Monday, March 11, 2013
"Anthony Gregory on Rand Paul's Senate Filibuster," featuring Anthony Gregory
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
"Hurray for Washington," by Mary Therouxhttp://blog.independent.org/2013/02/25/hurray-for-washington/
Wednesday, February 06, 2013
Thursday, August 30, 2012
Sunday, August 19, 2012
One day, as we sat at the bottom of the dune (I found a Youtube video that shows the dune in question), there was some commotion. Two very large MI DNR employees came racing down the beach in quad runners and proceeded to attempt to ride up the dune, quickly bottoming out as the tires on the overloaded vehicles sank deep into the sand.
I asked what was going on.
One DNR officer replied that a young child had injured her neck after falling from one of the rope swings. Not knowing if the child was one of mine, I raced to the top of the dune. A young girl lay motionless in the shade of a log while other adults kindly tended to her, waiting for professional assistance.
Our two public heroes trudged up the sand, both surrendering less than halfway to the top. They stood bent over, desperately inhaling air, unable to speak coherent directions to the forthcoming EMS guys -- who, by the way, easily raced up the dune, carrying back brace and sled.
Later, I jokingly told my brother-in-law I was going to review the official report. I wanted to make certain the DNR guys did not state they arrived on the scene. In the vicinity, maybe. But certainly not on the scene.
I vaguely remember officers having to pass annual physicals. But that was before public employee unions overthrew the taxpayers.
And they call themselves public safety officers.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
But for what? For the god of democracy -- the Baal of the Neocon Christians. And for these words (from the constitutions of Iraq and Afghanistan):
First: Islam is the official religion of the State and is a foundation source of legislation:
A. No law may be enacted that contradicts the established provisions of Islam
Second: The Federal Supreme Court shall be made up of a number of judges, experts in Islamic jurisprudence, and legal scholars, ...
Article One Afghanistan shall be an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary and indivisible state.
Article Two The sacred religion of Islam is the religion of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Followers of other faiths shall be free within the bounds of law in the exercise and performance of their religious rituals.
Article Three No law shall contravene the tenets and provisions of the holy religion of Islam in Afghanistan.
When confronted with these words, can neocon Christian still cheer? Is the god of democracy really the savior of souls?
Friday, January 06, 2012
“Secular Theocracy: The Foundations and Folly of Modern Tyranny,” by David J.
Part 2 will appear in January.
David J. Theroux
Founder and President
Thursday, September 01, 2011
Friday, August 26, 2011
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Adam J. White for Olentangy School Board
My name is Adam J. White and I’m running for Olentangy School Board. I work in the private sector and spend my free time studying/participating in local politics and engaging government entities through personal interaction with our political leaders, writing letters to the editor and serving on the Republican Central Committee.
Despite many interactions with Olentangy School Board members and administrators to discuss escalating taxes and problems with Olentangy’s Curriculum, my efforts have been unsuccessful. Refusing to speak, answer or acknowledge my questions, the Olentangy School Board leaves me with only one option: Acquire a seat on the Olentangy School Board to penetrate the bureaucracy and start resolving the $400 million debt and curriculum problems.
The solutions to Olentangy’s problems are:
3.Construct a Better Curriculum
The Olentangy School Board is responsible for creating a debt close to half a Billion dollar$. Olentangy is taxing the private sector for overpriced debt that is beyond the useful life of their purchases. For example, purchasing books (average life span of 7 years) with bond money (a.k.a. money from a 30 year loan) and taxing the public for an additional 23 years after the books are no longer being used. Unable to stop spending, Olentangy has resorted to passing permanent levies (taxes) and 30 year bonds (taxes).
Spending on entitlements for school employees is excessive and causes financial hardship on the private sector. Healthcare, retirement, mandatory pay increases, sick leave payout, and other lavish benefits given to every Olentangy school employee lack any comparison with the realities of private sector job benefits. While the private sector must contribute funds for the retirement plans of Olentangy employees, the Olentangy Administrative staff does not contribute anything toward their own retirement and will still receive approximately 66% of their highest earned salary at retirement. The 11% extra contribution from taxpayers toward the administrative staff’s retirement is not mandated (a.k.a not required by law) and should be eliminated from taxpayers’ expense.
