Recruitment starting for school board members

It was made obvious by the levy vote that the only way to get a much needed tax break in Batavia is to elect members to the school board who have a serious intent to reduce taxes. If the $6 million is not necessary, as we contend, it can be removed from the yearly levy at a later date. While it may not be until 2017, when under the best circumstances a majority on the school board may be obtained, it can be done (though it would have been much better had it never been absorbed into the budget).

We have already begun recruitment for the next school board election in 2015. There will be 3 seats up for election. Ideal candidates should have competence in an area of value to the school board, e.g., accounting, business management, human resources, personnel management, or any field where tough decisions are made regularly to work within a tight budget, and who will not be dependent on the school district administration for decision making. Common sense, a stiff spine, and upright morals are essential. While candidates with impressive credentials better sway voters, we also welcome intelligent, passionate, discerning individuals who welcome a tough challenge.

Some of the folks involved in Lower the Levy would support good candidates with preparation, campaign help, and, if so desired, help lighten the load of sorting through documents once elected (many hands make light work).

Please contact Lower the Levy through the contact page if you are interested in being a candidate, or want to be involved in any way in this effort. The sooner, the better. Petitions to get a candidate on the ballot must be submitted in November 2014 (less than a year from now). Familiarizing oneself with how the board works should be started no later than Spring (preliminary budget meetings in May 2014 should be attended).

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5 Responses to Recruitment starting for school board members

  1. Bill says:

    If the School Board would maintain the levy at its new level and forego raising taxes for several years, this would have a similar effect to lowering the levy now. Now that the district will presumably have a surplus, they ought to be shrewd, save wisely and lower future taxing pressure.

    It will be gravely disappointing if this new money burns a hole in their collective pocket and they fritter it away on “initiatives”, only to come asking for more in a year or two. I do not know the mentality of the current Board or Superintendent, but my understanding of the previous Superintendent was that he wanted to spend everything he had as soon as possible.

    What kind of time commitment is required of a board member?

  2. lowerthelevy says:

    Yes, freezing the levy is an option that should be proposed. Assuming a CPI increase of 2% annually, it would take about 6 years of a frozen levy for an equivalent taxpayer benefit. That, of course, all depends on the economy, so there are no guarantees.

    I have not heard any talk of such plans. The way most governmental taxing bodies work is to seek the maximum money they can get from taxpayers. Expect to see the typical CPI increase next year, on a significantly larger extension from this year because the $6 million will have been incorporated, unless a miracle occurs.

    The board has regular meetings once a month, plus additional special and committee meetings as the need arises. To get an idea of the number of meetings, go to http://www.bps101.net/meeting-documents . The board members are split into committees that typically meet in the middle of the afternoon, maybe once a month. These meetings are where the real work gets done (if board members can’t make it in the afternoon, perhaps meetings can be switched to evenings). Numerous documents are presented to the board for review, as can be seen in the “Board Books”. If this looks daunting, there are people here willing to take on chunks of reading and render summaries (and we would like to grow this base).

  3. Btown says:

    School board did the right thing last night, the vote wasn’t even close. I’ll be interested to see what kind of candidates you come up with in the next election. Interesting that you didn’t list education background for an area of competence for an ideal candidate.

    • lowerthelevy says:

      There are enough teachers, former teachers, and spouses of teachers on the board already. It can be seen as a source of bias when it comes to negotiating salaries and controlling the budget.
      We at Lower the Levy also have a sufficient number of teachers/former teachers we can turn to for advice. We do not need to put them on the board.

    • Bill says:

      Btown–I would argue that the education background is a bit overrated. If the fundamental principles of education are the primary qualification, why does our school district not focus more on that? Why do they treat ‘more money’ as the answer to all our educational woes, and yet our test results are uninspiring?

      There’s nothing special about an education background. I would prefer someone who is passionate about knowledge over someone who received the proper piece of accreditation. Take a look at Richard Feynman’s work with the California State Board of Education. In theory he would be under-qualified according to the normal school board gatekeepers, yet he was their greatest asset.

      What Batavia needs is a school board that realizes that you can foster world class education without spending more and more and more. We need people who are wise with finances and care about the future of the tax payers along with the children.

      Btown, you’re right, it wasn’t even close, because the board is still full of close-minded, self-interested individuals. They don’t care about listening and they can’t see past what they’ve already determined. That kind of mentality will kill the kind of inspiration you need for a truly great education environment.

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