better than Loveland?


Comparing Loveland Average Teacher Salary (above) to Sycamore’s


Sycamore Sycamore’s State Average difference between What Loveland overspent on

Average Teacher placement out of 607 districts Loveland pay and Sycamore pay Salary & Benefits using

Salary Sycamore’s average pay

FY 2020 $74,364 90th percentile  60th in Ohio - $7,792 $3.4 million

FY 2021 $73,809 87th percentile  77th in Ohio - $8,815 $3.8 million

FY 2022 $73,730 84th percentile  84th in Ohio - $7,781 $3.4 million


If Loveland had been paid at the Sycamore negotiated payroll rather than their salary, it still would have been

an additional $10.6 million on the Balance Sheet today or FOR THE KIDS

Loveland Schools has a choice!  86% of Loveland’s Revenue is spent on salaries and benefits.  If Loveland Schools can tame their overly generous pay scale to something more affordable for our community, they could reduce spending and avoid layoffs while still offering very competitive salaries.  Or, they can continue to claim there is nowhere to cut and punish the community, parents and kids by not reforming the extremely high cost of the negotiated pay scale.


Data was obtained from the Ohio Department of Education District Profile Reports at

Fiscal Distress? APRIL FOOL! click on the down arrow -->

No sooner had the Board of Education voted to put a 4.9 mill levy on the ballot when a parent on Nextdoor claimed if the levy didn’t pass the school would be in fiscal emergency and the State would take over. Furthermore, the doors were going to be locked and there would be no extra-curricular activities meeting after school. The truth of these unsubstantiated claims was never checked. In fact the tinder had been laid when, after the levy failure in November, another parent on Nextdoor claimed that the November levy’s purpose was “to keep the lights on!” Many parents continue to claim that the school will be in some dire financial straits without more money NOW. This claim is then followed by references and links to the Board Meeting where state auditor, Dave Thompson, presented. Based on what these parents are claiming one must conclude that none of these parents actually listened to the auditor or reviewed his presentation or took it upon themselves to read the actual law.

The District Superintendent and Board stoked the “fiscal distress” narrative without ever explaining to parents how fiscal distress operates, relying on ignorance to cause fear and unthinking acceptance. Fiscal Distress is just the umbrella term to describe the process and steps that can occur to put a local government entity into a financial hole.

First we should clear up some important misconceptions. The state never takes over your school. Nope, nada, doesn’t happen. A school Board always retains authority and responsibility for decisions made in a district. The Auditor’s office can make recommendations and suggestions and offer help, but they cannot take over your school, lock your doors or cut anything! The Enquirer and other news articles ALL repeated this lie verbatim. The fact that it continues to have legs is due to the fact that people parrot what they hear instead of doing the research themselves. Again, fiscal distress law gives support to a school district but is not a takeover or a bailout. Supervision is NOT state takeover.

Second, according to the Local Government Services Auditor, there are a number of reasons local government entities end up in fiscal distress. The big ones include lack of long-term planning, lack of budgetary controls, and overspending. The latter can happen when the wants and demands of a district and its parents exceed the ability of a community to pay for them. The auditor’s advice was to own the financial problem and resolve it as a team by not only involving various employees in the process but also not ignoring feedback from the whole community.

To reach Emergency Status (the top level of fiscal distress) a district must pass through THREE prior steps. Even before these steps, however is PRE-CAUTION. PRE-CAUTION is not even a legally recognized category but one coined by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE). The ODE looks at the Fund Balance on the Five-Year Forecast (this is NOT the deficit spending line trumpeted by the district) to see if there is a low balance in years 1, 2 and 3 on the forecast. According to the forecast Loveland has filed with ODE, a low fund balance does not occur until FY 2026 (Year four of the Five-Year Forecast). Technically, if nothing changed, Loveland would not even meet the definition of PRE-CAUTION until the filing of the November 2024 Five-Year-Forecast when they would show a small operating deficit three years out! Schools always harp about deficit spending (Line 6.010), but the state is looking at the fund balance (Line 10.010) to see if there is an operating deficit. Please pay attention to this BIG DIFFERENCE! The Auditor’s office noted that the most common plan for fixing an operating deficit in Years 1, 2 or 3 of a forecast is a combination of expense reduction and revenue enhancement, not just forcing a levy. Let us now look at the three steps that comprise fiscal distress.

CAUTION is the first formal category and lowest level of distress. A school is placed in CAUTION when there is a failure to file or update a forecast, when an acceptable Financial Recovery Plan (FRP) is not in place or is unworkable (according to the Auditor this is the primary focus of CAUTION), or when the Auditor of State has identified significant deficiencies. CAUTION is determined by the ODE who may visit, inspect, provide technical assistance, or make recommendations. This happened to Milford Schools in 2008, and the audit that was done (you can access it online) contains pages of explicit, common sense recommendations for the school to cut spending and save money. We are told only a few were actually implemented. Using Loveland’s officially filed Five-Year Forecast the district would not be in CAUTION until FY2024-FY2025 when an operating deficit might be showing in what would then be future years 2-3. Everything would depend on the actions the district takes and the plan it formulates between now and then. Economic changes could affect future years of the forecast as well.

