It was in fact Governor Kasich’s super PAC that got into the heads of the feeble-minded senators at a critical time of the health care debate on repealing Obamacare. The Ohio Governor is of course trying to undermine the Trump presidency for his own run in 2020. But for such a character in politics, as a public employee Kasich only gets paid around $150,000—more or less. That’s for being a big player on the national stage of politics. His Lt. Governor makes a bit more, but not much. I think we’d all agree that whether we like him or not, the Governor is the big job in Ohio from a public perspective and is well compensated. However, and I told them not to do this—but they did it anyway, the Lakota school board hired a new superintendent—a kid from Price Hill and paid him $169,000 as a base salary—well over what the governor of Ohio makes. Lakota is the eighth largest school district in the state of Ohio and it is in one of the most affluent areas of the country—and its located where my home is—so I care a bit about this issue. Already if West Chester residents look at their tax bill the entire township of West Chester—where half of Lakota is located—they pay roughly 21% to them. They pay a whopping 61%–roughly—to the Lakota school system and that school is just throwing away money on these overly paid administrative employees—who make more than the radical progressive governor of our state.
Obviously, the scaling is way off in these unionized public-sector schools. While the administrators aren’t typically formally part of the union they often come out of that system and have pay expectations formed by their experiences in the public sector which has been roughly 30% too high for several decades now. I mean it’s not Miller’s fault he’s been told he’s worth more than he really is—it’s our school board who thinks they need to pay this money to meet some invisible standard that the public education system has created in the industry to “compete.” But in public education there isn’t any competition. Builders build homes. Real estate agents sell the homes and support school levy’s to attract new “family aged’ buyers. The cycle runs its course. And over the next twenty years new homes are built elsewhere and people move to those new districts and wherever that is becomes the new “hot” school district.
Lakota is not a “hot” community anymore—as far as education. It may be a stable excellent community but it is not the latest thing in the real estate world. It has more people living within the district that do not have children attending the school system than it does new families moving to the area to buy a new house freshly built on previously productive farmland. So the necessities have changed for the community as a whole where the school system is just one of the reasons for moving or maintaining property within the Lakota school district which encompasses Liberty Township and West Chester Township, Ohio. Among the top reasons for living in the area are highway access, standard of living—many of our neighbors have household incomes over 100K a year so we don’t have to deal with too many slack-jawed losers while pumping gas and eating at restaurants. There are great commercial offerings and the government is small enough to not pillage the homeowner continuously—except for the big open hands of the top heavy over scale pay of the unionized Lakota school system. People put up with them out of sentimental value, but that only goes so far and news reports that they were paying a superintendent—which is mostly a political role anyway–$169,000 per year doesn’t help. The job is at best worth half that for a 45-year-old employee such as Matt Miller. If we paid him more than $85K per year we’d be getting ripped off.
Well, it just so happens that this year there are several school board members who have seats expiring—and it’s safe to say that none of them are exactly conservative bastions of valor. They care about Lakota itself as a microcosm but have been part of that culture that asks for a lot more than Lakota really plays in the success of the community for which it resides. The people who make Liberty Township and West Chester Township great places to live are the people who live there—the community is not great because of Lakota schools. The school board members who are up for re-election just don’t seem to understand that. So this is an opportunity to run against them and challenge the board to have more people properly representative of our district helping to manage the finances. There are lots of people I know who would be good for doing this job but most of them are older and really don’t want the pain in the ass of attending all the ridiculous meetings and the procedural lunacy that usually takes place. But for those inclined to number crunching and wanting to help with the situation, I’ll make a deal with you. If you guys will run, I’ll help you with the campaign. There are three seats open and I’ll help three candidates as a team if we can find the right people. But it would have to be hard working good people who think correctly about this matter. If those people are willing to come forward I’ll help with making it not so scary to run and win the seats.
The filing deadline for prospective candidates is August 9th, which isn’t much time from this writing. I was catching up on summer news over the weekend and Lakota is somewhere down around #400 on my priority list (only because they cost me money) so I didn’t notice that the hit piece reporter Michael Clark had moved to the Journal News and I hadn’t followed up on the Lakota hire for superintendent. I spoke to a few school board members over the winter and they seemed like they had a good read on the situation so I left them to their business. But after catching up on the news about Lakota over this previous weekend it was obvious to me that these people haven’t learned anything and they need better management of such a volatile and expensive resource in the Lakota school system. They are used to runaway train budgets saved only for the fact that Lakota has a projected decline in enrollment which takes the pressure off an immediate levy request. But these people just don’t know how to budget a check book and the proof is in throwing money at this new superintendent hire. If they’ll over pay for him they’ll do it for everything.
I know most of the normal people around Lakota’s district view a lot of this as a serious pain in the ass. But Lakota charges so much money for what they provide that we have to deal with them before they are too problematic. The ideal candidate for school board would be people who have some evenings to give each month to this monstrosity of educational burden and a genuine love of numbers and how they roll together. Jenni Logan does a good job as treasurer at Lakota and is good to work with, but it’s the system itself that needs to have a re-calibration of thought and some good sound conservatives sitting on the board to keep the costs down. I’m offering to help and that help won’t stop once elected. I’ll help fight the union more than willingly and keep them at bay so good management of our tax payer resources can be applied. But we need smart people to sit in those seats. I’ll ensure that you are not alone and exposed—but we need formal positions filled to manage the budget properly. If we don’t then Lakota will be asking for a levy again soon because they don’t have control of their costs. The costs control them—and we just can’t have that.
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