Struggling with economy
To the editor: Serious issues are being overlooked in the Lake school levy in August. The levy that lost a few months ago was 4.75 mills; the current levy is 6.75 mills. How can families who struggled with the lesser amount fund the greater?
There’ve been excellent student letters promoting this levy. These students speak of the attributes of their school and how fervently they want this levy to provide funds for their excellent education. They speak of extra-curricular activities, community responsibility and volunteering. However, they don’t mention what their volunteerism or responsibility entails.
Are these students aware that more than 40 percent of their fellow students receive free lunches? Several of their classmates have two unemployed parents who aren’t entitled to unemployment benefits though they still aren’t working. Since March, 20 families in Lake Township have lost their homes to foreclosure. A recent article said, “…tax debts as small as $400 can cause people to lose their homes”. Hungry, homeless kids have a difficult time learning.
Do the students care about the welfare of friends? Is compassion part of what they’ve been taught? If not they’re missing an important part of their education.
Most students never had to pay taxes. It isn’t unusual for typical teens to have a sense of entitlement, believing their wants or needs should be a family priority.
Some accuse us of not caring for kids if we don’t vote for the levy. Certainly Lake Schools would be happy to accept any donations these generous folks choose to send.
Mary Jo Thieman Bosch
A change in position
To the editor: I changed my mind and decided to vote yes on the Lake school levy, with two reasonable requests: If you’re asking me for more money, you need to prove to me that the money I give you now is being spent wisely, and you must prove to me that you need additional funds.
Like most Wood County property owners, twice a year I sit down at the kitchen table and write a check for my property taxes. As I fill in the amount, I grumble, “Are they really spending my money the way I’d be spending my money?”
First stop on this investigation was to check the state auditor’s website to see If Lake Township had a recent performance audit. This is where the state sends in a team of investigators and looks through every facet of operations. The audit takes several months and when complete, the auditor prepares an extensive detailed report of its findings, which include comparisons to like communities and recommendations and suggestions on how to improve performance and trim costs.
I downloaded the audit from the state website and spent the next several nights reading through it. I wanted to make sure I had a good understanding of the questions I’d be posing to the school board. The main focus of the questions would be, “Have you implemented changes that were identified by the audit?” Again, it came to no surprise that yes indeed, these changes have been implemented and the appropriate savings and performance improvements are being realized.
During this meeting, we reviewed the levy’s fiscal impact on the schools, and a fair assessment of the levy’s impact on my property taxes.
I’m impressed by the fiscally conservative nature of the board. They think out of the box and come up with financially sound solutions. I particularly liked the example of purchasing one-year old buses instead of new buses, resulting in significant savings to the district.
I was initially going to vote no on this levy, but after performing this research, I’ve elected to change my vote to a yes, but with two conditions;
1. – I understand that the teachers’ union is currently negotiating for a new contract. If I understand the current contract, teacher reimbursement is based on longevity only. I cannot agree to paying an employee simply because he or she shows up. I pay my employees based on performance and must insist that teachers’ pay must be based on performance.
2. – The current Performance Audit was performed in 2007 at no cost to the district. These audits have a life expediency of seven to 10 years. I would like to see Lake School add a budget item to pay for a new performance audit in year 2015. This will allow the district to set money aside each year to pay for the audit in 2015.