WATCH is the second category of distress and is declared by the Auditor of State not ODE. While multiple conditions must exist to reach this category, the actual law states that WATCH is certified when the “operating deficit exceeds 8% of the school district’s general fund revenue for the preceding fiscal year.” This must occur in addition to (a) voters not approving a levy that would raise money to eliminate the deficit, or (b) a district not acting reasonably to eliminate or correct practices or conditions that were noted in the previous level, CAUTION. Again, please note that operating deficit is NOT the spending deficit. Using the official legal reference, if a levy did not pass and Loveland did nothing to correct expenditures the district would not be in WATCH until FY 2027 (Year 5 on the current forecast), when the forecasted operating deficit of 2027 exceeds the general fund revenue for 2026 by more than 8%.

EMERGENCY is declared by the Auditor of State when a certified operating deficit exceeds 15% of the district’s general fund revenue for the preceding fiscal year. The governing law uses the term “operating deficit” while the auditor who spoke at our Board meeting used the term “general fund deficit balance”. In either case it refers to Line 10.010 of the Five-Year Forecast and not Line 6.010 which the school always draws attention to. Again multiple conditions must exist to qualify as EMERGENCY, including operating deficits in the fund balance (NOT spending deficits), no additional revenue, and a failure to submit an acceptable RFP or abide by one already submitted. It is unusual for schools to reach this level of distress due to the prior steps taken to avoid it; however, if EMERGENCY is declared, a commission is appointed whose membership is defined according to the law. If Loveland changes nothing, the district would be certified as EMERGENCY in 2027. Even then the State would not take over but offer guidance, recommendations and assistance including review of weaknesses in accounting and budgetary practices.

Here is a quote from Auditor, Dave Thompson’s slide #24:

“Financial insolvency is usually a result of past actions within the district and can only be resolved through local actions. It is the responsibility of the District to find, develop, and implement fiscally responsible actions or strategies to resolve the identified deficits while maintaining or restoring fiscal integrity. To that end, the process is most effective when the district takes ‘ownership’ of these areas of concern and vows to resolve them.”

Making sense of state code, audits, presentations and applications is confusing and time-consuming. Loveland School District has made it easy for you, by proclaiming that Fiscal Distress is imminent, and that "we do not want to move closer to State Control".

These statements could not be further from the truth. Loveland schools are not in fiscal distress if this May levy fails, and this does not have to be the future, either. Moreover the state does not take control. Loveland schools have the ability to stay out of even PRE-CAUTION by smart negotiation with the teacher's union this spring. They can work to broaden the explanations for increased costs and unrevealed revenues in the Five-Year Forecast, to provide more understandable transparency to the community. They can openly show that the forecasts can and do change more frequently than every six months, which is why constant careful money budgeting and management is imperative. Levy fatigue to force a yes vote from a reluctant community is neither good fiscal policy nor responsible leadership, and is pitting neighbor against neighbor. Please, listen for the truth, be informed from sources other than those which will profit from a levy. Do not spread unfounded rumors about fiscal distress.

Contributors to this article included accountants, auditors, lawyers and community members from Loveland and surrounding districts. Multiple times, this group viewed the presentation by local Government Services Auditor, Dave Thompson, along with his accompanying slides from the January 10 LCSD Board Meeting. Clarifications and further conversations were had with Mr. Thompson and the State Auditor's office to receive official answers regarding the process of fiscal distress.

In addition, Ohio Revised Code §§ 3316.031, 3316.03(A)(1)(a), 3316.03(B), and 3316.05, Ohio Administrative Code § 3301-92-04, the Ohio Department of Education website, the 2008 Auditor's Report for the Milford Schools, and the events leading up to the Little Miami District state of Emergency were all consulted in the writing of this article.

Defending the Spending click on the down arrow -->

You’ve heard it said repeatedly by our Board that Loveland Schools spend well.  But what does it mean to spend well? The accompanying two graphs you see compare Loveland to a school district that understands what it means to spend well.  These graphs compare Loveland to its neighbor, Sycamore.  Why choose Sycamore?  Sycamore is a well-run district and Loveland could learn from them! They can brag about being #1 because they, too, received 5 stars.  Their performance index is even higher than Loveland’s.  Although they spend about $2,000 more per pupil than Loveland, they run their district more efficiently.  The accompanying graph is a visual to help you understand what controlled spending looks like versus unsustainable spending.


The bottom graph shows the LCSD and Sycamore Student Enrollment between 2011 and 2022.  Please note Loveland’s enrollment (orange line) has been in a slow decline while Sycamore’s (gray line) declined slightly and then has been moving upward.


The top graph shows the actual yearly personnel costs (payroll) for Loveland compared to what Loveland’s payroll would look like using Sycamore’s increases.  Payroll is the biggest expense item for any school, everything else is just pennies.  Loveland’s payroll (orange line) shows a steady upward slope punctuated by a single dip in 2021.  The dip reflected a combination of personnel retirements, resignations, transfers and RIFS that occurred to save money following the failed 2020 levy.  After 2021, however, the spending increased once again, negating any realized savings and continuing to climb in an upward trajectory. The future numbers on the graph reflect the budgeted numbers on the school’s ODE filed five-year forecast.


The personnel costs using Sycamore’s pay increases, however, follows a more gradual slope that moves upward in a controlled manner (gray line).  Sycamore’s teachers make an average of $10,000 less than Loveland’s teachers.  Their negotiated payscale has for a long time had more steps and longer educational lanes than Loveland, which slows down the race to the top of their payscale and affects the overall payroll numbers as approximately 63% of payroll are the teacher salaries.  


