Citizens For A Better Norwood

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The aftermath of Collier's Bad Math

Superintendent Steve Collier tells today’s Enquirer he’s very excited about yesterday’s 9-vote levy renewal win and calls it “a vote of confidence for our educational community.” Since when is a win based on false advertising (see yesterday’s Enquirer correction blog below) to voters something to be proud of?

As if that’s not outrageous enough, the Enquirer goes on to report a $2 million deficit next year in spite of the renewed $1.7 million levy. Really? Did Mr. Collier have a hand in getting that scary piece of misinformation in print, too? We challenge anyone to find a $2 million deficit for 2008 in the NCS approved five-year forecast. Since when is a 2008 cash balance of $88,565 a $2 million deficit? We think it's when you’re Steve Collier and you either don’t know how to read a forecast or can’t retain key information it contains, you don’t listen when your own school treasurer tells you during a 10/26/06 Finance Committee meeting that 2009, not 2008, is the year a deficit shows up, and the end justifies the means. Either that, or he's working from a revised forecast that hasn't been released to the public, and that would be very questionable as well as improbable. Did he not hear several board members discuss how there was time between then and 2009 to reduce expenditures and thereby avoid a financial crisis requiring a new levy?

And speaking of that October ‘06 meeting, it was clear to us that while then Treasurer Rabe was right about the 2009 deficit, he didn’t have a handle on the facts about two renewal levies, including the one that just passed. As a result, we had to call the Board of Elections to get the truth for our blog, a call he certainly could have made, too, prior to the meeting.

Mr. Rabe is gone. Does his successor Tony Wright have a better grip? Didn’t he know about the Levy Committee’s incorrect “No New Taxes” signs and literature and sound the alarm? Are there ANY internal checks and balances to assure the public is told the truth? Or is it always up to external citizen entities to do the cleanup after the damage is done? Lord knows we can't rely on the Enquirer to check facts before the presses roll.

So Steve Collier is excited about a win based on misinformation. Shame on him.