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Home Oregon: School board member has questions on expenses
Oregon: School board member has questions on expenses
Written by Kelly Kaczala   
Friday, 04 May 2012 10:27

Oregon school board member P.J. Kapfhammer wants a plan in place to cut expenses after learning that the district paid over $400,000 to two companies last year for electrical repairs.
 
At a school board meeting last month, Kapfhammer said the board could find savings in some of the district’s business agreements and contracts.
 
“I keep hearing we’re going backwards financially. But business is still business as usual down here because of the way we’re doing things,” he said.
 
“We spent almost $500,000 in the last 12 months to two firms – very good quality firms, but for mostly non-bidded work. We call them, they do the work, and we pay the bills. We have to start tightening the purse strings in here real quick,” said Kapfhammer. “Every report we keep getting is how we’re going backwards, but it’s business as usual. I’ve never heard a report about how we can trim some fat and save some money.”
 
Dean Sandwisch, the district’s business manager, said the district saved $50,000 by hiring the companies.

“We entered into a service agreement with them and actually saved the district $50,000. That was a cost savings measure. We were paying significantly more than that,” said Sandwisch.
 
“Did we compare it to other firms?” asked Kapfhammer.
 
“Yes,” said Sandwisch. “If you would like me to shop again, I would be happy to do that.”
 
Most of the jobs are not required to be bid out, added Sandwisch.
  
“As a businessman, I try and save as much money as I can,” said Kapfhammer. “I am constantly out there looking for better ways to do it. I’ve had discussions with you about this already.”
 
Board President Dick Gabel wanted to end the discussion.
 
“I’m glad you’re having the conversation, but I think we’re getting into a conversation that needs to go somewhere else after this meeting,” said Gabel.
 
“I think the public is entitled to know, Dick,” said Kapfhammer.
 
“I think they are, too,” said Gabel.
 
“All I’m asking you to do is get your questions, bring it to Dean and sit down and go over the conversation,” said Gabel.
 
“I’ve already done that,” said Kapfhammer.
 
“Let’s just do it one more time,” said Gabel. “I’ll even come with him and sit down and talk to you.”
 
“I’m not going into any meeting with you,” Kapfhammer said to Gabel.
 
Kapfhammer said he would also like to review the board’s contract with the attorney for the district.
 
“I would love to reevaluate that because that is a lot of money. I got a letter saying I could be criminally charged for talking about this. But that’s a lot of money we paid out this month. Twenty-five grand is a lot of money. So I want to sit down – we’re not even in a lawsuit. If we’re going to talk about how much money is leaving the district and how bad we’re doing, I want to sit down with this,” said Kapfhammer.
  
He also questioned other costs to the district.
 
“We paid an administrator to go to his own kid’s basketball game – we paid his fuel mileage. If we’re going broke, why are we not adjusting some of these expenditures? We’re going backwards here, people. Let’s be truthful here. Everyone is supposed to sacrifice, but it’s business as usual,” said Kapfhammer.
 
Fruth said compensating for mileage between buildings is contractual.
 
“How we got it in our contracts where we’re paying an administrator to go watch his kid’s basketball game?” asked Kapfhammer. “Take one for the team, guys. Don’t submit miles for it. If we’re really going broke…if it’s this dire, before we talk levies, before we stick it to the community, I would love to sit down and see how we could save money as a board, so the community doesn’t have to give as much.”
 
Gabel said he and Sandwisch can go over any proposals with Kapfhammer.
 
“I will sit down with you and Mr. Sandwisch and the superintendent and anyone else and go over any proposals you want us to look at to make sure that they’re being properly represented and we’re not paying too much, which I don’t  believe we’re anywhere near that,” said Gabel.
 
“A half a million dollars?” asked Kapfhammer.
 
“Let’s take a look at it,” said Gabel.
 
“I did,” said P.J.
 
“I would like to see it myself,” said Gabel.
 
“You’re in charge of this, Dick, it’s your committee,” said Kapfhammer. “I brought this up with you and Mr. Sandwisch in our first meeting. So don’t act like you didn’t know about this.”
 
“I’m not saying it wasn’t. Everything was brought up, and everything was checked out okay,” said Gabel.
 
“Do we have to go through you if we want to talk to Dean, is that how it works now?” board member Jeff Ziviski asked Gabel. “I’m quite capable of talking to Dean by myself about the contracts. I have a financial background and do contracts all the time.”
 
Gabel said it was the board president’s responsibility to be in such meetings.
 
“I’ll look into it, and I think it is,” said Gabel.
 
“You’re able to sit in on any committee meeting, if you want,” countered Ziviski. “But an individual board member meeting with someone, I don’t think so.”
 
“I’ll be glad to sit down with whoever wants to talk about it and figure out what they want to know,” said Gabel.
 
“What you’re missing is that Dean is the one who knows it,” said Ziviski. “That’s why we want to speak with him. He’s the public official we employ that we regard as our expert. That’s why he’s up there speaking tonight.”
 
“You guys call me when you want to meet. I’ll be there,” said Gabel.
 
After the meeting, Kapfhammer said the two companies that the district paid over $400,000 last year for electric repairs were Hoffman and Harpst and Tas Inc. Electrical. Tas is owned by Oregon Council President Tom Susor.
 
“They both have good reputations,” he said. “But I was surprised to see the district paid over $400,000 to them for electric services in 2011, basically for maintenance.”
 