The difference between the orange line representing Loveland’s payscale and the gray line representing what Loveland personnel would have received in Sycamore represents approximately $70 million more in total payroll costs that Loveland taxpayers have born just since 2011 (that is a lot of levy money!) 


Many claim our teachers and staff are not overpaid and others claim if we want the best teachers or staff we must pay more.  Does anyone suppose Sycamore doesn’t think their teachers are the best even though they get paid less?  Does anyone think Country Day doesn’t have the best teachers even though private schools pay substantially less than public schools?  Having the highest payroll is never a measure of the best personnel or a district’s ability to hire teachers.


The point here is that Loveland does not spend well.  Loveland adjusts spending when forced to but goes right back to spending again in a trajectory that is not controlled.  Our district must control this slope, and hiring new teachers to replace older retiring teachers is not going to solve the problem as long as the school continues higher-than-inflation base pay increases and fast tracking teachers to a master’s degree.  This is further complicated by the excessive number of highly paid administrators that Loveland employs.  The district defends the number of administrators by using a meaningless administrator per pupil ratio that simply compares it to what other districts have.  Sycamore has a higher number of administrators with a higher average salary than Loveland yet it still manages to control the spending slope.


Loveland School’s continued defense of its spending is only supportable by looking at the comparative metrics that fit their narrative.  Otherwise, one must conclude that Loveland’s spending, on payroll costs alone. is unsustainable. With decreasing enrollment why is Loveland’s spending trajectory continuing to climb at the rate it does?  Defending your spending and refusing to do anything about it except demand more money WILL put you in fiscal caution.  No one wants to tell the district employees the party’s over, but folks, the party’s over!  Our community can’t sustain this level of spending.  If the levy passes we will revert back to the spend-and-tax pattern of the past as if nothing has changed.  Taxpayers who think logically should not accept this kind of unaccountability and inefficiency or allow it to continue. 

History of the Negotiated Pay Scale at Loveland Schools click on the down arrow -->



To understand how Loveland Schools ended up where they are today with a divided community and taxpayers who are claiming that spending is unsustainable, one has only to look at the history of the negotiated pay scale at Loveland.


In 2004 our Board and administration wanted to emulate Sycamore’s payscale as Sycamore teachers were receiving higher pay than Loveland’s teachers.  73.9% of Sycamore’s teachers had Master’s degrees compared to only 37.9% at Loveland.   Despite the economic differences between the two communities and given that enrollment was slowly increasing, our Board and administration negotiated base pay increases of 5% in 2004, 4% in 2005, 8.16% in 2006 and another 4% in 2007.  The two year averaged inflation rate during those years was respectively only 1.75%, 2.4%. 3.4% and 3.7%.  The base pay increase is often called a “COLA” increase but it is not indexed to any government COLA increase or even to inflation.  It is an increase in base pay negotiated with the teacher’s union and for years has been higher than actual inflation.  


The negotiated increases in the base pay between 2004-2007, coupled with other features of the compensation model, rocketed our teachers into the stratosphere as each year’s future increase in base pay created an ever steeper upward slope.  As a result Loveland landed in the 93rd percentile in the State of Ohio for teacher pay -- despite being in the bottom 6% for business tax revenue.  Our residential property owners were bearing 91% of the burden.


Three years of ratcheting up the percentage of base pay drove the need for a levy in 2008, followed by one in 2011, followed by one in 2014, as teacher costs escalated in each succeeding contract.


If you look at the graph you will see where the contract increase occurred between years 2004-2007 marked by a jump in the blue area.  The blue area shows the extent to which the actual teachers’ compensation exceeds their salaries adjusted for actual inflation for just base pay.  The blue area rising above the red area represents millions of dollars in overpayment from negotiated contracts between 1996-2023.  The only reason the graph colors show signs of converging in 2023 is because of the 0% increase in the base pay for the past two years.


Much has been said about our teachers taking a 0% increase in the base pay scale for the past two years as the current Board tried to “flatten the curve” of increasing payroll costs.  But the 0% base pay increase did not mean the payroll costs did not increase.  Due to other features of the compensation model all teachers received raises in the first year of the 2021-2023 contract and all but the top earners in the second year of the contract.  The 0% base pay increase is only half the story – the half that the administration and Board choose to tell while ignoring the other half.


If you do not understand why all of this is a problem for the district going forward, you will not understand why so many people have called the district’s spending unsustainable.  This one factor alone has put Loveland in the unenviable spot of having such highly paid personnel that our district must con you into believing that they need new permanent levies every 3-5 years and it’s “for the kids” when in reality it is because no one has the courage to correct past mistakes and control the steep increase in teacher compensation.  This is history that the Board and administration don’t want you to know.  The bottom line is while we were sleeping the gravy train left the station and now we are faced with the consequences. 

History of the Negotiated Pay Scale at Loveland Schools (cont.) click on the down arrow -->



After previously publishing a red/blue graph which compared the historical Loveland teacher base salary to what that salary would have looked like had the teacher received a raise that was correlated or indexed to actual inflationary COLA raises, many people asked to see the rest of the payscale reflecting the additional raises a teacher would receive in addition to the base pay.


The following graph adds two more layers.  At the bottom the red area is what a teacher would have received if base pay increases had been actually indexed to real COLA data.  The blue area rising above it is reflects the higher negotiated base pay raises teachers actually received.  These are the same from the previous graph.