While healthcare premiums, deductibles and out of pocket limits have increased dramatically for private sector employees over the past few years, Olentangy has maintained its zero dollar ($0) deductible and 100% coinsurance coverage plan for its employees at the taxpayers’ expense. Changing the employee healthcare deductible from $0 to $1000 could save $1.7 million dollars annually (based on 1,718 employees). Olentangy’s refusal to address any significant benefit cuts (Salary / Benefits are approximately 85% of the budget) is leading the way for the financial collapse of Olentangy and the taxpayers that support our district.
Furthermore, Olentangy and American schools have fallen behind the rest of the world in math, science and reading with their “Diversity” curriculum. Injecting “diversity” into every subject has jeopardized the teaching of basic skills in many ways. Olentangy’s continuous improvement plan divides students by skin color rather than scholarship. Olentangy’s curriculum advocates dependence on government rather than self and steers children toward the need for public services; thereby, increasing the size and cost of government and the size of your tax bill.
If the top school in America only ranked 25th against other countries in math, then where does Olentangy rank?
Adam J. White for Olentangy School Board
-Construct a Better Curriculum
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I will be hosting a meet and greet this Sunday (8/28/11) at Hoggys on Polaris
from 1 to 3pm for those interested in hearing my views and/or showing support.
Drinks and appetizers will be served.
Adam J. White for Olentangy School Board
-Construct a Better Curriculum
Monday, June 06, 2011
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In addition, Feasel states she has her work cut out for her -- and this after identifying only $100,000 in cost reductions. What a way to put a dent in the budget (or is it really a ding, or maybe a scratch, or ...?).
Thursday, May 05, 2011
Jim,Great question. To my knowledge, no promise was made. So the district can be back in two years with its hand out once more.
To my knowledge, there was never a timeframe stated for how long this levy money is to last before another one is presented to voters. Do you know if this is true?
Also, what are your thoughts regarding district size? How much growth is permitted? Is there a stopping point or does the ogre just keep growing until tax burdens overwhelm the majority and "No" finally wins?
Does anyone think the lack of a promise was an oversight?
Until the taxpayers yell, "Enough!" there is no stopping the ogre.
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
Note: I know, I know, the levy was about the cuts and the kids. But the cuts were the hammer used to pass the levy. Rein in costs and the levy wasn't needed.
Tuesday, May 03, 2011
For those of us who escrow our tax payments, we are already four months behind. Remember, taxes are always paid in arrears. But they are effective the first day of the year in which a new levy is passed. That means this new levy is effective January 1, 2011.
Better tighten your belts extra hard today and begin making additional escrow payments. You don't want to face a big escrow catch-up bill early next year.
Note: The sweet irony is that as you tighten, others loosen.
The district can go back to the ballot in November with a scaled-down issue. -- Jim
Monday, May 02, 2011
Real quick response to the OFK response to my 10 reasons not to vote for the levy:
Intro: Is the bond expert the same district resident (is the expert even a district resident?) who also is the district bond consultant? If so, working the weekend was not just a freebie. I bring this up only because OFK makes the claim.
1. Bond Residuals: Call the money what you want. The interest earned is not an investment (I explain that in a couple of blog posts). The IRS does not allow governmental entities to make an arbitrage profit on tax-free bonds. So the interest is equal (dollar for dollar, for the most part) to the interest current residents have been paying on the bonds. In other words, if the revenue from the bonds earns 5%, the district can only earn 5% on its investment -- there can be no "money mak[ing] money."
2. Search the web for O'Brien's comments as reported in ThisWeekNews. He changed his story with his letter to the editor. Also note that Lucas's responses to my letter to the editor did not refute my claim about O'Brien's comments.
3. The district is using previously-taxed dollars to pay-down the current bond payments, so to speak. How is that forcing future residents to pay their fair share? The older levies actually did what they said.
4. The elementary cost is 32% higher than the last elementary ($10.035 million to $7.8 million). And that is an acceptable increase?
5. Check the current five-year forecast on the district website to see that the district planned to lower the ratio.
6. This response has never made sense. As I read it, if the levy fails, the district will ask for MORE money to offset the proposed cuts in state funding that will drive lower expenditures if the levy passes. Or something like that. The argument sounds good but does not hold up to scrutiny.
* NEW INFORMATION AVAILABLE REGARDING POTENTIAL BUSING CUTS
If the May 3 levy fails, Olentangy will no longer be able to provide the busing services that go above and beyond state requirements. That means that beginning with the 2011-12 school year, there would be no busing for high school students or any student in kindergarten through eighth grade who lives within two miles of his or her school. To assist parents in planning for this possibility, the transportation department has created maps showing the streets that are within two miles of each school and would therefore not receive bus service. Click here to view the maps. (emphasis mine)
Note the phrase "will no longer be able to provide." Now focus on "be able to." Had the district left out those three words, the statement would be a threat. But, in its current form, the statement is a lie.
Why support those who cannot be trusted?
Note: Why do the district and board lie if they have such a good story to tell? That is a valid question to ask Wade, Julie and the rest of the lot.
Sunday, May 01, 2011
Instead, the district is lowering the ratio in each year of the most-recent five-year forecast.
How do the current heads of OFK spin that little nugget?
Note: Why do the folks at OFK simply fall in line with the Wade Lucas / Julie Feasel nonsense?
The bond issue includes -- get this -- $13.5 million for a new elementary school. Given that the last elementary cost only $7.8 million, $5.7 million remain for (I was informed by the district treasurer) technology, loose furnishings and textbooks. That is $8,769 per pupil. Amazing! Amazingly expensive, that is.
Add it up (and I am being charitable here):
- use of a computer, network, etc. -- $1,000
- a desk and chair - $150
- textbooks - $250
- misc - $1,000
So, where is the remaining $6,369 per student?
Hint: It's not in your wallet.
Read this entry to see what the district does with excess bond funds -- your money. And remember, the district HAS sufficient bond residuals to build the new elementary.
Certainly not staffing, since staffing is increasing relative to students. So where were the cuts made? Hold that thought.
I just cut $1 trillion from my family budget. How, you ask? Well, I had assumed that we needed $1 trillion in additional expenses this year. Then I came to my senses and realized I didn't. But a cut is a cut. So I cut $1 trillion. You just gotta love Feasal financing.
The district has cut nothing.
Of, sure, they pared back their inflated five-year forecasts. But that is not cutting, just as my $1 trillion example is not cutting.
So take Feasal and her fictitious financing for what they are: nonsense.
Note: The folks over at OFK know better. But they have a levy to sell. And the truth is the first thing to go in campaign.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
In his reply to me letter in The Dispatch, Wade-O claims that the almost 9% forecasted health care cost increases is due to new staff. Wrong. His own five-year financial forecast has premiums rising by almost 9% annually. In addition, there are costs associated with new employees. So the total is HIGHER than than 9%.
Wade-O amazes me.
Note: Not really.
Take the Wade-O challenge: Search the Ohio Department of Taxation website for the term "tax effort." You will not find Wade-O's definition of tax effort there. So why does he make that claim and reference the tax department? Another lie?
Wade-O, changing your story doesn't say much for your truthfulness.
Friday, April 29, 2011
An internal document obtained through a public records request shows current residents paying the greater portion. Why? The district is using residual funds (which current residents are paying off) to reduce the millage in the early years.
Future residents will pay the same as a "traditional" debt structure. And both the district and OKF know they are lying about this one.
Note: Wade Lucas has pulled a few fast ones in his short tenure in Olentangy. For Feasel, it's as expected. For OFK, dangling from the puppeteer's strings are leading the organization down the wrong path.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Oletangy needs to improves its transportation department and give the efficiencies back to the taxpayers.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I had a letter published in the Delaware Gazette -- the very same letter published in The Dispatch yesterday. Turns out Wade and treasurer Jenkins replied ... and lied.