He added that he was going to meet with Sandwisch on Thursday, May 3, to discuss the matter further.
 
The next school board meeting is scheduled for May 15.
 

Comments (43)Add Comment
Wrong voice to bring up these concerns
posted by Thomas Paine, May 04, 2012
PJ has an interesting point, but his abrasive commentary will ensure that this problem will be solved in the most difficult way possible. This is the first time the entire board was in agreement with, yet it still sounds like an argument. Other board members even offered to meet with PJ to investigate this, but PJ is still filibustering by refusing to meet in committees or executive sessions. Lets leave the egos at the door before Oregon becomes the next TPS. A designation which is not a far off description with the current direction of the new school board.
Really?
posted by Tim, May 05, 2012
So agree he has a point,then disregard the facts due to his tone? If you look at the facts its two board members against the rest almost on every vote! While P.J. Is fighting for our kids present conditionFuture. The rest of the board does "as usual" which seems to involve personal gains/wealth & taking care of thier "buddies" buisness's. Some ppl mistake blunt honesty & directness as rude, I for one welcome it when it involves keeping our schools above water & Oregons children the REAL things that matter! Thx you P.J. & MR. Z
Wrong Tone = Poor Leadership
posted by Thomas Paine, May 07, 2012
Having the wrong tone is a testament to poor leadership. An abrasive and rude personality will ensure that nobody will work together, and the votes will continue to be 3-2 for everything. If PJ, and Ziviski want to get anything done, they are going to have to present findings properly or people won't listen. That might not borrow a couple of thick heads like those two, but eventually they will realize that a term of "we tried to do things, but they wouldn't let us" is a failed term. This district is going to need a levy passed to continue offering their students a first class education. Saving a few thousand dollars here and there will not make a huge difference in a $40 million dollar budget. A divided board screaming at each other is not the type of leadership this community needs. Pick your battles and learn to work with each other or this district is sunk.
Saving a few thousand will not make a difference????????
posted by From the duck pond, May 15, 2012
In the post Wrong Tone = Poor Leadership, I agree that sometimes it's not what you say but how you say it. As for presenting proper findings, most times when things are being presented by PJ or Ziviski, the Chairman calls for a recess. Why is that? And you, Mr. Paine, saying that "saving a few thousand dollars here and there will not make a huge difference in a $40 million dollar budget" is exactly the attitude that at least 3 members of this Board, and previous Boards have had that has lead to budget mismanagement. If you want to pay these 'few thousand dollars' send in your check. I'll be expecting Ms. Fruth to let us all know when your check arrives and what the amount was.
Re: Duck Pond
posted by Thomas Paine, May 16, 2012
I am curious as to how you are determining the board has mismanaged money. The reason this district is in need of new levy passing has nothing to do with poor fiscal policy, but rather from declining property values and lose of revenue from corporate taxes (HB 66, and elimination of corporate franchise taxes). Now, these tax cuts were voted on by the state of Ohio, and were done to create jobs, but people do not realize that these corporate taxes are what fund public schools too. The levys that are pushed, are to counter the funds that will be taken away from lost taxes from MAJOR corporations, like BP for example. With $10 mill cut over the past 3 years, it is up to the community to decide if they want to have great schools or not. You'll notice that Oregon has gone from an "Excellent" school (2009), to an "Adequate" one (2012). While school funding isn't directly related to this, I think it plays a major part. Cutting teachers and resources will always affect student learning. While my comment about a few thousand dollars might seem callous, it isn't far from the truth. Currently the board is bickering over app $20,000. While that is a lot of money for me personally, when you compare it to a $40 million budget, it calculates to 0.05%. Let's keep the eye on the real prize, and start building this community back up. This Occupy Oregon mentality that Kapfhammer is fueling will almost assuredly mean a failed levy, strictly from lack of understanding. (And the comment about recess happening whenever Kapfhammer talks is out of context. He often discusses things that aren't on the agenda, or are out of order. It is the President's job to keep order. If Kapfhammer can just wait his turn, there won't be any problems. This is the Oregon City School Board of Education, not PJ Kapfhammer's School Board of Education.)
Re: Thomas Paine
posted by From the duck pond, May 17, 2012
I understand how funding was lost from HB 66 and lowered property values and I agree with your statements right up to the part I have copied to below.
"Cutting teachers and resources will always affect student learning"...But giving raises to the top administrators instead is within budgetary goals?

"While my comment about a few thousand dollars might seem callous, it isn't far from the truth. Currently the board is bickering over app $20,000. While that is a lot of money for me personally, when you compare it to a $40 million budget, it calculates to 0.05%"....If you please, what % did the raises and this current $20,000 bickering point amount to in a $40 million budget?

"Let's keep the eye on the real prize, and start building this community back up. This Occupy Oregon mentality that Kapfhammer is fueling will almost assuredly mean a failed levy, strictly from lack of understanding"....I believe a failed levy cause will be from the teachers and other personnel that have been laid off, cutting busing, and concessions taken by employees, while giving raises to administration.