The new purple layer rising above the blue shows what the maximum teacher pay would look like with step and education increases, using base pay that has been indexed to a verifiable COLA measure.  The new top green layer is what a top Loveland teacher is paid using the ACTUAL base pay increases that have been negotiated in the payscale and adding to it the other raises that a teacher receives.


To clarify again – The red and purple areas show values that are indexed to real COLA increases.  The blue and green areas show increases that our teachers have received exceeding COLA indexed increases.  The graph is a visual representation of the extent to which the ballooning increase in payroll is driven by step and education increases and by base pay increases exceeding COLA benchmarks.


While this graph reflects the salary change for just one teacher, you could produce a similar graph for each of the step/education lane slots on the payscale.   You would then see that Loveland’s spending problem is reflected in millions of dollars of overpayments in salaries alone.  This is what drives levy after levy.  It’s not for the kids that we need levies every 3-5 years.  It is for the unsustainable constant increases of the generously negotiated payscale.  This is what is emptying the community piggy bank!


All information contained on this graph is available from the negotiated teacher contracts dating back to 1996 as well as COLA increases found on government sites, averaged across a two-year period that reflects each actual school year. 

Are there other types of school district income taxes? click on the down arrow -->

Yes. School districts also are permitted to levy income taxes on earned income only. Earned income excludes investment and retirement income. Like the income tax levied on taxable income, this tax applies to school district residents regardless of where they work. By applying the school district income tax to a narrower voter base, school districts may obtain approval of levies that would otherwise be defeated. School districts also have the option, with voter approval, of converting a traditional income tax levy to a levy on earned income only. In addition, municipal corporations and an overlapping school district can levy a shared income tax. 

Source:  OSBA, Understanding school levies ( OSBAUnderstandingLeviesFactSheet.pdf ( )

Breaking the Cycle of Permanent Levies click on the down arrow -->

It is important that taxpayers understand the terms used to describe a Loveland School property tax levy that will appear on the November ballot. Each property tax levy must state the millage, that is the tax rate to be charged, and the period of time that the tax will be collected.

Some voters do not understand what “continuous” or “continuing period of time”, means, and might incorrectly assume that their school district is always acting in the best interests of the taxpayer or that the school district will run out of money or be poor if a levy doesn’t pass.  If a school tax levy uses the phrase “for a continuing period of time” or “continuous”, that means that the tax levy has no expiration date and is PERMANENT.  The property tax will be collected FOREVER, and the voters will be giving up their right to hold their school district accountable for their actions with the taxpayers’ money. 

Here is the wording of the November 2022 ballot issue for the Loveland School levy:



A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage.

An additional tax for the benefit of the Loveland City School District for the purpose of current operating expense sat a rate not exceeding 4.9 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.49 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a continuing period of time, commencing in 2022, first due in calendar year 2023.

School Board members and school administrators need to be reminded that their job is to be one of public service.  Providing fixed sums of money on a “forever” basis removes the need to be good stewards of the taxpayers’ money and there is the real chance of complacency, and the feeling of entitlement as millions of dollars continue to flow in steadily year after year after year.

The need for all levies to be permanent is blamed on a law which protects taxpayers and prevents districts from automatically capturing increases in market value after property re-appraisals. Blaming legislation is just an excuse for not having to answer to taxpayers or to do the hard work that accompanies wise spending.  Permanently piling on millions of dollars does not produce better educated children or create a better school.

As new school administrator or board members are hired/elected they often believe that the fixed tax revenue is merely a starting point for spending, rather than thinking that each new year requires justification for every dollar spent.

Moreover, approving continuous (aka permanent) levies feeds into the notion that the local school district has a rising “base of revenue” and always must grow upward from that base; there are no other options or alternatives.

The continued growth of the Loveland schools is simply not sustainable. If we stay on our current path of ever-increasing property tax levies, we will price seniors, those living on fixed incomes, and long-time residents out of their homes and make our community unaffordable.  Permanent levies perpetuate the problem and remove the community’s only effective means of restraining school spending, which is by making levy income renewable and subject to regular approval of the voters. 

A Deep Dive into the Teacher Pay Scale click on the down arrow -->


A Comparative Analysis


Many things about school funding and finance are made to be more complicated than they should be.  When 86% of your Public School District’s budget is comprised of employee compensation and benefits (of which the majority is teacher pay) it pays to be informed (no pun intended).  We constantly need new levies because the union-negotiated salary schedule is designed to perpetuate substantial and ever-increasing teacher costs.  No one is denying that we have good teachers at Loveland.  They should be paid decently but they are clearly not underpaid.  The Loveland district has been generous in compensating teachers for years.  It would be a benefit to the Loveland Community to address this issue openly in terms of ever rising costs and the ability of our community to reasonably afford them.  To that end, here is a deeper look at how the teacher pay scale is structured and compares to the top schools in our area.




  The LCSD Master Contract (available publicly) governs teacher pay and is typically negotiated every 1-3 years.  Teachers are called “certified staff’ but the union who bargains for their contract refers to them as “bargaining unit members”.  The current Master Contract is 87 pages long, but bargaining unit members sign a single sheet of paper which designates their individual compensation package.  Pay is negotiated by the Loveland Education Association, the local union, which is an affiliate of the Southwestern Ohio Education Association (SWOEA), the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and the National Education Association (NEA). 




