Lakota Spent $100,000 on Nothing: and now they are asking for more money

The article below is what is appearing in the Cincinnati Enquirer July 8, 2011. I gave a brief interview at the close of the meeting. There isn’t any reason in the world why the Lakota School Board should put a tax on the ballot. S.B.5 became law on July 1st which is why all the unions rushed to pass their contracts during the spring, to get those contracts grandfathered in. The school boards now have a tool to deal with the budget short-falls in the coming years, yet they don’t think in terms of cost reduction by way of wages and benefits renegotiated with Senate Bill 5, only cost expansion. The financial crises is self imposed. When a school board votes to spend 50K on a superintendent and pay her 165K yet overlook the guy who was doing a good job for only 105K, blowing a total of 100K on costs they didn’t need, it is clear that these administrators just don’t get it. No wonder all the school board knows how to do is ask for more money. It is very disappointing to see that the school board is putting up three options, which is essentially playing good cop and bad cop by making the smaller number look more digestible to voters. It’s very disingenuous and insulting.

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LIBERTY TWP. – Residents may see a tax hike ranging from 4.5 to 7.5 mills on the fall ballot if Lakota school board members agree on a millage amount.

The board is scheduled to choose a final school operating tax millage – 4.5 mills, 6.5 mills or 7.5 mills – to propose to voters in November. It will pick one of the tax options at its next meeting on Monday.

Regardless of the tax size, it became clear during Thursday evening’s board work session that the third tax issue in a little more than a year is headed for the Nov. 8 ballot.

Annual school tax cost increases for a $100,000 home would range from $137 for a 4.5-mill operating tax to $199 for a 6.5-mill tax to $229 for a 7.5-mill tax.

It took four tries in 2004 and 2005 before voters in Liberty and West Chester townships last approved a new operating tax. An operating tax helps pay for daily operations of the 18,300-student district, including employee salaries and benefits.

But voters in 2010 twice rejected operating taxes, and the defeat in May 2010 was by one of the largest margins in Lakota’s 54-year history. In November 2010, voters defeated a 7.9-mill operating levy.

Lakota is among the nearly half of Southwest Ohio’s 49 school systems that are considering or planning to put a tax issue on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Despite cutting $10.2 million in personnel and programs for the upcoming school year, Lakota faces a budget shortfall of $14.6 million by 2015 and requires more local tax revenue to remain solvent for the five-year projection required by the state for all public school districts, said Lakota officials.

Jenni Logan, treasurer of the Butler County district that is the second largest in Southwest Ohio, told the board that “we are still in a spending deficit” even with recent and extension budget cuts.
Board President Joan Powell said “deficit spending is an untenable position”.

In the last school year, the board has made historically deep cuts including eliminating busing for thousands, renegotiating its teachers labor contract and freezing almost all types of pay.

As the seventh-largest school system in Ohio, it is also the biggest district in the state to earn a top rating of “Excellent With Distinction.”

Laurie Clark, of West Chester Township, said one of her two children will lose bus service when classes start in August.

“I’m worried that without a levy there will be bigger classrooms and we’ll see more teachers go. This is such a great school district, and I want to keep the quality as high as it has been,” said Clark.

But Rich Hoffman, spokesman for anti-school tax group “NoLakota,” said the board needs to look at further cuts rather than residents’ wallets. He said Ohio’s SB5 law, which curtails public school workers’ powers of collective bargaining, is in place and should be used to further reduce Lakota’s expenses.

“”SB 5 became law (and) school boards now have a tool to deal with the budget shortfalls in the coming years,” said Hoffman. “Yet they don’t think in terms of cost reduction by way of wages and benefits renegotiated with Senate Bill 5, only cost expansion.”

The board is scheduled to make the first of two state-mandated votes to put a tax issue on the fall ballot at its meeting 7 p.m. Monday at Lakota’s Central Office, 5572 Princeton Road, Liberty Township.

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I won’t be at the meeting when they make their final selection of one of the three choices, because I know they have already chose the smaller number, hoping that it will not be such a hard number to digest.  I have other plans for that particular evening which are far more important.  So I’ll look forward to another good fight to defeat that next levy. 

Rich Hoffman

https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

6 thoughts on “Lakota Spent $100,000 on Nothing: and now they are asking for more money

  1. Rich, “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Keep up the good work. Taxpayers appreciate your efforts to keep us appraised of the crap that is going on, and the proper and realistic solutions available.

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  2. Graeme you have it precisely right on. We all need to “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Lebanon will be discussing this issue at their next board meeting. None of them will ever give up. We just have to keep fighting them over and over. The good news is that we have many more people who are willing to be “outed” that they are on our side. These greedy ba$!a&*$ are just that. Willing to rape the rest of us for their high salaries, high benefits and low at work hours. Just remember, they are all on a nice long vacation right now.

    The word and statistics are out. Most of them do as little as possible. Test scores prove that. Atlanta teachers were caught fudging the test scores. How many have not been caught. Many of these schools with the huge banners swinging from their schools, “Excellent with Distinction” need to be checked. Seems that it is pretty easy to “cheat” on these tests. I attended a board meeting where they were bragging that they “teach to the test.”

    Every year American schools pay out more than $8.6 billion dollars (That’s a capital “B”.) in bonuses to teachers with master’s degrees. These are between $1,423 and $10,777 per year per teacher. In the state of Washington an average salary bump of nearly $11,000 for a masters degree, and more than half of the teachers get one. That kind of money could be saved right now to help schools survive budget challenges. The fact is that there are numerous studies that have determined that K-12 teachers with advanced degrees are no more effectove than those with basic bachelor’s degrees. So, for the teacher it means more money.
    For the taxpayers and students there is probably no value at all. I foresee we’ll all be working together against another levy. One bit of good news, Bennett is leaving Little Miami. Pity the district he moves on to. Another episode in the “DANCE OF THE LEMONS.”

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  3. The status quo seems to be going on over in the Little Miami school district as well. Every news story I have heard about the new interim superintendent Greg Power has been identical: “The infrastructure is in place, all I need to do is get out the votes (for the proposed 13.95 mil levy)”. They also ironically note that this is time for a “fresh start”.

    They also keep saying that Little Miami has retained its “excellent” rating despite the financial trouble it has been in. It seems to me that they are making the best argument against the idea that more money equals better education and they don’t even realize it.

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