Solon Schools to Cut 40 Teachers Annually to Aid with Budget Crisis

Because the state is revoking the personal tangible property tax and ending reimbursements, Solon stands to lose $10.7 million over eight years

The Solon school district is nearing a financial cliff, and if nothing changes with the way the district is funded at the state level, 40 teachers each year will lose their job for the next eight years, starting today, said Superintendent Joe Regano.

At a public meeting in the auditorium, the school administration went over the problem the district is facing with phasing out of the tangible personal property tax. Regano said the district stands to lose $10.7 million over the next eight years if nothing is done. That money makes up 18 percent of the district's budget.

"Our hope is that you will understand the problem and then understand that we're asking you to be here because we're telling you we can no longer do it," Regano said. "This is the Robin Hood issue of the '80s and the tangible personal property tax of the 2000s. It has reached a level that means we can no longer subsist on our current funding."

When House Bill 66 was passed in early 2005 to phase out the TPP tax,  a promise was made that hard-hit districts would be reimbursed by the state to make up for the loss of TPP dollars. That promise was not upheld after former Gov. Ted Strickland vetoed it in 2009. Now Gov. John Kasich wants to start phasing the money out starting July 1, and any tax that would have normally stayed local will go straight to the state, Regano said.

The district will lose $1.2 million every fiscal year for the next eight years on top of a 2 percent additional funding cut from the state. With the loss of this funding, Treasurer Tim Pickana projects the district will be facing a $20 million deficit by 2015. And a district cannot operate in the red.

To try and help the situation, the district asked the hundreds of people in the audience to write their lawmakers and demand a reversal. Regano, Pickana and school board President Julie Glavin will head to Columbus today to testify before the House Finance Subcommittee on Primary and Secondary Education.

"Write and write quickly," Regano said. "We're going to need every person in this room. If you don't do it, you're going to get it done to you. If you're going to stand, now is the time to stand. The premise of not being able to protect local funds will kill communities."

If nothing changes, Regano said parents can expect class sizes to rise, and the district will likely close an elementary building. Also, 40 teachers will lose their job each year. 

"This is a really serious thing," Regano said. "They literally no longer listen to us. It has to be the populace. If not, there's no hope."

For more information on this situation, check the Solon Schools website starting today. 

Here is a list of the representatives you can write or call to help make a difference. The address is the same for them all:

77 S. High St.

Columbus, OH 43215


Rep. John Carey

(614) 466-1366

Rep. Ron Maag

(614) 644-6023

Rep. Gerald Stebelton

(614) 466-8100

Rep. Matt Lundy

(614) 644-5076

Rep. Debbie Phillips

(614) 466-2158

Rep. Ron Amstutz

(614) 466-2158

Rep. Marlene Anielski

(614) 644-6041

Barb Danielson April 08, 2011 at 12:19 PM
Does this cut incompass having administation taking pay and benefit cuts as all other businesses have done? The scare tactic is very strong in Solon over the past 20 years and property values have sharply decreased. What kind of pay decreases have been administered to the staff to help eliviate the situation? Is pay to play been initiated along with minimal bussing as other suburbs have done? Solon will survive with all the great people it has, but not as it has been the past 20 years with a very liquid bank account.
Nassman April 08, 2011 at 01:02 PM
Boo hoo. Be assured that the almighty Solon School District is not the only district losing money from the state. Have you heard? There is a budget crisis in the State of Ohio and there is an 8 Billion Dollar hole to fill. Have you heard? Cleveland layed off 700 teachers. Somehow I think that Solon will fear better than Cleveland when everything is said and done. Kudos to you though, you have now succesfully instilled fear into the minds of the Solon residents, soon enough you'll propose a new levy and they'll approve it, unless the changing demographic says otherwise. Welcome to the rest of the world.
Megan Rozsa April 08, 2011 at 01:51 PM
Hi Barb, The district already froze the salary of all administrators, and they mentioned that at last night's meeting, but they didn't mention how much money it saves. They also said they have made $6 million in cuts since 2005. Pay to play will not be implemented this year, but it could be under consideration, the superintendent said. Thanks for reading!
Eric April 09, 2011 at 11:09 AM
If this is only about filling a hole that the whole state has made, if you would kindly tell us all why some districts stand to gain money through this "filling" of the hole, I, and many others, would appreciate it. If this is about balancing the State's budget by grabbing the monies that have been set aside for schools, than every single district should have a zero or a negative sign in front of the annual change in funding from the state, and yet Mr. Boohoo there are many districts that will end up gaining more money out of the state and have a plus sign as a result of our minus sign. I think you meant to say that Solon will fare better, but the irony is Solon residents, along with Orange, Chagrin Falls, Beachwood, and other exceptionally performing school districts have done what you mistyped . . . . they have feared for the future their children and grandchildren will have with out achieving and attaining the opportunities an excellent education can afford them.
Eric April 09, 2011 at 11:11 AM
If the changing demographics you speak of mean that there are people in Solon that do not appreciate the opportunities the youth of our community are afforded and they wish to move somewhere else where the residents do not wish to shoulder this load, it is a free country, you can move. Unfortunately somewhere along the line people's notion of this is a free country crossed over into everything should be free in this country. While you are looking into communities to move to where people do not want to support an educational valuing city, make sure you appreciate the other values they will share with you and observe the unintended changes their cities experienced as a result.
mary April 09, 2011 at 07:07 PM
let's take a look at a couple other things too- how about the teachers putting in more to their pensions than they do now- look at the private sector- come on buckle up another thing- DOES SOLON NEED A SCHOOL BOARD?????? I THINK NOT!! Why not go from Mr Regano an his adiminitration to Mayor Drucker- Does anyone know who Michelle Rhee is???? google her- she gave a great talk to the Cleveland City Forum- it was on public tv- the culture needs to change- stop mediocrty- we are ok with our kids getting trophies for doing poorly - hey, everyone need's one- if my daughter is horrible in soccer and then receives a trophy anyway - just for tryiing is that ok?? that is what we have done to our kids- dumbed them down- they are smarter than that- who cares how you "feel"- put a lttle action behind it- reward excellence in it's place- not -"everybody needs to feel and be ok-"-do your homework Solonites!!!! get active or this scholl district will be in the dumpster in a few years- we need to be EFFECTIVE- we are not right now- no matter how much everybody thinks we are - we are not- yes- the RobinHood law is WRONG - so DO SOMETHING!!!!!!! Wake Up !!!-and yes I do do things!!! but Mr. Regano refuses to take me up on my offer to help them out- AMAZING- isin't it!
Delilah April 09, 2011 at 07:21 PM
Solon has heard of the budget crisis. They have taken steps over several years to reduce spending. Over $6 million in cuts in recent years. Yet Solon is the number one performing school district and they have accomplished this by spending far less per student than many other school districts in Cuyahoga County.
Nassman April 10, 2011 at 12:26 AM
Erin - I had the privilege of hearing Michelle Rhee at the City Club event in March. Unfortunately, the group in attendance seemed less than hospitable to her and even somewhat rude. Her thought that students of all zip codes and backgrounds have the potential to excel without "more money" was met with jeers. It seems that any suggestion to improve schools that does not involve throwing more money at it is immediately dismissed by our district stakeholders. I wonder why! Oh my! How dare you suggest that we not reward every kid for their mediocrity by giving them a trophy for losing! What kind of a mean person are you? Do you not care about their feelings? It’s better to keep letting the kids think that they are good at something long enough for them to miss the opportunity to find their true passion.
Nassman April 10, 2011 at 12:28 AM
Eric- I would like to know what districts will be gaining money from the state. If you would so kindly tell me, I will so kindly offer my insight on the issue. I highly doubt that this is the case, it sounds like a talking point to me. I am a 19-year resident of Solon but I do not fear for the future of my 3 children because they are exceptional and will always be top performers because of who they are. THEY make Solon Schools exceptional! If there are 7 more students per classroom, THEY will remain at the top, I will make sure of that. Their cousins in Twinsburg are equal achievers in that district which by the way spends $2,500 less per pupil a year then Solon does and has been rated excellent with distiction 4 years in a row. The point is, parents could and should have more impact on a student's success than any teacher, school district or amount of money ever should. Period! There is nothing to fear! And yes, boo hoo to you, the superintendent and any other fear-mongerer that thinks just because we'll have a little less money it's the end of the world. Don't bother checking my post for errors, your criticism is a little hard to swallow coming from someone whos abundant use of un-associated pronouns and 49 word sentences makes their writing less then fluid.
Eric April 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM
Thanks for the review of my writing, I was apparently raised by horrible parents, since your metric for performance only depends upon upbringing. I sure wish I had been fortunate enough to have had Nass as my Mom, Dad, Aunt or Uncle. I have not seen a list yet for the state wide gains in funding, but the list showing the districts in just the greater Cleveland area showed many. That list was shown in the PD one day during the week two weeks ago. I am assuming, if there are many districts that are gaining just in our region than there stands tombe many more statewide. Many of those school districts were shown experiencing gains at the town hall meeting as well. But who should believe anything reported in either of those places. The Plain Dealer is full of lies and deceit right?! Especially in the copying tables and spreadsheets from the state.
Eric April 10, 2011 at 11:05 AM
If the State decreased all the funds doled out to all districts, than I would stand to agree with what I believe to be your premise. I take your premise to be, that if ALL things are equal children of parents like yourself will excel because of the home life you insure and support system you provide. Now if all this is true, over the years Solon has made conscious, majority approved, voting decisions that have provided a specified level of funding, that now stands to have a substantial portion severely reduced because our Solon industrial monies are required to be sent to Columbus, but now the State is redistributing those funds to other districts, I would think in an effort to improve other districts performance by throwing "our" money at them. Which is exactly what you alluded to being upset about above when you heard Michelle Rhee speak.
Eric April 10, 2011 at 11:09 AM
Before you get your red pen out, "tombe" was intended to be "to be"
mary April 13, 2011 at 06:45 AM
Eric- I , like Nass have 2 children in the Solon school district and my 14 year old tell me that the teachers are now constantly complaining about the stae of the district. They have got these children so riled up that I had to sit my daughter down and teach her about the word "propaganda". It's all hype! Listen, my children are starting school before school hours begin so they can fit an extra class in during the daily schedule. They take courses at Tr-C. I pay for those. If the band has a problem with the cuts they can do mega fundraisers. There are plenty of communities around that they can take some pointers from. Yesterday, I took down a flier from Borders that shows that Solon schools are sponsoring a panel on "A Parents Role in Teen Sexuality" this month. Hmmmm, good decsion huh?
mary April 13, 2011 at 06:51 AM
Nassman , I am not surprised to hear that the people in attendance at the City Club were rude to Mrs. Rhee. You have to take into account who they are. I'm just saying...... Your comments make me glad to know others in Solon are not having the wool pulled over their eyes.
mary April 18, 2011 at 02:49 AM
...@ Eric maybe you were raised by horrible parents. How am I to know? Why bring up such a topic you obviously know so little about and then throw your parents into the mixture? Do you want someone to call your parents horrible parents just for the sake of diagreeing with them? Come on, grow up and stop shooting off such immature comments. And do you have children in Solon schools? I am just curious. Thanks for your valuable time.


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