Here is my response, hopefully the Gazette will publish it:
There is a difference between obfuscation and lying. In their response to my letter (4-21-11), Olentangy superintendent Wade Lucas and treasure Rebecca Jenkins provide examples of both.
They obfuscate when they imply the Ohio Department of Taxation terms tax effort a simple ranking of districts by school millage equivalents. Here is the department's definition of tax effort: it is the percentage of income in a school district that is paid for residential and agricultural property taxes and school district income taxes.
District residents currently a pay high percentage of their income in the form of school-related taxes. Today, the district ranks in the top 10% statewide based on the department's tax effort calculation. The district has been moving up in rank over the past 10 years, a trend that will continue with the passage of this latest levy.
Lucas and Jenkins obfuscate with regard to bond residuals. According to page 57 of the district's 2010 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (available on both the district and state auditor websites), the district performed "a one time transfer of $12,200,000 to the other Capital Project fund from the Building fund."
Last year, Lucas and Jenkins, in essence, hid $12 million of bond funds and then have the nerve to turn around and claim otherwise.
Lucas and Jenkins lie when they state the five-year financial forecast does not include close to 6% average salary increases. Furthermore, they lie when they claim the forecast provides for "no base wage increase during the first three years."
Page 8 of the district's October five-year financial forecast (available on both the district and Ohio Department of Education websites) shows forecasted pay increases of $1,978,722 in fiscal year 2013, the first year of the new levy. This is a 2% average increase -- not the zero percent Lucas and Jenkins claimed in their response.
Add in the step increase and education advance and the average salary increase is close to 6%. And this continues for all subsequent years of the forecast.
If obfuscation is not a action residents want from their public officials, what about lying?
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Why is the district waiting UNTIL a levy passes before enacting the O'Brien reductions?
The current issue is overstated by millions. And O'Brien agrees with at least $5 million of that.
Monday, April 25, 2011
And this does not include the average cost of benefits.
Any wonder why the district school-related property tax burden is soon to be top 20 in the state.
Note: Number used above are from the Ohio Department of Education's Cupp Report.
Sunday, April 24, 2011
Why should you trust Olentangy For Kids? Good question! Before 1999, Olentangy’s levy campaigns were run primarily by school district employees – board members, administrators, etc. That’s still fairly commonplace across Ohio. But there are two problems with that. First, to a community member, that “campaigning” sometimes seemed self-serving. Secondly, because of that vested interest, community members sometimes were suspicious of the facts that were provided by the district’s campaign. Not surprisingly, Olentangy often lost its ballot issues. They made it their business to research and verify all campaign information and to take responsibility to distribute that information to their fellow community members. Since then, nearly 1,000 conscientious and diligent community members step up to research and prepare campaign information and to distribute it to their neighbors. We do our best to validate and verify. We’re your neighbors who care so much about our kids’ future and our community’s future that we get involved – investing our time, energy, and expertise.Oh, where to begin?
No group of concerned citizens ever "stepped up and took the campaign reins away from the district." Never happened. And I should know, as I served as OFK co-chair in 1998 and 1999. The issue prior to 1999 was organizational -- it was not an issue of district control. (Homework: Find the newspaper articles from 1998 where I lambasted the board for doing nothing during the 1998 levy campaign.)
That said, district officials participated in OFK before 1999, just as they participated in the 1999 levy and are participating in this year's levy. (Homework: Ask OFK to list the members of its strategy committee since 1999 and count how many years superintendents and communication directors served.)
Despite the claim, the "vested interest" still exists. (Homework: Ask the Delaware County Board of Elections for the OFK finance reports for the past 10 years and see who contributes to the committee -- compare community contributions with those from district employees and vendors.)
Research is only as good as those researching. During the 1999 campaign, I personally researched and answered every email sent to the committee. And my answers were not cut-n-pastes from documents provided by the district's communication department. There were a few other strong members on the early committees, but they are long gone. (Homework: Ask any of the "1,000 conscientious and diligent community members" to explain bond funding to see how well-researched the volunteers really are.)
