School board race fact checker - part 4

Written by ONE Olentangy on .

ONE Olentangy's fourth school board race fact checker article is the SECOND joint Katy Barricklow/Brian Helwig postcard.

Below in italics on the left are postcard statements made by Helwig and Barricklow and to the right are the facts obtained by ONE Olentangy. Listed are statements that are factual errors, misleading statements and statements that deserve clarification for the readers' sake.







"To continue to pay the interest on their debt of over $348 Million Dollars the current school board has already announced they will seek another tax levy in 2015."   Two factual errors  First, according to a records request to the Olentangy School District, the school board has made no announcement regarding when the next time a levy will be on the ballot. Second, debt interest cannot be paid with money from the general fund, which is where operating levy revenue is maintained. Bond debt and its interest must be paid from separate bond funds. Therefore, if and when the board decides to go on the ballot, it will have nothing to do with a need to meet interest obligations on long-term debt.  
" a union steward $107,000 A YEAR to teach one class..."




Factual error  ONE Olentangy addressed this issue in part two of its fact-checking articles dated Oct. 24. As stated previously, according to a records request from the school district, administration is not aware of any teacher being paid $107,000 per year or any teacher teaching only one class. If referencing Elaine Eddy who is a long-time teacher and president of the Olentangy Teachers' Association (OTA), she earns, according to the district records request, $94,619 and has no supplementals currently. She teaches two classes and has other teacher-related duties during the school day. Furthermore, given her lighter teaching load due to her position as OTA president, the district expects to be reimbursed $34,626 this year from the OTA.

ONE Olentangy has done a follow-up records request and has learned that no one other than ONE Olentangy has made a public records request from the district for Eddy's salary and supplemental pay information in the past 12 months. Barricklow's and Helwig's source for their statement is thus not a primary source. ONE Olentangy based its fact-checking of this information on records obtained directly from the school rather than from outside sources, which we cannot independently verify.

"King and Feasel do NOT have children in Olentangy Schools." Misleading statement  Both Barricklow and Helwig have school-aged children who do not attend Olentangy schools, according to each of their updated campaign websites. Feasel and King both have adult children who attended Olentangy Schools through graduation, according to each of their campaign websites.
"Moody's Bond Rating Service on Olentangy bond ratings: 'Elevated debt burden and relatively high debt service costs compared to total expenditures.'" Clarification  Again, ONE Olentangy addressed this statement in part two of its fact-checking articles dated Oct. 24. To repeat, this statement is accurate and is listed as one of the challenges within the body of the rating action. However, it only reflects one statement in Moody's credit report. Moody's Summary Ratings Rationale for rating Olentangy at the second highest credit rating level states, "Assignment of the Aa1 rating reflects the district's large, diverse, and affluent tax base located near the City of Columbus (general obligation rated Aaa/stable outlook), strong financial position that benefits from healthy reserve levels and voter support for operating levies, and elevated debt levels that are expected to moderate over the medium term as the district projects a slowdown of its capital borrowing." In the listed strengths, Moody's goes on to say, "Strong financial operations supported by a history of voter support for operating and bond levies over last decade. Proactive management team." According to Brad Sprague, the district's financial advisor, only five school districts in Ohio have a higher Moody's rating than Olentangy. To see Moody's entire report for Olentangy, click here.
"...they believe Olentangy must get control of the escalating debt costs the current school board amassing." (sic) Clarification  According to district records and data produced by the district's bond attorneys and underwriters, the current school board has issued new bonds (debt) of just 2.6 percent of the total outstanding debt. Current and prior Olentangy school boards issued bonds only after approval by voters. Furthermore, the Olentangy school board only issues voter-approved bonds when projects are initiated, such as building a new school or making capital improvements. 

Remember to vote Tuesday, November 5. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. To find your polling location or if you have other questions about voting, click here.


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