Sunday, January 16, 2005

"No Means No" Update #1

“No Means No!”
“No Means No” Updates are designed to rebuke the Parent Updates the Rockford Area Schools send home in the children’s backpacks. Our tax money pays for these updates. When asked by someone who is against the Levy if they could also send information on why not to vote for the Levy, they were told no. The School District uses heavy weight colored paper to make sure to get our attention. Those who have more than one child in the school district receive more than one update. They are asked to distribute those updates to their neighbors.

“No Means No” Update #1
The first Parent update provides a timeline for the Levy. This is interesting because there is so little time between when the decision was made to have this ­MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ELECTION and the election itself that it will be nearly impossible to reach everybody. The school district is doing a great job of reaching those folks who have children in the Rockford School District. Who is reaching out to the people without children in the school district? Those are the people who will vote against the Levy. Doesn’t it seem the School District has done this on purpose so that those people will not know about the special MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ELECTION?

Here is the official Timeline:

Parent Update #1…………………………….………By January 7, 2005
Operating Levy Q&A Mailing………………………Mailed January 12-14, 2005
Parent Update #2…………………………………….By January 21, 2005
Notice of Special Election…………………………...Mailed January 14-31, 2004
Public Hearings………………………………………January 24, 2005
Ballots Mailed………………………………………..January 26, 2005-February 1, 2005
Parent Update #3……………………………………..By January 28, 2005
Parent Update #4……………………………………..By February 4, 2005
Election Day………………………………………….February 15, 2005

The Parent Update also provided the “Basic Levy Facts”…I will also share them here.

-The levy is for $597 per pupil unit
-Estimated Tax for a $200,000 home is $240 per year
-The duration of this levy is 5 years
-Will yield $1.1 Million dollars the first year
-The funding will be use to maintain class sizes and reduce future program cuts.

Just a couple notes here…

-This will equate for a more than 10% increase in the amount of taxes I pay. (I was told by someone in favor of the levy that I should have bought I smaller house).

-The Levy if only for 5 years. What will they do to make ends meet when 5 years is up, suddenly learn how to live with in their means or come back with their hand out again?

-I want to know what the program cuts are. And are their studies that show that kids do better in smaller classes, or do smaller classes just make it easier for the teachers. It this about the kids or the teachers?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Empty Threats?

Will they say and do anything to get the levy passed this time? Lets let them know that they are taking quite a gamble this time. If it DOES NOT pass, we are going to be waiting to see them actually implement all of their threats.

The News Leader published notes from the Dec. 20 Rockford School Board meeting (http://www.pressnews.com/ranl.dec04.html#anchor31208026).

The board and the "Vote Yes" committee discussed what should be said to encourage voters to approve the levy. Linda Comb suggested telling voters if the levy fails again there might not be any extra curricular activities or bus service.

Harold Greseth, Rockford Middle School principal suggested telling voters that if the Levy doesn't pass this time they might as well not bother spending down what is left of the general budget and just go directly into Statutory Operating Debt. (Sounds like a great plan to me!!!)
"The Board Members discussed the possibility of closing the middle school building and discontinuing bus service within 2 miles of the school"

Cooler heads prevailed before a final decision on what to tell voters was made: High School Principal Roman Pierskalla cautioned the board on "moving to fast naming cuts primarily because, in case of a loss this election, they would (acually) have to be made, and with so little left to cut from the budget, they warrant careful, lengthy consideration". Does that mean that there is not much left to cut out, or does it mean that they do not need to cut much more before they balance the budget?

Thursday, January 06, 2005

More Information on Rockford School District 883 Levy Referendum

There will be a mail-in vote on the Levy referendum Feb. 15. If it is approved, it will cost taxpayers in District 883 $1.2 million.
Here is an excerpt from the Monday, December 24, 2004 edition of the Rockford Area News Leader http://www.pressnews.com/ranl.dec04.html#anchor31208026:
"Voting procedures for the mail-n ballot will be sent out to district residents in January. That mailing will be followed up with information prepared by the district explaining the request for additional funding by district residents and how that money would be used.
The question, as discussed by the board and members of the "Vote Yes" committee, is not how much information to pass onto voters (the numbers have been publicized in prior mailings and news articles) but how to present it.
Linda Comb, a parent who campaigned for the operating levy that failed last November, told the board, "It's time to let the community know what the reality of failing this levy is now. They need to hear the cold, hard facts that there might not be any extra curricular activities or bus service. That's the reality."