I attended the recent school board meeting regarding the tax increase. First I will go on record saying I am not in favor of cutting any programs, teachers, etc. I think it's ironic that is the first thing Administration looks at is cutting what I would call essential staff and programs.
However I am a realist and need to voice how the increase in property taxes will hurt this community. We live in a community with little economic development. There are really no jobs to offer and when you increase taxes people will not move here or start a business here. They will do it in a town that is cheaper and has more to offer. When property taxes are raised it hurts the farmers the most.
Yes prices have gone up for the farmers however it cost even more now to feed the cattle and to plant and harvest com / soybeans.
Also the people who are on fixed incomes are going to suffer. The term "fixed income" can be interpreted in many different ways. I'm talking about the families that have to visit the food pantry to feed their families, the elderly who have to decide whether to buy the medication to keep them alive or eat. Those will be drastically impacted by this.
But what upsets the most about this is the mishandling of the special education grant done by our school administration. Let me explain this to some who might be confused because a lot of numbers and rumors are being tossed around out there. We had a grant that was a Special Education Grant. For those who don't know about grants when you get a grant you get very specific guidelines to follow on how the money is allocated and spent. Failure to stay within these guidelines means many different things from paying back money, losing grants, etc. Well our Administration mishandled over a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS of this grant ($300,000). What was told to me at the board meeting (I will go on record saying I had to directly ask for this information, they were not very forthcoming with the information) that the $300,000 was spent in the General Education Fund. So what this means is that money is gone, it's not money that we did not use and is just sitting there. It's money we have to PAY back, money that could have been used toward these positions being cut and the band program.
I understand if the money was there we could not use it toward other programs but the point is we did and now we essentially have a $300,000 bill. I am at loss for words how this happened. Someone's name is on the grant. Someone was given the responsibility to run this grant and someone made out the checks and made a conscious decision to use this grant money to cover a "General Education Need."
We have people who make a lot of money in that Administration office that has higher degrees that should have known better and if they didn't then why are we employing them. It makes me wonder what other "shady" business deals they are doing with our tax paying dollars?
Now we have the right to know answers to these questions.
One thing is the Administration makes sure that the kids are held accountable for their actions. How do we expect our kids to be held accountable when they do something wrong when we don't make our own Administration held accountable. I got the feeling they really want this "swept under the rug."
Well when our kids make a mistake they are not allowed to"sweep it under the rug" so our Administration should not be allowed to do so either. So now what? Well we elected the school board for a reason and it is their job to take action on this. They should be doing a thorough investigation of this and in my opinion maybe some should lose their jobs.
This was such an unethical mishandling of our money it makes me sick. So I challenge the community not to idling sit by and let this happen but stand up for what is right. Make this school board do their jobs and make someone held accountable for this mistake. (If they were employed by a big corporation I guarantee they would have been fired by now). So.attend the school board meetings, make them tell us what is happening with this and all the other money. Also when you see school board members around town stop and ask them what they are doing to resolve this. This community deserves an answer and deserves action.