"(And the comment about recess happening whenever Kapfhammer talks is out of context. He often discusses things that aren't on the agenda, or are out of order. It is the President's job to keep order. If Kapfhammer can just wait his turn, there won't be any problems. This is the Oregon City School Board of Education, not PJ Kapfhammer's School Board of Education.)"...I am not a supporter of any one of the School Board Members and know none of them personally or otherwise. My statement was formulated by observations at the Board meetings.
I think we're close to being on the same page here. I am a casual observer and not affiliated with the system so I am open to answers and explanations. Do we agree that all 5 members of the Board are acting like 'playground bullies'? I will support a Board and school system that is working together.
PS - I guess this means you won't be sending the check?
duck pond
posted by Thomas Paine, May 17, 2012
We are certainly on the same page, and I am also not affiliated with any board members. Without a doubt they are all acting like playground bullies, but I think that it is at the behest of arrogance and childish attitudes from the two new members (How is the board supposed to accomplish anything when two of them refuse to meet in committees and executive session? Grow up)

The raises to the administrators were done after budget cuts, and after a renegotiated contract for the teachers. They were by no means the goal in mind when all the cuts were made. Rather, the raises were done after the fact, when the budget was still in the black. What is rarely reported is that the supt took a $1 pay raise when he came on. The salary he was "raised" up to is less than the initial offer he would have made (I am speculating that a new superintendent with same experience as the old one would make the same amount as the old one. Dr Zalar's new salary is actually less than what John Hall made, and John Hall didn't have a PhD.) I am completely fine with paying a good administrator a competitive salary to keep him around. Just because these people are administrators doesn't mean that their salary should be capped. This would be an unthinkable mentality for a teacher, therefore it is an unfair judgement.

The raises + $20,000 bickering point would amount to ($35,000+$20,000 = $55,000. $55,000/$40,000,000 = .000875) .0875% of the school's budget. As a taxpayer, I am not concerned with a little over half a percent of the budget.

A failed levy will be a vote of passion, rather than logic. People are upset at the timing of these "raises" being given to The Man. My question would be, when was the right time to do this? Everything is in the black, and there is money to do it? I have no problem with that.
Thomas Paine
posted by From the duck pond, May 17, 2012
What, if I may ask, was the reason for those two refusing to go to committee meetings and executive sessions? I can not place all the blame on the two new members. From my view point, they ALL are acting childish.
As you say, raises (and I think you miscalculated the amount of raises that were given) were done after budget cuts and renegotiated teachers contracts. If that put the budget in the black,there are certainly things that could have been reinstated or not cut as much that would have benefited the students education more than using the money for administrative raises. The raises were a stab in the heart of the faculty, auxiliary personnel, students, and the public in general. (I do know the superintendents pay was $1 over his old salary as principal and less than the previous superintendent)
You are correct in your assessment that a failed levy will be a vote of passion and for exactly for the reason you stated. But, after all the concessions made by others (cuts in teachers, no pay increase for teachers or auxiliary personnel, closing Wynn, cuts in busing, etc.) to save tax dollars, then give raises to ANYONE is rubbing salt in the wound.
...
posted by Tim, May 17, 2012
And its not jst over 20k here and there, other things like 400k on general electrical maitain. Giving to two companies to task,one being given to a city boardmans own company! Why not bid these tasks for less? Money back into a pocket of a boardman looks bad. focus on our kids not your pocket polotician! Also I believe the two school boardman stay out of meetings now due to the constant harrassment by the other 3 dragging ther names in the dirt and crying for constant police protection during meetings. Pj and mr. Z are given heat for notifying the public of bad buisiness and personal greed by Zaler and minions. Transparancy is what we need in Oregon to correct and align our future in the school system for student & teacher alike.
the duck pond & Tim
posted by Thomas Paine, May 17, 2012
The reason PJ and Jeff used for not going to executive session stemmed from PJ's excuse at a previous board meeting, "they'll use everything I say in private against me. I'm not going into executive session." The reason for not going to committee meetings happened as a result of another board member filing a police report after PJ threatened her. They are all acting childish sure, but voting these two yahoos onto the board is the equivalent of a bull in a china shop.

This focus on administrator pay raises, a significantly small amount of the districts budget, will cause any intelligent leader to look elsewhere for work. I believe the front page of the press website should come as no surprise at all. Yellow journalism, and an uneducated (not for lack of trying by the board) general population will drive a good man out and tarnish this district for whoever else applies. Jeff Zaviski should know that the best, as he was the board president when he hired Dr Zalar in the first place. You can't tell me that all of a sudden his opinion has changed so drastically on account of a salary increase that is still less than what was previously paid in 2006 for the same job. That is the definition of "politics as usual"

