Melissa DeSmith: School levy opposition is untrustworthy

BG School Levy is Needed!!  BGCS needs updated buildings to give our students the best educational environment we can.  Speak to a teacher or a student today to find out what they deal with on a daily basis in the current facilities!

I am writing in support of the BGCS Levy, Mr. Scruci and the BGCS Board of Education!  The superintendent and Board have put forward a plan that is in the best interest of the students, staff and community!! The opposition has put many accusations out there that are just false!  One letter recently from Mr. Strow addressed TRUST.  It is the opposition to this campaign that cannot be trusted!  They have many times put out false information including the recent letter from Mr. Strow!

Per Mr. Conley of Rockmill Financial Consulting LLC’s presentation to the community (that can be found on the BGCS website): “The District is very well managed, financially The District’s tax levels are low when compared to others in the region* District total annual expenditure per pupil is below State average**($10,551.76 vs $11,603.12) Current financial condition is strong”

As for the amount, the levy is for $72 million (5.7 mills), anyone that understands borrowing should understand there is interest involved, so Mr. Strow saying that the district misled anyone on the payback, is again misleading!  How many other levies are on the ballot that give you the  final payback?  None!

They are on the ballot for the principal, their advertising is for the principal, not the payback, obviously because that amount will change based on changes in property valuation and businesses moving into the community, the possibility of revenue from the pipeline, etc.  The more people and companies that come to the area, the less that current taxpayers will pay.  There is also the possibility that if interest rates go down, it can be refinanced to save money.

In my research about levies, the school board is required to give the board of election 3 specific items:  the principal amount needed, number of years and a purpose.  The county auditor then takes that information and comes up with the millage.  The millage includes both principal and interest.  So, nothing has been hidden from the public!!

I would think someone like Mr. Strow would be happy that the school has operating money in the bank!  He is exaggerating again when he suggests that the school will be “pushed into bankruptcy by 2021.”  First, it is currently 2018 and they are financially sound, second, he must not understand governmental accounting and budgeting.  The superintendent and Board have been very open about the fact that there will be a deficit by 2020 and most likely there will be a need for an operating levy at that time, so again, they have been honest with the public!

The last time BGCS asked the community for a new operating levy was in 2010 (8 years ago).  If they don’t ask again until 2020, that is a decade of operating without a new operating levy!  The average district asks
approximately every 5 years.  This can only be accomplished by being fiscally responsible!

My final point in response to Mr. Strow’s letter is the difference between Public Sector and Private Sector budgeting!  They are 2 completely different worlds.  They differ in purpose, process and accounting methods.  In the public sector, they are not budgeting for profit, but to spend the public’s money as efficiently as possible!

Yes, this is a big ask of the community, but it is an investment in our community and in the students of this community! The current plan would cost the community much less now than any other options, but we need to proceed now to save money on interest etc. Basic renovations to heating, plumbing, electric with continual repairs on old facilities will only end up costing BGCS much more and doesn’t add any much-needed space or equalization of class sizes or resources.  It is my personal belief that each of us must look at our own family and our own financial situation and decide if we financially support this levy.

Melissa DeSmith
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