Last year Betty White’s Off Their Rockers television program was canceled by NBC. The premise of the program was senior citizens pull pranks on people, mostly by doing or saying outlandish things (which aren’t necessarily true), and then the reactions of those “pranked” is revealed.
I admit watching some of the episodes – a few were genuinely funny; others were stereotypical, offensive, or so unbelievable that you wonder how people could be that gullible to fall for the prank.
Similarly, don’t be “pranked” just because a letter by a senior citizen says outlandish things about United Local Schools and its operations. The facts are: the failed bond issue attempts were in May and November 2011. In November 2013, the district residents turned down a new 3.0 mill permanent improvement levy which would have replaced the original 3.0 mill PI levy first approved in 1984. Also, I hardly think that district residents are “fed up” with the school board because in the past two school board elections three of four incumbents running have been re-elected.
On the May ballot is a renewal of the 1984 3.0 mill PI levy. This PI levy has been renewed every five years (thankfully!) by district voters. PI levy funds can only be used for items with a lifespan of more than five years – it cannot be used for salaries or employee benefits. In the past, it has been used for buses, textbooks, technology, building additions and facility upgrades.
Since United voters are not willing to pay the taxes for a new school building, or additional taxes generated by a new PI levy based on today’s values, the renewal of the current PI levy (based on 1984 valuations) is even more critical to help make necessary upgrades to our aging facility.
Additionally, since it is a renewal levy, property owners will continue to pay what they have been paying. Additionally, those who have a homestead exemption on their real estate taxes will continue to receive that exemption since this is a renewal, not a new levy.
Please, take the time to talk with knowledgeable people from United Schools who understand fund accounting, operating funds, permanent improvement funds, and how financial operations of the school are conducted. Ask about the management, goals, and objectives of the district – an annual financial plan for United Schools, dating back to when Gary Meier was superintendent. Look at the track record of United Schools with regard to finances compared to other area school districts and their taxes.
Then make your informed decision on United’s 3.0 mill PI renewal levy based on facts, not on what a senior citizen says – after all, you may be being “pranked.” And by the way, the school’s lunch policy has nothing to do with the PI levy.