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By JGillman, Section News
Curiously, Michigan Capitol Confidential has a story about school millage advocacy.
"In an effort to drum up support for an upcoming millage, Alcona Community Schools Superintendent Shawn Thornton is quoted in a local newspaper claiming teaching and support staff have been cut almost in half."Which was of course misleading.
The first line says 'curiously' because today is the day I received the response from the SOS to my complaint of advocacy by TCAPS (Traverse City Area Public Schools) for its millage request. It included the district's denial that they were violating campaign finance 57. It claimed they didn't know that there was a violation. But interestingly, as they were denying the charge of violation, it should be noted they significantly re-worked their literature when 'caught' by the original complaint and a subsequent newspaper article highlighting the complaint.
Right up to that line without stepping over it is typical for school systems begging for more, but this was pretty clear. The Superintendent approved the mailer, but then had it changed when caught. Then had their hired guns respond to the complaint. Then another 'curious' event where the public relations manager resigns an $84k/yr job out of the blue.
I have 10 days from the date of the SOS response to add anything. The SOS response was dated Dec 21, 2012. (Envelope shows to be mailed the 27th) I suppose the violation should/could stand on its own, but will an additional argument weigh on the process any?
(2 comments) Comments >>
By JGillman, Section Multimedia
While we are waiting for the Biden-Ryan debate, I figured you might like a little entertainment.
As many of you may know, the Traverse City Area Public Schools have a board lacking any critical dissent. There is no representative of the taxpayer present in each of its monthly, or special meetings. Thus it should come as no surprise that a $26,000,000.00 Performing Arts Center (auditorium)is considered an essential educational tool.
By JGillman, Section News
Like everywhere else in the state of Michigan, leadership in the Traverse City Area Public Schools likes new and 'shiny' best.
We're fighting a millage request that has an add on $26 million for a new performing arts center that will dwarf Interlochen. (you know .. the professionals) We're going all out up here to fight the latest pickpocketing by an irresponsible board, which has neglected its properties, in favor of building new. Literally. In fact this statement:
"Without the bond, TCAPS general fund will have to pay more than 3 million dollars per year to keep up with such demands. TCAPS operates a "general fund" that pays for the day-to-day operations of our school system, including student programming and employee salaries. A "capital" or "bond" fund supports the upkeep and improvement of infrastructure and cannot be used for day-to-day operations."so ..
Essentially, they are saying "we don't know how to keep our stuff nice, and since you will pony up anyway .." A perfect example of our throwaway society I suppose.
If you don't like this ..
Then you trash it, and build this ..
Fixing, remodeling, repair.. Out of the question. Just replace.
Curious on how we're fighting it? Check THIS OUT
(3 comments) Comments >>
By JGillman, Section News
"The straw that broke that camel's back" perhaps.
That could be the headline when the Traverse City Area Public Schools see their most recent request for millage fall flat on its fat face.
TCAPS is looking for support to continue its Capital Infrastructure Improvement Program through authorization of bond sales that will generate $100 million over the next 10 years. According to TCAPS, the millage rate necessary to repay these bonds will remain below 4 mills. Given the current rate of 3.1 mills, where did the other 29% increase come from? The purpose of these requests must be physical asset based only, and this level of increase must surely be based on some specific need, right?
Of course. The need for a particular feel good wear around the neck kind of thing that says "look at me!"
Continued below the fold
(1 comment, 1318 words in story) Full Story
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