Former Euclid Schools Superintendent Bell Says We Can't Afford More

In Spring 2015, in anticipation of what would become issue 111, then Superintendent Keith Bell submitted a testimony request slip to the Ohio School Facilities Commission to ask them to shrink the percentage we, the Euclid taxpayers, would have to pay to rebuild the high school and whatever else phase II called for. When the elementary schools were built, our fair share was 59% of the project. Bell wanted this lowered to 24%.

In this correspondence, Bell laments on the financial state of Euclid, stressing decline that’s occurred since 2009; Included in that loss was $400 million due to lowered assessed property values.

Bell writes, "Our community approved our building project in 2009 that required them to take on additional taxes, of which they were unsure of how they could afford."

Adding that Euclid voters passed a 9.0 mil emergency operating levy, he notes, "Our citizens in Euclid are taxed at a higher rate than much of the state, for which we received the most basic of services."

Also, "We are asking on behalf of our community, that they not be required to pay more than what they can afford..."
And? "Without the commission’s consideration to make this right, we will be asking our community to pay 35% more than what the OFCC’S funding model proves we can afford."

Also include with this document is a version of the plans for phase II.

What’s truly troubling, after you read Bell’s thoughts on how this will be financially impossible for the residents of Euclid, is that in this plan, the millage would have been 6.2.

Issue 111 has a millage of 7.9.

How can we afford 7.9, when it’s proven that we can’t afford 6.2?

It’s been spun that this new tax is equivalent to a cup of Starbucks coffee every day. I don’t drink Starbucks, I can’t afford it. I brew my own coffee.

Perhaps we should ditch the "Starbucks" of plans (issue 111) and start over with a hot cup of home brewed goodness, say, fixing the problems the schools have for $25 million instead of tearing down and starting over for $136 million.

That’s something we can all swallow.

To view the PDF of Keith Bell’s testimony request slip, go to:

Jen Wolford

I'm Jen, thirtysomething. Freelance web designer and graphic creator. I have a fantastic husband, a marginally obedient dog, and a nice place to call home.

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Volume 7, Issue 11, Posted 6:53 PM, 11.07.2016