Wednesday, May 30, 2012
I know - the first reaction would be to say "from unions."
But you'd only be partially correct.
I took a look at the 2010 campaign finance reports filed by the Committee for Schools - the TPS campaign committee dedicated to supporting passage of their levy requests - and what I found may surprise you.
Clearly, unions have an interest in the school system having additional funds, but in 2010, unions and their PACs and/or educational funds only contributed $9,000 to help pass the ballot issue.
AFSCME Ohio Council 8 gave $1,000; Ohio State UAW-CAP Council gave $6,000; IBEW Local 8 gave $500; and Toledo Federation of Teachers gave $1,500.
Suppliers and vendors, on the other hand, were the major donors.
TPS's Committee for Schools raised $34,165 from companies doing business with the school system - nearly four times as much as they got from unions.
This really shouldn't suprise anyone when you think about it, especially considering that the larger amounts came from firms involved in the school construction program and banks which house the district's funds.
Allied Toledo Architects, LLC - a consortium of local architectural and engineering firms that is the design firm for the school facilities program - contributed $5,500.
5/3 Bank gave them $4,000. In November of 2010, financial reports from TPS show that 5/3 housed six different accounts for the district totaling nearly $16 million. I suppose $4,000 was a small 'investment' for the bank to make.
Huntington Bank, which had five TPS accounts totaling over $9 million as of November 2010, made a $2,500 contribution to support the levy.
PNC Financial Services also gave $5,000. As of November 2010, they housed a TPS money market account valued at $12 million.
First Merit Bank only had one TPS account and it was worth $110,640 in November of 2010. They gave $500.
I did not review all the financial reports for 2010, so I don't know if Citibank had any TPS accounts during the year, but they did make a $2,500 contribution to the levy effort.
LGB, a Columbus firm handling construction management duties for the Build for Success Program, gave a total of $5,000.
TTL Associates made a $2,500 contribution. Squire Sanders & Dempsey PAC gave them $1,500. Border Fire Protection, Medical Mutual and Brooks Insurance each contributed $1,000. Brickler & Eckler in Columbus gave them $500.
Even their phone supplier, AT&T, got into the act with a $1,500 donation.
Other vendors who contributed included: Custom Computer Services, Holt Roofing, Pathway Solutions, Canberra Corporation, AVI Food Systems, Riley Law Firm, Shoen Incorporated (a subcontractor), Laibe Electric, Mr. Specialty, Goodnough & Company, Hank's Plumbing, Folding Equipment Company, Bayes Inc., and King Insurance.
Since I didn't read every financial report for 2010, I also do not know if Promedica was a vendor. They made a $2,000 contribution, but waited until after the levy had failed to do so.
Clearly vendors have a vested interest in seeing levies passed simply because they end up collecting some of the funds for the services they provide. This doesn't mean that the firms aren't sincere about 'supporting education.' But it does make you stop and think when companies who don't have to pay the property tax are donating funds to try and get you to pay more.
There are more interesting things in the campaign finance reports, but they will have to wait for further clarification before I post about them.