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

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