TAXES, TAXES AND MORE TAXES
Lebanon City School District, in its infinite wisdom, has decided to ask the overtaxed taxpayers for even more money. They managed to pass a levy in August with about 10% of the registered voters bothering to vote. Most of these were employees of the district, parents and students.
This November the voters will see a two issue new levy. One issue will be a 1.87 mills of debt to the property owners for 37 years. The second one is for .50 mills and will run for 23 years. This is debt that your great- grandchildren will be paying for.
It is important to take into consideration that banking institutions love to issue bonds for this kind of guaranteed income. These bonds are protected by the property of every homeowner and business in the school district. I am listing some of the debt that is currently on the backs of property owners.
For example, in the audit of 2010, the district owed $43,856,959 for the principal of outstanding loans, but the interest owed on that amount was $24,472,891 for a total debt of $68,329,842.
“In fiscal year 2002, the District issued $45,000,000 and $5,000,000 in voted general obligation bonds for the purpose of constructing a new high school and elementary school. The bonds were issued for a 28 year period with a final maturity date of December 1, 2029.”
“In fiscal year 2004, the District issued a $2,887,000 OASBO Pool Loan for the purpose of financing the bus garage construction and improvement. This loan was refinanced during the fiscal year 2007. These were paid from the Permanent Improvement Fund”
“In fiscal year 2006, the district issued $3,740,000 in Certificates of Participation (COPS). The COPS were issued for the purpose of constructing new school buildings and related facilities, renovating and constructing additions to existing school buildings and facilities, furnishing those buildings, landscaping and improving the sites and acquiring land and interests necessary. These COPS were refinanced at an amount of $3,401,000 with a final maturity date of June 1, 2031. These were paid from the General Fund.”
There is a line in the audit that states that the debt is supported by the “full faith and credit of the district.” This debt is debt on the property owners and not the school district. The “district” has no income unless the property owners are taxed more and more for any debt that the district decides to incur.
“On top of the above debt the district leases buildings, vehicles and other equipment under noncancelable leases.” In the fiscal year ending 2010, the district disbursed $721,515 to pay lease costs for the year ended June 30, 2010. From 2011 – 2031 the lease payment obligation totaled $6,534,068.”
The school board seems to believe that they have the right to tax and spend at will. The new schools were built with very little advice from the community. I was told by a teacher that a few were invited to meetings, but that their suggestions were totally ignored. Most of the teachers did not want Bowman to be built as grade level schools. I was told that most parents and teachers preferred neighborhood schools where many of the children could walk to school with siblings and friends. Just the cost of the bussing should have outweighed the decision that seemed to be made unilaterally by the superintendent with the approval of the school board. In other words, once the voters give them approval, they do as they please.
I would ask you to check out the bus garage. Drive over there and take a walk through the building. You can see zero improvements. Everything appears to be of inferior quality. I have walked through this building and I was appalled. Even the heating and cooling system was inferior. We are told that they spent almost $3 million dollars in improvements to this facility. I would suggest that you take the same tour of the new Turtlecreek Township Firehouse on Rt. 123. The trustees built that facility for approximately the same amount.
You will note that in 2006 the district states that $3,740,000 was issued for the purpose of building new buildings, landscaping etc. Where are these improvements? Debt was added to amounts that the taxpayers have to pay, but no explanation was ever given and the added amounts don’t seem to be ballot approved items.
The board can spend money out of the General Fund for whatever they like. When they can’t pay for the increased costs of insurance, salary increases, bussing, fuel and other necessary classroom items they come back to the taxpayers again and again.
It is time to turn off the faucet.