Created on Thursday, 01 November 2012 Written by Hal Ackley West Liberty
They have signs supporting the levy that says "Securing Our Future" and "Protecting Our Investment." Isn't this what they are supposed to be doing with our tax dollars? So why are they asking for a levy to repair the school building? Let's take a look at their budget (all of this is public info and available).
They have a yearly budget (2011) of $11,524,683. They have a capital outlay of $39,536 and a Budget Reserve of $0. Most businesses have reserved a minimum of 10 percent per year for maintenance and future repairs (such as roofing, windows, heating and A/C, etc.). So if they reserved 10 percent per year, after 25 years, they would have $28,811,707. That would definitely take care of all their needs. Maybe that's too much. So what if they only reserved one percent per year? They would have $2,881,170 by now. That would cover the new roof (they have gotten quotes from 1.5-4 million dollars for a new roof). So please explain how they are protecting our investment?
With open enrollment they receive over $500,000 per year. What are they doing with that money? If they would have saved that money over the past 10 years, again they would have had enough for all the repairs.
This levy is for 27 years. So they can now predict their budgetary needs for the next 27 years? Does this mean they won't be asking for any more money for the next 27 years? They haven't done that for the past 25 years. I believe if they pass this levy and everything is finished, they will be coming back asking for an operating levy as well. They did this when this school was first built.
They are also asking for $5,000,000 for a Locally Funded Initiative. Let's take a look at that. They say they need a new cafeteria, which I don't disagree with. So they plan on converting the gym into a cafeteria and then building a new gym with the LFI money. The state of Ohio will give them money to build a new cafeteria, but not a new gym. So why not just have the state pay for a new cafeteria and not ask us to pay for a new gym that they don't need? Where is the integrity in that? How is this securing our future?
If they had saved, say $1,000,000, and then came to us for the money to make these repairs; that would show us that they at least tried. But they do not have any money saved towards any repairs. So that says their entire plan from the beginning, was to just ask for the money instead of protecting our investment.
I received a phone call a couple weeks ago asking if I had any questions regarding the levy. I asked these above questions. They said those were good questions, but they didn't know. However, they were going to talk to the school board and have them call me back. I have yet to receive that phone call.
In conclusion, we must demand excellence and integrity from our school leaders. That is the only way to protect our investment and secure our future. If we pass this levy, the only thing we will be securing is entitlement.
Thank you very much.