Thursday, November 10, 2005

Lake Sold Down the River

In a stunning display of care and compassion, the voters in the Lake Local School District sold themselves down the river by voting down the school system's operating levee for the sixth time.

Lake's levy, which would have brought in $1.8 million annually to the Wood County district that includes a tiny part of Ottawa County, was defeated by a vote of 2,218 (52 percent) to 2,011 (48 percent), according to final, unofficial results. That marks the smallest gap between "yes" and "no" votes in the last five elections.

Now this cracka can understand the feeling of voters who might perceive that they are being unfairly taxed. However, this wasn't a levy to buy the school board president a new car, or even to keep the foot ball team playing (the districts athletics have been privately sponsored for over a year now). This was a levy to raise money to keep the schools operating.

After defeating a five-year emergency property tax levy equivalent to 8.74 mills on Tuesday, the reality is that the district is facing a deficit of more than $1.5 million by the end of 2008 and has lost the chance to collect any new funding next year.

"We don't want the state to come in and mandate what we have to do and make more cuts," board President Margene Akenberger said. "It's bad now, but if the state came in, I just think it would be ugly."

Reduction measures totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars over the past few years have eliminated bus service to state transportation minimums, the supplemental positions that oversee sports and extracurricular activities, and four custodial jobs. Board member Eric Hirzel said the district could cut corners to save money by offering teachers early retirement incentives to reduce what the district is paying in wages and benefits or by shutting down the district's Millbury building that contains the superintendent's and treasurer's offices.

This isn't a case of a school board spending the citizen's tax money on extravagant expenditures. This is a school board trying desperately to find the funds to keep the schools open and teach YOUR kids how to read! I just hope that the jugheads who keep voting against these levies wake up and smell the REDISTRICTING which may be down the road if Lake Local doesn't get the funds it needs.