So, why should you trust OFK? You shouldn't. Trust them only as far as you trust the district officials -- because it is district officials guiding the strategy committee, regardless of who the figure head chair is these days.
The OFK of today simply repeats what the district spoon-feeds it.
Thursday, April 21, 2011
Here is their analysis: Scioto Reserve – In the Scioto Reserve subdivision, some of the homes are part of Olentangy, while others are part of Buckeye Valley. Here is a comparison of home sales in 2010 within that subdivision:
Interestingly, I analyzed this very same question five years ago. So I figured I would analyze it once again.
To get the data (I have no idea which hat OFK pulled their data from), I went to the county auditor's site and pulled recent sales figures (from January 2010 to present) for houses (not condos) in Scioto Reserve. I then to filter out new construction (new construction sales have not been tested by the market) as well as any sale not considered an arms-length sale (there is a column on the auditor's sales report that shows valid sales). This is my data.
I then ran some statistical models (you can download a demo version of my favorite tool, NLREG, from NLREG.com) in order to see what the data say (if anything).
It turns out that there is little difference between sale prices in Scioto Reserve based on the district alone. In fact, no one should make any claim whatsoever regarding the effect of the district on property value (based on Scioto Reserve as the sample). None whatsoever.
This is the same conclusion I reached when I previously analyzed Olentangy and Buckey Valley, as well as Olentangy and Big Walnut.
But I am certain that OFK will continue using the dull conclusions of their blunt statistics.
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
This is the product of a district running a pseudo levy campaign by making stuff up right and left.
A CALL TO ACTION!
from Olentangy's School Funding Action Committee
Help the School Funding Action Committee fight the proposed state budget cuts for our schools!
The proposed budget will be hard on many school districts, but its impact on Olentangy is unparalleled due to our continued growth. Our district lost nearly $13 million in Fiscal Year (FY) 2010/2011 and will lose an additional $9 million in anticipated state revenue in FY 2012/2013 due to the previous governor's change to the Evidenced Based Funding Model. The newly proposed budget would cost the district an additional $3.3 million (44% more) of basic funding in FY 2012. In addition, the acceleration of the phase out of the Tangible Personal Property Tax reimbursement is going to force the district to make $11 million of additional cuts through FY 2014.
The School Funding Action Committee has made it easy for you to make your voice heard. Just click here to access the instructions for sending lawmakers a pre-written letter or your own thoughts on the issue.
Thank you for taking the time to help keep Olentangy a great place to live and learn!
Monday, April 18, 2011
For state retirement, the school district and the employee contribute to the employee's retirement -- unless the employee works for Olentangy, of course.
In Olentangy, the district -- which means the taxpayers -- "picks up" the employee contribution. In addition, since the district picked up the employee's contribution, that amount is considered income and subject to retirement contributions, from both the district and employee. The district -- taxpayers, once again -- "picks up" the employee contribution on the original "pickup," the pickup on the pickup.
So administrator income is actually 11% higher than advertised.
It doesn't have to. But you pay for it anyway.
Sunday, April 17, 2011
Friday, April 15, 2011
Ten years ago, the district was one of the lowest taxed in the area. Now it is heading for second place.
Note: Ironically, the graph is under the heading, "My taxes seem high. Why is that?" Ok. Let me take that bait. Could the reason your taxes seem high be because they are high? Hmmm.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
You remember, the bogus opinion from 2008 regarding the district's (supposed) ability to close schools to the public should the levy fail. Now it's a bogus opinion claiming that OFK does not have to pay for the use of school facilities, despite this opinion being in conflict with state law, board policy, and the opinion of the state attorney general.
District treasurer Rebecca (Becky) Jenkins has been nice enough and responsive. But she is not the responsible party here, that lies elsewhere.
Regardless, the district's tax consuming legal council is once again providing opinions that suit the needs of the district. According to an email from Jenkins, "He (legal council) basically said the Board is not required to charge OFK for facility use."
Not required? In violation of state law, board policy, and the opinion of the state attorney general?
