Editor’s note: As part of Brecksville Patch’s local election coverage, we will provide profiles of each candidate running for office. These profiles will include biographical information and other relevant details to help the voters make informed decisions. For more election coverage, check our Election Central page and like our Brecksville Elections page on Facebook.
Name: Richard G. Putka
Education: Independence High School; attended Kent State University but did not earn a degree; earned Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation
Occupation: Partner, Putka Brothers Servicenter, aftermarket auto repair in Shaker Heights
Political Affiliation: Independent
Office Sought: Brecksville-Broadview Heights School Board
Previous Political Office Sought or Held: Candidate, North Royalton School Board, 1993
All residents of the Brecksville-Broadview Heights School District desire to have an excellent school system. However, the district is facing significant deficits for the next few years and there are competing philosophies on how to balance the budget.
Where we are and how did we get here?
• According to the Five-Year Forecast required by the state, deficit spending for the district will be $1.3M in 2011; $3.8M in 2012; $6.8M in 2013; $8.8M in 2014; and $10.7M in 2015.
• Deficit spending began after the 2008 contract was approved, according to a school board member at the time, David Dosen, in the November 2010 Brecksville Magazine, “without cost controls, even though all parties knew such action would result in significant deficit spending.”
• This contract resulted in the average teacher’s salary rising nearly 12% from $69,143 in 2008 to $77,352 in 2010, which is the third highest out of 611 school districts in Ohio.
• Current state law requires only 12 “step” base salary increases in the contract, BBHCSD has 16.
Why new taxes are NOT necessary to have an excellent school system:
• School districts with similar Performance Index Ratings such as Avon Local and Chagrin Falls had average teacher’s salaries of $53,569 and $60,095, respectively in 2010.
• BBHCSD has excellent work conditions to attract teachers with even Superintendent Prebles writing in the May 2011 Brecksville Magazine, “BBHCSD is a premier district that educators aspire to join and wish to remain for the duration of their career.”
• A school district’s success has more to do with the socioeconomic demographics of the district than with how much money was spent. As Shaker Heights teacher Paul Springstubb wrote in the September 11, 2011 Plain Dealer, “socioeconomic differences powerfully impact student performance.”
• The school district’s enrollment is declining rapidly with a projected loss of 376 students or 9.3% by 2015.
Richard G. Putka: The only candidate for the BBHCSD Board who will NOT vote for new tax levies.