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"
Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,ScottGalloway@insight.rr.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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)