All board members frugal
In relation to the 3-2 vote by the Groveport Madison School Board to lease/purchase 35 buses at its July 13 special board meeting, board member John Kershner, who voted with the majority, is quoted in the July 21 Southeast Messenger as saying, "Our vote sends a clear message of who on the board has a tax and spend mentality and who has a frugal solid business management mentality."
Although I voted in the minority, I do not take offense at John’s statement for the following reasons:
•First, most of the Groveport Madison School District income comes from taxes – local, state and federal. (Exceptions include reimbursements for books, supplies, admission fees to sports events and the high school plays, and some services such as breakfast, lunch, tutoring and summer school.)
Therefore, all Groveport Madison school board members approve how tax money is both appropriated and spent to help effectively run the district.
•Second, the school board does not directly levy taxes on its residents. Instead it places tax levies on the ballot for the community to decide if it is willing to pay the tax.
•Third, many wonderful services are provided by taxes, for which we citizens have approved. Where would we be without our libraries, the Metro Parks, and assistance for the mentally ill, the elderly, and the mentally retarded and developmentally disabled?
Mr. Kershner was also quoted as saying that the purchase of 35 buses demonstrated "a frugal solid business management mentality." That may be, and I think all five board of education members, as well as the superintendent and treasurer, subscribe to the philosophy of being frugal and practicing good business management. We just interpret and act on it differently.
For instance, I think that a responsible and proactive board would ask the community to take advantage of the state’s offer to pay 44 percent ($67 million) of up to $140 million to build/replace/renovate one/some/all of the school district’s 10 buildings. This would depend, of course, on what level of funding the community decides it wants to support. However, each year that we wait, the cost to build will have increased by approximately 4 percent. (If we choose to take advantage of the total that the state offers, the total cost will have increased by $5.6 million in one year – $3.1 million for the school district.)
In 2009, to avoid the confusion of placing on the ballot two school issues – a building bond issue and the renewal of our three year $4.5 million operating levy – it seems wise to place the operating levy on the ballot this year. Questions we need to resolve are: Should it be a little larger, increasing it from 5.46 mills to 8 mills, raising $6.4 million and calling it a "replacement?" Should its term be increased to five years, reducing the frequency with which it has to be renewed?
To help the board make these decisions, I encourage interested persons to contact board members or attend the Aug. 13 board meeting at 7 p.m. at the Madison Township Community Center and inform the board of your views.
Mary Tedrow, board member
Groveport Madison School Board