I’d like to take the high road and not do a series of stories about school board members who go to hotel conferences and drink so much that they pass out face down in the bathroom with their underwear nowhere to be found. That might be embarrassing to the whole district and damaging during a political campaign. Rather, I’d like to discuss the facts and that it is clear to me that in the very large Lakota school district with over 16,000 students that the spending by the liberal school board is out of control and needs some common sense applied. Due to their reckless handling of the radical teacher’s union throwing most of the money from the 2013 tax increase toward teacher salaries, they are poised to do it again. Lucky for the Lakota school district, we have an election coming up, and we have a potential third vote solution to the spending problem, James Hahn.
Listening to the many problems uttered at the Lakota school board, if we were doing a business analysis of their problem it’s that they are overspending on their budget. We are paying extraordinary six figure salaries to too many employees and they simply aren’t worth the money. From the measure of the state, Lakota received a report card of a “B” which simply isn’t acceptable. For all the cheerleading that Julie Shaffer and Brad Lovell, who has a wife working as an administrator, have illustrated, that if only we gave teachers a raise, that we could maintain our A+ excellent ratings–people buying homes in the area and investing in businesses would have nothing to worry about. But they have failed and failed miserably. As elected officials they have enjoyed too much the drinks at those seminars more than doing the business of the district and now the failing grades are starting to show, even as declining enrollment if managed properly could have kept more tax increases off the ballot.
When they ask as a school board for a tax levy they are essentially saying that they have no desire to manage their employees. They would of course say that their collective bargaining agreements are what drive up the costs. They would then say that the reason they want to overpay teachers and yield to their threats for strikes if they don’t get even more ridiculous raises is that Lakota wants to retain their employees so they can get the good grades from the state. But guess what, that isn’t happening. A grade of a “B” isn’t good enough for our district especially for what we are paying.
To have average salaries of $70K to $80K per employee one might argue that its worth it to give kids the best opportunity for success. The trouble is, in comparison, other schools that are competing with Lakota who also have high rates of teacher salary, supposedly the best in the business are getting As on their report card. Lakota is paying for mediocrity. What obviously needs to happen is that Lakota needs to cut away their overpriced teachers who care more about gender neutrality and other leftist causes and bring in new talent that can flip the pay scale. What is there to lose if Lakota is already getting a “B” in its grade rating? Why wouldn’t we dump half of the teaching staff and start over with fresh young talent to balance the books?
Well, that is called management and currently three of the two school board members just aren’t willing to do that hard work. Currently Lynda O’Connor and Todd Parnell are functioning as conservatives trying to implement some management controls, and they are feeling the heat from it. What they need is a third vote on the Board, in this case James Hahn. I had the opportunity to meet James recently and he is a sharp, business guy. He understands how things should work and functioning in a three-vote majority, he could do some good, especially partnered with Lynda. I have known Lynda for a long time and at first, I was skeptical of her. But over time she has proven herself to be a solid conservative who wants to do the right thing. What she has needed and continues to need is that critical third vote.
Before we burn down the district with another levy vote and do all the television, radio and newspaper coverage that could be very hard on our district regarding its reputation, we have a chance to vote for James Hahn to actually manage the district at the Board of Education for the first real time in my lifetime, and I’ve been around Lakota for decades. This is a rare opportunity and the Republican Party is backing Jim and Lynda for this very important race during the upcoming election. But it won’t be easy. The levy activists and unionized radicals who hide behind children and declare that great harm will come to their minds if we don’t just throw endless amounts of money at them forever will do whatever they can to prop up Julie. She will get a lot of votes just because she is perceived as a lay down candidate for the teacher’s union who want their money at the expense of the rest of us.
This particular election is one of the most important in Butler County because it’s a chance not only to put fiscal responsibility in charge of one of the largest public budgets in the state, but that the failure to do so could easily cost most of us many more thousands and thousands of dollars a year for nothing. And by nothing, I mean a report card of a “B.” An average at best rating for a top level pay level that is detrimental to our future development. The big scam was to pay the teachers so we could keep our school system at a high grade so that people would continue to move in and buy homes and invest in businesses. But what we are seeing is the opposite, businesses are concerned about the high taxation and who wants to invest in a home in Lakota for a “B” when they can go to Mason with the same dollars and get an “A?”
Of course, Julie and her liberals on the school board want to keep things as they are, they are for big union contracts and the same old teacher problems, like wasting time and money on entertaining transgender bathrooms. And when their treasurer says that they are operating at a budget surplus they don’t think that’s a sign for them to tighten up their budget and spend better. For them it only means they must seek a tax increase and that their energy goes into how to make voters pass it rather than doing their jobs of managing the budget they do have, drive away the expensive teachers and bring in the new. For the grade of a “B,” why not? I personally am happy that finally we have a candidate in James Hahn who thinks correctly about these matters. And if only we could get him elected, we may finally solve many of the problems at Lakota. Hopefully we can, before the politics of the matter get truly nasty. I’d rather talk about budgets and not about the stories of bad conduct that easily could be justified.
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