If you ever wanted to see a guy who has his act together running for a school board position it’s Ernest Gause. Watching this situation at Lakota schools in Southern Ohio for many years now and fighting many levies to keep taxes down, I’ve never witnessed a better person for a school board position than Ernest. To get an idea of how on top of things he is just have a look at his website, specifically his press release section shown below. In it Ernest breaks down the cash situation at Lakota schools and shows just where we are in 2017 to managing the Lakota school system for the next decade. To do the job right, good school board members like Ernest Gause need to be in place to safely steer the district into the correct direction. Gause is a school board candidate offering that not only wants to avoid future school levies, but he wants to have a replacement strategy which essentially means working within the budget parameters and decreasing the budget need over time—which has been unheard of by any school district anywhere. And he plans to do all this by raising the expectations of Lakota as well through performance standards.
Essentially here’s the situation, Lakota has cash on hand through 2026 to avoid a school levy. However the current school board members are reluctant to commit to that because they still spend more than they take in so the positive elements of their cash surpluses will eventually catch up to them. Lakota has that cash surplus because they pushed for a levy they didn’t need in 2013 when they violated the deal they made with me to keep a levy off the ballot for two years after the levy defeat of 2012. The school board at the time pushed for a levy all in the name of school security, but they really didn’t need it because of declining enrollment in our aging community, so they unnecessarily increased our property taxes into this abundance situation that we have now. Unlike past school board candidates, Earnest actually has a plan to avoid school levies in the future but taking our current surplus and reducing the tax footprint that Lakota imposes on future development. Here are more specifics off his website that articulate his position:
End dependencies of tax levies by creating levy replacement strategies.
As a community, we need to ask the question of why we need levies and what we can do as a community to ensure the school get what it need, our children are educated and the community (tax payers) get a return on our investment.
The answer is simple; we need transparency and full disclosure for every dollar spent.
There need to be the following:
- If there is going to be more busing, then which schools and how much.
- If there is going to be more technology, then which school and how much.
- If there is going to be small classes, more teachers and more resources, then which schools and how much.
Within Lakota there needs to be more transparency, more openness and better reporting to the community.
Our SUCCESS as a Community
Expand our footprint, when, where, why and how.
I am a firm believer in expanding out educational footprint. I believe a board member needs to be active in supporting education, partnering in education and an outspoken advocate of education. How do we support education? We support education by putting the work in and by supporting our teachers, administrators and our students. But in order to do that you have to educate yourself in knowing what is going on in your community and surrounding communities.
To make sure our students and our teachers are ready for the tools of the 21st century, six schools have demonstration classrooms. The classrooms are equipped with a variety of devices, including:
• 1-to-1 laptops
• A classroom projector
• A mini-projector
• Two aqua boards
• iPad and tablet sets
• A document camera
• A digital camera
• An AV rover
Champion Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to compete on the world stage by partnering with Universities.
Enhance professional trade programs through business and university partnerships for electrician, plumbers, pipefitters, realtors, engineering, accounting and electronic trades.
Here is a fun quiz that can help you decide what is right for you.
Just to be transparent, this site will ask you for your contact information! It will give you some great insights into a trade you may be interested in.
1. Technology Tools
2. Champion STEM
3. Trade Programs
Add blended learning opportunities for special needs students.
Prepare students for transition into post-secondary institutions of higher learning through increased Academic Resources and external Partnerships with corporations.
End dependencies of tax levies by creating levy replacement strategies.
As a community, we need to ask the question of why the need levies and what we can do as a community
4. Tax Levies = NO
6. Blended Learning
7. Technology Integration
Bring state of the art technology to the classroom & integrate in daily curriculum, lessons & homework
11. Data Tracking
Track GPA’s year over year in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics to ensure progression and disclose at Board Meetings. Transparency = Responsibility
Give our teachers additional resources on how to integrate technology into the classroom.
Provide Transportation to High Schools to reduce financial burden for working families.
10. Distance Learning
Integrate distance learning into classrooms to attend college level courses.
Provide realistic job previews working with the business community for internships, summer work study and sponsorship.
Lakota’s current treasurer Jenni Logan has done a good job with the budget, but I remember when they put her up front in 2012 to profess the fiscal cliff that Lakota was headed for justifying the tax increase the board wanted at the time. Many who know how money works told Lakota then that if they could control their costs, largely their payroll, they wouldn’t need any more money—but they didn’t listen so presently they have on hand cash until 2020 where deficit spending is projected to begin, according to this article shown at the link below. That’s the point where the step increases start taking over from where the board has been able in the past to hold them down due to all the public pressure. The teacher’s union has had to keep a low profile over the last half decade namely because the public sentiment was not with them, and it will continue not to be. That makes putting good management on the school board that is smarter than the negotiators for the union a priority so that deficit spending can be avoided. Earnest is jus t that type of manager that we need on the school board for the next decade, to keep the cash managed while raising the expectations for the district.
I think Todd Parnell is a decent board member, but if Earnest were added to the Lakota school board a trend of conservativism would finally emerge that could pave the way for a solid four vote majority by the next election term where Julie Schafer’s term would expire. It takes time to build the right team because good candidates are hard to find. In the case of Earnest I am very attracted to his lean manufacturing background and think the best way to keep their costs down at Lakota is by applying the same methods that are expected in business on the current teacher’s union. One way that the labor unions for the automotive industry had to be brought into the modern age of thinking was to apply lean standards to them so that the unions couldn’t use the chaos of many different job classifications to justify outlandish wage expectations driving up the cost of the product. Well, in this case the product is the education of children and I think the urgency of a proper approach is that much more important. So obviously, we want good managers in place to handle the vast amounts of money that we send to Lakota and to keep them out of our pocket books in the years to come while giving kids good foundational skills they can apply for the rest of their lives through their education. There is no reason that Lakota couldn’t be a trend setter and still drive down their payroll. But we can’t get there unless we try something different, and Ernest Gause is a tremendous step in that direction. So when you have to vote on Tuesday, make sure you pull the lever for that very good person on November 7th 2017
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