Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Olentangy Levy: Parents Blinked

Frightened by your own board.

It certainly appears that threats work. But, to be threatened by your own elected officials and paid bureaucrats. Well ...

A little push and the board wouldn't have cut your busing -- it had no reason to cut that or any program. In your hearts, you knew it. Yet, you cowed under pressure of your own elected officials. Democracy at work, I assume.

Really, 10 parents in the boardroom are enough for any board to question its decisions. Make that 50 parents, and busing would have stayed, along with everything else.

Keep in mind that accountability is a two-way street. The community must be willing to stare down the board and administration every now and again. Otherwise, in their own minds, the board and administration grow more and more conceited. Olentangy saw that in the 90's, and I expect that we will see it again.

So, as the board and superintendent stared, the parents blinked. The result is this: Parents gave the board and superintendent a mandate to do whatever they choose. Whether the next issue is likely high salary increases, perverse books, or something else -- parents, do not complain. Your blink allowed whatever power you once held to pass from community to board and superintendent.

Transportation for control -- a Faustian bargain of sorts.

It was as simple as that.

17 comments:

taxpayer of 3 kids said...

Jim:

Blinked....who are you kinding! This community closed their eyes and hoped their buses would re-appear.

School finances are so complex and the electorate is too simple minded to really look into the issues.

Well, Andy got his 4 more buildings. Scott got his bonus and now he gets to screw with peoples lives again during a resdistricting effort. He and Andy will lie and deceive us like last time. Is Andy really in charge?

Side bar question....why was a former board president able to slide into a 6 figure job created by his board...just 6 months after he quit? Doesn't the school district have the same revolving door policies as most state offices?

Keep the fight.....they will blow all this money....keep millions in the bank and be back in 3 years to threaten us. Gee...maybe they might reinstitute the foreign language program for 6th graders next year...that they are quietly cutting unbeknownst to the parents of 5th graders.

This district is a giant con....and i get to pay $1800 more annually for it....so I will use my constitutional voice to point out the B.S. in the schools.

Sorry for the ramble...I am awestruck by ignorance!

taxpayer of 3 kids said...

Jim:

Blinked....who are you kinding! This community closed their eyes and hoped their buses would re-appear.

School finance are so complex and the electorate is too simple minded to really look into the issues.

Well, Andy got his 4 more buildings. Scott got his bonus and now he gets to screw with peoples lives again during a residistricting effort that they will lie and deceive us like last time.

Side bar question....why was a former board president able to slide into a 6 figure job created by his board...just 6 months after he quit? Doesn't the school district have the same revolving door policies as most state offices?

Keep the fight.....they will blow all this money....keep millions in the bank and be back in 3 years to threaten us. Gee...maybe they might reinstitute the foreign language program for 6th graders next year...that they are quietly cutting unbeknownst to the parents of 5th graders.

This district is a giant con....and i get to pay $1800 more annually for it....so I will use my constitutional voice to point out the B.S. in the schools.

Stan said...

oh my gosh....do you ever give up? The community members have spoken! Even more overwhelmingly than in 2004! Move if you don't like to support the schools. This community does.

Anonymous said...

"We blinked"... that is an iteresting position to take.

Speaking as an undecided voter, the decision wasn't a difficult one to make when the time to vote arrived. Those who support Jim Fedako 100% believe in his numbers/philosophy/rhetoric. Those who support OFK believe in their numbers/threats/values. As a nuetral member of society with 3 kids in school, I found both positions to be like Democrats vs. Republicans.

Here is what I believe most people believed, which is why the levy passed.

1 - Yes, they were threats, but that is emotion not factually relevant information.
2 - If we voted this one down, another levy would follow behind it. Everyone agrees that at some point in the near future, the money will be needed. Pay now or pay later. 5% interest on $1800 = $90. Big deal.
3 - The price of private school is an additional $5K per year for my family. This level results in an extra $1800 / year for my family. It was a steal of a deal. I, like Jim, believe that the family is a more reliable source of education than schools. Because my wife and I reenforce education w/ our kids at home, they will be successful whereever we send them. I will concur that public schools lack the quality of private schools. See "Next Steps" below regarding this opportunity to get more involved.
4 - The numbers... noone could distinctly prove to me or the public that their numbers were 100% right. Go ahead, make fun of me..... But at the end of the day, I spent hours looking into the numbers and found it to be difficult to justify anyones accuracy. So, the conclusion is that "numbers are numbers."

