Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Do You Trust Your School Superintendent and School Board?

Why would our school district superintendent tell me after the August 30, 2011 Board of Education meeting, "You know that we don't have a person that's just in charge of the website. We put our money in the classroom." when the district already employs a full time Web Designer who has been working for the school district for 7 years? This was in response to a request to the school board to post financial and board meeting packet and board member contact information onto the district website like they do at other school districts. Instead, I was told how the district puts its money into the classroom and not the website like other districts do. However, it appears now that she is planning on putting our money into the football fields and not as much into the classroom. Please note that the district does in fact have a full time Web Designer who was contracted to make $44,731 for the 2011-2012 school year. She could have just told me the truth but decided not to. This wasn't the first time I had been provided false or misleading information and wasn't the last and in doing so she destroys her credibility.

Our district seems to have a significant problem when school board members and administrators ignore requests for information or requests to post information such as board packets on the district website like they do in other districts. Not providing the information gives the appearance that our district is trying to hide things from the public. It certainly brings into question why the district never published the estimated cost of items for the $18.5 Million dollar bond issue.

So why didn't the district ever publish the budget for the items they wished to purchase with the Bond Issue money until I made a request for the budget on Monday July 16, 2012 which was then emailed to me and published on the website on Wednesday July 18, 2012?

How the school district plans to spend your taxpayer dollars should be of great interest to those in our school district. There are certainly repair needs within the district. The Election Ballot is written quite deceptively in regards to what is really happening with the $3.3 Million dollars being invested into what the election ballot lists as "converting the existing athletic facilities into multipurpose facilities."

What academic benefit is gained in spending $1.5 Million dollars to install artificial turf on the football fields and then another $1 Million dollars to replace the already rubberized tracks and the remaining $800,000 on bleachers?

I think our superintendent and school board is hoping to sneak the artificial turf in under the radar by not mentioning it on the ballot. Most people that I have spoken with had no idea that the school district was planning on installing artificial turf. One parent told me she was not going to pay for artificial turf when her son's middle school doesn't have enough books for his class to go around so they had to share books. She asked why they needed artificial turf? I said that is a really good question but that it was most likely because several other schools in the area recently installed artificial turf so our coaches want it too.

I emailed the school board secretary and the school board over two weeks ago requesting the cost analysis that was provided to the school board in justifying the cost of installing and maintaining artificial turf verses natural grass and how long the artificial turf would last before needing to be replaced. My questions were forwarded to Mr. Crutchley on July 16 but I have not received a response to those questions as of August 2, 2012 even after emailing another request. Most people I have spoken with seem to think that those are valid questions and that the school board should be asking those questions before spending that much in taxpayer dollars. You as taxpayers should be highly concerned because artificial turf typically only lasts around 8 to 10 years before needing to be replaced according to the industry. Additionally, there is quite a bit of maintenance cost as well. Not to mention the fact that artificial turf can reach temperatures of 140 degrees Fahrenheit according to a 2008 National Institutes of Health report. So, that means the district will be needing to spend another large sum of money when we are only half way into paying off the Bond Issue which would be extended to 2032.

So, should you be concerned with how the district plans on using the largest portion of the $18.5 million dollar bond issue?  The estimated costs for the bond issue items from the district website totals to less than $16 Million dollars. What is the extra $2.5 Million dollars going to be used for?

I certainly hope that you VOTE NO on the $18.5 Million dollar bond issue!