Let me get this straight: A law, which has a direct impact on the finances of the Olentangy District, was passed three years ago, and it's now news to Andy Kerr, district director of facilities.
According to ThisWeekNews.com, "The law, signed in 2005 by then-Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, is designed to protect and improve the environmental health and safety of students and staff in school buildings." Yet, the cost of the improvements -- likely to total more than $500,000 -- has not been budgeted by the district.
Did you get that? The district just passed a huge bond issue and Kerr forgot to add in the known costs of a law that is three years old. Three years old!
You can read this a couple of different ways: Kerr and the administration are incompetent; or, they are already telling tales of woe in support of the next levy.
Let's look at incompetence: How can Kerr and company miss such a big ticket expense? Amazing, isn't it? Everyone associated with public education knew about this law. Well, let me take that back. Everyone with an ounce of competence knew about the law. Yet, there stands Kerr declaring to the papers that he and the rest of the administration missed it altogether. He built a bond issue but forgot the law. Shameful.
Or, tales of woe: I wouldn't be surprised that the district is about to begin bombarding its taxpayers with tales of woe regarding state-mandated expenditures. Sure, this law is a real waste, but that doesn't excuse the district from missing it altogether. It looks like we will hear three years of how smooth the district operates, and how the mean old state is out to get it. Yet, the district never mentions the fact that it has been on the receiving end of millions in state basic aid due to a flaw in the state funding formula. That's right. Olentangy was considered an impoverished district right before the 2004 levy passed. The result, the district has received over $10 million more than it would have if the formula didn't have a few holes. Of course, it's the tales of woe that sell levies -- plus threats, etc.
So, it's either incompetence, or a tale-of-woe PR stunt. Or, and this is my guess, Kerr and company had to come up for air and finally took noticed of the new law. You can only keep your head buried in the public trough for so long.
note: Of course, the district is flush with residual bonds and investment income. But, for the OFK fanatics, I am assuming that none of that exists; the district is running a tight ship with no money to spare. Huh!