The school district is in a tough spot with the roof problems, but is it right to ask for a bailout by the citizens of the district? Wouldn’t it be better to explore other avenues?
I would suggest the following:
• Resolve that there will be no sacred cows that are untouchable in the district when it comes to saving money to buy roofs.
• Call a series of public hearings at various places in the district where the board would just listen to employees and citizens on cutting costs to find money for the roofs and the doors.
• Be proactive with respect to seeking input on ideas to cut waste. Invite ideas from school district employees, students, parents, business leaders and owners, local government leaders from other units of government, farmers (many of whom will be more adversely affected by the increases), and any other citizens with ideas.
• Set up a “hotline” to report waste and give ideas to save money, where school employees or anyone else can call in and remain anonymous so that the fear of negative consequences for speaking out on waste is taken away.
• Eliminate any costs that you view as unnecessary in the original proposal and get some contractors who have a stake in our schools to help get the projected costs down.
• Prayer in the community to seek solutions. I realize that courts have banned public prayer by school officials in the classroom, but there is no law against churches and citizens making the crisis in roof repairs a subject of prayer outside the classroom and the schools.
• If all of the above is done, and there is still a fund shortage, get community leaders, business leaders, and local government leaders to sign off on support for the lesser amount, before coming back to voters with a hopefully much scaled-down version (if still needed). But the goal should first be to pay for the whole program by cutting and eliminating waste.
I believe that the roofs need fixing, and the door security improved. But should tax increases be the first place to go for the money? Leadership in this time of history seems to require government to be more efficient with less, not to keep increasing the percentage of citizens’ income going for taxes.
I may be naïve, but I believe the roofs can be fixed and doors secured without hurting our economy by raising taxes, if the whole community will work together!