Friday, January 18, 2008

Olentangy Levy: More nonsense

From a recent district email:

Due to responsible fiscal management and higher than expected revenues, the district stretched the 2004 operating dollars to last one year beyond the board's three-year promise to voters. During that time, the district opened 5 new schools without asking voters for additional operating funds.

If the March 4 ballot issue does not pass, class sizes will increase and additional redistrictings (sic) may be required in order to alleviate the overcrowding.

Response to the first paragraph: I sat on the board during most of this period and can emphatically state that neither the board nor the administration managed its finances with this in mind. Circumstances -- housing market and state funding -- allowed the levy to last another year. In fact, many board members (including the former board president) and the superintendent wanted to go back on the ballot in 2006 and then again in 2007.

Response to the second paragraph: This is the big lie: According to state law, the district must cut $10.4 million in FY09 if the levy fails. A BIG LIE which I have detailed in prior posts. The district only needs to reduce expenditures by $2 million in order to balance its budget. That's it. The rest of the cuts are threats to punish parents if the levy fails. The superintendent is simply stating that he is unwilling to negotiate lower salary and benefit increases. He, instead, will cut programs. Salaries come before programs in his minds. Amazing? Maybe not, he did negotiate a real sweet deal for himself last summer.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

...a deal that could have funded a couple of new teachers for five years. Something to think about.

Taxpayer of 3 kids said...

Jim...while I don't support this levy, I am curious why 1) the district wants to spend 14m for a 200 student expansion at OHS when capacity won't be an issue until 14-15 when they estimate a 4th HS will come on line. 2) How do they justify such expense for so little gain. 3) Why don't they use Shanahan as an elementary and middle and move the administrative palace to rental space elsewhere in the district. Those two line items would save an easy 25m. It is easier and cheaper to rent offices than to build new schools.

Jim Fedako said...

Response found in my next post -- Olentangy Levy: a couple of good questions.

Anonymous said...

Is it true that the school district could have saved a million a year on busing for the last 4 years? I heard that the state has a school transportation dept. that came up with a proposal at the time of the last levy, is that true?

Jim Fedako said...

Olentangy's transportation costs have always been much higher than necessary. To my knowledge, the district never sought help from state-level experts.

I am waiting on the new CAFR to be published so that I can see if any savings occured due to the new walk policy.

My bet is that no savings will be found.

Anonymous said...

I have supported all of Olentangy's past levies but feel compelled to deliver a "no" vote this time. I'm tired of the threats and arrogance. There seems to be a disconnect with reality of how the private sector needs to live within its means, while the school administration acts entitled to not have to do likewise. $900 extra per year is a good chunk of change to a lot folks in this district - given the impacts of inflation and stagnant wage growth (again in the private sector. Messrs. McFerson and Davis do not seem to have any appreciation for that and speak in terms of "irreparable" harm if this issue is not passed, but I'm of opinion that the opposite is true - rubber stamping a "yes" vote fails to require any accountability from Davis and company.

Anonymous said...

I had a volunteer show up at my front door today and I had to research this further because I really wasn't for it at all and I'm glad to see that I am not the only one that feels this levy is unnecessary. They threaten to take away transportation to kids within 2 miles of the school to keep activities like, strings, middle school sports, and middle school drug test. You know what I say? The safety of my child getting to school is going to come WAY before any activity that is not required so cut your extra fluff that you don't need. I pay enough taxes in this district so stop threatening me! I can only imagine what people without children think of this...