What you’ll read below is reflective of the stupidity happening in the City of Cincinnati where massive wastes in tax payer dollars are occurring.
Two letters found my comments in this week’s Journal disturbing about the school board and attempted to refute my statements. I’ll present those letters below with my response in parentheses. These two letters come on the backs of Lakota’s contract negotiation with the teachers union.
The 2 million dollars saved is almost the same amount saved from cutting busing. That’s how much money Lakota is saving just in freezing step-increases, which they should have done two years ago, to avoid the current crises. Because the school board did not act in a timely fashion, there are over 600 employees at Lakota that make over 65K per year. Click here to view who they are and how much they make.
Now the letters:
Wrong qualifications listed for No Lakota group
Rich Hoffman of the No Lakota anti-levy group presented an interesting request in his recent letter to the Pulse-Journal editor. His letter solicited new candidates for the Lakota Board of Education and it was striking for two reasons. It was striking to see what the anti-levy group listed as qualifications and it was equally striking for what it did not consider important.
The No Lakota group determined that ideal school board candidates “should be older than 55, be preferably retired or semi-retired, and not looking to use the school board position as a political platform for higher office or to enhance a real estate profession.” Evidently the ideal No Lakota group school board candidate does not need an education, budgeting skills, social skills, communication skills, or any interest in providing excellence in education for the community. Just say no and you’re elected.
The No Lakota group letter continued to infer that current board members “cave to the unions,” that they “intend to overpay the new superintendent” and they are perhaps guilty of “corruption and abuse of the taxpayer.” Our community is in long-term trouble if many of the No Lakota group actually believe those charges.
Although most area residents moved here specifically because of our quality schools, Lakota could still become the next Little Miami district. Imagine that scenario: one home out of every four for sale, property values decline by more than 40 percent in three years, parents paying thousands extra to educate their kids in private schools, and local school decisions made by the state.
No thank you.
With all due respect, Mr. Hoffman, the ideal school board member should be a local taxpayer, interested in providing quality education to the community, understand school funding mechanisms from both the state and local levels, have excellent two-way communication skills, and have the real interests of students and taxpayers at heart. Care and respect for your community does not have an old-age requirement and it is not necessary to be retired.
West Chester Twp.
(Notice that in this survey by Coldwell Banker that nobody mentions schools as being the decisive factor in buying a home. Kind of interesting.
Al, buddy………where did I say school board candidates do not need an education, budgeting skills, social skills, communication skills, or any interest in providing excellence in education for the community? Just say no and you’re elected? Don’t older people have those skills and do they miraculously lose them passed the age of 40? Is that what you’re saying? Al, I expect all those traits in a school board member. In fact, I expect all that and more. I also expect a school board member to be able to balance a budget. This school board has been tasked with balancing the budget and they aren’t doing it, so they obviously aren’t very good at “budgeting skills” as you put it. I could put a child on the school board and they could do the same job as this school board when tasked with a problem.
“Joan, we don’t have enough money to meet our budget needs,” says the Lakota treasurer.
Joan says to the board, “Ok, we need to ask for more money from the community.”
Now, how is that intelligent, wise, or in any way prudent? Like I said, that is the first response a child would have to the problem. Not any of the skills you listed. So what are you defending? Are you saying that indefinitely higher taxes are the way to go, that every time the school needs money, we just throw money at them no matter how much? And I didn’t say the school could fail either. I pay a lot of money in tax each year to that school and I don’t pay to have a crappy school. If those people don’t know how to balance a budget, then they need to be replaced, because we have provided plenty of money to be an excellent school, and continue to do so.
Now, here is the Definition of CORRUPTION, since you brought it up.
a : impairment of integrity, virtue, or moral principle : DEPRAVITY b : DECAY, DECOMPOSITION c : inducement to wrong by improper or unlawful means (as bribery) d : a departure from the original or from what is pure or correct
So as to the corruption at Lakota, it is illegal to use teachers while on the payroll of the tax payer to use tax payer resources to pass a school levy. That means a teacher can’t talk about it to students. They can’t pass out literature. They can’t even use a school printer, decorate a bus or design pro campaign literature while on the payroll of the school, yet they ignore the law and do it anyway. The No Lakota Group has statements that some teachers spent entire class periods lecturing their students about the merits of a levy passage encouraging those bright young minds to go home and tell their parents to vote for the levy. We also know of incidents where principals have openly threatened through their PTA organizations to boycott Liberty Twp and West Chester businesses that don’t support the levy attempt. Some of these calls were made during school hours by employees of the district paid for by the tax payer. In fact, I have a letter from a principle that was typed on his school computer and sent to all the teachers that work for him complaining about the community not supporting the levy. This was done during school hours with school equipment, and that is illegal. The school board knows about this activity yet does not do anything about it. That is corrupt. It’s also corrupt to call the token cuts to services as needed when the obvious strategy is to inconvenience parents to extort money from them. When busing was cut to save a couple million dollars under the mask of “needed” cuts when everyone knows that the payroll is simply too high and out of control is an open participation in bribery. Pay the levy or we’ll cut services you need. That is wrong. I actually have many such instances of this behavior that will be revealed should the district choose to pursue another levy. We’ve held back on this information for the sake of the community, but it will not be tolerated from here on out.
