Hey, Governor, this school treasurer says that you are using fuzzy math!
By Tiffany Y. Latta, Staff Writer
SPRINGFIELD — State data released last week claiming Senate Bill 5 would save Springfield City Schools nearly $3.5 million is “grossly inaccurate,” school officials said Tuesday.
Treasurer Christopher S. Mohr said his analysis shows the district would save just under $400,000, making the state’s numbers off by 782 percent or more than $3 million.
“To be more than 700 percent off means that most of all the assumptions made in this data are wrong,” Mohr said.
Mohr also analyzed the state’s estimated cost savings for Clark Shawnee Local, Southeastern Local, Northwestern Local and Northeastern Local schools and found that the state figures were way off on all of them, he said.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services released an analysis April 20 that area districts would save thousands and in some cases millions from a law restricting public employee compensation and collective bargaining rights. The analysis was based on the assumption that requiring district employees to pay 15 percent of their health insurance premiums and eliminating step and longevity increases would save the district $3,566 per employee.
But Mohr said the state’s numbers are flawed.
He and other Clark County school officials say the state relied on inaccurate numbers of employees and other information for every school district to come up with estimates and never asked any of them to review the data.
The state’s findings show that Northwestern Local would save more than $670,00. But Mohr’s findings indicate the district would save about $345,000.
Northwestern Superintendent Tony Orr said the state’s inflated numbers could hurt area districts at the polls May 3.
“It’s a dangerous thing to put numbers out there that could cause the community to question what’s accurate,” Orr said. “When we have so many school districts with levies on the ballot this will cause the community to question whether the need is real. But I will tell you, the need is real.”
Springfield City Superintendent David Estrop agreed.
Estrop said it’s critical that the district’s 9.573-mill, seven-year renewal levy for operations passes.
But he fears the impact of the community being inundated with inaccurate information.
“This kind of misinformation can confuse people, and in some cases it can be dangerous because they’re painting a false picture of our funding needs,” Estrop said.
He also said the state’s failure to ensure that the numbers released last week were accurate was irresponsible.
“These numbers are so off the mark its absurd,” Estrop said. “They said they didn’t have time to check. But these are the numbers they gave to us to use and they don’t even come close.”
Mohr said the state estimates the five Clark County school districts he analyzed would save just under $7 million combined.
According to his analysis, the districts would actually save about $1.4 million, a difference of more than $5.4 million.
“This data is wrong, wrong, wrong,” Mohr said.