I think I'll request a copy of the legal council's bill for his opinion -- it always nice to quantify the value of our tax dollars at work.
Here is my latest email to Jenkins:
Per Kevin McIver chief of the opinions section of the office of the state attorney general, opinion 91-064 still stands and OFK must pay reasonable fees. I assume that you value an AG opinion over the verbal opinion of your legal council. Let me know whether the district intends to comply with state law.
In addition, according to board policy, for OFK to use district facilities, "[a] facility use agreement must be executed and approved prior to its use by any nonschool Board sponsored group."
I request that you provide me the use agreement that is currently in effect.
Also, let me know which fee group listed in the board policy includes OFK.
I wonder if the OFK volunteers know what nonsense goes in on order to pass a levy. Is anything beyond the pale?
OFK volunteers: When you face your neighbor, remember the actions of your committee reflect on you.
Note: Here is the relevant section of the Ohio Revised Code. It is unambiguous -- unless, just maybe, your dance is for the tax dollar.
3313.77 Use of schoolhouses and grounds for public meetings and entertainments.
The board of education of any city, exempted village, or local school district shall, upon request and the payment of a reasonable fee, subject to such regulation as is adopted by such board, permit the use of any schoolhouse and rooms therein and the grounds and other property under its control, when not in actual use for school purposes, for any of the following purposes:
(A) Giving instructions in any branch of education, learning, or the arts;
(B) Holding educational, religious, civic, social, or recreational meetings and entertainments, and for such other purposes as promote the welfare of the community; provided such meetings and entertainments shall be nonexclusive and open to the general public;
(C) Public library purposes, as a station for a public library, or as reading rooms;
(D) Polling places, for holding elections and for the registration of voters, or for holding grange or similar meetings. Within sixty days after the effective date of this section, the board of education of each school district shall adopt a policy for the use of school facilities by the public, including a list of all fees to be paid for the use of such facilities and the costs used to determine such fees. Once adopted, the policy shall remain in effect until formally amended by the board. A copy of the policy shall be made available to any resident of the district upon request.
Effective Date: 08-29-1975
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Ten years ago, the district was one of the lowest taxed in the area. Now it is heading for second place.
Note: Ironically, the graph is under the heading, "My taxes seem high. Why is that?" Ok. Let me take that bait. Could the reason your taxes seem high be because they are high? Hmmm.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
Get the feeling that Olentangy would rather not be number 3 on this list (the district was number 3 inFebruary, as well)? Wonder why so many people are concerned about district salaries? Hmmm. Note: The database is not complete, but it is a start. It does not list the value is all benefits, such as the pickup, the pickup on the pickup, etc.
1. Gahanna-Jefferson City (4,570)
2. Columbus City (3,549)
3. Olentangy Local (3,342)
4. Cleveland Metropolitan (3,323)
5. Akron City (3,113)
Sunday, April 03, 2011
Some of the roots of OFK are planted firmly in the district's central office. Other roots are still pulling nutrients from some real blasts-from-the-past (Hint: Go to the OFK Twitter page to see who OFK follows -- the first letters of one begins with Avak, another Joel.)
From the OFK website:
Olentangy for Kids is a grassroots group of Olentangy residents dedicated to educating the community about the upcoming levy. Our goal is to provide the voters of Olentangy with the facts surrounding the upcoming ballot issue so that they can make an informed decision at the polls.
Olentangy for Kids is completely funded by private donations and relies on community support through our network of volunteers.
Saturday, April 02, 2011
Friday, April 01, 2011
Regardless of their value, Hilliard and Worthington have community-run websites that question their respective school districts. These are sites organized and run by folks in the community. And they go by these names: educatehilliard.org and educateworthington.org. Again, regardless of their value, these are community-run sites.
Now, venture over to educateolentangy.org. Wade-O and his propagandist over at the Olentangy School District recently bought their domain in order to play Olentangy residents. In other words, taxpayers are once again being played with their very own, hard-earned tax dollars.
Has Olentangy no shame?