Appendix I of the Master Contract is a single page dedicated to the Loveland City Schools Teacher Pay Scale for years 2021-2022 & 2022-2023.  Think of the Pay Scale as a grid.  Across the top of the grid are six column headings designating increasing education levels from a bachelor (Group I) to a Master’s degree plus 30 semester hours (Group VI).   Down the side in rows are the numbers 1-35 designating years of teaching (also called “steps”).



Group I Group II Group III Group IV Group V Group VI

1-35 – Years Bachelor BA with 150 Master's MA + 10 MA + 20 MA + 30

of teaching (BA) semester (MA) semester semester semester

experience hours hours hours hours


A bargaining unit member’s pay is determined by 3 things: 

             1) the base salary (everything hinges on this),

             2) education level (graduate semester hours or degree) a teacher has earned, and

             3) years of teaching or number of steps.


Each contract year Bargaining unit members may receive up to three different kinds of increases: 

             1) a negotiated increase in the base salary, which is not limited and may be different for each year of the contract,

             2) an education level increase of a pre-calculated percentage amount based on the new Group (see chart above), and

             3) a percentage increase for the number of years of teaching or steps. 


There are 20 raises in the current Master Contract up until a teacher has been teaching for 27 years.  There are no new increases between 27 and 35 years of teaching, but if the base pay is increased at any time, all years up to year 27 are increased proportionally.


             To determine the yearly total pay for a teacher, the equation would be:

Salary = Base Pay + Education Level increase + Number of Years Teaching increase (steps).


The value of teacher pay is determined automatically by years of teaching and education level.  Classroom performance, class size, subject matter, grade level, and student needs have no bearing on teacher pay. 




The School District’s statement on its website that there has been “0% increase in the pay scale for teachers” should be clarified. This does not mean that teachers are being paid no more this year than they were paid last year, as one might naturally suppose. The current LCSD Pay Scale has remained the same for the two-year contract period of 2021-2023. During this current period there have been no increases in the base salary of $44,167 (what a first-year teacher with a Bachelor’s Degree would receive).


However, the current Master Contract which was negotiated in 2021 modified the years of teaching experience or steps.  To align Loveland more closely with other districts, LCSD expanded the steps so that it now takes a teacher 26 years to reach the top salary level, whereas previously only 20 years were required. In the previous contract’s pay scale a teacher could receive 17 raises to reach the top salary for years of teaching.  In the current contract’s pay scale a teacher can receive 20 raises to reach the top salary for 27 years of teaching.  As a consequence, every teacher with more than 20 years’ teaching experience received one or more of these new raises. Moreover, in transferring teachers from the previous 20-year schedule to the new pay scale according to their salaries at the time of the change (so that no teacher would receive a pay cut), a number of teachers were reassigned to a level higher than their actual years of teaching would indicate. In the first year of the new contract every teacher received a boost to their pay due to these administrative adjustments. Finally, any teacher achieving the next milestone of educational level received the usual related salary increase. So clearly, even in a year when the “pay scale has not increased,” the cost of teacher compensation increased substantially.


Teachers who have reached the top of the pay scale (maxed out both education levels and years’ experience) can receive a raise only when an increase in the base salary is negotiated.  When the base salary is raised (as a percentage in the contract), it then raises every other category on the pay scale, amplifying the increase to all salaries.   Although some teachers did not see any salary increase in the current or second year of the Master Contract, year-to-year 0% increases in the pay scale still result in pay increases for the majority of teachers who received an increase for another year of teaching.




Individual school districts vary in the way they compensate teachers for educational level.  Whereas Loveland’s top salary group is a Master’s Degree plus 30 semester hours, Indian Hill’s and Forest Hills’ top salary level is a Doctorate.  Sycamore tops out at a Master’s Degree plus 45 semester hours.   In every top performing district other than Loveland it takes longer for teachers to achieve the highest educational level.


Moreover, there is a “multiplier” between each of the education levels which determines the increase in pay for that level.  On Loveland’s pay scale the cumulative percentage increase in the base salary between the lowest education level attained and the highest education level is equivalent to 27.25%.  Of the top performing schools in southwest Ohio only Indian Hill comes close to Loveland with a 22.5% cumulative education level increase.  Sycamore Schools hand out a cumulative education level increase of only 11.35% from a bachelor to a doctorate. 


By obtaining one’s Master’s Degree a teacher can increase his or her salary and move up the pay scale more quickly.  In fact, many Loveland teachers do so.  The District assists in this, as the Master Contract attests.  It states: The Board will provide 100% tuition reimbursement to bargaining unit members, up to a maximum of three (3) credit hours each and up to a total Board contribution of $60,000 during a contract year.  So teachers not only increase their salaries by obtaining a Master’s Degree but also can obtain semester hours at the school’s expense.  This also assists a teacher in obtaining a “Continuing Contract” (job for life) which the majority of Loveland’s teachers possess.


The following chart demonstrates the high percentage of Master’s Degrees in the Loveland District compared to the top performing schools in our area even though research cannot conclude that an advanced degree makes one a better teacher or improves classroom performance.