Next Steps:

The good news is that this levy and this blog created a significant increase in my knowledge and awareness of OLSD, finances, and operations. I will become a more active participant in School Board Meetings and our school district in general as a result to ensure that my money and your money is spent wisely. I encourage each of you to do the same. This way, your voice can be heard, even if you feel your vote wasn't. It is OUR school district and each of us can make a positive impact, even if we are bullied by the board, by Dr. Davis, and OFK. Take a stand, fight for what you believe is right, and present positive alternatives to topics you take issue with. Complaining without optional solutions is a waste of energy.

A sincere thank you goes out to Jim for all of the work he put into this Blog. It was very valuable in educating me on the issue.

Thanks,

Stan (Just kidding.) ; )

Anonymous said...

This was in the Delaware Gazette,so be prepared in 2011 for another levy.
Davis said the school district projects this combined issue and operating levy will meet district financial needs for the next three years and means no levy requests and no bond issues until 2011.

Scott said...

The biggest lesson that I've taken out of this entire election process is that fear works. We see it in national, state, and local elections.

I have always said that I would support a tax increase that was fair. Something around the 2-3% annual range. It's not about "not supporting the schools" it's about being fair to the taxpayer.

Stan, if you like 5-7% (depending on a 3 or 4 year calculator) annual property tax increases I still feel that you're in the minority. Fairness isn't what made the issue pass. Fear did that.

In 3 or 4 years when the district is back, asking to again jack up taxes to an even more ridiculous point, look for some organized opposition to present some real facts. This has to end somewhere doesn't it?

See all of you in 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Jim, for fighting the good fight. You showed a lot more integrity than anyone from the administration.

We can all agree that our schools need to be funded. That was never the argument:
The debate has always been:
Does the district need the money at this time?
Does the district need the amount of money it has requested? (or, rather, should the administration be allowed to collect, or be trusted with, the amount they asked for?)

These are very important questions to ask. You asked these questions and the district gave conflicting (5 year forecast), erroneous (take your pick among several) and deceitful ($6M in "cuts") answers in return. In the case of the board Maximum Leader Gallowaste and the district's attorney, there were non answers.

I voted "No" because I DO support our schools--and I support them more strongly than OFK does. I support them so much so that I want to maximize the amount of funds going to the kids instead of going into the subsidy slop buckets the adminstration calls "expense streams".

Defeat, while highly inconvenient for many residents, would have brought humility to the pigs at the trough, and allowed for a second and third look at the millage being asked. Real saves and cost containment would have been enacted instead of phony saves on phantom "forecasted" expenses. And then we could have an honest discussion with a more realistic funding request going into November.

I don't feel defeated, as I agree in principle that the schools require funding. But I sure do feel energized to do my part to make sure the administration spends the money wisely.

To everyone reading this: please become involved. Do your part to keep Galloway, McFerson, Meider, Feasel and Smith focused on managing our money responsibly.
Ask questions and demand answers.

Thank you, Jim.

Scott said...

One last point. I think that voter turnout had a lot to do with the outcome. Here is the breakdown for Delaware County for party:

BALLOTS CAST - TOTAL. . . . . . . 56,288
BALLOTS CAST - DEMOCRATIC . . . . . 29,096 51.69
BALLOTS CAST - REPUBLICAN . . . . . 25,442 45.20
BALLOTS CAST - NONPARTISAN. . . . . 10,793 19.17

It hardly reflects the makeup of the county. Seems to me that a tight presidential race on the democratic side brought more democrats, more union-friendly voters, to the polls. Had the race on the republican side been closer, the issue outcome might have been different. But maybe not. Still, the party breakdown was pretty interesting for this county.

Anonymous said...

This is a sad outcome. All the taxpayers have done is give the school board the authority to spend like drunken sailors again.The administation gets a fat retirement and I have to work untill I'm ninety to retire. I thought things might change this time, but I guess real conservatives WILL have to move. As for keeping that fiscal eye on Scott Gallaway...HA! Just try and get him to take a stand on anything other than passing a tax levee!!
Sick of the same old crap

Anonymous said...

Democrat turnout undeniably played a major role in the levy's passage. Here's the Vote Yes demographic breakdown as I see it:

- Democrats

- PTA/OFK supporters and the mentally ill

- Fearful, ill-informed lemmings "please don't take Johnny's violin away! Here's $1,200--just take it!"

- Democrat, mentally ill PTA/OFK lemmings

If OFK had put in its literature that Obama wants to spend $17B on teacher raises he would have won Delaware County.