$400,000 for a general electric contract might be relatively standard for a contract that services an entire district. I have no way to compare it, but I have to trust that whoever did (Sandwhich I believe) was not lining their own pockets. That would be easily traceable, and extremely stupid. I imagine that the City of Oregon Councilman who runs that business does a great and honest job. If new information comes to light, then I reserve the right to change that thought. From what I have read, there is no money going into any board members pocket, and spouting that nonsense as fact is irresponsible. Tim is a very clear case of uneducated opinions, spouted as fact, which leads to ludicrous hate talk (i.e. "personal greed by Zalar and minions") This is why the board should be discussing these very important cost cutting strategies in EXECUTIVE SESSION where their opinions are private, and therefore not feeding this Occupy Oregon mentality that is poisoning this district. As PJ and Ziviski are the only ones essentially filibustering this process, then yes I will continue to call them out. Step up to the plate children, it is time to lead by example, rather than continue to get Facebook friends from "PJ Kapfhammer for School Board" groups to come and egg your ego on.
As I see it........
posted by From the duck pond, May 18, 2012
Both sides of this 3 vs 2 Board have valid and invalid issues. I believe that all business should be conducted in public...that includes all discussion leading up to the reason for making the decision.
We now have proof that giving pay raises and extending contracts early are not incentives or guarantees that an employee will stay with the system.
As far as work being given to contractors, I would hope that each job, purchase, etc. being paid out by the district would have at least two, and preferably three, estimates to choose from. That is what most responsible people do in their personal lives and I would hope that is what is happening with our tax dollars. True, not all things need to go out to BID, but I would hope estimates would be acquired.
And finally, Perception is Reality! The people perceive that the Board is trying to hide things from the public, giving raises to administrators while cutting others pay, and working under the good ol' boys system. As long as this perception is out there no new levy will pass.
The truth
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 20, 2012
Thomas I need to set the record straight on some of your lies, I have only missed one committee meeting since being elected and I have even covered committees for members who couldn't attend theirs. I have missed 2 executive sessions since being elected and I have been to the last 4 executive sessions. There was never a police report filed against me so stop slandering me with your untruths. We are not fighting about only $20,000, you know that it is much more then that because you were here when it was voted on. I have bit my tongue long enough so if you continue to lie I am going to let everyone know who you really are, Here's a hint your name begins with D. Try telling the truth for once because your lies are getting old.
25 letters left...
posted by Thomas Paine, May 22, 2012
Duck Pond,

I agree completely. Perception is reality, however in my opinion the perception is biased based on lack of fact checking. This is not a dishonest district, yet it has been labeled as thus by uneducated opinions flying out. The district is in the black, their administrators are not paid as much as most other comparable areas (and actually less than some considerably smaller schools in Toledo). Our issue is very similar, however I am attempting to explain some of the logical reasoning that is being used. I have enjoyed bouncing ideas around with you!

PJ,

http://www.presspublications.com/from-the-press/9159-kapfhammer-ziviski-wont-return-to-committees

As of 4 weeks ago, you and Ziviski resigned from all committee meetings. Your quote of "anything I do or say at these committee meetings will and are being used against me." This is an obvious statement, as anything you say or do is public record as you are now a public official. Get over it. If no official police reports were filed, then I apologize, however perhaps you should take a step back and look at how people perceive you. You have a long criminal history, your temper is notably short. To change that perception, you will need to portray yourself in an overly positive and supportive role, otherwise you will continue to be "slandered" in your eye, and seen normally in everyone else's. According to the report, this meeting is only about $20,000 saved. I was not present at the meeting, hence why I am commenting on an article thread and not anything affiliated with whatever else was discussed. I would recommend that you continue to bite your tongue just a little longer before you drive more businesses and employees away from this district. I applaud your efforts to curb spending (By no means should Gadus be paid to attend her child's soccer game! Have some class women!), and save money, however the way that you are presenting your arguments is crass, vulgar, and childish. How do you possibly expect anything to get done with this respect? Present things properly, in order, and you'll find that intelligent ideas will be understood and supported by everyone!!!

By no means am I, in anyway, anyone that you think I am PJ. Please stop trying to suggest that I am affiliated with the district professionally, and end whatever witch hunt your pride has forced you to start. My name does not start with a D.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 23, 2012
Thomas you have my number so anytime you want you can call me to check your facts because unlike you I do know what is actually happening in our schools. If you really want to help then don't hide behind a fake name because no one is going to take you serious if you don't even stand behind your opinion. I don't want to change who I am because who I am is exactly why I got elected, I'm proud to be me and your opinion of me means absolutely nothing to me. I am a criminal with a temper in your eyes but that's o.k. With me and I enjoy knowing I would never sell out just to get you to like me. You keep hiding in the shadows throwing your darts because cowards never win.
Elected
posted by Thomas Paine, May 23, 2012
PJ

You were elected with 40% of the vote. In an election where two people must be selected, and there were three choices, this means that a vast majority (60%) did not support you to the point that they didn't even vote for you as a second option. Those are facts:

http://www.northwestohio.com/news/politics/content.aspx?id=684168#.T7zwxFIgmE8

Rather than assume that your merits, behavior, and general unprofessional behavior is "what the people want," look at the facts and realize what is actually happening. Taking criticism, that is justified, and ignoring it because "I would never sell out just to get you to like me" is the exact immature attitude that has led to this board chaos. If people lead by example, and the example is to interrupt people, swear, threaten/berate people, attempt to belittle others ideas publicly, refuse to operate in committees and executive sessions, and generally "stir up trouble" then can't you realize that this example is exactly how the current community is operating?! Are you really that arrogant and stubborn to realize that your attitude directly affects this, and if you changed for the sake of getting this school on track, people (the 60% who didn't vote for you...) would actually look at that as a positive!? Come on PJ. When adults can't get along, kids suffer. And that is the biggest crime that any public educator can commit.