And since you seem to not understand economics here’s a free lesson for you. Notice that passing a levy doesn’t figure into the equation here. The value of your home is only worth the value it has to potential people who want it. Most people who bought on the back of the housing bubble bought too high, so you are looking at a collapse that has nothing to do with school funding. In fact, higher taxes make your home less attractive, not more attractive. If the school is expected to still be excellent, and taxes stay stable, your value will stay at market value, which is probably too high because you bought your home on the back of a bubble. Passing a levy will actually hurt your value.
Basically, Al, it is your decision if you choose to not see these things, and you have a mentality to throw more money into a bottomless pit. You won’t be one of the people we’d nominate to put on the school board. We already have too many people who think like you working for the school system already.)
This video could be Lakota, Sycamore, or Mason. The problems are all the same yet nobody wants to deal with the real issue.
Now, the next letter.
DO NOT PLACE BLAME WHERE IT DOESN’T BELONG
Let’s get the full story out there please. The Lakota School Board is acting to deal with teacher contracts the only legal way they can. They have canceled the second year of the two-year contract because it could not be funded. They are going back to the negotiating table with the teacher union to achieve the best result possible.
Do not place blame where it does not belong.
The board said they would deal with the situation through a three pronged approach — reduce expenditures, put a policy in place to limit future expenditure increases, and seek additional revenues. Students and families have given, administrators and staff have given, we need our community now to recognize the need, and participate in maintaining and preserving the investment made by this community in our schools. The fact of the matter is that our school district can not be sustained without a levy. There is nowhere else to cut costs. If we want our communities to continue to be a great place for families to live, a great place to raise children, then we have to pass the levy in November.
Back when the first levy failure happened, the “no” people said they wanted the district to make serious cuts before they would support a levy. The cuts have been made. The cuts continue to be made. What is their argument now?
We must recognize that our school district and the school board are limited by law and mandates. Dedicated and civic minded individuals who genuinely care about the future of this district and these students would be welcome to be a part of the solution. Please be a part of the future of our communities and support our schools.
We must pass the next levy in order to have a sustainable and continuously excellent school district.
West Chester Twp.
(Andrea, those cuts have not been made. The school board cut buses, laid-off some newer teachers, and made sports a pay for play deal. All those cuts are designed by the OSBA to inconvenience parents and force them to vote for a levy the next time. These strategies are taught to school board members at Levy University in Columbus. I know many school board members that have taken this class, so I know what goes on there.
Now, as to the district being limited by law in what they can cut, what you’re talking about is the teacher’s contracts and the protections the OEA have lobbied on their behalf. That is the very reason that Kasich signed Senate Bill 5 into law, to give the school board the ability to control their costs. So technically it isn’t illegal any more to attack those contract costs. Unions are scared to death of this bill, which is why they are trying so hard to get the bill repealed. Notice how these teachers speak in extreme ways. “It will destroy what we fought for, for years.”
We can’t afford their union. We can’t afford their collective bargaining. These rights they are speaking about are a result of FDR and LBJ, and their big government policies. They aren’t rights granted by the US Constitution and we are not required to pay for them as property owners. It should actually be discussed that it’s unfair to property owners to be forced to pay for the high expectations of these union employees.
Once those current teacher contracts are up, school boards can deal with that 85% of their escalating costs that have been illegal. Besides the potential problem with the law restricting control of those employee costs, we also have the trouble with quantitative easing that is about to hit us all hard from the federal level, so asking for a higher taxes will destroy many families. Oh, you don’t know what quantitative easing is. I’m sorry. Here’s a lesson.
The sad thing is, and I don’t mean to pick on you, there are thousands of people who think the same way you do, and they’re all wrong; that you are willing to write these people a free pass. For a district to be forced by law to incur further taxation is insane, foolish, and pure extortion in the simplest form. Anyone that supports such measures has an education that has failed them completely. Supporting your school does not mean tossing money out the window of a runaway bus. Supporting your school means solving problems when they come up. Squeezing the property owners for everything they have while an aggressive teachers union has negotiated a scam on us all, to maintain an average wage of 63K per year is insane. People who say “good” and “money” in the same sentence do not understand the value of things, and are ignorant to what makes something better than something else. You cannot rape and pillage a community of its resources and expect it to last.
The No Lakota people have different degrees of resistance. For me, I want education reform completely. I don’t like the current system, and I want to see major changes. It’s not worth 10K per kid. The senior citizens in our group are on a fixed income, and they can’t afford the tax. And the business owners in our group are people who have been hit hard by the recession. They are sitting on property that they invested in years ago that should have been paying them back by now, but are currently sitting vacant. Further taxes on that property only drain more money from them. So when people who don’t value money say these people are rich, and should pay their fair share, they sound like fools because they aren’t the people who are building up the community. The people supporting these tax levies are typically people who have kids in the school, they moved to Lakota to be a part of a good community, they want sports for their kids and all the electives of a large school, but they also want it cheap. They want the “shared” costs of the entire community that pays these costs year after year. These are the same people who will move out of Lakota when their kids grow up and leave the community, and those parents will downsize to another home in Florida or someplace else. Meanwhile, they’ll leave people like me with the bill they racked up. So don’t lecture me about what makes a good community. The people who want this levy are people who want something good cheaply and you want it for your own selfish reasons. When your kids are done with the system, chances are you’ll move anyway. )