Vote 'no' on Issue 69

As longtime Catholic residents, our family has supported multiple school levies over the years, while choosing St. Ann's and Benedictine for our three sons. The CH-UH school board has a fiduciary responsibility to consider the interests of all Cleveland Heights and University Heights citizens. However, it has refused to allow an objective look at the operations of the CH-UH school district through an outside performance audit. This audit would investigate every possible way to uncover savings as well as offer suggestions for future spending made in the best interest of the students.

This audit request is not new. I ask, Why is the CH-UH administration afraid to do what residents are requesting? The petition to request a performance audit has been ignored. I think I know why they avoid this issue: the board is conflicted because the administrators who must request and implement the audit results receive the same generous health care and pension benefits that are received by the staff and support staff within the school system itself. The school board has lost sight of the marketplace, perhaps, in part because administrators have to know they could be adversely affected by any competitive adjustments. 

I believe voters must send another strong message to the CH-UH school board. We need to raise our voices because the members of the board are choosing to not hear us. It's time to reassess an automatic “yes” vote to support every school levy. Until there is an independent look through a performance audit, I cannot support another levy, piled on top of all the others that are making our property taxes so high. The school board seems to be unable to recognize the need for competitive property taxes. As long as voters continue to automatically increase taxes, there is no reason to make meaningful changes in the system and to, optimally, increase student success within the district.  

The only way taxpayers can change the status quo is to reject the current levy unless or until the CH-UH board requires an independent performance audit. They must insist that the district conduct and implement the suggestions that emerge from the audit.  It's just not good enough to say: "We've done that before," or "It takes too long.”

Taxpayers should demand that the district look internally for every avenue of savings before asking even more from us. This hard look within will ultimately result in more productive learning and a satisfied community. Vote "no" on Issue 69.  

Joe Barmann

Joe Barmann, retired, has been a resident of Cleveland Heights since 1979.

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Volume 13, Issue 10, Posted 5:29 PM, 09.30.2020