Ignoring facts and opinions based on not giving a name is a logical fallacy. By definition your statement: "If you really want to help then don't hide behind a fake name because no one is going to take you serious if you don't even stand behind your own opinion" is false...grammatical errors non-withstanding
...
posted by Sunny Dayz Ahead, May 23, 2012
PJ has a good point - does the district have a Supply Chain Policy that mandates a fair and competitive bidding process coordinating all buildings in the district? This is the way to leverage better pricing for the district on anything from soup to nuts, including maintenance, construction, food, office supplies, copiers, etc. Are they strategically aligning contracts for services accross the district to look for savings?
...
posted by Sunny Dayz Ahead, May 23, 2012
Just thought of an example about a year ago I saw two different contractors paving two Oregon school parking lots within weeks of eachother. Why wasn't this bid out as one job for the district to get a better deal from the contractor? Those bidding events should be orchestrated to ask the question, "what paving/sealing needs done in the next 12 months district wide, and who do we bid it out to?"
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 23, 2012
You are a little confused Thomas so let me break it down to you so you better understand the facts.

Oregon Brd of Edu
Total
Number of Precincts 20
Precincts Reporting 20 100.0 %
Times Counted 8642/15684 55.1 %
Total Votes 11858
Earl John Gilliland 3470 29.26%
P. J. Kapfhammer 4630 39.05%
Jeffrey S. Ziviski 3758 31.69%

Here are the official results or as I like to say the facts, I did only get 40% of the total votes but what you forgot to consider was that everyone one got 2 votes so when you look at the total votes 11858 you have to divide it by 2 to get your total voters which would be 5929 total voters but some people probably voted just once so lets add 10% just to be safe and say that we had 6522 total voters that would mean that 71% of all voters voted for me. Lets compare more facts, of the 20 total precincts I won 17 of them which no candidate has ever done. I won by 40% which is the highest percentage ever for the school board except the race that had 2 candidates running for 2 seats and even then my percentage was better then 1 of those candidates. I did all this while never hiding the fact that I got into trouble 18 years ago, I never lied to win a vote and the citizens of Oregon know exactly who I am and how I carry myself so you keep hating and I will keep setting your lies straight. I know my grammar can use some work but my math is alot better don't you think, by the way how many votes did you get last November.
...
posted by Sunny Dayz Ahead, May 23, 2012
PJ - Where can I find the districts purchasing policy for supplies and services? I am curious to see how it reads. Most corporations and non-profits have to bid out any job over $1,000 to at least 3 companies.
Sunny dayz
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 23, 2012
You could get our purchasing policy by contacting Dean Sandwich at 419-693-0661. I can tell you that anything under $10,000 doesn't have to be bid or be board approved.
This debate is senseless. You are not focusin on the point, which is behavior and personal conduct
posted by Thomas Paine, May 23, 2012
You continue to ignore my statements about behavior, and childish conduct, while focusing on the only point that you can doctor up to make it look right in your eyes(basic math of dividing by 2, then a simple statistic to make me look good while turning a blind eye to voter turnout, people who voted in the community but ignored the childish school board election campaigning built on hate talk, and assuming a simple 10% single voter rate). Proofing only that 39% (or even 71% if it makes you feel better) out of a voter turnout of maybe 30% of the community. Any other politician would attempt humility in light of this, and again attempt to play well with others. There is no sense in debating you, your opinion is seen as fact by you and those on your facebook group who show up and yell at meetings, again giving you a false impression that what you are doing is right. The current board, whether you agree with this or not, is a direct reflection of your current attitude. If you are happy with that direction, then so be it. Have fun driving the school into the ground, and best of luck to you when you need to pass a levy very soon and all your "supporters" turn on you. I hope they don't, as you'll need their votes, but voters are fickle people.

The continued phase out of Corporate taxes, via Strickland and Kasich, as well as declining property values (which will continue to drop on account of all this bad press surrounding the schools...the number one indicator of high property values after waterfront property) cannot be fixed by renegotiating bids. It helps, but the cost you are charging to save that money is dissent among the people of this community, and anger. Which will be better to have in the long run? I am not anti-PJ Kapfhammer on a personal level by any means, and you do have wonderful ideas to bring to the table, I am anti-the-way-you-are-currently-trying-to-get-things-done. To paraphrase the old adage about leading a horse to water; Hitting a horse on the head and throwing it in the water might be a way to achieve the goal of getting it to drink water, but the long term goal isn't very sustainable (dead horse).
Typos...apologies
posted by Thomas Paine, May 23, 2012
"Proving" only that 39% (or even 71% if it makes you feel better) out of a voter turnout of maybe 30% of the community "support you"

...
posted by Sunny Daze, May 23, 2012
Economic Development efforts that would lead to more tax revenue have been disappointing (to say the least) in Oregon. As a life long resident, I cringe everytime I see another Internet Cafe open in our town. We need the right kind of economic development leadership...