Thursday, March 31, 2011
You know the story: Good ol' Wade -- the selfless educator and public servant -- just wants to help the kids, so he accepts the offer from the Olentangy board of education. Since Wade can be trusted, there is no need to agree to a contract at the time of offer. We are all family here. Right?
Everthing goes swimmingly until its time to agree to the specifics: the dollars -- salary and benefits. Then, old Wade loses the facade of altruism and goes for the big bucks. Hey, he has the board backed into a corner since the board already announced his imminent arrival, and he knows it. Sure, the super majority of the board is a bunch of hacks, but is that reason enough to beat up the taxpayer?
So, the Olentangy taxpayers gets Wade as the new superintendent -- a public servant who is out for himself. He out-maneuvered the board and now the community has to pay his outrageous salary. And, when he retires, the taxpayers of Ohio are on the hook for over $200K per year. Think about that, Wade is going to retire with a tax-funded income of close to one-quarter million dollars per year.
I guess the selfless public servants in education need to be insulated from our current financial crisis -- they are only about the kids, you know.
All about the kids? Nope. It's all about Wade. He outplayed the board and nailed the taxpayer. And he hasn't even started working yet. Here we go again.
Note: The board is voting on his contract today at 5:30. Go and give Wade a big hello for the taxpayers who are paying, and paying, and paying ...
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
And that support fell when the cost was conveyed to those being surveyed. Even after being made aware of the threatened cuts, 58.5% stated they were less likely to support the issues once the $242 per $100,000 accessed valuation was stated.
First Powell taxpayers defeated their income tax issue. Now it is time for the district taxpayers to stand up against out-of-control district spending.
1. The survey is public record. If you want a copy, request it from the district treasurer.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
What of the $12.2 million transfer from the building fund to the permanent improvement fund? Well it's moving into the debt fund -- according to the "2011 Preliminary Financing Plan" prepared by Baird -- in order to allow the district to claim that it is benefiting current taxpayers over future taxpayers..
This is all esoteric financing. Let's take a look at what is being advertised.
Olentangy for Kids makes this claim in response to its FAQ "How does a "no additional mill" bond levy work?"
This bond issue will be listed on the ballot as being for .50 mills. However, due to rapid growth, it will be collected at no additional mills.First off, relative rapid growth is history. Yes, the district is growing, but not at the same percentage as years past.
This plan addresses growth while keeping our tax rates low. Current residents should see NO increase in their tax rate for school bonds, which results in future residents paying more than they would have under a “traditional” debt structure.
Structuring the bond debt in this fiscally responsible manner creates a situation in which future residents pay more of their fair share. Those already living in the district will see a much lower millage than they would have under traditional debt funding.
So the district is now unable to structure the upcoming issue in order to meet this claim -- the claim is a lie.
The district is using your tax dollars -- taxes you overpaid in previous years -- to offset what would have been in increase in bond mills.
Think of it this way: Last year the district taxed you at 10 mills. This year they only needed 9 mills but taxed you at the same 10 mills. Next year (should the levy pass) they will need 11 mills but will only tax you at 10, and they will offset the 11th mill with the mill you overpaid this year.
Debt isn't being pushed into the future so that incoming resident pay more. There is no "fair share" to be paid by new residents. You have already paid for a benefit that will be reaped by new residents. If you believe otherwise, you have been snookered by the board and administration.
So here is what the district plans to do: It will begin setting itself up for future levy (say 2014) that will increase your taxes. You will overpay -- pay more than what is required -- and the district will bank that money and then claim that it will run a "no additional mills" levy for the subsequent issue. But you will have already paid the additional mills.
You have overpaid the district $27 million dollars (almost a year's worth of total bond payments). And now it claims that it is going to keep your taxes flat -- as if it is doing you a favor.
The $12.2 million fund transfer is part of the ruse to bolster a claim that is nothing short of a lie.
Note: The report from Baird shows that a traditional levy would have averaged 5.91 mill to be paid. The "no additional mills" structure reduces the millage to an average of 5.87 mills. So the distict will save the taxpayer an average of .04 mills? Nope. In order to save us an average of .04 mills, we had to have already overpaid the district some $14 million dollars.
