Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Political Doublespeek

In today's edition of the OVN, Wade-O claims that the district will be doing more with less -- and this after passing a $25 million levy. Doesn't he really mean more with more?

In addition, Feasel states she has her work cut out for her -- and this after identifying only $100,000 in cost reductions. What a way to put a dent in the budget (or is it really a ding, or maybe a scratch, or ...?).

Thursday, May 05, 2011

No promise made

A reader left this comment:
Jim,

To my knowledge, there was never a timeframe stated for how long this levy money is to last before another one is presented to voters. Do you know if this is true?

Also, what are your thoughts regarding district size? How much growth is permitted? Is there a stopping point or does the ogre just keep growing until tax burdens overwhelm the majority and "No" finally wins?
Great question. To my knowledge, no promise was made. So the district can be back in two years with its hand out once more.

Does anyone think the lack of a promise was an oversight?

Until the taxpayers yell, "Enough!" there is no stopping the ogre.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Voting yourself a raise and increased benefits

Once again, we can assume the levy passed on the vote of district employees and their spouses. And we know the levy was simply about money for raises, benefits, etc. So, in the end, the employees voted themselves a raise and increased benefits. Hmmm.

Note: I know, I know, the levy was about the cuts and the kids. But the cuts were the hammer used to pass the levy. Rein in costs and the levy wasn't needed.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Friendly reminder -- tax effective day was 122 days ago

During the campaign, Olentangy for Kids made this statement: These additional taxes will not be collected until 2012.

For those of us who escrow our tax payments, we are already four months behind. Remember, taxes are always paid in arrears. But they are effective the first day of the year in which a new levy is passed. That means this new levy is effective January 1, 2011.

Better tighten your belts extra hard today and begin making additional escrow payments. You don't want to face a big escrow catch-up bill early next year.

Note: The sweet irony is that as you tighten, others loosen.

It's OK to vote No

A reminder on election day!

The district can go back to the ballot in November with a scaled-down issue. -- Jim

Monday, May 02, 2011

OFK spins a response

In an earlier post, I rhetorically asked, "How do the current heads of OFK spin that little nugget?" Now I know (number 5 below).


Real quick response to the OFK response to my 10 reasons not to vote for the levy:


Intro: Is the bond expert the same district resident (is the expert even a district resident?) who also is the district bond consultant? If so, working the weekend was not just a freebie. I bring this up only because OFK makes the claim.

1. Bond Residuals: Call the money what you want. The interest earned is not an investment (I explain that in a couple of blog posts). The IRS does not allow governmental entities to make an arbitrage profit on tax-free bonds. So the interest is equal (dollar for dollar, for the most part) to the interest current residents have been paying on the bonds. In other words, if the revenue from the bonds earns 5%, the district can only earn 5% on its investment -- there can be no "money mak[ing] money."

2. Search the web for O'Brien's comments as reported in ThisWeekNews. He changed his story with his letter to the editor. Also note that Lucas's responses to my letter to the editor did not refute my claim about O'Brien's comments.

3. The district is using previously-taxed dollars to pay-down the current bond payments, so to speak. How is that forcing future residents to pay their fair share? The older levies actually did what they said.

4. The elementary cost is 32% higher than the last elementary ($10.035 million to $7.8 million). And that is an acceptable increase?

5. Check the current five-year forecast on the district website to see that the district planned to lower the ratio.

6. This response has never made sense. As I read it, if the levy fails, the district will ask for MORE money to offset the proposed cuts in state funding that will drive lower expenditures if the levy passes. Or something like that. The argument sounds good but does not hold up to scrutiny.

Some call it a threat, but it is really a lie

Olentangy district top news:

* NEW INFORMATION AVAILABLE REGARDING POTENTIAL BUSING CUTS
If the May 3 levy fails, Olentangy will no longer be able to provide the busing services that go above and beyond state requirements. That means that beginning with the 2011-12 school year, there would be no busing for high school students or any student in kindergarten through eighth grade who lives within two miles of his or her school. To assist parents in planning for this possibility, the transportation department has created maps showing the streets that are within two miles of each school and would therefore not receive bus service. Click here to view the maps. (emphasis mine)

Note the phrase "will no longer be able to provide." Now focus on "be able to." Had the district left out those three words, the statement would be a threat. But, in its current form, the statement is a lie.

Why support those who cannot be trusted?


Note: Why do the district and board lie if they have such a good story to tell? That is a valid question to ask Wade, Julie and the rest of the lot.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Reason #7 for not supporting the Olentangy levy

According to Responsible Olentangy Citizens, Sue Mahler, OFK core member emeritus, acting as district finance chair, "reported [to the school board] that the sooner we get to this number [student/teacher ratio of 15:1), the sooner OLSD can save millions."

Instead, the district is lowering the ratio in each year of the most-recent five-year forecast.

How do the current heads of OFK spin that little nugget?


Note: Why do the folks at OFK simply fall in line with the Wade Lucas / Julie Feasel nonsense?

Reason #6 for not supporting the Olentangy levy

The bond issue includes -- get this -- $13.5 million for a new elementary school. Given that the last elementary cost only $7.8 million, $5.7 million remain for (I was informed by the district treasurer) technology, loose furnishings and textbooks. That is $8,769 per pupil. Amazing! Amazingly expensive, that is.

Add it up (and I am being charitable here):

  • use of a computer, network, etc. -- $1,000
  • a desk and chair - $150
  • textbooks - $250
  • misc - $1,000

So, where is the remaining $6,369 per student?

Hint: It's not in your wallet.

Read this entry to see what the district does with excess bond funds -- your money. And remember, the district HAS sufficient bond residuals to build the new elementary.

Olentangy Levy: Feasel's Fictitious Financing

School board president Feasel claims the district "already cut $15.7 million" since 2008. Interesting. But from where?

Certainly not staffing, since staffing is increasing relative to students. So where were the cuts made? Hold that thought.

I just cut $1 trillion from my family budget. How, you ask? Well, I had assumed that we needed $1 trillion in additional expenses this year. Then I came to my senses and realized I didn't. But a cut is a cut. So I cut $1 trillion. You just gotta love Feasal financing.

The district has cut nothing.

Of, sure, they pared back their inflated five-year forecasts. But that is not cutting, just as my $1 trillion example is not cutting.

So take Feasal and her fictitious financing for what they are: nonsense.

Note: The folks over at OFK know better. But they have a levy to sell. And the truth is the first thing to go in campaign.