Most districts in our area are all faced with the same challenges - declining tax revenue. Recent data shows overall improvements in the last 6 months. These are the tough times you have to get through sacrificing as necessary. However, as in all industries, improving quality doesn't mean increasing cost.
...
posted by Sunny Daze, May 23, 2012
Also I work for a local non profit that has saved $6 million hard dollars year to date by competitively bidding supplies and services that are part of a $60 million dollar annual non-labor expense budget, and the year is halfway through. We still have 6 months left to keep working it. Not to mention about $3 million in avoidances already generated for 2013. Benchmark data is available for supply and service costs through the State of Ohio as well as firms like Thompson Reuters that collect expense data and compate various ratio's.
The Kettle is black....
posted by From the duck pond, May 23, 2012
Thomas - at this point you are the pot calling the kettle black. Your rants and insults are the same thing you are accusing PJ of doing.
The election is over and you can make numbers say anything you want...the results are in whether it was by 1 vote or a thousand, it won't change the outcome.
PJ - I can not believe that anything under $10,000.00 doesn't need Board approval. Does that also mean that they don't have to get estimates? Maybe there needs to be some policy changes.
Sunny Daze - You could run for the Board in the next election. Sounds like you have a knowledge of finances.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 23, 2012
They do not have to get estimates if the job is under $10,000
All
posted by Thomas Paine, May 24, 2012
Duck - Cannot ignore people ignoring facts. The difference is that I am by no means an elected official, so there is no comparison. I agree that PJ obviously won the vote, but I must insist that he changes his "my way or the highway" approach to this district. His behavior is causing most of this strife, however at this point I would be very satisfied with an entirely new board. I fear that PJ's plan is to push as many people out and politik his way into a board he can control. This would be dreadful for the district, not because his ideas are wrong all the time, but because this district is already a laughing stock to NW Ohio at the moment. Who would ever want to work under these conditions? No self respecting educator would ever come to this district, who wasn't from around here in the first place. Close minds do not breed success, and this district is quickly becoming black balled.

Duck/PJ - I have to believe that decision would have been made to cut down on bureaucracy, from a time when wheelbarrows of money was coming in from local corporations. It might be a good idea to find a way around that to cut funds, but it is important to present these findings in the proper manner to avoid yelling and arguing, yet everyone is agreeing.

Sun - I agree completely, however it is the job of the community to make the decision about whether they want to make education a priority. Good schools increase property values, which in turn fund schools and allow them to stay good. It is a self reciprocating cycle. I understand times are tough, but what better thing to circle the wagons around than schools and kids? If the community refuses to pass a levy, then they need to realize that this will probably require teachers to be laid off, and more cuts (probably to athletics or arts...they're always first on the chopping blocks). It is a community decision, but what I really don't like seeing is people at board meetings complaining about how tough times are, but then are out drinking at a bar later, or buying cigarettes/lotto tickets right afterwards. Prioritize things properly, and the $200 per year that a levy usually adds to your taxes is actually quite easy to find. It'll, as always, be up to the people to decide.
craziness
posted by Jimmy John, May 24, 2012
I have been following these comments for a while and they are just nuts. The community is tired for the same stuff happeneing and the 2 new members are at least asking questions and getting things discussed in open meetings, which hasn't happened for a while. PJ's approach may not be the refined kind but its his way. Ziviski's has been relatively quite since coming back to the board after getting a taste of rality during his re-election bid 2 electiosn ago, but he does ask some good questions about why things are being done a certain way. There is defeintely a power struggle on the board right now that has to be resolved for any improvement to occur. From listening to the audio from each meeting, it seems like teh president of the baord - Gabel - is the one starting the trouble in board meetings. You can tell there is genuine dislike between the 2 and Gabel is using his position to start trouble. If he were not on teh board, I think you would see less public fighting at the meetings - just a guess.
Over the edge
posted by From the duck pond, May 24, 2012
According to this logic, all people should live according to your standards and judgements. No drinking, smoking, gambling, owning a pet, etc. if you can't afford to support your school district in the fashion to which they are accustomed to being supported. What next? No cable/satellite tv, no phone, no internet, no heating of your home, no vehicle that doesn't get 30 mpg or better, and on and on. Sounds a little communistic to me...and the school system gets to dictate this so we can pay our fair share for them to operate...no questions asked? I don't think so!!! Let's get real here. The community has been more than fair in passing levy's and bond issues in the past and now it's time for the school system to take some responsibility for their spending. The goose that laid the golden egg has died and we're all responsible for picking up the slack. This includes the School Board, Administrators, and community.
Speaking of over the edge...
posted by Thomas Paine, May 24, 2012
Come on...

I am saying that if the schools and students are in trouble, then the community should help. That's it. Have they been feeding at the trough for to long? Duh. Most school funding cannot be saved year to year by law. Now the funding is gone, and the schools is obviously suffering (lower ratings, etc) I'm saying that it is a community decision, however I am also saying that it is usually a short-sided decision by to many voters. Refusing to pay a tax, while saying times are tough, and then continuing to waste money on frivolous things are poor economic sense. I'm not anti-drinking, smoking, gambling if you can afford it, but I am anti-poor logic. If you are choosing those egocentric "hobbies," but then accusing others of poor fiscal spending, then you are a hypocrite. By all means, raise questions about cutting and spending. But do so with the understanding that less funding is coming in for the near future, and ask yourself what kind of a community you want this to be? An individualistic community that puts educating their youth after whatever makes me personally feel good? Choosing to do this, will only continue lowering property values, thus de-funding the schools more, and lowering the property values. To say this community has been more than fair in passing levy's is laughable, there hasn't been one passed since they built the new school. What was the point in building a beautiful new building (through community tax payers) if you want to tear out all the resources that make it a school? To accuse this thinking of communistic borders on the ridiculous. As you said, we're all responsible for picking up the slack, but schools are funded over 90% by local property taxes. All the board and administrators can do is manage what the people give them. They get less, things get cut to stay in the black. Very simple. I say, give them what they need.
Jim
posted by Thomas Paine, May 24, 2012
If the same stuff keeps happening then shouldn't we look at the consistent factor in this? The community...It is becoming painfully obvious that people want good schools, but not enough to adjust their life in any way to have them.
I'm begining to think you're part of the problem
posted by From the duck pond, May 24, 2012
You say "All the board and administrators can do is manage what the people give them. They get less, things get cut to stay in the black." I say manage what you have better!!!
You say "people want good schools, but not enough to adjust their life in any way to have them." I say the Board and Administrators want business as usual and think anytime they run short of $$ the can just run to the community for more. Live within your means...it's ridiculous to think that up to $10,000.00 can be spent without Board approval or estimates...just one example.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 24, 2012
Thomas you will be happy to know that over 100 teaching professionals have applied for the social studies position that recently opened up due to one of our teachers retiring. We are still and will remain one of the best places in northwest Ohio to teach at. You are so smart I can't believe that you figured out my plan, I am going to run everyone out so I can take over the Oregon school district then I will be the MAN. Please stop telling everyone about my plan because you are going to make it harder for me to accomplish my goal of owning the Oregon schools.
Missing the point
posted by Thomas Paine, May 25, 2012
Duck
How is making necessary cuts and adjustments to stay in the black not managing things better? And how is the Board not already living within their means? These decisions are not made based on poor fiscal management, they are made as an adjustment to lack of funding which is taken away from lower property values and corporate tax phase out. You are making it seem that the district is spending more than they make which isn't true. Policy needs to change to save more in tough times, but you must understand that the board is by no means burning through cash that they don't currently have.