2022 86.9% (2) 68.1%(6) 93.2% (1) 70.5%(5) 78.6%(3) 74.6%(4)

2021 90.2%(2) 67.7%(6) 91.6%(1) 71.0%(5) 78.5%(3) 77.0%(4)

2020 86.2%(2) 70.5%(6) 91.7%(1) 74.2%(5) 76.0%(4) 77.7%(3)

2019 86.5%(2) 69.4%(6) 91.3%(1) 75.0%(4) 73.8%(5) 76.5%(3)

2018 84.9%(2) 69.8%(6) 91.4%(1) 75.1%(4) 74.6%(5) 78.7%(3)



In Fiscal Year 2021 Loveland ranked 20 out of all 607 districts in the state of Ohio for highest average teacher pay (96th percentile) and was ranked 4th out of the 49 districts in southwest Ohio.  Currently Loveland ranks 39 out of 607 districts for average teacher pay putting us in the 93rd percentile.   This ranking is in spite of having both a lower base pay and a lower top salary than these same schools.   Here is how Loveland compares to the other top performing districts in our area:


AVERAGE TEACHER SALARY (with local rankings)


2022 $81,511(5) $73,726(6) $85,758(1) $82,733(3) $81,946(4) $84,757(2)

2021 $82,624(3) $73,804(6) $83,647(1) $81,094(4) $80,039(5) $83,097(2)

2020 $82,156(3) $74,359(6) $82,234(2) $80,136(4) $76,742(5) $82,388(1)

2019 $78,248(3) $72,714(6) $79,884(2) $78,242(4) $73,582(5) $80,131(1)

2018 $74,224(4) $71,577(5) $77,872(2) $76,930(3) $70,299(6) $78,079(1)

The reason Loveland ranks high for average pay is that we have a larger number of teachers at the higher level of the pay scale than other schools, with the majority of our teachers possessing a Master’s Degree (Indian Hill being the only local district higher than Loveland).  Interestingly enough, we have on average fewer years teaching experience than most of the other top schools except for Sycamore.  Sycamore, however, has far fewer Master’s Degrees and has a much lower average teacher salary.  No other district in the State of Ohio has the percentage of teacher’s with Master’s Degrees that Loveland has for the comparably low years of teaching experience. 





2022 13 13 18 17 18 15

2021 14 14 18 17 18 15

2020 14 14 18 18 17 15

2019 14 14 12 18 15 18

2018 13 12 12 17 15 14





Loveland compares favorably with other top local districts in our area for base salary.  Even when the base salary itself is not increased, most teachers receive a salary increase from either years of teaching (steps) or advanced education levels or both.  Loveland is exceptionally generous with its raises related to education level and subsidizes a portion of that advanced education.  Loveland ranks in the 93rd percentile in Ohio for average teacher pay, even though its teachers have on average fewer years of teaching experience than is true in other districts. 


While it is good that our Board re-negotiated to expand the teaching years (steps) in the pay scale they did not address the short time frame to rise through the educational levels.  In the end they just “kicked the can” down the road.  Although it will take a bargaining unit member longer to reach the top salary he or she will go through an additional series of increases and if and when the base pay rises all other education level and step increases will go up accordingly.  


How long can the Loveland community sustain the expenses of our current educational system?  When 86% of the budget is personnel and 60% of that 86% is a pay scale with both negotiated and built-in automatic raises, it can only become more and more difficult for the community to pony up the ever-increasing amounts of money needed to pay the cost.


Resources:  All data in this analysis was derived from the Loveland Teacher’s Master Contract, The Ohio Department of Education, the State Employment Relations Board and interviews with local teachers.     

If we fail this levy, are we heading down the path of Little Miami? click on the down arrow -->

If this levy is defeated, the school will:

IF we are not in a full-blown, wage stifling, savings decimating, bread-line recession, we’ll get it voted in.  We will NEVER be a Little Miami. Nope.


Little Miami Schools have become the state’s poster child for what could happen when a community cannot afford to support its local school district. We are similar to Little Miami in this respect, like Little Miami, Loveland doesn’t have industry either and 91% of the local tax burden falls on homeowners. Loveland ranks in the bottom 6% of all districts in Ohio for business tax revenue. The fear-stoking about Loveland becoming like Little Miami has little weight, however, when you look at the unique set of circumstances facing that district.  

The Little Miami district was born of the consolidation of three smaller districts. It became one of the largest districts in Southwest Ohio, covering 98 square miles of mostly rural area with 6 separate school buildings. With all that undeveloped land Little Miami was ripe for a boom in housing development. Between 2006 and 2010 the district added an average of 200 students a year, with 335 students increasing net enrollment in October of 2008 alone.

To accommodate this tremendous growth the school had to spend more money. While voters in the newer and fast-growing bedroom communities of the district tended to support school tax hikes, some long-time residents owning larger, rural acreage were a tougher sell because of the higher taxes they would pay compared to owners of newer, smaller-lot homes. The following timeline shows a series of rapid developments which affected the district’s finances:

· 2006 -  a 6.5 mill bond levy was passed to build a new building to be completed by 2009

· 2007 – the state funding formula changed with a projected revenue loss of $6 million to their district

· 2008 – financial and credit markets crashed plunging the national economy into recession and affecting the local community’s ability to financially support its schools.

