Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Editorial: Fairfield Board Puts Levy on Ballot

Imagine our surprise: the Fairfield Board of Education has put yet another levy on our ballots. In a Hamilton Journal News piece by Eric Schwartzberg, we learn the stakes:
The 2-mill levy would raise $2,787,537 a year and help the school district fund specific long-term items, such a large equipment purchases and major maintenance items.

Every five years since 1983, residents voted to renew the levy at the same millage to fund roofs, school buses, computers, security systems, paving, heating and ventilation systems, plumbing, windows and safety equipment.

Board President Mark Morris said 2 mills would cost an extra $5 a year on a $100,000 home.

If the levy does not pass, the district will have no permanent improvement funds for the first time in 25 years.
We also learn that the board realizes that this is getting tired:
Also at Monday's meeting, board member Jerome Kearns said he and Dan Murray collected information and data from many sources during the past couple of months to create five recommendations for immediate action including eliminating the middle school dean of students position, reducing building budgets by 5 percent, restructuring library services provided to elementary school students, discontinuing weekend and holiday building checks and implementing a hiring freeze for new positions beginning in school year 2009-10.

"These recommendations would result in an immediate savings of $265,400 in the first year," he said.
The Butler County Bugle stands with board member Arnold Engel on this one: he voted against the levy and also says that Kearns' estimate of saving $111,000 via the hiring freeze can not be rolled into the total amount of savings because that money had not been spent previously.
"It's not a savings if you're saying you're not going to spend it," Engel said. "There's no reduction in cost."
Reducing the cost of government, including public education, is imperative for the growth of the region and the state.

It is a noble effort to demand high quality education, but it is absurd to think that we are doing so at the most effective price using the most efficient means. Our community deserves better.

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