Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Real Smokin' Gun

Here is another email obtained through a public records request.

Note that in Ohio, a school district cannot spend public funds to influence a tax issue. Yet, according to the email exchange below, it appears the district did just that when it hired Avakian to "aid with the levy."

What?!? Yes, it's true. The treasurer, responding to a question from board member Smith, noted that the (then current) interim superintendent (Hooie) admitted the district hired Avakian in order to aid with the passage of the 2008 levy. Amazing.

The district hired Avakian in January 2008 for a $20,000, full-year contract. Yet the district didn't pay Avakian directly. No, the district paid Avakian through the Franklin County ESC. Why? I believe the district laundered payments through FCESC in order to hide the contract and payments from inquiring minds.

According to the contract between Avakian and the district, Avakian was to be paid in four quarterly installments for a full year of service to the district. Yet, soon after the levy, the district authorized FCESC to make a "final close" payment to Avakian.

The district closed its account with Avakian after less than three months had passed. Does that even make sense?

In all my public record requests, the district never produced any evidence that Avakian actually produced for its $20,000 in tax dollars. I obtained no communication between Avakian and the district -- or any report or document, for that matter -- that would lead me to believe Avakian produced anything of value. Yet they were paid in-full three months into a 12-month contract. For what?

The email below answers that question.

It's one thing to spend my tax dollars promoting district nonsense. It's another thing altogether to spend my tax dollars in order to aid a levy.

Have those folks no shame? Sorry, that was rhetorical.

Note: The district doesn't really do anything. Certain individuals do (or did).

To: "Jennifer Smith"

From: "Rebecca Jenkins"


Per Ms. Hooie:

The services were to aid with the levy, were used last year...specifically hired by Scott and Carole Dorn Bell.

PO 2810858 is attached.


(emphasis in the original -- Jim)


Anonymous said...

Not to distract anyone from the real smoking gun but my question has always been...why are school employees permitted to erect signs on public property (school property) that I pay for that urge me and the rest of the people to vote themselves higher taxes? I pay for the school and I am thoroughly opposed to taxes and levies and yet I am not allowed to put a sign on the property I pay for to oppose the taxes and levies. Even when a majority is opposed to taxes and levies for the school, even when the levies lose, the government parasites use that property to propagandize for more money for themselves. This is an outrage.

Jim Fedako said...

7:11 --

Good question. If the district places signs on its property, anyone can -- even those opposed to the levy.

Of course, the employees can place signs on their personal cars, but so can the opposition.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, when our children were in school at Bexley, and Clinton was running for President, the high school building was where I voted. As I walked down the sidewalk in front of the school the street along which I walked was filled with cars that had large Clinton political signs in the windows. Cars of teachers. Clearly violating the rule about political signs within so many feet of polling places. When I got inside the building, high school children were holding political signs for Clinton. That year one of our child's teachers urged students to vote for Clinton. Gotta love these government schools and their teachers' unions.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that schools cannot put signs on the property that say vote for a levy. And teachers are not permitted to have any "vote yes" items in the building. I know teachers were asked to take down the "vote yes" stickers that were meant for cars from their door windows. Also there was an information booth at Hyatts MS and it had a bunch of vote yes stuff. It was removed and just now had information about the levy. They said they were not allowed to have a vote yes or vote no aspect at that table or on the property. I don't think I have every seen any vote yes signs on district least not at the schools my children go to.

Jim Fedako said...

2:58 --

The district CAN put pro-levy signs on its property. But, by doing so, they create an open forum for the opposition.

If you remember back just a few years, the Delaware Career Center (JVS) had pro-levy signs on their South 23 campus.

It is not illegal, just as it is not illegal for the levy committee to meet in district buildings. But, again, the district has to provide the same accomidation for the opposition.

Anonymous said...

I can't count the number of times I've seen government school/public/taxpayer funded property displaying signs urging passage of taxes, levies, bond issues. Teachers tell students to urge their parents to vote for taxes/levies. Schools hold meetings in buildings to plan how to get voters to give them more taxes. School employees instigate events like parades of students marching through the streets in support of levies. School employees have held parties in school buildings to celebrate political victories (and I suspect bought the refreshments with tax money). And nothing is every done to stop it.