Saw the piece in the Home News Tribune this morning on the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new synthetic turf field at Edison High School. Also, saw the comments by Super Dr. Richard "Build the Trust" O'Malley - and, once again, another reason-a-mundo to keep this guy away from numbers or presenting any numbers.
While waiting for him to "Build the Trust" as he promised - gonna have to start referring to him as Mr. "O'Mission" O'Malley when it comes to all the relevant facts about where all that money is coming from that they're Spending over there on Mythomania Lane.
First, let me say that athletics play an important role in public education and certainly here in Downtown Edison - and I'm kind of happy to see the new turf field at EHS and the one to be installed over at JPS.
Happy - but if a board member these days - would never have voted for it. Seem to recall that Board President Gene Maeroff voted against it but I could be mistaken. Tried to look the vote up in the minutes of the Special Board Meeting on May 5, 2012 - unfortunately, there are no minutes for that meeting on the school district's website. If I'm incorrect about Maeroff's vote, someone please let me know and I'll correct it.
However, that's $1.8 million to install these turf fields. Is it money "Smartly Spent" as O'Malley states in the article? Arguably, it can be said that it's not smart at all to spend that kind of money on this at this time. Seems there may be more pressing matters at hand where the money could be put to better use - the NJ ASK Results for 2012 come to mind as well as a host of other thingies.
But whether it's smart or not - here's what O'Malley says that's so typical O'Malley - "The cost of the new field was $931,000, paid using capital reserves."
See, they had money put aside and sitting in a reserve account so it's not really costing you anything out of this 2012-13 budget!?! Well, it's true that there is a capital reserve and I'm sure they used it to pay for Edison's turf field.
What he's not telling you though is where they got that money from to put into the Capital Reserve account. Remember when they put together that Best-est Ever $212.2 million School Budget for 2012-13, which increased Spending by $7.2 million - yet they held the fiscal year tax levy flat? It's a miracle - and they did it through more state aid, better, smarter, and more efficient spending, right?!? Duh! State aid only went up $1.9 million over 2011-12.
They did it by using all that money sitting over there at Mythomania Lane that should of come back to us as taxpayer relief and Re-purposed it to fund their increased Spending of $7.2 million. They took that taxpayer relief money and turned it into more Spending in 2012-13. Hey, it's easy to figure out how much you can increase Spending when you know how much taxpayer money is being hoarded. Easy, but deceptive and misleading. But I digress, so let's move on.
Now, why is that "capital reserve" thingie important? Because you see, when they adopted the School Budget for 2012-13, they also took another $2.4 million sitting over there and put it into the Capital Reserve account - so they wouldn't have to give it back to the taxpayers. They did it on the same night the School Budget for 2012-13 was adopted!
They covered their $7.2 million Out of Control Spending increase in the Operating Budget and threw in an extra $2.4 million into the Capital Reserve account to boot.
So, you'll excuse me if "Hugs & Kisses" don't resonate here for Senor O'Malley or this Board that refuses to step up and Stop the Out of Control Spending going on over there on Mythomania Lane - or for Not keeping Super Dr. Richard "O'Mission" O'Malley away from the Numbers or any explanation thereof.
Anyhoo, if "the quality of a school district directly impacts the value of every home", as O'Malley says - then two things really, really worry me; (1) why does he run away like the dickens from any responsibility when rateables drop and (2) how can we truly measure the quality of this school district when all you get from him is sophomoric misdirection of the truth and political hyperbole?
Said it before and I'll say it again. We're all smart at something. What's important is not how smart we are but what we do with the smarts we have. If we use it to help people, that's a good thing. If we use it take advantage of people, trick people, play on people's lack of knowledge or hurt people - that's a bad thing.
What's going on these days over there on Mythomania Lane is not a good thing!