As part of her comments after being elected president of the Toledo Public School Board, Brenda Hill said "you reach a point where you can’t ask for more.”
Was she talking about taxpayers and those who foot the bill for the school system? Was she using this as an introduction to ways the school district could operate more efficiently and live within its means, especially in light of their decision to do a comprehensive performance audit?
Hill, a former teacher in the TPS system, was talking about teachers.
In a Jan. 4th Blade article (basically repeated on Jan. 7th with a different headline and opening), Hill says her top priority is a passing new school levy this year because:
"...she pointed out that the district has already asked for teachers to give up pay, and said that "you reach a point where you can't ask for more."
When asked if the district had reached that point, she said she didn't know, but said that teacher pay does impact employee morale, and cuts to pay could cause staff to leave the district.
"We can't afford to lose anymore staff," Ms. Hill said."
She also said:
"...she doesn't expect the district to make major changes to operations this year to entice voter support."
Nope - no need to change what we're doing to earn voter support.
It wasn't that property owners don't want to pay more, or that they think they're already paying enough.
In her view, the problem with the failure of the last four levy requests isn't because of bad performance by the schools, nor is it because of questionable financials - like having a $11.22 million carryover while demanding you need more money.
No, according to Hill, it's because they ran a poor campaign with not enough yard signs.
An example of the poor campaign, Ms. Hill said, was what she believes was a dearth of yard signs supporting the levy.
Never mind that the majority of yard signs supporting the levy were illegally on school property or posted - again illegally - in the public right-of-way. Did Hill ever stop to think that perhaps the reason there weren't 'enough' yard signs were because no one wanted to support the levy?
Did she even remotely consider that perhaps it was taxpayers who had reached the point where they couldn't be asked for more?
I don't know what's scarier: that she was elected by the other board members to be president or that, with such failed reasoning, she was actually teaching our kids!
And what about that performance audit? You remember: the comprehensive evaluation of everything the district is doing and how it might save money and perform more effectively and efficiently?
Hill was among the unanimous supporters of entering into a contract with Evergreen Solutions to do a performance audit when the TPS board voted on Dec. 18th.
Did she forget her vote? Or is she already convinced that the audit will sit on a shelf and none of the recommendations will be implemented?
Shouldn't a 'top priority' of a school board president be to see the audit to completion and then oversee implementation of the recommendations with the expectation of saving money so they don't *need* a new levy???
Of course, this doesn't even touch on the educational aspects of TPS - you know, the entire reason we have a school board in the first place?!?
Well, at least she included "improving graduation rates" as part of her priorities, along with "improving employee morale."
Yeah - she's concerned about improving the morale of the employees by taxing property owners more. And here I thought money didn't buy happiness. What a fool I must be.
Then there is the superintendent issue. Jerome Pecko's contract is up in June. The board will also have to decide whether to extend it or look for a new superintendent.
But getting more money from already tapped-out taxpayers is the priority of the new TPS president.
So much for my cautious optimism.