INSANITY – Farmington School’s $222 million mileage attempt
Too many questions remain regarding the attempt by the Farmington School Board to increase school funding. They are proposing a 56% increase in the school taxes we pay with their ballot initiative scheduled to be voted by taxpayers on August 6th. We now pay 2.56 mills for school taxes and the Board wants to increase this by another 1.44 mills, a 56% increase.
I am all for education and investing in our children, however, there are many unanswered questions:
· The current funds for capital and technology improvements today come from the General Fund of the School District. If this new mileage for capital improvements passes, millions of existing tax dollars that were previously allocated for capital improvements will be now available to spend on other items. Where will these dollars be spent? Why hasn’t this been explained by the School Board?
· Why is the School Board trying to sell how little it will cost the taxpayer, yet not provide vital facts such as the amount of the average value of the house they used in the calculations? The amounts disclosed in the media may be very misleading and unsubstantiated since one cannot compute how they arrived at these figures.
· Why isn’t the School Board accounting for the fact that house values are increasing, and will continue to increase, consequently, so will the current school taxes we pay and will be paying in the future?
· Why has the School Board chosen to put this additional school mileage proposal on the August ballot? Historically, the August ballot has an extremely low turnout of voters. Why not put it on the November ballot when most people are apt to go vote? Is this being done on purpose by the School Board? It will cost an additional $85,000 to have this on the August ballot instead of the November ballot. Why August?
· The district is in a downward trend in the number of students enrolled. This downward trend is projected to continue for years with the strong possibility of additionally schools being closed. Why then does the School Board want to spend so much on building improvements, all new furnishings, and technology? Does a 56% increase in our taxes for school funding make sense for a shrinking school district? There are two vacant schools currently that the School Board refuses to sell which could generate millions ... why?
· What exactly is their "1 to 1" plan relating to technology/computers for students? Does this mean each student gets an iPad or a laptop? Once again, details are lacking and it makes you wonder.
· Why haven’t the actual detailed cost quotations of all these improvement projects been shared with us the taxpayers? Do they have any detailed quotations for all these proposed expenditures or are they just throwing out numbers? Do they think we are not capable to understand the details?
· The lists of items they plan on spending with the new proposed tax increases are puzzling. Facelifts for buildings, hallways, new furniture for all classrooms, meeting areas, turfs for fields, new lockers, technology, “1 to 1” program, and more. Most of our schools are in good condition currently so why spend this money now?
Why is the School Board proposing this 56% school tax increase now? Our economy continues to improve, our house values continue to rise, and consequently, the school taxes we now pay for the District are rising as well. Why not ask for what’s needed for the next few years and not handcuff the taxpayers for the next 20 years?
Two reasons that have been stated are; “because our children deserve it” and “we need it to compete with other school districts”. Don’t our students outperform most school districts with our current school funding? Is our students’ performance directly correlated to school buildings, amenities, and furnishings?
Continually throwing money at the schools in the name of better educating our students is not the answer. Many other public and private school systems have accomplished greater results with much less money, more involvement by all, and by setting higher expectations!
There is an old saying – “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
We need details now! We need to ask more questions and get honest answers now! VOTE on August 6th!