Why should you trust Olentangy For Kids? Good question! Before 1999, Olentangy’s levy campaigns were run primarily by school district employees – board members, administrators, etc. That’s still fairly commonplace across Ohio. But there are two problems with that. First, to a community member, that “campaigning” sometimes seemed self-serving. Secondly, because of that vested interest, community members sometimes were suspicious of the facts that were provided by the district’s campaign. Not surprisingly, Olentangy often lost its ballot issues. They made it their business to research and verify all campaign information and to take responsibility to distribute that information to their fellow community members. Since then, nearly 1,000 conscientious and diligent community members step up to research and prepare campaign information and to distribute it to their neighbors. We do our best to validate and verify. We’re your neighbors who care so much about our kids’ future and our community’s future that we get involved – investing our time, energy, and expertise.Oh, where to begin?
No group of concerned citizens ever "stepped up and took the campaign reins away from the district." Never happened. And I should know, as I served as OFK co-chair in 1998 and 1999. The issue prior to 1999 was organizational -- it was not an issue of district control. (Homework: Find the newspaper articles from 1998 where I lambasted the board for doing nothing during the 1998 levy campaign.)
That said, district officials participated in OFK before 1999, just as they participated in the 1999 levy and are participating in this year's levy. (Homework: Ask OFK to list the members of its strategy committee since 1999 and count how many years superintendents and communication directors served.)
Despite the claim, the "vested interest" still exists. (Homework: Ask the Delaware County Board of Elections for the OFK finance reports for the past 10 years and see who contributes to the committee -- compare community contributions with those from district employees and vendors.)
Research is only as good as those researching. During the 1999 campaign, I personally researched and answered every email sent to the committee. And my answers were not cut-n-pastes from documents provided by the district's communication department. There were a few other strong members on the early committees, but they are long gone. (Homework: Ask any of the "1,000 conscientious and diligent community members" to explain bond funding to see how well-researched the volunteers really are.)
So, why should you trust OFK? You shouldn't. Trust them only as far as you trust the district officials -- because it is district officials guiding the strategy committee, regardless of who the figure head chair is these days.
The OFK of today simply repeats what the district spoon-feeds it.