W-E Schools…”Should we give them a trophy?”

We are reporting the correspondence we have had with Superintendent Steve Thompson of the Willoughby-Eastlake School District.  We will let the court of public opinion decide if he is being honest and transparent with the taxpayers.

Mr. Thompson:

Lobbyists for Citizens has received a great deal of communication from Lake County residents about the Willoughby-Eastlake property tax levy.  We were sent the following link covering your radio interview detailing spending cuts, and questions that the taxpayers would like answered.
1.)  Identify the areas that comprise the 2012  $14 million in cuts, and how much in savings for each area?  Please separate the teachers’ cuts savings from staff cuts savings.  2.)  Have any of the 177 school personnel been rehired?  
3.)  Of the 127 staff members cut, how many were transportation employees?
4.)  Of the $14 million in savings,  how much of it was related to transportation?
5.)  For the school year 2012-2013, how much in total did outsourced transportation cost?
6.)  Of the $14 million of savings that Mr. Thompson said occurred in the ’12-’13 school year, was that net savings, or was that savings number reduced by the cost to have an outside party handle transportation?
Thank you for taking the time to be transparent with the Lake County taxpayers.  We will post your answers to our website  LobbyistsforCitizens.com.

Here is Mr. Thompson’s response to us:

Hello Mr. Massie,

I have a attached a detailed copy of our Financial Recovery Plan. I believe it answers your questions.
In the above mentioned Ideastream article Mr. Thompson is quoted saying the following:

“In 2012, we made almost  $14 million a year in cuts and we have sustained those cuts,” Thompson says. “We cut 50 teachers in 2012 and 127 staff members. We don’t have a lot left to cut. Anything we would have to cut at this point would be programming.”

With some help from a Willoughby lobbyist, we did review the “Reductions” report sent to us by Mr. Thompson and found some discrepancies.  Here are pages 9 and 10 of the report detailing where the RIF took place.  WE Reduction in Force Stats

In their financial recovery plan, they show details of 82.5 people being reduced, but the “Total RIF” summary shows 76.5 people.  The Ideastream article mentions 177 staff member reduction (50 + 127), but how they arrived at that number escapes us.

As for the $14 million a year in cuts, we can only see $12,744,500, and we question if the costs to outsource the transportation are reflected in the savings.

you decide

(LFC Comment: Perhaps we are too “old school” and expect the numbers to add up, but it appears in this new “Common Core” era showing your work gets you a trophy and allows some “Kentucky windage” with the numbers.  However, maybe we are being too harsh.  Therefore, we will let the court of public opinion decide if honesty and transparency has taken place.)



Categories: Eastlake, Lake County Cities & Townships, Uncategorized, Willoughby


2 replies

  1. The board received 8.7 million from the insurance company for the school board building that was destroyed by fire. They purchased the new building on Curtis Blvd for 1.2 million. Then they spent 5.5 million renovating it. (renovation was an estimate at the time… I think the renovations were higher?) Could that money have been better spent? Just wondering….


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