The high tax millage for Grandview schools (historically we trade off with Bexley at the top of the county rates) is the result of a long standing policy to be overly generous with raises for school administrators. This story from 2004 documents how the board acted, and continues to give these high raises.
“There they go again – the Grandview school board gave big raises to the school administrators at the July 13 board meeting. Let’s look at the reasons they have been giving for these raises, and the problems they have created.
The number one reason that the board has given for the raises, both now and in the past, is that the administrators in other school systems in Franklin County are paid more that our staff. The board says that it is important to increase the wages until they have parity.
If the Grandview school system was the same size as the other school systems in the county, this would be a valid point. The problem is that Grandview is the smallest public system in the county.
Everybody understands why the CEO of a 50 employee firm receives a smaller wage than the CEO of a multi-national corporation. Big companies can afford big compensation, because the head of the company has more workers underneath him.
The tax paying citizens of Grandview pay for the wages of the school administrators. Because there are less of us in this school district, the only way we can pay the same wages to our school administrators is if we have higher taxes than other school districts (or cut money from other programs to pay administrators).
Grandview Heights already has nearly the highest property taxes in the county. We have already shown that we are willing to pay more for better schools. The problem here is that the school board has taken the support of the residents for granted, and decided that the wages it will pay must be pushed to unrealistic levels.
Anther reason that the school board has given for administrator’s raises is that the teachers have collective bargaining, and the administrators wages are determined only by the board. What they fail to explain is the relationship of the two processes.
When the board is in negotiation with the teacher’s union, a big part of the leverage used by the teachers is the increases that the board has granted to the administration. The union points to the raises given to the administration, and asks why they should not be given comparable raises. The last settlement with the teachers in 2003 ended only after mediators had been brought in to break a deadlock. The final deal that was signed was a financial time bomb for the school. The fuse that set the bomb was the history of 5% increases the school had been giving the administrators.
While the administration and teacher’s wages chase each other up the scale, the financial reality of the residents of the city have been ignored. We have suffered cutbacks and layoffs, and the school employees have had nothing but fat increases. The failure of the May 2002 school levy (by 65% no) has apparently caused no lesson to be learned by this board. There will be a new levy in the fall of 2005, and the mills that will be needed to fulfill the commitments this board has made will shock everyone.
The City of Grandview will probably have a tax increase on the same fall ballot. Combined, they will be a guarantee of failure. Yet how does the board react to the this future? “We have the potential, as a district, of just taking off” said board president McLeod. “We’re looking to take off, and we expect our administrators to lead the way”. I think the board has already taken off – on a flight to fantasy land. Unfortunately it will be the parents and children who will suffer when they come in for a hard landing. ”