Financially strapped voters who had passed a bond levy in 2006 were now faced just two years down the road with an additional request for money. The following levies were voted down:

· Nov 2008 – 1% earnings tax

· May 2009 – 9.95 mill 3-year levy

· Nov 2009 – 7.95 mill 5-year levy

· Feb 2010 – 16.95 mill 5-year levy

· May 2010 - 6.48 mill 5-year levy plus a 1% 5year earnings tax

· Nov 2010 – 10.95 mill 5-year incremental property tax

Not only did the constant effort to pass a levy create levy fatigue amongst voters but local residents were angered by retaliatory measures the school took, including closing the library and wrapping the books in cellophane so no one could use them.

In November of 2009 after the levy failed Little Miami Schools were placed in Fiscal Caution as they failed to submit a written proposal for eliminating anticipated deficits. On July 13, 2010 they were placed in full Fiscal Emergency as all three of their fund balances were in deficit. A Fiscal Planning and Supervisor Commission was created to direct the school’s return to financial stability.

A Fiscal Emergency is declared when operating deficiencies exceed 15% of a district’s general fund revenue for the preceding fiscal year and a levy hasn’t been passed that would raise additional revenue to eliminate the first condition in the succeeding fiscal year. It also means the school has failed to submit a plan within 120 days of fiscal watch.

In May 2011 Little Miami passed a 13.95 mill 5-year emergency levy. They were required to operate at state minimum standards which helped reduce expenses. In 2015 this emergency levy was renewed for 5 years at 13.86 mills. Fiscal emergency status had been terminated as of May 2013. In 2020 Little Miami was able to pass a 9.92 substitute renewal levy. In the end the district had to pay back $11 million in operating loans.

When comparing Little Miami to Loveland one has to note that Loveland has not experienced anything near the increase in population that Little Miami did. A loss of revenue coupled with a recession hit virtually at the same time creating a perfect financial storm, and throwing levy after levy at people did not help the school’s cause. It is quite interesting that Little Miami continues to choose renewal levies over permanent levies as their district, like Loveland, has little business tax base. Currently Little Miami has 4,862 students compared to 4,138 at Loveland but spends less than the state average per pupil, while Loveland spends slightly more than the state average.

The threat that failure to pass this levy will push Loveland down the road that Little Miami schools travelled is a fabricated bogeyman intended only to scare people into voting for an unnecessary and unjustified levy.

Research sources: Ohio State Auditor reports, Warren County Auditor, Ohio Department of Education, Little Miami school website and Cincinnati Enquirer

How can seniors cope with the continuing school levy increases click on the down arrow -->


You have been good citizens.  Good neighbors. Accepted and met all your responsibilities as adults. You’ve raised your families, seen to their needs, some of their wants, and after all that, put away a little, or maybe even a lot, of savings to keep you independent in however many more years on earth that God grants you.

Most hold out hope to “leave a little” to help make their loved ones lives a little easier.

I applaud you. I am you.

Now, the avid pro-levy people start their assault.

First, it was stated that those on Social Security have received more of an increase (around 15%) over the last 8 years than the school is asking for in increased school property taxes (13%) for this levy.

We’re supposed to sacrifice our meager increases in Social Security  over the last 8 years to feed the school budget beast?

Another of their brilliant ideas (when this levy fails) is to examine having an income tax to pull the funds from your pockets. NOT on earned income, (because that would affect parents) but on all income…so you millionaires out there (haha, there are so many) can pay your fair share on passive income. On money you put away in savings, that’s ALREADY been taxed at every level the government can come up with.

We are already paying taxes on taxes on taxes in so many ways, it can make your head spin.

Recently, the leader of a pro-levy group came out with this rosy picture.

“In a perfect country, we wouldn’t have millionaires and fixed incomes; everyone would have what they need to live comfortably”. 

Socialism. Chilling.

Say NO to these people. Protect yourselves and your family, see to your and their needs first.

You’ve given so much to the schools in the past and present, and will still be paying on the current levies for the rest of your lives!

Tell the schools…enough already.

Do it at the ballot box.


Part 2

There are many Seniors in our community, as well as every city and state across this amazing country, that have worked hard all their lives, and upheld their responsibilities, who are now faced with financial insecurities that make the idea of having to face another sizable school tax increase next to impossible.

But there are also Seniors here in Loveland who have done pretty well in the some 40 to 45+ years of working hard and saving consistently, so as not to be a burden on our children, or on society in general.

This is not applauded by some of the more vocal young parents in the community.

Besides what I consider to be socialistic comments, the pro-levy loud voices are now “calling out” other members of our senior community. For being SUCCESSFUL!  Here, I thought that was a good thing!

Currently, the young (and not-so-young) pro-levy people are calling seniors…affluent!!  Gasp.

Because those of us with houses worth what they consider too much money (based on our current home value), should not speak for seniors who are financially hurting.

For one example, a long long term resident of Loveland was told:

“A quick check of public records shows you own a home currently valued at close to $500k. My unsolicited advice to you would be to sell your home and buy something smaller when the levy passes.”

This resident calmly replied that he built his home over 30 years ago for $165,000, and was not going to sell.

The retort?  “So you saw the value of your home triple in 30 years?  My generation will never see that, so yes, I do want you to pay your share towards my children’s education”.


This long time resident has now pledged to talk to his neighbors (other long-term Loveland seniors) and ask those seniors to pass along our Vote No…get to the polls on November 8…message.  A senior chain-letter, so to speak. Because if there is one thing is seniors deserve, it’s RESPECT.

I’m here to tell you, that we at Voice speak for you. It is ok for you to be the silent majority…and Senior Citizens are a force at the ballot box!…and let us present your thoughts and ideas publicly.

