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Sunday, May 6, 2012

5/6/12 Oakland Press article on CCS $20 million bond. Check out the comments too!

$20M school bond issue that includes remodeling and possibly an iPad for every student at forefront in Clarkston 

click here to view it

By MONICA DRAKE -; Twitter: @monica_adele

 Here are a few key comments to the article:
Al Waters 17 hours ago
"Novi, Hazel Park, Troy, Brandon, Avondale, Oxford, Farmington, Walled Lake, Rochester, Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills school districts have wireless Internet, while Clarkston Schools do not, said Superintendent Rod Rock."
Having wireless internet is a far cry from giving everyone an iPad. Supplying a handheld device to all students and faculty is for lack of a better phrase, a STUPID IDEA!!! Loss, theft, breakage, security issues, etc. These people have no idea what they are trying to get themselves into. Trying to manage something like that is difficult enough with a group of adults. It will be impossible with kids. Plan on spending millions per year just to support this.

Do some math. 8100 students. For sake of argument use $400 dollars per device. That is $3.2 million on something that will last a couple years. And if each student "has to have one" there better be an inventory to give the student a new device when he loses his. Or breaks it. Or it is stolen. Can't go without the portable computer. And soon you will be dealing with virus, malware, spyware and other issues. Have to have a method to keep everyone's device up to date, and free of viruses. If they are school devices, you also have to ensure students cannot visit porn sites and such. One instance of abuse without the school district exercising needed controls could cost millions in a lawsuit.

I am not a resident of Clarkston/Independence and have no horse in this race, but as one with some experience, this sounds like people pushing an agenda that "sounds good" but have no idea what is required to make it happen. Watch out for the iceberg, 2/3 of the danger cannot be seen."
"Adding wireless internet is around $35k of the $20M and could be paid from the yearly operational budget. This is an example of how desperate they pro-millage folks are to highlight that.
Indeed we need wireless. Indeed we need technology, but GO REWORK THIS PROPOSAL.
Clarkston Schools are already indebted nearly $30k PER PUPIL. This is 3 times the national average.
Ipads will be outdated long before this millage is....
Rod Rock and his 4 minions need to go back to the drawing board and develop a technology proposal which is more aligned with the fiscal reality of our situation.
Also, we need to vote out the 4 supporters he has on the Board. Especially Hyer...since he 'mistakenly' claimed 2 homestead deductions. Does he REALLY believe that this was a mistake?! Everyone knows you only get one....for him to be Treasurer and miss this - amazing. He should RESIGN."
whatthe_h 16 hours ago
"I'm voting NO! Dr.Rock and his 4 rocketts have no clue how many people in the Clarkston School District are living paycheck to paycheck. They have no idea how many homes are sitting vacant. They no idea how many families are near to or are being foreclosed on. They have no idea how many retirees are on fixed incomes. Just go to their big fancy houses in their Clarkstonite neighborhoods and you will see what I mean. They think just because they can afford this tax hike that everyone can! Well, I know many that can't and that Happy Meal a week may be needed to pay their bills."
Rational Parent 13 hours ago
"Although Dr Rock says the reason for the nonqualified bond is the higher mileage rate, it is really because the State will not allow it, because Clarkston has maxed out it's bonding limit. The actual rate on the bond is higher because Clarkston has earned a poorer bond rating than the State of Michigan. The amortization period would be shorter with the State, requiring a higher mileage rate.
The yes'sirs have stated that the devices will help replace some of our out of date $300 textbooks. Does a text book cost $300 because it costs $275 to bind and print and $25 for content, or is it more like $25 to bind an print and $275 for content. It is my understanding that content/software is not a bondable budget item, so it has to come out of the annual General Fund. How much will content cost for the 5,000+ devices per year, $10/device, $100/device, or $1,000/device. There is a $2 million + budget deficit for next year, where will this money come from.
Can the administration effectively roll out this program. Seems like the FAST FORWARD program crashed and burned after Dr. Roberts moved the purchase up to his last year, just before he took his $40,000 payout, quit on June 30th, 2010, and started his new superintendent position in Illinois on July 11th, 2010.
There is a way to have lower classroom sizes. Pay less wages and benefits to each teaching staff member. Determine your class sizes, the number of teachers needed to get to that class size, the determine the rate of pay for the teachers. Now, we fund the CEA, then cry that class sizes are too large. Wages and Benefits were historically (just four years ago) 65% of the budget, now Wages and Benefits are 89% of the budget. Maybe that is why there is so much deferred maintenance baked into the bond. Why are the devices being rolled out over three years, but all the staff get their devices and upgrades in the first year of the cycles?
The CEA contract ends this June 30th, hopefully the administration can cram it down to the level we need to deliver an educational product our kids need. No step payments, fewer sick days with no buyouts, defined benefit pension system, and 20%+ health care payments from staff. I doubt the administration understands the importance of any of these issues."
"I am an Independence Township resident as well as the father of a student, and have to agree with the comments from Al Waters and whatthe_h here. Dr. Rock & Co. are using the "glittering lure of technology" to sell this tax increase. Houses in our neighborhood are selling at about one third the price we paid (if they sell at all) when we moved in. Parents are nickle-and-dimed to death, especially if their son or daughter are involved in any extracurricular activities. It is my understanding that Doctor Rock is not even a resident of our township. Perhaps that makes it easier to ask for our taxes to be increased in these difficult economic times. As one Mr. Bush once said, "Read my lips: No new taxes." "
"Spartan, we agree that wireless and new computers are needed. That, however, can be done with a FRACTION of the $20M are currently asking for.
The Bond Proposal needs to be re-worked, more fiscally responsible, and able to balance the technology requirements with the fiscal concerns.
I am voting NO, however i would vote yes if indeed the proposal wasn't this colossus that was jammed down our throats with a costly special election designed only to improve the chances at passage since they are guessing the retirees won't vote.
Start over on the technology proposal, and put it on the vote in November. Likewise, let's throw out the 4 school board members who don't think independently, and only nod heads like sheep at Dr. Rock's fiscal follies. Dr. Rock claims to be factual, but he is playing politics in this. Does our community represent ultra liberal progressive fiscal irresponsibility?
"There are no problems that increasing taxes doesn't solve - so let's go big!!" is their motto. Even though Rock doesn't pay taxes here, and Hyer is cheating us with his 2 homestead deductions.
We also need to teach our children FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY. This election will be a teaching moment for them."
Andy9812 4 hours ago
"I would like to know just what kind of empirical evidence there is to suggest that throwing iPads at the kids will somehow dramatically improve their test scores?"
"According to Dr. Rock, there is no evidence that this will improve test scores, he stated this at an April bond meeting. He is also a firm believer that test scores are no indication of a child's success. I am wondering if his kids get to skip the ACT's or SAT's to get into college."
trytofocus 5 hours ago
"Headline: an iPad for every student.
Third paragraph: every student will have access to a hand held technology device.
Lots of difference, could you get specific before Tuesday?"
"The specifics are in the "1:Global Initiative" document available on the district's website under the "Total Cost of Ownership" page.
It shows that an iPad for every student is not correct.
Here is the first roll-out schedule and the plan (it repeats starting in FY19 - 5 year refresh):
Fiscal year 13: grades 6 & 7 & all teaching staff - 1:1 roll-out
Fiscal year 14: grades 8 & 9 - 1:1 roll-out
Fiscal year 15: grades 10, 11, & 12 - 1:1 roll-out, preschool, kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grade - GET NOTHING, and grades 3, 4, & 5 - 1 for every 2 students with devices on carts that do not go home with the kids.
The stated district plans have changed with the wind, the date, and the audience they have faced."

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