PJ
I would expect Clay to continue to attract a high number of applicants, especially for social studies positions which don't come up often. Clay has one of the strongest teachers unions in the state, and have historically been the highest paid teachers around (in fact, as little as 15-20 years ago, they were THE highest paid teachers in all of Ohio. ) They have a very generous health care plan and excellent retirement. A fact that should also be considered, even though it is a major faux pas to discuss, whenever any mention of spending should be brought up. I am no fan of "strong" teacher's unions, but that is for another discussion.

I certainly hope you aren't going to run everyone out. But the signs point to a resounding "YES" on the magic eight ball. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I don't think you would be serious about wanting to own a public school, but I think your ego is certainly large enough to not be able to take not being the big man in charge. That mentality is poisonous to any team.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 25, 2012
Thomas you talk as if you know what the board is doing, you actually talk like you are or were on the board. You say the teachers were the highest paid teachers in the state 15-20 years ago and historically the highest paid around but then say the board is living within its means and the citizens of Oregon need to fix this by passing a levy. I say that your way of thinking is the reason we are in this mess and I can guarantee that your way of thinking will not help to pass a levy. I recommend you read that survey that is on the Oregon schools web page so that you can start to understand what the community wants from its schools because until we do what the community wants from us we will never pass a levy. What you fail to see or hear is that the community owns our schools and we work for this community, you think the community works for the schools. I will never ask this community to pass a levy until I know that we have done everything we can to be fiscally responsible, you say it's only $20,000 we are arguing over but what you are failing to see is I want this community to know that we are doing everything we can so that when we do ask for help (levy) it will be for the right reasons (our kids). If you truly care about the schools the way you say you do then stop commenting right now because you are doing more harm then helping and right now we need people to help not hurt our cause.
Cutting your own throat.......
posted by From the duck pond, May 25, 2012
Thomas, you ask "How is making necessary cuts and adjustments to stay in the black not managing things better?" and I would ask how is cutting busing and then giving raises to administrators managing things better? Use your common sense, if you have any. You don't say lets cut the busing which puts you in the black and then say, oh, we're in the black, lets give the administration raises. At the beginning of this forum I thought we were close to being on the same page but your ideas are not promoting the best for the kids, teachers, or community. You're all about Administration and the Board. As I said earlier, perception is reality and you are a prime example of the system spewing their venom which creates this perception of Administrators/Board vs everyone else. As PJ said, "If you truly care about the schools the way you say you do then stop commenting right now because you are doing more harm then helping and right now we need people to help not hurt our cause."
unbelievable
posted by Thomas Paine, May 25, 2012
One person tries to say, "hey, the board isn't doing a terrible job, things aren't as bad as the community is saying." and the words are skewed around to say that support of admin/board is the problem at hand. Astounding.

PJ.
My thoughts are well outlined. I'll summarize. Your ideas are occasionally the right thing to do. The way you present it (which you have said you will not change) is the problem. It is poisonous, and it will drive people away from this district. People includes not only staff, but people thinking of moving to Oregon (i.e. prospective families and students) Falsely believing that because Clay receives a lot of applicants for a hard to find vacant teaching position is not accurate. I am pushing for placing your differences aside on the board, to present a uniformed front to the community, in anticipation of an obviously necessary levy campaign in the near future. Sorry if this opinion isn't the nearsighted vision you are entirely focused on at the moment, but it is incredibly important and you are overlooking it.

Your comment about the survey is a valid comment to make. However, it is important to remember the harsh political environment, stirred up by a vicious campaign full of hurtful political rhetoric (pointed at and from you primarily). It would be surprising to me if the survey was anything but exactly the results that were turned in. Mr Slotnic spoke on the behalf of this at a board meeting recently, and was trying to paint the same picture I am. Things are not as bad as it seems.

You are also attempting to argue a point that I have agreed with you numerously on with regard to attempting to trim spending. This is the very problem I have been critiquing you for from the first board meeting I was present at. You focus on fight first, rather than listening. Please change this.


