Open Government is Behaved Government RECAP

November 11, 2014 · 0 comments

*Transparency and Fiscal Responsibility   **OPEN GOVERNMENT IS BEHAVED GOVERNMENT**

-With a 19 million dollar (according to newest audit) rainy day fund, parents should not have to send  basic school supplies . We were snowed for years with the “We are out of money ” mantra.

Request Band books, English novels and weekly readers of any type  be provided free of charge$  to your student.   There should be no “suggested”  lists as we already pay for these items with our taxes. If it’s required for a grade in a class, the district is required to provide it. [See my  blog, Bond Vs Ann Arbor schools and the Michigan Department of Ed Position paper on this topic to see what parents are allowed/disallowed to be charged for.]

-Wasteful spending on food and gifts went on by school officials for many years, but I brought  media attention to it.  The district now posts a portion of it’s general fund check register online due to my push for transparency.[ It is not  useful  to track  financial dealings of the district due to fact that they post a stripped down version. ]  All accounts  including athletics and bond and even lunch fund accounts need to be posted for the public to see in a user friendly form . There is a need to tape the meetings to post online. The community needs to know what it’s school board is doing, and if it’s doing it in the open or not. With all of the bond money spent on technology, there has to be some equipment available to tape and broadcast these meetings on TV and online.

– The district is in deep debt  for buildings and technology; It totals half a billion dollars. Documents show the past Superintendent Mark Deldin and  elected board members at the time knew if the 2004 bond passed we would owe 455 million dollars ,  and already owed 83 million to the school bond loan fund . The MI Treasury stipulated the taxpayers  be informed of the full effect of borrowing but the board kept us in the dark. Knowing about the existing extreme debt could have led to taxpayers voting that or any future proposals down. A board with fiscal forethought should have realized that we were in too deep and stopped borrowing . Nope.  In 2010 with a significant downturn in the economy, they thought it wise to increase our debt by another  89 million.  Like monopoly money,  several  vintage elected  officials  were quite happy to spend like crazy and then  blame the Treasury, low funding, or a bad economy, conveniently everyone but themselves, when  it could not be paid back. Like blaming a candy store for causing cavities. That is why we began to  pay increased mills starting with our September 2014 summer tax bill.

– How exactly have the millions borrowed from the bond proposal been spent?  Good question.A line by line audit should be made public. The Treasury has no mechanism to certify what projects and techno devices are necessary, counting on local boards for this. Our board appears to count on the general contract manager, and this manager profits from the work they recommend. Monthly change order summaries showing millions of dollars in mistakes and changes over the life of these bonds are kept from public view. Great for contractors;bad deal for taxpayers.

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