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Focus on support of levy, not additional spending

By Staff | Aug 28, 2015

The decision of the Jefferson County Board of Education, and subsequently the Jefferson County Commission, to seek a special election in December for the school levy puts the focus on the wrong area. Rather than go into a process expecting to lose, as appears to be the case, the Board of Education should focus on a campaign to assure the passage of the levy on the May ballot.

Newly-hired Superintendent Bondy Shay-Gibson told County Commissioners that the scheduling of the December special election would allow the board to try again in May should the levy fail.

Instead of using $80,000 from the school budget-one that school officials continuously say is not high enough, the Board should organize an educational campaign to help promote the levy and its passage.

Should the levy fail in December, what makes school officials believe it will be approved in May? And if it does fail in December, as it appears officials believe it may, what will they do differently to encourage its passage at primary?

We at the Chronicle see this as a waste of taxpayer funds, especially when the cry is always heard that the school system does not have enough money. We have students in overcrowded schools; we have students with no lockers; students with no books-yet we want to spend money on an issue that those leading the charge believe won’t pass.

While the approvals have been won, it is still not too late to reconsider the spending of those dollars for a special election. Make efforts to convince voters that the funds are needed to run the system and that they should vote in the affirmative for the levy on the May ballot.

Funds will potentially have to be delegated for a marketing campaign to win a May election should the levy fail at the special election. Shouldn’t those funds just be allocated once? Responsible fiscal oversight is a job of the superintendent and the elected officials. We do not see their actions as responsible in this case.