Saturday, April 18, 2009

Paul at SavetheHilliardSchools: supporting the status quo by leading folks astray

Paul over at SavetheHilliardSchools is the epitome of a school district shill. He plays the outsider, but his agenda is all about the inside. To that end, Paul shares his agenda with the Hilliard board and administration.

Paul's claims that he is trying to teach the taxpayers all the esoteric nuances of school funding. Why? Because -- he claims -- educated voters will challenge the district status quo. So he sets out pronouncing nonsense, most of which support the spending habits of the district.

Here's a telling comment from Paul relative to the Olentangy school district. From this Olentangy
flyer, Paul calls out this comment: Point #5: "… the school taxes from a typical home cover only a fraction of the cost to educate just one student." WRONG!

It's one of the big lies coming from the Olentangy school district. I challenged Paul with this note (a comment he refused to post):


In Olentangy, a new home only brings (on average) one-half student. Therefore it takes two new homes to generate an additional student. So, you have two properties that hit the SF3, adding to both the charge-off and the per-pupil funding.

So, assuming that new homes go for (on average) $325,000, the district gets $8000 in new tax revenue (including the state’s property tax allocation). The district also gets $5732 based on per pupil funding, plus other per pupil funding (including building blocks, federal funding, etc), less the charge-off of $5,200.

The final result shows revenue that is over 90% of the district average expenditure ($9200 for FY08).

Capital costs are handled by bonds, but your “fact” was relative to operations.

I use average costs since I do not know the marginal costs on a per student basis. But that is a correct use of an average value.

Again, this does not account for other properties, such as condos and commercial development.

The key is the whole argument begs the question: Why is $9200 per pupil considered the standard to judge sufficient revenue. Until you look at things differently, you are always arguing the district’s point of view.
For a guy who claims he is all about truth, he certainly doesn't like to be challenged by it.

Growing districts love to blame growth for all of their financial woes. That makes sense because it is an easy lie to accept. Growth costs. Hmmm. That sounds right. Yet growth in Olentangy is not the reason for new levies.

The reason is simple: Employee costs continue to rise fast, incredibly fast. Where folks in other sectors of the economy are happy to have jobs this year, Olentangy district employees continue to receive great raises at taxpayer expense (note the recent administrative raises of close to 4.5%, all said and done).

Paul doesn't accept the truth about growth since it challenges his desire to see growth in Hilliard stopped. Paul needs something to attack in order to halt new homes that disturb the view from his back door. So, he joins the district and blames new levies on growth.

And it goes beyond that. Paul states he is the outsider challenging the district. Yet, at levy time, Paul posts this:

Why We Need to Vote FOR the Levy

Please also read
this proposal I've made to the school leadership.
>> NEW: KJ says
'Make you voice heard!'

The reason is simply this:
The cuts that will take place if the levy fails – the cuts which the Administration recommended and the School Board unanimously approved – will severely wound the school district yet do nothing to solve the fundamental problems.

I don't think there's anything more important to be said before then.
Paul's certainly not a change agent. Subsequent to the passage of the Hilliard levy, Paul made this statement:

Now is the time to honor the commitment many of us made to support the levy, yet demand change. Our support of this levy was in no way an endorsement of the current mode of operations, but our words are empty unless we now act.

The first meeting of our team is now being planned. If you want to be a participant in change, and not just a Monday morning quarterback, send me an email and you'll be added to our distribution list.
That team has since come and gone -- proven to be ineffective at even organizing, let alone challenging. So, yes, those were empty words.

Now, Paul wants to run for a Hilliard board seat. Amazingly, he has some of his readers convinced that he will support the taxpayer. Not likely. Paul's challenges are all talk.

What really offends me about Paul is the game he plays. He tries to convince his readers that he has their best interests in mind. I'll educate you, you'll vote for me, and then I'll look out for you. Huh. Paul is simply politics as usual.

Paul fancies himself another Jennifer Smith (the Olentangy board member who takes the heat -- real heat -- for standing up for the taxpayer), yet Paul will fold in with the fold on signal from the hungry pack of wolves.

Note: Taxpayers do not have to know every aspect of school funding to know they are getting a raw deal. Paul will claim to educate in the interim, and then rob at levy time, just like a mugger who explains what he is about to do right before the pipe hits your head.


Anonymous said...

I think that Jim and Paul have the same intentions, although Jim states his much more intensely. I, too, wish Paul would cut to the chase and strongly say the staff is going to have to simply bite it for a few years until the economy catches up to their level. Even the step raises should be off the table for now, as have raises for almost all of the private sector. State & city employees are being forced to take unpaid days off, yet we are guaranteeing 70% of the teachers 4%, with more to be bargained for? Totally ridiculous. The HCSD Board, as well as all the other Boards, must risk the teachers going on strike - their groups need some good old fashioned union busting. But I doubt it will happen, not in Hilliard, and not in Olentangy either. There is way too much PC talk going on, even among those who are teed off.

Anonymous said...

It's like everyone listens to the Beach Boys song, "Be True to Your School!"

How dare you speak out against your Schools. Do you eat kids for breakfast too?

Jim Fedako said...

10:37 --

That's funny.