Taxpayers association deserves
seat at the table
By DAVID COKER
Special to the Courier & Press
April 27, 2005
cannot understand how the Courier & Press can write an
editorial (Monday) about the membership of the
Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp.'s efficiency study
steering committee and never once mention including at
least one member of the Vanderburgh County Taxpayers
not have just as legitimate a claim to be a party to
this committee as the teachers union and the Teamsters?
members have spent hundreds of hours during the past two
years, on a totally volunteer basis, poring over the
annual school corporation budget, audit reports,
bus-replacement schedules and tax-levy tables in an
effort to make some sense of the financial mess that
continues to surround this school corporation.
requested financial document after document from the top
management of the corporation and continue to find it
very difficult to get specific information regarding
certain activities. Our members remain gravely concerned
about the shifting of funds among accounts - regardless
of the legality of what the corporation is doing.
continue to question the propriety and necessity of many
approved spending projects.
challenge the corporation's recent assertion that it has
cut more than $15 million from the annual budget and
made reductions in staffing by more than 100. We simply
do not see it.
We continue to worry about the proposed $77
million in tax anticipation warrants being issued by
this corporation for fiscal 2005, which are apparently
required to pay the bills. The interest on these
warrants will increase the financial liability of
taxpayers by nearly $2 million in fiscal 2006, a fact
that has never been reported or seriously discussed in
this newspaper or by any of the other local media
still do not know what the long- term effects of the
pending teachers contract will be on the local tax levy,
although it is being widely reported that the future
levy will be less than those of previous years.
We have our doubts.
Although at times our members seem adversarial at
School Board meetings, the truth is that someone in this
community should be minding the store. It is a settled
fact that a majority of the membership on the School
Board could not care less about the interests of the
taxpayers in this community.
school corporation that spends more than $200 million a
year and cannot realize more than 48 percent of the
tenth-graders passing the ISTEP exam has some very
serious fundamental problems that neither the Community
Education Council nor the Mayor's Roundtable has even
begun to address.
To have School Board President William Asbury and School
Superintendent Bart McCandless serve on this efficiency
study steering committee will not in any way contribute
to getting to the bottom of the problems of this
corporation. It's like having two foxes guarding a
dilapidated chicken coop.
Redistricting of all the schools should be a no-brainer
while student workstations throughout the primary,
middle and high school buildings all over this county
remain vacant and unused. Still, we simply had to build
a $50 million vocational technical Taj Mahal on Lynch
Road, creating even more inefficiency throughout the
corporation has yet to level with us as to precisely how
it will pay the faculty for this facility. Perhaps more
tax anticipation warrants?
Insanity has been described as doing the same
thing over and over and hoping for different results. If
the school corporation and representatives of the power
establishment of this community think they can continue
this stupid little transparent charade at the expense of
the taxpayers in this community, every dime spent on
this efficiency study will be a dime wasted. Members of
the taxpayers association have done the hard work and
know what they are talking about.
They, above all other groups in this community, have
done the hard work and deserve a seat at the table.
David Scott Coker is president of the Vanderburgh County