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And back to taxes...Posted Tuesday, December 18, 2007, at 9:44 AM
I'm going to talk about something that bothers me. That's not what I intended this blog for but it seems like I should have named it "Things that tick me off."
Monday morning I got a call telling me I should go visit Bloomfield Elementary. Apparently, the roof problems we've been hearing about for years reached a new level of trouble.
During Friday's torrential evening rains, it appears that enough water made it through the roof and into a classroom to leave about 4 inches of standing water in the floor for the weekend. Coincidentally, this is my 9-year-old daughter's math class.
Now, I understand that sometimes these things happen, but this has been an ongoing problem for several years. The maintenance men at the school spend an insane amount of their time patching holes in the roof, but that's just a temporary fix. It's been well over 20 years since the building was re roofed and it shows.
It's actually reached the point where its going to require serious construction to replace the roof and repair the underlying damage.
Twice in the past two years, the school has gone to the people to try to raise the district tax levy to accommodate for repairs of this magnitude and twice it has been handedly defeated.
I'm not here today to push for a tax, but to explain a little about funding that a lot of people don't understand.
When you look at a school districts budget, yes you see some rather hefty numbers, but nearly all of that money is specifically allocated as to how it can be used. You can't use capital improvement money to repair a roof just they they can't get into the lunch fund to pay for textbooks.
Another argument I've heard involves the school buying up surrounding property. Something that needs to be understood, is that in order for a school in the center of town to grow, they have to purchase surrounding property when it becomes available because it may never be for sale again. Bloomfield, for instance has added quite a bit of parking in some of the property they bought.
Again, though, that is not the same money that would go into repairs. It is illegal for a district to use those funds inappropriately and carries some stiff penalties.
The only other argument I've heard has been that some people don't like the current administration and won't vote for this until there are changes. Well, who you like is your own business, but don't take that out on our children.
If as a citizen of any public body, you have a problem with something or someone, go to a meeting and call and set one up to sit down and talk about your concerns.
I go to public meetings every week and rarely is there ever more than one person in attendance and more often there are none.
Like I said, I just wanted to explain some things about the funding of public body's for people who don't understand that it doesn't work like a checking account. This isn't a push for a tax. I just wanted to clarify some things that I've heard.
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Corey Noles, staff writer for The Daily Statesman and Editor of The North Stoddard Countian, is the author of a regular baseball/St. Louis Cardinals column and also uses his blog to sound off on various happenings in sports. He also operates a weekly baseball mailbag column.
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