Tuesday, May 10, 2005

School Boards and Property Taxes

The school board of the Grove City area school district just voted on a preliminary budget. This budget will raise taxes by 1.42 mills! I'd be furious, but I'm busy scratching my head over why they chose to raise taxes one week before the primary election. There are three scenarios:
- They wanted to show their great courage (unlikely)
- They are all political novices and had no thought about the impact (possible)
- They continue to live in arrogance and feel their positions are safe no matter what they do (likely)

What makes the third option likely is how a discussion turned heated during the meeting. I vocally opposed the increase and board candidate Jason Reeher chimed in and asked superintendent Robert Post if he felt we were due. Post agreed. After more discussion, board president Jane Rath, who is up for re-election, came to the super's defense, comparing him to the CEO of a company. At this point I pointed out her flawed analogy, as a company exists to make profit.

Reeher questioned the judgment of the board, who recently gave increases to the super and asst. super, while acknowledging that there was a looming budget problem. As with most bureaucrats, the board's response was to raise taxes.

Reeher asked why the board would give lavish raises knowing that there is a budget problem. Post responded by saying that the board was only paying what people were worth. He noted that if a plumber costs $60/hr, then you have to pay what he is worth. He said that the raises were around 3.4%, but the state was only kicking in 2%.

I asked, "if the state was only giving 2%, how can we justify giving higher raises?" I informed Post that we cannot live beyond our means.

At this point, the meeting was getting awfully heated. Member Jim Crow started to mumble that the discussion was "a joke" and that the board should "move on to something important." That doesn't sound like leadership, does it? Taxation is a very important issue for the community. It deserves scrutiny. However, the school board has a reputation of acting in an aggressive manner toward anyone who questions its policies.

The common family needs to find another way. We need to dig deep to find a cheaper plumber or find a way to get the needed $60. We do not have the option to confiscate money from others. It is time for a change.

No comments: