"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Friday, September 28, 2012

Warning: Predictable Rant to Ensue!

If any of you follow me regularly, you will know that I can be relied upon to rant about certain subjects. The biggest among these is voting or failing to exercise your civic right and responsibility and then qvetching about  the results. You either vote and earn the right to bitch or choose not to participate in your civic duty and lose the complaint perks. Simple and easy to remember. So, every opportunity to vote usually brings out the wild-eyed ranting maniac intent on changing the world. It never helps except to make me feel better.

So, here it is again. If you follow my print by-line in the Evansville Review, you may have read my article about the September 24 school board annual meeting. The one where every citizen in the district is eligible to vote on the tax levy for the coming school year. I just posted here on the blog to come out and vote last week. Exactly 18 citizens among more than 2000 eligible voters showed up to chime in on their view of the proposed tax levy. Every person I have ever met in this town complains bitterly about their tax bill. Of the 18 present, 15 were district employees and the rest of us were former board members. Oh the humanity. This is tantamount to leaving the fox in charge of the hen house. Really, people? REALLY? The next person who bitches to me about their tax bill who happens to fall in the category of "one of the 1,982 Evansville Community School District Electors who thought the Packer game was more important than your tax bill" and blames the school district is in for a real treat. You know who your are and so do I. By the way, how'd that Packer game work out for you?!?

By the numbers: The revenue cap was down again this year, the Fund 10 budget was down for the first time in, like, ever. The state aid was up and the non-referendum tax levy was down. Property values are predicted to remain relatively stable and the enrollment may decline a bit. All of this should point to a significantly reduced total tax levy. So why did it raise by some 1.5 percent? Because of the idiots in charge of setting up the financing for the high school referendum back in 2001 thought it would be a brilliant idea to back-load the debt so the ever increasing student enrollment could help finance the debt going forward. Except there hasn't been ever increasing student enrollment and the politicians decided that they would cut aid by $550 a kid, or nearly a million dollars, or about 8% of our total state funding. Somebody counted chickens that not only weren't hatched but weren't even a twinkle in their great-grandparents' eyes.  That means that the 2.8 million owed on the debt is the lowest debt levy the district will see until 2021. By 2020 the amount due to debt alone will be over 4 million dollars. To put that in perspective, the whole non-referendum debt owed this year is 5.15 million dollars. Even if  everything else were to remain the same for the next 8 years, which it won't, the amount of tax levy will nearly double once the referendum debt is added on in 2020. All referendum debt is outside of the revenue cap and goes on top of that in the total tax levy. Imagine that eventuality, if you can. Then the next time you see one of those board members from those days, kick him or her in the butt for me. I heard a conversation that went like this, "What were those board members thinking when they approved this?" "They were probably going based on the administrator's recommendation..." Note: it wasn't Heidi. Thanks for not being able to imagine the consequences if we didn't get increased enrollment in the district and not recognizing the fact that all state funding is at the whim of self-serving politicians who would screw their mothers if it would increase their standing in their world. That inability to think outside the box will haunt the district for a years to come.

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