Anonymous said...

This is probably the best comment for the future...

---------------------------
I don't feel defeated, as I agree in principle that the schools require funding. But I sure do feel energized to do my part to make sure the administration spends the money wisely.

To everyone reading this: please become involved. Do your part to keep Galloway, McFerson, Meider, Feasel and Smith focused on managing our money responsibly.
Ask questions and demand answers.
-------------------------

I'll be there with you. The next Board Meeting is 3/11 at 6PM. The one after that is 4/8. I too encourage everyone to go. Let's push for five years of life out of the three year budget we just passed.

Anonymous said...

Amen, bro. We need to make sure that levy is stretched as far as it can possibly go.

BTW, $17B in federal money for teacher raises is Obama's actual pledge to them. Frightening.

Taxpayer of 3 kids said...

In my late night rant...I forgot several important items. 1) Two of kids are in strings. 2) One is in honors/excellerated classes, the other in gifted programs. 3)One is in sports and one in drama. 4) Two of three live under the proposed 2 miles limit. 5) All 3 involved in OYAA sports.

Those points being said....everything my children were involved in was going to be cut. My wife and I both voted no! Why? The reasons stated in these posts. Schools need funding, but they also need accountability and transparency in their management. OLS lacks both. Let's all keep the fight and make this last 5 years.

Anonymous said...

@ Scott
I wonder how many lemming Republicans were following Coulter and Rush in voting for Hillary.

Anonymous said...

This Republican didn't, and I know of no other who did. Mischief voting last night was the phenomenon that wasn't. Dems just had gangbuster turnout this year: They finally found a candidate corrupt enough, and another vapid enough, to motivate them into actually voting for a change. Yipee!

Scott said...

Guys, I'm not going to get into Hillary bashing here. I'm a democrat that believes in a balanced budget and controlled spending. So you may ask why I'm a democrat. 2 reasons. One is the fact that republicans, including our school board, have shown zero fiscal restraint. Secondly are social issues, privacy issues and Iraq which I won't get into on this blog. If the libertarian party were more mainstream I would probably refer to myself as one.

I personally know of one die-hard republican co-worker that listened to Rush and voted for Hillary. So it did happen. Having said that, while union-supporting democrats may have had an impact, I still believe that fear was the primary motivation for issue passage. The same people that voted for this issue are probably the same people that are OK with unrestricted power within the executive branch of the federal government. Ron Paul's message was an interesting one but it obviously fell on deaf ears this election season.

Fear traverses party lines.

Anonymous said...

Who's Hillary-bashing? What I read into your comment was that Republicans were lemmings, beholden to Coulter and Rush. Please...and knowing only one Pub who voted that way doesn't a phenomenon make.

As for the Republicans on the board, most don’t act like one. “Republican” is really a verb—not a noun. Real Republicans understand this.

Gallowaste has been on the board for more than a year, and I think it took him six months to utter his first, complete sentence. Inheriting Fedako’s seat made him look like a boy wearing his father’s suit, and, sadly, he never grew into it. Alas, Galloway has been a complete disappointment. Google on "RINO" and you’ll see his GQ-esque, airbrushed BoE file photo there; the picture almost makes him look like a leader…that is, until you remember it’s Scott Galloway.

McFerson ran for BoE again so he could be involved in selecting a new superintendent when Davis steps down. It would have been nice if Dimon’s desire to return was to complete his term and to serve the public—not just to lead the search for another bullshitter to give a half million taxpayer dollars to.

Meider has always treated her seat as a vanity position, viewing it more as a ceremonial role rather than as a real responsibility. In the audio of board meetings you can hear the swooshing sound of pom-poms while Teri leads the board in congratulating Slick Davis—the Half Million Dollar Man—and his greasy minions for successfully bullshitting the good residents of this district with yet another feat of deceit.

Feasel is wrong on the issues (her tortured position on the school newspaper flap was a low point) but, then again, I never had high expectations of her to begin with. But I look forward to her becoming more involved in local Democrat politics. With broad name recognition and rock star status among the PTA/OFK coffee klatch, the RINOs, crooks and disbarred troglodytes who currently run the county GOP will need to get with the program, get out of the way, or get run over. Strong competition makes for a stronger GOP, folks.

Smith ran on a campaign of fiscal accountability. We’ll need to keep her to her word. She’s too new to comment on any more than that, but so far I like what I hear from her in the meetings.