At the end of September, targeted voters in the Westerville
School District received a mailing from the Westerville Action Group, which included a 2-page letter from Terry L. Wike, Treasurer. This letter was full of misinformation. Listed
below are the false or misleading statements from the letter, followed by the accurate information.
1. "20.0% property tax increase"
True, the proposed levy does amount to a 20% increase in the tax that goes to the school district. This is not a 20% increase in your total property tax, but only the portion that goes to the Westerville
City School district. The tax rate for the operating levy has not increased since
1991. During the same time period, 1,750 students have been added to the district. The Westerville City School District has a long history of asking for additional funds only when absolutely needed.
2. "The May Levy attempt was for 8 mills, just over $52 million."
The 8 mill operating levy would have raised a total revenue over 3 years of $51.1 million.
3. "The school administrations
own projected use of funds contained a line item totaling over $15 million for Retirement Benefits. That represents nearly 30% of the monies asked..."
Westerville City Schools Board of Education has a legally required State retirement contribution for over 1,700 employees. The projected total cost over four years, including an adjustment for inflation, is
4. "school system rated 'efficient'"
The current WCS district rating is Effective.
following are excerpts from the article titled "State: District is 'effective'"
courtesy of the Westerville News & Public Opinion/SNP
©Copyright Suburban News Publications, Columbus,
Originally published August 13, 2003
The district met 18 of 22 state indicators under federal
regulations, which include testing administrated to English as a Second Language students and students with learning deficiencies.
those student populations were excluded from the tests as they were last year, the district would have met 20 of 22 indicators
-- just one shy of the "excellent" rating district leaders have targeted. Superintendent George Tombaugh says he wants Westerville to become the state's largest
For more information on Local Reports and Ratings from the Ohio Department of Education,
visit website address http://www.ode.state.oh.us/reportcard/.
5. "We pay among the highest average teacher salaries in the country..."
For the 2002-2003 school year, Westervilles beginning teacher salary ranks 4th
out of 16 school districts in Franklin County; maximum teacher salary ranks 10th; and average teacher
salary ranks 3rd (for more information, visit http://www.ohea.org/documents/Teacher%20Salaries%202002-2003.pdf). Thus, further analysis shows that Westerville
has highly experienced teachers that are paid salaries at the top of the current salary schedules because of their years of
experience. This is one of the strengths of our district. The education our students receive does not suffer due to poorly paid, inexperienced teachers.
6. "...many of our High School Seniors can't pass a 9th grade
reading proficiency test."
The Class of 2003 produced 928 graduates; 1 (ONE) did not pass the 9th grade reading proficiency
7. "Our school administration gets
5% + raises..."
The Superintendent and Treasurer, after a performance review for the 2001-2002 school year, were given a 3.5%
cost-of-living raise and 2% merit increase effective 8/1/02.
All administrator (including the Superintendent and Treasurer) salaries were frozen at the 2002-2003 salary
levels for the 2003-2004 school year beginning August 1, 2003.
8. "...our college bound students need remedial courses to qualify for college level class work."
For the class of 2000 (the most recent information available from the Ohio Board of Regents), Westerville
had 432 graduates attend Ohio 2- and 4-year public colleges, the second highest number of 16 school districts in Franklin
County. The percentage of students (32%), needing remedial math or English, ranked
seventh out of 16 Franklin County districts. The upper and lower ends of the Franklin County Range and the state average are included below for comparison.
§ Upper Arlington 22%
§ State Average
§ Westerville 32%