-- end series --
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
When I was on the board, before Olentangy placed its first and only "no additional tax" levy on the ballot, I met with the then-treasurer of a nearby district. This treasurer may have created the first instance of a "no additional tax" levy in Ohio -- a "no additional tax" levy is more strict, so to speak, than a "no additional mills" levy. So he was very informative.
Here's what he explained: When a district wants to run "no additional mills" levies, it must never let it's bond millage rate drop. Never. That is true even if the district does not need the additional revenue to pay back the maturing bonds.
Why? Because if the millage drops, then the district will have to ask for additional mills on the next ballot.
Think of if this way: If the millage required to pay currently maturing bonds dropped below 8.72 mills (say to 7.72 mills), then the district couldn't have claimed it was structuring this next bond issue as "no additional mills." It would have had to say that it was asking for an additional mill. So your taxes did not go down -- you overpaid -- just so that the district could make a nonsense claim.
The district overtaxes residents in order to claim that it is saving taxpayers money. Did you get that?
But it's not saving money. It is taking dollars from your wallet and sitting on them, only to turn around and pretend that it was all for your benefit.
Thanks a lot.
This is another reason why the district is sitting on a year's worth of bond-related tax dollars.
First we learned about the interest benefit. Now we have learned about the slick selling pitch.
With this background, tomorrow we can address the movement of $12.2 million from the building fund to the permanent improvement fund.
-- end part 2 --
Monday, March 21, 2011
The district has a number of funds. For this series, we are only concerned with four funds: general, building, debt, and permanent. The general fund is for general operating expenses. The building fund is where the proceeds from the sale of bonds are initially deposited. The debt fund is where tax revenue to pay the maturing bonds is deposited. The permanent improvement fund is used for various capital expenditures (in general, improvements that have a life of five years or more).
Once a bond levy is approved by the voters, the district is authorized to sell bonds not to exceed the amount or length designated on the ballot. The district is not required to sell the bonds in the amount listed on the ballot, it can sell less. Though the authorization to sell, if unused, expires after five years.
The district does not have to sell all authorized bonds at once. And it can select various maturity dates. In essence, the district creates its own payment plan.
Let's assume the district passed a $1 million levy to build a new bus depot. The issue was advertised to be for a bus depot, but the ballot language authorizes the district to spend the $1 million on just about anything (read the actual ballot language before voting). So the district could sell the bonds and use the funds to renovate some administrative suites.
The bonds are packaged and sold and the proceeds deposited into the building fund. The next tax year, the district can choose (within bounds, of course) the mills to be collected the following year. The mills are collected and deposited into the debt fund.
I'll play nice and have the district build its bus depot. The payments are likely staggered, maybe over two years (depending on the build time). The unused money in the bond fund does not sit idle. It is invested and earns an interest return.
Since school bonds are tax-exempt, they are subject to IRS arbitration rules. Arbitration stops issuers of tax-exempt bonds from a earning profit from the spread between the interest on the bonds and the interest earned on investments. For the most part (with a few exceptions), any interest "profit" is "taxed" by the feds.
That said, the district pays no interest -- the taxpayers do. So, even though the district cannot earn a nominal profit, it can and does earn a real profit since it receives interest from the invested bonds proceeds while the taxpayers pay the interest on the bonds.
All interest earned from bonds is deposited in the general fund. This means that taxpayers are funding operating expenses with 27-year (for the most part) loans. Hmmm.
The district can overtax -- ask for more mills and hence more revenue than it needs to pay the bonds that are maturing. Again, money does not sit idle in the debt fund, it is invested and earns the district an interest return. Arbitration is not an issue here.
So it benefits the district over the taxpayer to sell more bonds than needed and tax more than is required.
It's no wonder that the district has close to $27 million over the various funds (including, since last year, the permanent improvement fund -- more to follow) more than it needs.
And it's no wonder that the district does its very best to hide those funds from their true owners -- the taxpayers.
--end part 1--