Letter to the editor
Citizen upset over spending
February 02, 2011 - Dear editor,
Where are the fiscal conservatives and promised reformers in Orion? Election records show all the elected Orion officials are republicans or conservatives so they can't blame any other political party, and must take ownership right?
Right after the November general election (surprise) it was announced that Lake Orion would have a special February $25.5 million dollar tax increase school millage election even though they have a $2.5 million surplus this year, and are setting on a $14.5 million fund.
Currently the school is spending nearly $11,000 a student and average class sizes are only 19 students.
I am all for keeping our kids competitive but I don't believe money is the problem, or that throwing more money at it will solve this problem, and an Oakland Press article titled "Inflated MEAP scores full of hot air" highlighted this fact. Additionally, I have several serious concerns, and questions such as:
1. If a tax increase is so necessary, can't wait, a "right now must-have" to support our kids' education why was it not put on the November general election when the majorities in the community vote including the seniors who have not yet migrated South?
The experts have estimated that each additional election in Orion alone costs $50,000 dollars, and with a second Lake Orion School Board election in May, that is $100,000 dollars taken away from educating our kids, and being used to support unnecessary administration costs.
If the school administrators and board were serious about education dollars, why are they wasting $100,000 dollars with two unnecessary stealth elections?
2. If a tax increase is necessary to support our kids education why then for every education tax dollar collected is less than 30 cents making it into the class room? This has to be the worst return on investment in the state and country.
Should not structural reform happen first to optimize these dollars to really better support our kid's education before asking for more money?
3. Instead of a tax increase in the worst of economic times, when it is perceived that there is not enough money and too many expenses to support our kid's education, why then don't we cut expenses with economies of scale?
Why do we have so many school districts and administrators with frothy salaries, lavish full lifetime health care, and retirement benefits that are not in line with comparable jobs in the private sector? Are we really optimizing our education tax dollars today? Who's interests are first here?
The kids, or the administrators? By consolidating school services, administrators, districts, and adding some co-pays on benefits, we can easily double the current amount of real education dollars that actually make it into the classroom for education, and after all isn't that the goal of education? Kids first.
4. Where are the state and local Orion elected officials who continuously say they are fiscal conservatives and fiscally responsible?
Why are they not speaking out on this priority problem and implementing the promised "REFORMS"? Is another tax increase now during a "great recession" when so many family, friends and neighbors are losing their jobs and homes the only alternative?
5. Will this $25.5 million tax increase really solve our education problems because it has not in the past, and 14 years ago when the high school was state of the art brand new did GPAs measurably go up?
Many European schools are over 500 years old yet in a recent education study by the Program for International Assessment (PISA), many of these old European schools beat ours/us, which came in on average 25th, and 30th in math.
A recent release of a study on Michigan's education performance by the Ann Arbor-based Education Trust-Midwest was shocking.
Not only are students under-performing, but Michiganians are being deceived about it.
Though 84 percent of parents of Michigan fourth-graders are told by the state their children are proficient in reading, only 30 percent of those same students scored as proficient on the national reading exam. In math, our children's performance is also inflated: 70 percent of our eighth-graders score proficient on the state math test, but only 31 percent are proficient on the national test.
Also, our higher-income ficials should go with a less expensive $39,000.00/yr Oakland County 911 contract versus a LO Village 911 contract of $93,000.00/yr. a difference of $54,000.00 dollars more, or a 238 percent increase. Fiscal responsibility or politics?
2. Another example, the last three Orion supervisors have maintained, and increased the Orion fund balance, but the current supervisor and board are now rationalizing spending these funds (6-0 budget vote) because they say they are fearful that our Lansing legislators will take these Orion monies.
Why then did he/they endorse these Lansing legislators if they would take in the dark of night our community money?
Wow, do they really believe intelligent people will swallow that line? How can they rationalize spending more than they take in? What will they do after the money in the Fund balance is gone, raise taxes?
No matter how they hype it, taxing and spending is not the way of a true fiscal conservative.
We need to implement a "structural reform" plan first before any more tax increases are thought about.
Run away tax and spend, irresponsible government needs to be challenged, and it's time to once again tell the King Georges of our community:
"No more taxation without representation" and reform first. If we don't tell the kings to stop, how many more tax increases are next, increases in the gas tax, sales tax, license plates, more sin taxes? Where will it end?
We the citizens of Orion have been played, duped for over 20 years by the same old political gang who swear they have our best interests first, but in reality they have been placing their best interests first.
Don't be bamboozoozoled again, wake up, we are overtaxed already.
My kids are well on their way to successful careers because we, their parents, support them with our hard earned cash even though college has gone up 60 percent in just 5 years.
Who could see or budget for that whopping increase? My education dollars are best spent by me on supporting my children's education not on supporting lavish benefits and salaries for the monopoly school systems.
Vote for fiscal responsibility and structural reform that will really help our kids this Feb. 22, I am.
Lake Orion resident