Lay low, Vote No

You Can Stay Quiet, Just Don’t Buy It.

Don't we need to repeal HB920? click on the down arrow -->

The Superintendent says:

    *You want fairer taxes...HB920’s bad

     *You hate seeing continual school levies...HB920’s bad

     *The Superintendent HATES promoting school levies...HB920 needs to go!

We received a full-page handout at the levy discussion with the Superintendent, completely about the negative effects of HB920.  He proposed passing this levy quicky (uh-huh) so that we can unite as one, spend the next three years (before the next levy ask), taking pitchforks up to Columbus to defeat HB920, which will cure all of our ills.  His words.

Fellow taxpayers, HB920 was passed to PROTECT us from a school levy, and ALL OTHER VOTED LEVIES, from rising automatically every time the auditor reassesses our property values upwards.  "House Bill 920 was designed to protect the property owner from unvoted taxes.  It also serves to ensure that each property owner pays his fair share of taxes.  Determining a fair property value is the responsibility of the county fiscal officer.  Determining FAIR TAXES is the responsibility of each owner."

If HB920 were abolished, every property tax we ever voted on (not just school taxes) would rise automatically with every three year re-assessment to higher property values by our auditor.  To be fair, they could also decrease, but c'mon.

Just think about it.  Yikes.

Look at it this way.  Every time you vote in a school levy, you are giving the school a BUDGET.  If they have something they need, or something they want, they have to work within this budgeted amount; they should have to carefully plan and assess a cost/benefit.  If after a certain amount of time, they feel they need to add to their budget, then they should have to PROVE that they spent their last budgeted amount wisely, they should be prepared to answer questions, they should have to "show their work" when they give statistical assertions, they should be CHALLENGED by a contingent of people who say they will Vote No.  This will, hopefully, keep them honest with the money we took from our pockets to put into theirs, sacrificing our hard-earned money and carefully accumulated savings.

In the case of this levy, you would be adding to their budget another approx $5 Million Dollars.  This $5 Million dollars comes directly from us, the community. And, our community already gives LCSD somewhere around $35 Million per year (just, wow), right out of our pockets.  This is a more than 14% increase.  They get in the neighborhood of $35 Million and they want almost $40 Million, from us, to supplement the $15 Million they get from the State and other sources.

The much-maligned HB920 ensures that YOUR property taxes don't AUTOMATICALLY increase each and every time your property increases in value.  Remember, property values are on-paper assets.  And this is money that is very difficult to access when you need it, unless you want to take out a second mortgage or visit Tom Sellick for a reverse-mortgage (NO), then the only way to get at the money you have invested in your home is to SELL IT, pay the expenses and the taxes on the sale, and see what you have left.  Oh, and you will have to figure out a place to actually live with the sales proceeds, as well.

So, you decide.  Mr B is doing the work to sell you on this levy.  He will tell you at least ten times per hour that he hates presenting levies---following that up with a bashing of HB920 and how we would all benefit from its reversal.

Just another deception, folks.  Schools trot out a levy every few years.  And we currently get to say yes…or no. (Thanks HB920)

Remember, your vote affects each and every community member, those who can afford this increase, and those who absolutely cannot. 

Do your homework, don't take any one side's word as sacred, gather all the information you can, and make an informed decision.  Then VOTE.

Here's a history lesson

HB920 was passed in 1976. For those that didn't live it, inflation was out of control, much worse than we are currently experiencing. Housing pricing was exploding which was followed by collapsing prices in the 80's. ARM mortgages were just hitting the market and the original ones had no annual or lifetime caps. People were buying down a mortgage and within a year couldn't afford the payments both due to ARM mortgages and rising real estate taxes. I purchased my first home in 1979 at a 12.75% fixed rate mortgage and that was with 20% down. HB920 was to protect people from losing their houses due to sudden artificial values.

Won't the Homestead Exemption credit help out the seniors in Loveland click on the down arrow -->

Not really.... The Hamilton County Auditor web site says:  "Seniors turning 65 within the current calendar year and those found to be totally and permanently disabled as of January 1 of the current calendar year newly applying for Homestead will be eligible ONLY if their household income for 2021 was less than $34,600.00. Those who, in addition to applying for 2021, are applying as LATE FILERS for tax year 2020, will be eligible for that year only if their income for 2020 was less than $34,200.00."

For more information about the Homestead Exemption Credit, please see Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes 

Why do people vote NO? click on the down arrow -->

Someone on Facebook asked if individuals who are voting NO on the upcoming Loveland school Levy are opposed to any levies or just opposed to permanent levies.  I think it is a huge mistake to lump people into binary categories which don’t capture the complex reasons people might vote NO.  Here is a collected list of reasons several of which might apply to the same individual.

Some people are opposed to this levy because they vote no on all levies because:

Some people are opposed to this levy because they vote no on all school levies because:

Some people are opposed to this levy because it is a permanent levy because:

Some people are opposed to this levy for multiple reasons including: 

There are no simple reasons for why people vote NO on a levy.  Levies affect people in different ways and on different levels.  People are labeled as anti-levy or anti permanent levy as a way of dismissing them without ever openly addressing the hard truths or personal experience behind their reasoning. 

Summary of Reasons to Vote No click on the down arrow -->

2022 Loveland Magazine Levy Letter.pdf