Monday, December 31, 2012

Fox C-6 Central Office Remodel Was Not In Original Bond Issue Budget

$100,000 Spent On Central Office Remodel Was Not Listed On Bond Issue Budget
The roughly $100,000 being spent on remodeling the Fox C-6 Central Office building that was announced in October 2012 was not in the original August 7, 2012 Bond Issue budget posted on the on the district website for the public.  But, you would not know that unless you had downloaded a copy of the budget during the short amount time that it was available on the district website.  The document was promptly removed from the website once the Bond Issue passed and the district thanked the community.  I emailed district officials and asked that it be placed back on the district website but never received a response, and it was never re-posted.  However, you can download a copy of both the original document supplied to me by the district as well as a more readable version of the document I created using a spreadsheet right here:

Original Copy of the August 7, 2012 Fox C-6 Bond Issue Budget Document Supplied by District (PDF)

A More Readable Version of the August 7, 2012 Fox C-6 Bond Issue Budget (PDF)

Bond Issue Budget Not Originally Posted On District Website
Originally, the Bond Issue budget was not posted on the district website for the public to review.  The only documents posted on the district website regarding the bond issue was the appeal letters from the superintendent and the Fox C-6 school board asking for your support because it was for the kids.  If the district wanted the $18.5 million dollars from the public, why didn't they want the public to know the details as to how their money was going to be spent?  More of a concern was the fact that I could not find a copy of the budget in any of the board meeting packets for the prior year that are supplied to the school board members before each board meeting for them to review.

I emailed our board and board secretary for a copy of the Bond Issue budget and also asked them to post the budget on the district website prior to the Bond Issue election.  The budget did get posted to the district website prior to the election.  However, it wasn't posted until July 22, 2012 which was only a few weeks before the election.  In my email to district officials, I asked why the budget had never been supplied to the public for review and also why it never showed up in the school board meeting packets that I had received from the district.  I did not receive an answer to either question but I did receive a copy of the budget.  I found it alarming that the school board approved the $18.5 million bond issue amount without having the budget document provided to them in their board meeting packets detailing how the money was going to be spent.  There was an April 10, 2012 Special Meeting/Workshop regarding a list of proposed capital projects that may have included a copy of the budgeted list of items.  But, the budget list of items was never posted on the district website prior to my request. The original PDF copy of the budget supplied by the school district had a PDF CREATED DATE of April 12, 2012.

Bond Issue Budget Document Removed From Website
Once the bond issue passed and our superintendent posted her thank you message to the community, the Bond Issue budget document was removed from the district website.  I emailed district officials and asked that the budget be re-posted on the website.  I never received a response and the document was never restored to the website.

Without the budget document, you have no way of holding the district accountable for their Bond Issue spending.  I suggest you call and speak with your board members and ask them why they removed the budget information from the district website.  As taxpayers, you have the right to know how and where your taxpayer dollars are being spent.

Bond Issue Numbers Look Really Small
If you print the original document supplied by the school district on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper you will find that the amounts of money budgeted by the district "look really small"!!  In fact, when I showed the budget to my father, he told me that he couldn't read the numbers because they were so small.  He hadn't seen a copy of the budget for the bond issue prior to my giving him a copy.  My search for the budget started after my father told me that the Fox High School athletic director made a presentation to the Arnold Rotary Club about upgrading the athletic field but he didn't know how much it would cost for those upgrades when he was asked at the meeting.

You can find my original post as to why I suggested that you vote NO on the August 7, 2012 Bond Issue.  Prior to the August 7, 2012 bond issue election, several parents told me that they would be voting NO on the bond issue because they thought that spending roughly $3.5 million dollars to upgrade our football fields when there aren't enough textbooks to go around for all the kids in the middle school.  In my opinion, I believe that if the voters of our community were more informed by the school district as to how the bond issue money was going to be spent and were knowledgeable about the other issues going on within the Fox C-6 School District, that the bond issue would not have passed.  I know a lot of taxpaying voters were not too happy to learn after the election how much money was being spent to put artificial turf on our football fields!

School district parents regarding textbook shortages prompted me to ask some of our school board members and school administrators about the textbook shortage after the December 2012 school board meeting.  You can find a response from district officials regarding the textbook shortage in my other post here.