The Bond, the Sinking Fund & Taxation without Representation

We just celebrated the Fourth of July. The people in the American colonies were angry that British Parliament was taxing them and “not representing them” over here on this side of the world. They wanted to have a say in things. It is my opinion that the parents of Lake Orion students need to have a say in things. Especially in how millions of tax dollars are being spent in their school system. Superintendent Marion Ginopolis works for the people. Taxes pay her salary.

Our school administration is going to be taxing everyone without any community representation? People, wake up, please! This can’t happen. The voters approved a blank check for the superintendent and board members to use however they see fit: i.e. New AV in all cafeteria’s? How does this enhance 21st century learning? Or does it just look good, like the football field?

A 76-year-old superintendent is out of touch with the realities of modern learning. When at a coffee meeting I asked her about the third-grade reading level issues that are putting kids behind all over the state, she said…’Well, that would involve changing things too much.’ Really? So, we just let them fail and be behind the rest of their lives? Wrong answer if I was a parent of one of those children.

She cut salaries of food service workers and gave herself a pay raise. (She pays taxes elsewhere, not in Lake Orion schools.)

She handpicked the last committee of “citizens” when working on the strategic plan a few years back. Only “yes” people, I would surmise, including a private school owner and a Catholic School parent. Why? I was a present at the meeting when the committee was announced. We were all told it was all done “in committee.”

Assistant Superintendent of Business and Finance John Fitzgerald has done a great and worthy task of structuring the bond. But who is paying attention to “how” the funds are being used? Already, changes have been made to the Sinking Fund and the Bond proposed monies.

Marion Ginopolis will be retiring soon, and I think she should. She was supposed to be temporary, 1-2 years superintendent, at the most. It is now 8-9 years.

If you don’t agree with her, you get “Holted” – publicly. I watched that happen too.

In light of this fact, she should have no input into the future needs of this community. She is out of touch with 21st century educational systems and processes that will serve all ages into the future of autonomous systems and drone technology, plus the ones not yet realized. I can explain bitcoin to a person who has no idea what it is. Can Marion?

I have had children in public school for 28 years. So much has changed in that time. I have been a front row observer and participant. We are way behind in STEM learning. Other districts have been way ahead of us for years. Avondale. Oxford. Do some homework citizens of Lake Orion.

The school board needs a committee of people who are future-oriented and care about what education needs to be doing 50 years forward, not just 20. They should have an appointment and approval of their peers, not board member friends. They should be nominated and chosen based on essay questions on the future of education in America, not just Lake Orion. Business leaders, educational experts, digital and robotic techs, artists, skilled trades, and a plumber and an electrician. These people need to be not just from Lake Orion, but from surrounding areas in Oakland County.

Taxation without representation cannot be allowed in the school system that affects our children. How would a family like it if a credit union or bank decided the nutritional needs of your family of six? Or where to spend your vacation dollars or after school activities funds?

Why should a school board decide these things without input from the people it affects most? They don’t really listen to the public at school board meetings and only take input until they get whatever millage/bond they want passed.

The bond tax goes up with the value of your home. Do you all want a small group of people who said ‘Yes” to the mess to decide where education money is spent?

Blanche Sims made a great platform for the administration’s claim of a crumbling school. Now, it is on the three-year fix it plan. I guess it wasn’t really that bad.

Classrooms slated for one school are being redirected to others. The list of changes is endless. Ask questions parents. Get answers. If you don’t like them, say something.

Has anyone noticed how many outstanding people have left Lake Orion schools in the last three years, including a teacher who received his doctorate in educational studies? The head of the math department and many principals have left the buildings. An exodus of great people usually means the inside structure is messy. Sinking ship and such.

Studies have shown that American children are behind other countries in knowledge bases (www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/15/u-s-students-internationally-math-science).

Marion Ginopolis told the graduating seniors during commencement to take her off their Twitter feed. How inviting is that.? I heard it myself at the ceremony. It sounded to me like, “Go away.”

I think she needs some parents to NOT go away, but start asking many, many questions. In person, on Twitter and where ever else some answers can be given. Or, she needs to let go and let the district belong to the those who see the real future of education.

Peggy Barry Bartz

Orion Township