2015 Lakota School Board Candidates: Options for management of tax payer resources

The people who run for school board, such as those at Lakota in Butler County, Ohio, should be people who truly want to save the system and make the best management decisions possible. So for this article, I’ll cover the election of 2015 for two potential school board seats in the fashion of neutrality. In my district there are four candidates, two who currently sit on the board, Julie Shaffer, whom I’ve had my share of spats with, Lynda O’Connor that I’ve supported, along with Ernest D.Gause and Tom Tran. They had a Meet the Candidates night down at my old high school building on Taylorsville Rd on the night of the big CNN debate—which was hosted by the valuable West Chester Tea Party. Refreshingly, quite a few people showed up to watch the event. However, not enough did, so a video of the candidates at that forum can be seen here:

There was some pressure on me to run for one of those spots, but as I explained to everyone who asked—I’m not a public servant type of person. I don’t really care to shake hands, when people call me who I don’t want to talk to, I like to ignore them and when I get mad at something, or someone, I like to be free to unleash my inner T-Rex on them. I don’t like being beholden to a community established set of values. Plus, I feel I’m too young to do anything like run for an office. But most of all, in regard to Lakota, I’m not a public education supporter. I think public schools should be profit based, the unions should be crushed and made illegal, and the government should be completely out of education starting with the DOE in Washington. I don’t want more money from the state to pay for higher collective bargaining agreements for the teacher’s union just so busy parents can have a free baby sitter for their children. If I ran for school board it would be to destroy the system, which isn’t necessarily the best thing for those who do support public education. I have enough respect for the republic system of government that we have to have a vigorous debate instead of imposing my personal views on the masses. So my belief is that people who want to work together to manage a good school system should run for office, and by my appraisal those are the kinds of people who are running in 2015 within the Lakota district.

This time around there aren’t a bunch of crazy lunatics, as there have been in the past running for office, so there really isn’t a downside to any of them. Julie and Lynda have I think done a good job of adapting to the tax opposition and try to avoid reckless tax increases. Listening to Julie, she has come a long way over the last four years. I don’t forget things, but I will put things aside to make a fair comment, and she is better now than the person who debated me on 700 WLW four years ago. That largely comes from experience. I personally liked the spunk of Tom Tran although I don’t think he can apply that gumption to reality on the board. He’d likely assimilate to the current culture uneventfully and be a standard vote. I did talk to Ernest Gause after the debate and was very impressed with his bright-eyed professionalism. He is a professional educator deeply committed to learning. He said some things that were obviously progressive to me and likely weren’t very conservative. But I could tell that he really cared about education. He probably deserves to be some new blood on the school board who could at least elevate some debate regarding the allocation of resources. My friend Ann Becker used to be a very pro levy, pro education type, and he reminded me of her which isn’t at all a bad thing. So there are some good choices for school board that voters have to pick from.

Due to the declining enrollment at Lakota even with the cuts in state funding, the increased tax revenue from commercial endeavors and diligent fiscal policy should prevent Lakota from seeking a tax increase from property owners for the rest of the decade. But, as I’ve said before, the current trajectory of spending and over priced government employees at well over 60K per year will put stress on logic and create the temptation to put another tax increase on the ballot by 2017. Out of all the candidates all of them sound like they’d be supportive of voting for that tax increase. The only way to avoid that is for three conservatives to make it on the board during the next election to out vote the current members. Otherwise, that fight is inevitable. For the sake of this Lakota forum, everyone was peaceful, because tax increases have not yet been put on the table. When the school board does move in that direction, then its time to take away the handshakes and glad tidings and go to war—which we will.

But it’s best to avoid war, and even better to provide good management so that unfortunate incidents in the future can be avoided in the present. And that’s what elections are all about. Of the choices, there are some promising ones, so take advantage of them, communicate with them, and let’s see where it takes us.

Rich Hoffman

 CLIFFHANGER RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT

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