Looking for better accountability

The voters of Orion TWP. should vote down the proposed 10 year 2 Mill Orion School so called a Sinking Fund.  But it really is a millage – a $200.00 or higher tax against your homes $100,000 taxable value due to be paid each year.  If your home has a taxable value of $200,000 or more your tax will be $400.00 or more, etc.
For 2015 we have already paid the current school millage tax and in 2016 we will again by this September each pay  7.491 mills which means a current tax bill of $750.00 or more each year going forward based on your homes $100,000 taxable value and if its $200,000 plus you currently pay $1500.00 or more.  So unless you vote it down in August the new yearly school tax bill total will be nearly $1000.00 or more if your home is valued at a minimum of $100,000 and if its $200,000 plus your new tax bill will be $1900.00 per year.
As you will soon see the issue isn’t that the schools don’t need money but that they haven’t used our tax money they now get wisely – they haven’t reduced their expenses – they haven’t lived within their means.  Their current situation is like if your or my family didn’t live within our means our bank, fiends, or relatives wouldn’t give us anymore money.
Folks – Lets review some serious concerns.  In 1995 we had five {5} Elementary Schools and two Middle Schools, a Community Ed. Bldg. and a High School. A total of nine {9} Bldg.’s.
Since 1995 the Orion School District has built two {2} more Elementary Schools {1996 and 2000 – now up to seven {{7}}, one {1} more Middle School {2002 – now up to three {3}, and a new High School {1997}.  Then Orion School District has also built since 1997 The Administrative Bldg. {1997}, The Moose Tree Nature Preserve {2000}, and a new Transportation Bldg. {2002}.  So since 1995 we have gone up to 16 buildings.
So the School District knows how to build and spend our money but in a declining pupil population for the last 7 years or so and a declining State Funding the School District hasn’t heard the big loud bell ringing to cut back Operational and Facility costs.  Specifically to cut back the number of buildings even as they watched their expense Back Up School Fund fall from over 16% to the now 7.4% and its still falling like a rock.  As I understand it even if the teachers unanimously agree to no raise next year and then as well as again the next year they are still over $400,000 short to attain their target of  the School Fund being 10% of expenses.
So far their solution for years to date has not been to cut back costs and buildings but try to get us tax payers to pay a new millage every two to four years which we religiously have opposed each time and will again this year if we have any sense.  The school situation is very similar to the financial failures Greece and some other Countries are suffering through
To sum up their efforts to date they have felt for years that the solution to their increasing debt is you and I paying more taxes.  However, they have not made some tough decisions. It is hard to do the right thing even when its the only thing to do.
We must get their attention.  And to get their attention we need to vote their proposal down yet again this August then work with them to put together a responsible accountable four year sinking fund millage proposal for this November’s vote which details in specific their intentions and budget reported at the beginning of each year and then reported on each year’s end as to whether they stayed within budget and accomplished what they committed to 12 months ago.  And if not why not.
By being very transparent and accountable to voters they can earn another 4 year Sinking Millage Fund in 4 years.  We need good schools but now we need better accountability and management of our tax monies to dig out of the debt hole slowly and surely.
Fred Fleming
A Very Concerned Orion TWP. and Village Voter