Lakota Levy…….But Wait, We Just Did This!

Levy Part 2, but wait, didn’t we just do this?
What short memories everyone has. It was just April when a lot of this was happening.  So lets go back and look at the events of 2010 that led up to this second attempt.  Some of the videos below have the embedding turned off, so they are links that you’ll have to click on to watch.  The point of this is to study where we came from so we can see where we’re going.
We just had a Federal Mediator coming in to help resolve a contract dispute, over pay raises and benefits. Now I’ve written a lot about Lakota’s budget being top heavy. And even though everyone knew the situation as early as April, the Union had still stiffened up to get everything they could, aware that there was a Levy coming.
While I was on the radio during the last weekend of September, Darryl Parks pressed me on that issue.

During the last levy we put up a fight. But that was only in May of this year.

But what the Pro Lakota people didn’t comprehend was that the Anti-Levy people were deeper than just a group of developers. It was a wide range of people with all different backgrounds that shared a common idea that the spending was out of control, and they remembered the events of the last levy attempt in 2005. And they didn’t appreciate the misleading statistics.

The May levy was contentious, and it was defeated handedly. After the vote I personally went to a board meeting to see how the board dealt with the issue. After all, I had read that Mike Taylor the night of the vote realizing that the levy would be defeated announced that the issue would be put back on the ballot. What I witnessed confirmed my thoughts of all the waste. I left the meeting feeling sorry for Joan Powell. I don’t believe that she or the rest of the board are bad people. They are just short sighted because they are part of a broken system.
But to avoid making the public angry, they waited till July to make the formal announcement.
And then they announced the cuts.

Yet nobody within the school system sees the problem with their budget. So they stick to the formula issued from Columbus. And immediately the press falls into place and just does their part to help the school system without pressing for any hard questions.

And with all the energy spent nobody discusses the two main issues, first that their operating budget is set too high.
The other issue is that the State of Ohio cut funds to our district, and they did so with an unconstitutional formula. And nobody wants to tackle that because it’s too hard and too big.

This is the funding model by the current governor.  See anything wrong with it?  Look where the money is going. 

So while everyone puts their energy into short term pains and gains, the union not wanting to budge.  The administrators just wanting to keep the status quo, the parents just want to keep their property values, and maintain what they thought they were getting as far as education in the community when they moved here, the real trouble gets over-looked and given a free pass.  And the media has helped make that happen. 

The Lakota School System is being crushed by an inflated funding model, and if the state won’t fund it, it’s not possible for residents to pay twice, once to the State and again to the community.  The system was broken before the state made this move in cutting back the funding.  And now, the issue needs to go back to the state to be fixed with a constitutional resolution once and for all.  And passing this levy will not make that happen. 

It’s a shame that so many important figures in this chess game, the kids, the parents, the administrators, the school board, the teachers, the union leadership, the residents find themselves in a cage fight when the real target is sitting in the press box pushing the buttons. 

It would be my advice to everyone to keep your eyes on the larger issues.  If you hang onto the status quo, you only buy a little time before the next major collapse.

Rich Hoffman

WLW on Saturday, September 25th

My appearance on the Darryl Parks show on Saturday September 25, 2010 is at the end of this article.  But first a few notes:

I woke up on Saturday morning to an onslaught of email.  One of the emails is a couple of links to articles where the Ohio Education Association is stepping in and doing some damage control of issues occurring in Southwestern Ohio.  

Two of the issues were the appearance of our No Lakota Levy group on WLW radio on Monday.  The other was the bill board campaign against wasteful education spending. 

There was a lot said in these articles, but then again, not much of any real content which is normal for these types of things.  But here is a summary of the key points, and it is in these points that left me feeling completely confident that the position against school levies is absolutely needed.  And maybe we are about 15 years too late, but it’s better late than never I suppose. 

In the Cincinnati Enquirer there was an attempt to minimize the posting of several billboards around Cincinnati trying to bring to light the spending problems.  And the union attacked it with a predictable move, to minimize the activity as advocates for the Republican Party, and further commenting that these people only come out when there is a levy, and then they just go away when the levy situation passes. 

And then this article in the Hamilton Journal, told the whole story for me, everything I had been suspecting. 

Bonny McMurray of the Ohio Education Association gave the interview which was a series of questions and answers.  And for me, she said one of the most startling things I could have read.  She said in her article,

“It’s that many jobs in the current economy do not pay enough to sustain a middle class life,” she said.

In an ideal world, she said, there would be more employers with unions to ensure people earn a middle class wage and are entitled to benefits.”

Did she really say that?????

Bonnie spelled out the problem very clear. The No Levy people for the most part believe that unions have increased the cost of labor to where places like China and India are currently doing our work.

The Pro Levy people hold dear the idea that if there were more companies with unions, then more people would have the wages to support other union activity.

This is a fundamental philosophic difference.  Any right thinking human being can see that unions have driven up our labor costs in this country.  Yet, the warnings that many popular culture spokesmen are making that socialism and unions are deeply connected as a philosophy, look to be more true than fiction

In the defense of union positions they attacked the Republican Party, and attempted to minimize the commitment level of anyone that opposes them, as if they are somehow more caring because they are involved fulltime in political activity.  Funded completly by the tax payer I might add.   

Yet with all the retoric their whole philosophy is revealed in that simple statement.  And that’s what we’re dealing with.  If there were more unions, then more people would be able to afford the high cost of union business.  Where do they think the money comes from?  Check out the problems they are having in Europe.  We all know about Greece, but check out France now.   We at least still have elections here where we can bring things back under control.  It’s not too late for us…..yet.       

I had an invite to go onto WLW this morning.  I read all these articles and found myself eager to call Darryl to be a guest on his show.  Out of all the media out there, Darryl has not been afraid to tackle issues like this. 

It is a shame that bringing a political philosophy into education is even relevant.  But it is.  Unions have done that on their own.  They have attached their social goals to the sacred institution of education.  Now it’s up to those of us that have been sleeping, and blindly trusting our politicians to take the steps to fix things.  And it will be a difficult journey.  But it starts with the vote on November 2nd

Rich Hoffman