Duck

You focus completely on emotional timing, even going as far to accuse me of being a communist, which makes no sense. There is nothing wrong from a fiscal, responsible management perspective to cut things that were told would be cut (busing, schools, etc.) Then, when things are in the black, renegotiating the teachers contracts, followed by the admin last. If you are only going to focus on the fact that the admin took a pay raise, as a major issue, then I suggest you also begin treating the teachers, who received raises, as fairly. The decision to pay the admin a fair salary, notably AFTER everyone else was adjusted, is by all means in the best interest for the kids and community. If you are under the impression that it isn't, and that good leadership is a dime a dozen so we shouldn't attempt to keep good administrators, then you are just totally wrong. You say that in increase in pay isn't a guarantee that people will stay. That is obviously true, but the flip side is, what does not paying people what they're worth guarantee? It is an unfair stance to take, especially in comparison to how you treat all other employees who took pay increases in light of budget cuts.
you just don's know...
posted by Jimmy John, May 25, 2012
do you know why/how the admin rec'd raises and what info do you ahve on the teachers so called rasies? Apprently incorrect info. The teacher took a 0% increase to their base wage and agreed to pay more for benefits bringing that more in line with the avg public sector worker. The teachers do have step increases in theri contract, this has always been there, it is not new. Not all teachers rec'd a step increase. On avg i would guess this is equivilant to about a 25 increase per teacher. The administrators rec'd increases to their base wage and their wasnothing contractual and uniform about it. it was hap hazard depending on the individual. Most rec'd a raise b/c a illiegal bonus that they previously rec'd was taken away and the baord did not want them to actually take a decrease in wage. Nothing based on perforance or results. Not really a good way to make decisions or to lead a district.

Again, get your facts straight before to put out wrong info.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 25, 2012
Thomas you are wrong again, this is exactly why we are going backwards. You of all people should know that the teachers got a step increase after taking major concessions in their healthcare plan, of those step increases not all teachers got a step increase but the administrators got a 2% increase (same as teachers step) and then a raise on top of the 2%. The teachers saved this district 3 million dollars by taking those concessions and after knowing this YOU gave RAISES to administrators. I don't care about your opinion because you are the reason why this district is in such a mess and not me. I have a thousand dollars that I will donate as a scholarship to the Oregon schools if you can prove you have never been a board member. I believe that your name begins with Di because their is only one person who talks and says the dumb things you are saying and if I am right then I want to thank you for screwing up the schools so bad because if it wasn't for you I wouldn't of got elected. Don't worry I am working very hard to fix all your mistakes.
You've got to be kidding......
posted by From the duck pond, May 25, 2012
Thomas - you say "You focus completely on emotional timing, even going as far to accuse me of being a communist, which makes no sense. There is nothing wrong from a fiscal, responsible management perspective to cut things that were told would be cut (busing, schools, etc.) Then, when things are in the black, renegotiating the teachers contracts, followed by the admin last." YOU are the one who wants to tell the people what to spend their money on but yet when it comes to the Admin/board it doesn't matter what they spend....it's all for the good of the kids. When things got back into the black, don't you think reinstating something that would benefit the kids, as in busing, teachers, etc. would have been a better choice? It looks as though the cuts were made not to benefit kids education but to line the pockets of Admin. "Perception is Reality!!!"
Mitt Romney Jr.
posted by Thomas Paine, May 25, 2012
If you are so quick to throw thousands of dollars around personally, then I think a more beneficial use for that money would be to pledge it to the kids on behalf of a board that is willing to put the childish public bickering behind them. This would make significantly more sense, as you don't even care about my opinion, although one wouldn't know after looking at this comment stream. I am not a member, nor have I ever been a member of a school board. Prove to me that you are committed to helping these kids by being the bigger person anyways, and not trying to hold money ransom in a vain political move. By my count, you have yet to accomplish a whole lot, thanks to a severely abrasive personality and a lack of desire to work on a team. This would go a long way to fixing that, especially since who I am and what I say means so little to you. Put your money where your mouth is Mitt

Duck

You summed it up in your final sentence, "it looks as though the cuts were made to line the pockets of the admin". It is the job of an educated community to see through the perception. The Press Publication has a responsibility to honestly report from an unbiased side, and their negative headlines have helped stir this pot just as much as our vicious election campaigns. Since the administration does not control their own pay, the board does, it isn't up to them. Therefore, your perception is skewed. My fight has never been against any one person, but rather how the board conducts itself in public. The fact that one board member needs to bicker so much that they feel the need to continue bickering online would be a major part of that problem. We both agree that a majority of the communication problem lies in Gable and Kapfhammer, however this wasn't a problem until PJ came on the board. They both need to deal with this and move on. I personally trust that we have an honorable administration team. Sorry if this isn't a currently popular thought, but to demand that I am a board member, former board member, teacher, spouse, or whatever else this witch hunt has turned into is completely out of hand.

There is nothing else to add to this stream. Have the last word if you must.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 25, 2012
I will take that last word, I am giving back to the kids because unlike you I am donating all my pay as a board member back to programs for the kids. I will eagerly wait for your next lie Thomas because we both know you can't help but make up lies to justify your past actions.
...
posted by P.J. Kapfhammer, May 25, 2012
P.S. You say the press is so biased and horrible but you helped make this story the hottest article to hit the press in years, they should pay you because without you this story would of never had 3092 hits.

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