the Clarkston School Board meeting on June 25, the board approved the
2012-2013 budget by a 4-3 vote. The budget that was approved by four
board members authorizes the administration to spend $3.2 million more
from the general fund than it will take in.
At the time this
budget was approved, it extended a track record of six out of the last
seven years in which the district spent more than it has taken in by the
following amounts: 2007, $4 million; 2008, not available; 2009, $3.8
million; 2010, $7.2 million; 2011, $135,000; 2012, projected $2.7
million; 2013, projected $3.2 million. The track record of deficit
spending may be even longer; data for years prior to 2007 was not
That's a total deficit of $21 million
over six years. While it is well-known revenues have been falling, the
board had seven years or more to reduce expenses to match declining
revenues; however, they failed, a majority of four members choosing
instead to draw down the general fund reserve.
For the long-term
financial health of the district, the board has the responsibility to
produce and live within a budget in which spending is less than, or at
worst equal to, income just as every household does. And the answer is
not to go back to the community with requests to incur additional debt
and raise taxes.
Three board members understand that; the other four do not.
because those four board members constitute a majority and have shown a
lack of interest in, or a lack of skill regarding, being fiscally
responsible, it is the community's duty to elect people to the board who
do understand the need to more properly manage the district's resources
to benefit students, parents, teachers, the community and to ensure the
long term financial viability of the district. Regrettably, fiscal
responsibility is only one aspect of the poor leadership exhibited by
these same four board members.
In November you will be asked to
elect four school board members. Two of those four board seats are
currently occupied by the individuals who continue to manage
While one of those, Mr. Barry Bomier, has wisely
chosen not to run for re-election, this is an opportunity for voters to
excuse the other, Ms. Cheryl McGinnis, from a responsibility that
appears to be either beyond her ability or beyond her level of caring
and to elect people who understand the need for effective school
district stewardship and open communication with the community to whom
they are responsible.
Two other incumbents are also running for
re-election – Susan Boatman and Joan Patterson. These two fit the
profile of effective leadership and open communication. The same can be
said for one new candidate – Betty Reilly.
If you review events
of recent years, I believe you will decide to re-elect Ms. Boatman and
Ms. Patterson, and to elect Ms. Reilly, because they represent the
district's best prospects for a successful future.